GRIP: Combat Racing Review02/11/2018
Grip: Combat Racing is a futuristic combat racing game developed by Caged Element Inc that is a love project that combines many aspects of arcade-style racing games that I grew up loving. It comes off as a beautiful marriage of games like Twisted Metal, Mario Kart and oddly enough, Destruction Derby. Most fans though will immediately site 1999’s Rollcage, which was out for PC and PlayStation, and for a very good reason.
Rollcage was developed by Attention to Detail, and published by Psygnosis. Rollcage was developed by Attention to Detail, and published by Psygnosis. Upon its release, it saw generally positive reviews and would ultimately see a sequel released in 2000. However, like all good things, this would end and the game would ultimately be seemingly forgotten about, except by Chris Mallinson. He would cite the game as his “Favorite Racing game of all time.” Upon searching the internet for a hope of a 3rd iteration of the series he found former Attention to Detail programmer Robert Baker, whom also wanted to see new life for the Rollcage series. Baker would release an updated version of Rollcage in 2014 under the title Rollcage Redux. The game was much faster and he fixed bugs that gamers had problems with. Mallinson, who had zero experience in the games industry, would contact Baker on a whim, “A pretty disjointed and amateur proposal, to be honest,” he concedes. “I mean, here’s a home renovator with project management experience but no actual games industry experience pitching a video game project of decent scope to a 20-year game dev veteran.” However, the message got through and Caged Element Inc was born.
After multiple trials and tribulations, Grip was released on Steam Early Access on February 2, 2016. It would not take long for Sony to get on board with the distribution of Grip and it is slated for a release on November 6, 2018.
The game itself has plenty to offer for all fans of car-oriented games. From your standard racing to arena battle to Carkour, kudos to the individual who came up with THAT pun! There are multiple options for how you want to enjoy the game. Throughout your adventures in Grip, you will also enjoy an electronic heavy soundtrack that matches the feel of the game nicely, unless of course, you don’t like that type of music, than it will drive you up the wall and you will want to listen to your favorite music such as “Let the Good Times Roll” or perhaps “Take it on the Run”
Let us talk about the racing itself. It’s fast, hella fast! Your car can get up to high 700 mph fast!! Even Sonic can’t hold a candle to that. The beauty of Grip is that the race can go in many directions, as there is no one direct path to make it through a course. With the ability to your vehicle up virtually any walls and onto the ceiling, you can find yourself in the middle of a race and see someone above you, or on the wall beside you. This is a refreshing way to race in a time where most racing games are cut and dry.
The Caged Element team could’ve stopped there and the game would be fun, but why not turn up the crazy meter a bit more and add pick-ups in each level? Let’s add ALL the guns and explosive devices. Honestly, somewhere in the video game universe, Mr. Torgue is crying happy tears. The game supplies you with the classic mini-gun, the scorpion rocket launcher, explosive darts amongst other goodies. You will be able to protect yourself with the shield pick-up or take it to ludicrous speed with the Turbo pickup.
The Career mode pits you in a variety of all the different types of races and game modes. Each one of the many Tiers contains 3 Tournaments. Each Tournament contains 3 races. I admit that I felt like the competition is almost too tough at the lower tiers. You have to have a near perfect race if you plan on taking the 1st place prize at the end of each race.
If players want to choose what mode they want to play, they can go into the Single Player mode which offers them many options of gameplay. If you want to take a break from the standard racing, you jump into the Arena. Personally speaking, this was my favourite part of the game. In Deathmatch, you will channel your inner Sweettooth and fight up to 10 other enemies. This includes all the destructive weapons in the game. You gain points for the damage you do to the other competitors and when the dust settles, whoever has the most points will be the victor. Steal the Stash is a fun play on Capture the Flag as you try to sneak into the opposing teams’ side and steal all their loot. Time Bomb sees a vehicle driving around with a bomb attached to them. Your job is easy, don’t get caught up in the blast!
Lastly, there is Carkour. This mode offers you 19 courses in which you just have to use all your cunning to get through a course that wants to see your immediate death at every turn. Once you figure out what you need to do, the levels can be completed in under a minute. At first, the course options are easy….until you reach the Nightmare levels. You will see red as you careen your car into the eternal abyss over and over. Don’t lose faith though as once you figure it out and beat the course, it feels like a big achievement!
If you are able to snag up friends, every mode except Carkour can be played online or 4 person couch split-screen. If you are like this sad reviewer and have no friends, just kidding, there is always the option to play online as well!
Grip: Combat Racing has a team behind it that believes in its quality and have made this game as a labour of love, and in that regard, they have succeeded greatly. They wear the Rollcage influence on their sleeves and are proud of it! In my opinion, though, Grip surpasses that and I can’t wait to have friends over to play the various modes in a fight of high octane dominance!