A copy of GRIP: Combat Racing was made available for the purposes of this review by a PR on behalf of the publisher. This has not influenced the review in any shape or form. I just thought you should know.
GRIP: Combat Racing is an action-racing title from Caged Elephant and published by Wired Productions. Heavily inspired by cult PS1 classic, Rollcage, GRIP attempts to cut a niche for itself as the go-to action racing title for the current gen. And it largely succeeds…by virtue of being one of the only action-racers on the market.
You certainly don’t see many racing titles that emphasize combat and weaponry over racing ability and, in that sense, GRIP is certainly a change of pace. I recall, even in the Xbox 360/PS3 era, games such as Blur and Split/Second did their best to bring vehicular combat to prominence, albeit unsuccessfully. GRIP feels like it fits into this group of games, which is both its best and worst quality.
Bass in your Face
GRIP *looks* like a game from 2010, in the worst way. I can’t compare how the game looks on PS4 to what I played, however textures are blurred, and objects are muddied. In fact, every race played like there was a layer of dust or dirt over the screen. In the looks department, GRIP nails the early 2010s feel.
The year 2010 seeps into the soundtrack, as GRIP is absolutely stacked with Drum n Bass tracks. I don’t feel anywhere close to qualified to talk about the Drum n Bass scene. I don’t like it, I don’t agree with it, but I’m reliably informed that Rollcage was filled with the stuff. So, you’ve got to hand it to GRIP for recognising its influences.
Start Your Engines
What I will say, however, once you get past the looks and sounds, GRIP is actually pretty fun. Unfortunately the lack of online activity over the course of my play meant I couldn’t put to the test the connectivity chops of this beast, however there’s plenty if single player meat to dig into. Be it creating and customising your own racer, or practicing in the time trial or race challenges the game throws at you, GRIP certainly isn’t light on content.
I did notice significant input lag, however, early on in my playthrough. A post-release patch appeared to correct this, however, so you’re unlikely to suffer from many control issues. It’s worth noting that, while this was an issue, the vehicles themselves weren’t overly great to control. Everything felt heavy and clunky on the track and, despite the cars themselves being designed this way, it felt like a chore in itself just to get round a corner. A word of warning for anyone hoping for a smooth Mario Kart-esque experience.
That isn’t to say there aren’t “Mario Kart” style comparisons that can be made. Aside from 300 mile an hour speeds, the game will offer you a (small) selection of items to increase your chances of victory, namely speed boosts and guns. I didn’t notice any great advantage to using these over driving normally, however, and it does give the whole point of them an aesthetic feel, rather than functional.
Is it worth a buy? Well, the absolute lack of games in this genre on the Switch means it becomes a must-buy for anyone who’s battered Fast RMX. I do think there are better titles out there, but you’ll struggle to find them on Nintendo’s latest. A soft recommendation, then, but a solid one should you see it for about a tenner.
GRIP: Combat Racing is available on the Nintendo Switch eShop for £34.99, and is also available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Should you prefer your games in a more physical state, GRIP: Combat Racing is available on a cartridge. If you follow this link, and order the physical copy through Amazon, you’ll actually be helping yetanothergamingblog. Every time one of those links is used, Amazon chuck me a couple of quid, which is used to help fund future content. It doesn’t increase of affect your purchase at all, just does me a favour.