Reviewed by THE-BIG-DON
Developer: Caged Element
Publisher: Wired Productions
Well here we are, set in another futuristic setting where racing has gone insane (I’m looking at you too Wipeout). Grip is (although not mentioned anywhere) is a spiritual successor to Playstation One cult classic, Rollcage and Rollcage 2, of which I am a fan, although not ever owning the full games until much later in life, I played the demo disk, anyone still remember them? to complete death until the disk wouldn’t play anymore.
So I was thrilled to be able to play Grip, hopefully bringing back some fun nostalgia with a modern twist. So where do I start with a game that I enjoyed at EGX earlier in the year and was really excited to play?
Well lets start with the sound / sound track. The game has a satisfying drum and base soundtrack through the game that fits its combat racing style. I wouldn’t say the tracks are memorable for me, but they certainly fit the game and get you in the mood to race and fire weapons. The sounds of the vehicles, weapons and distortion of sounds in tunnels or certain weapons is really immersive. So sounds and soundtrack, bang on.
How are the controls / vehicle handling? Again everything being ticked in the right boxes here, although the vehicles look like they would be heavy and clunky, they are actually very responsive and nimble, as well as being super fast (you can hit mach 1!). The controls are what you would expect with a combat racer (think Karting controls) and show no sign of lag. Although there are a few things to learn and master within the controls, like using air control, which is to say that when flying through the air, let go of the accelerator so you can move in the air, whether that’s to land correctly or do flips. The second one is to power up your weapon. To do this you need two power ups |(they don’t need to be the same, then hold the L1 or R1 of the weapon you want powered up and you’ll see a ring charge it up, basically doubling its power.
Graphically the game is spot on, the game manages to convey an amazing speed whilst keeping the frame rate up and looking stunning. Now there is a couple of negatives hidden in there, in my opinion, this is more track design than graphics themselves, but I feel there is not enough ‘sign posting’ around the tracks, as some are quite wide and you can easily end up off course before realising it. The second is, although there are some varied places to race I would have loved to see more colour put into the game to brighten it up, but overall graphics are great.
Grip has a slew of tracks, and a decent size single player campaign, as well as all the standard single player stuff, they have added something that is becoming rarer in games of this generation, it has SPLIT SCREEN MULTIPLAYER!!! Now that would be great in itself but what adds the cherry to the top of the cake is that there is no real noticable slow down, which can be quite a common thing in racing games. There are a few extra things to do in the game with arena mode, get x amount of kills and Carkour, think parkour for cars and you are there.
So this is a game I really wanted to love, and did I?
Yes, yes I did, there are a few things that detract slightly from the game, getting lost within the track like mentioned above, there is a whole wealth of story buried away in the menus which I think is a shame and could have been added to the loading screens or before the tournaments.
This game breathes some fresh energy into a genre that doesn’t really exist too much now, Combat Racing. The game looks fantastic, handles great and sounds awesome. There is nothing like hurtling through a tunnel chasing first place and riding the walls or even the ceiling, oh didn’t I mention that? yep you can ride the walls and ceiling if you are going fast enough. They have also announced that future map packs will be FREE too so they do not alienate there player base. This game is jammed with stuff to do at a great value price.
So I first saw Grip in action at EGX this year, and while moving at a fast pace, and pretty smooth for a game still a couple of months out from full release, didn’t quite feel compelled to give it a go, unlike my counterpart, the big don, but having gotten my hands on the full game now, I have been pretty impressed from my initial look at the game, I do feel it could be made a bit more colourful for a futuristic racer, and sometimes the weapons could be a bit flashier, but considering the low price point, it’s a solid successor, and update to the original rollcage.