Have you ever wondered what it’s like to drive a car at Mach 1 (767mph) whilst on the ceiling? What about launching a barrage of bullets into an opponent while driving on the walls? What about doing a barrel roll while jumping from the ceiling to the wall while launching a rocket at the car in first? In GRIP: Combat Racing, you can.
From the moment that I laid my hands on this game I fell in love – This coming from the SpeedyBoi must mean that the game is good? Right? Well it is – It gives me nostalgia of all the old arcade racing games that I had on my PSP way back when, except now it’s on PS4 and I’m playing it on a 43 inch screen in 1080p instead of on a low quality 4.3 inch 480×272 screen.
This game uses a technique that has been used many times before within arcade racers. Anti-Gravity Racing. Games that you might have played before which have included this kind of distraction include games like WipeOut; the futuristic high speed hover vehicle racer where the speciality of the game is to disorientate you. Another game called Speed Racer on the DS which used a similar style of map layout to WipeOut, and included lots of twists and turns and track rolls to make sure you also don’t know where anything is. The thing that this game does different to the competition, however, is that the game often has parts of the track that go upside down, or walls to race on along with the main track on the ground that you’re used to racing on. If you’re still struggling to picture what this kind of race looks like. Imagine one of the GTA Online Stunt Races and that should give you a pretty good idea of what’s happening.
GRIP is one of those games where it just feels right. The handling feels grippy despite the intense speeds that that you’re moving at, and the transference between surfaces is smooth and clean. The only two reasons why something goes wrong is either you fucked up, or someone fucked you up with a rocket or machine gun… But when you’re not being shot at, if you manage to make it from floor to ceiling with a jump to pick up a bonus, then to ramp off the ceiling through the air while using weight transfer to adjust the way you’re travelling so you land on a wall and puck up a boost pad to get more speed, then you’re just a badass, and you truly do feel it. This game feels the best when you’re not planning ahead, you’ve got to adjust your strategy all the time based on what’s happening, what route you take and what the AI is doing with the opponents and the random pickup of boost, defence or weapons..
The game features 23 different racetracks on 4 different planets with scenery ranging from desolate abandoned locations to alien cities. One of the staples of a good arcade racer though are powers – This game features 9 different pickups from boosts, to bombs, to bottom protections (Rear shields) and much more. All of this is available within the career – 10 different seasons with tournaments that vary in difficulty by adding more drivers, more power ups and faster cars. If you happen to enjoy a little bit of destruction then there are 5 different areas that are available for powered up destruction derbies. What about a combination of parkour and cars? Carkour is a point to point event around a map with half loops, jumps and alternate routes, timed against the clock where getting to the end is the hard bit. Doing it faster is even harder. The final feature of the game, is, at least if you’re someone who has a sofa… Or friends… Is a split screen game mode where you can create your own tournaments with up to 10 drivers and has total access to online matchmaking so you always have friends or rivals to race against.
And now for something that I will always enjoy talking about. Music. The soundtrack for that game is just as intense and powerful as the game itself – There are 24 officially licensed songs within the game, with genres ranging from techno to trance, but the real important part is that the drum and bass tracks are licensed from Hospital Records. This alone is enough to make certain people (Including me) excited for a game like this – Music has the power to make or break a game and in a high octane racer you really don’t want some slow calming classical shit. The 11 DnB tracks joining the other 13 tracks together only drive you to push harder and faster for that win.
So overall I was pleasantly surprised by this game. It’s short, over the top, has a brilliant art style and the whole concept of it-doesn’t-matter-what-way-up-your-car-is, is something that we have been missing from the arcade racing scene for quite some time now. As someone who loves the rush of driving fast within a game and feeling that heightened sense of focus on where the nose of your car going, this ticks all the boxes for me.
I’m going to rate this game a 8.5/10. If you enjoy arcade racers, it’s definitely one to pick up. If you have a spare £35, get it on PS4 or Xbox One. The game is also available on PC through Steam and on the Nintendo Switch. Also, great job to whoever designed the logo for the game, a logo that doesn’t matter if its upside down, it always reads right – A* job lads.