Developed by Caged Element in association with Warp Digital Entertainment and published by Wired Productions, Grip is a futuristic high-octane combat racing game that puts you in control of insanely fast vehicles with an incredibly strong downforce which makes it possible to race both on walls and the ceiling! The spiritual successor from Rollcage and Rollcage Stage 2, remember those games from the PS1? Started on a Kickstarter campaign and is now available for all you racing enthusiasts. And even better: it is included on Xbox Game Pass on the release date!
What is Good?
- Sound: A mesmerizing soundtrack composed of drum & bass tracks will dictate the rhythm of your races. The faster the beats, the better! If you don’t enjoy this genre of music, no problem. You can turn it off in the options menu. But you are about to lose some good tracks from DJs like Full Kontakt, Lynx and Krakota. Few racing games music was able to thrill me throughout the years and Grip is certainly one of them. The sound effects also have great quality. Except for your machine guns, that feels a little stuffy, the other guns and engine sound do a very decent job. Especially when you’re taking your cars close to 700 kph. You must hear (and feel it) for yourself!
- Visuals: Grip has some great visuals and effects for your cars and weapons, but it is on the tracks where your eyes will really see some marvelous stuff! Driving through futuristic cities or on the surface of different planets, which include deserts, forests, ice and snow and (mostly) industrial areas will impress you. The level of care and attention the developer has invested in the game is great, as you can see in some minor details as the dust in tire gaps. Impressive work!
- Game Modes: Grip has some interesting game modes. Nothing we haven’t seen before, but still very interesting. On the Racing subtype, we have the Classic Race (race with weapons, first to cross the finish line wins), Ultimate Race (driver with more points – acquired by shooting and destroying adversaries – wins), Elimination Race (every 30 seconds, the driver on the last position is eliminated) Speed Demon (no weapons, only boosts, first to cross the line, wins) and Time Trial. On the Arena subtype, we have Deathmatch (Destroy your enemies to earn points. Simple as that), Steal the Stash (capture the flag with a fancy name) and Time Bomb (a driver with a time bomb must catch other drivers in its blast radius. Last driver alive wins). I must say that these last two modes were unplayable during my time reviewing the game, with a ‘coming soon’ message. The last one is Carkour, a series of (tough!) challenges for you to complete with your car. Most of these modes can be played against up to three friends in split-screen or online multiplayer. As I reviewed this game before it launches, there were no online races available where I could evaluate the performance of the game.
- Campaign mode: The Campaign mode is composed of a mix of events in increasing difficult level divided into eleven tiers with up to 4 tournaments each. Each tournament is composed of a few events you must win to get access to new tournaments. Win all the tournaments in a tier to unlock the upper one. There are also duel events against the driver that gave you more trouble in that tier (in my case, it was Viper), adding an extra level of challenge. Enough content to keep you engaged for a good time!
- Story: I must be wrong, but I can’t remember a racing game that has a background story as Grip has. And it’s great to see the developer put some time on telling the story of the game, all planets, tracks, vehicles and weapons. AI players also have a background story, giving them some more personality. Nice move, guys! (Dae Jim Editorial note: Raf forgot about the last couple of Need for Speed games, those games did a fairly good job with a story line)
- Weapons: It wouldn’t be a combat racing if it didn’t have weapons and power-ups, right? And Grip is no short on versatility about those weapons and power-ups which can be used to speed up your vehicle, attack your adversaries or protect you against their assaults. Your vehicle can hold up two pickups at the same time (activated independently by LB or RB) and, by holding down the corresponding button of one of them, your car will absorb the other, turning this first item in a more powerful version of it. For instance, if you have a Firestorm (a turbo) in LB and a Painkiller (a shield) in RB, by holding down the LB you will absorb your Painkiller and your Firestorm will turn into a more powerful version of itself, increasing the speed bonus. Experimenting with all of them is a pretty neat thing to do.
- Leveling Up: While racing, you’ll get experience points that unlock new customization items for your car as you level to up. These items consist of new decals, tires, rims and paints. Except for the new cars you gain access to, this progression system is pretty shallow in my opinion.
- Tracks: Grip has a total of 17 different tracks across 4 (very) different planets. The visuals for each track are very good and very different from each other and it’s amazing to discover new possibilities at each lap. But the number of 17 is a low number of tracks for a racing game. I believe some more tracks will be sold as DLCs in an upcoming future.
- Car maneuvering: As expected, it’s no easy task to maneuver your car in this game (especially when at high speeds). As it requires you to become a better driver to succeed in this game, it may also put away more casual players.
What is Bad?
- Level design: Some levels are as much vertical as they are horizontal, making it really confusing and frustrating for the newcomers. But take it easy, after some time, you’ll get used to them. Try to focus on the easier tracks to understand and get use to the game mechanics before venturing online.
- Bad jumping: After a bad jump, it is not uncommon to land behind or inside walls and structures. It’s frustrating to use the reset vehicle option so many times during a race because of these structures.
Grip [Score: 82/100] With tight controls and an impressive sense of speed, Grip is a racing game like few I have played before. It is challenging and will grant you a good number of hours to be fully mastered. Being available on Game Pass at launch grants a solidbase for the multiplayer. Grip takes futuristic combat races to the next level! Be sure to grab your copy and enjoy this racer!