Review: Grip: Combat Racing (PS4)

Review: Grip: Combat Racing (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Grip: Combat Racing
Format: PSN (2.8 GB)
Release Date: November 6, 2018
Publisher: Wired Productions
Developer: Caged Element
Original MSRP: $39.99 (US), €39.99 (EU), £34.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E10+
PEGI: 7
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Grip: Combat Racing starts off with a slow-motion tutorial, which is basically a race with some text pop-ups appearing. This slows the action to a crawl allowing you to read the text and begin to follow the prompts.

This game is fast. Very fast. Once I got a handle on the controls I jumped into the first tournament of the career. It was all pretty straightforward until the third race which took some practice as it relies more on wall and ceiling driving with some tricky tight turns.

Review: Grip: Combat Racing (PS4)

With each win, my XP went up and I increased my level, earning some new stuff along the way. I applied a new look to my ride and changed the wheels to better suit the style I was going for. The customization is quite deep but a smidge on the clunky side as I kept forgetting to select the desired slider and instead changed the menu.

There are plenty of tracks along with five battle arenas. I’m not too keen on a few of them as some poorly placed obstacles or awkward track design ruins my perfect runs. There are usually a couple of different paths to take here and there, which means you can sometimes avoid the troublesome areas.

In a few ways Grip: Combat Racing reminds me of the classic Super Mario Kart. Not in the looks department obviously, but in the arenas and the dreaded blue shell. Yes folks, this game features its very own first-place hunter, ruiner of games, the one and only Assassin pickup.

The weapons in this generally just slow you down or spin you out. The only protection comes in the form of a Shield pickup that doesn’t last long and quite often feels like it’s just for show.

There have been a few times where I’ve been hit or nudged into facing the wrong way, even with a hit to my shield. This can be infuriating and often means I lose the top spot, leading to a restart as I can’t stand losing when it wasn’t my fault. The damage and loss of control are inconsistent at best and it really lets this speedy racer down.

There really isn’t much to say about the arenas. The scale is impressive with several jumps and paths to take that generally meet in the wide-open middle. Points are given for hits to any of the opponents that happen to come into your crosshairs and the driver with the best score wins.

Review: Grip: Combat Racing (PS4) Review: Grip: Combat Racing (PS4)

You might have guessed, I’m not a big fan of the Arenas. It isn’t that they aren’t big enough or varied, it just doesn’t feel like there’s much skill involved, at least on the early tournaments where all the vehicles drive around like headless chickens.

I do like it when developers make use of the unique inputs on the DualShock 4 and the team at Caged Element uses the light bar to good effect. As the time counts down to start the race, the colors change making it much easier to know when to press the gas for a boost start.

There’s also an option to adjust the Field Of View and tweak the HUD Opacity. I did change the Speed Measurement to miles-per-hour, which it now displays during the race but not on the stats afterward.

There’s plenty to do here for the fans of high-speed racing and I was enjoying the tournaments that focused solely on that. It was only when the combat element was introduced that my enjoyment levels took a dive.

Damage inconsistency and the awful ‘Blue Shell’ syndrome kept the fun at bay. I would be leading the pack with the flag just around the corner and BOOM, I drop to the last place because I get hit by something that sends me slamming into the wall and facing the wrong way or worse still, off the track entirely.

I get it, there’s usually a degree of rubber-banding in racing games, otherwise it gets too easy. But when you add in unfair weapons and an ineffective defense against them, I stop playing because it doesn’t feel like fun anymore.

Review: Grip: Combat Racing (PS4)

Visuals:
The level design in Grip: Combat Racing is a little crazy. Because you can drive on the walls and ceilings, it allows for some interesting course layouts. That’s really putting it mildly as some of the twisting and spiraling tracks can make most stomachs uneasy.

There have to be a few compromises in texture quality and detail just so the game can pump out such ridiculous speeds and in a few spots it becomes noticeable, but overall the game looks good. It’s not quite up there with the likes of wipEout, but that game didn’t do four player split-screen.

Audio:
An assortment of instrumental tracks fills up this department fitting with the action and speed but the music seems to blend together for the most part. There is a playlist so any songs you don’t like can be turned off. Personally, I turned off the music entirely and played some Spotify. The sound effects are okay but I did need to lower them a significant amount to enjoy my own music.

Online/Multiplayer:
There is no list of online games and every time I played, admittedly at odd hours, I couldn’t find anyone to play with using the Quick Match option. My only alternative was to go for the Create Private Game choice and wait. Then, wait some more. Make a cup of tea and wait, give up and play some Single Player or maybe a bit of Split-Screen.

My family grudgingly grabbed some controllers and had a few races with me. My wife beating me on our first go was pure luck, I don’t care what lies she mutters. The game doesn’t seem to struggle with the other screens but the small views did make it harder for the new players to get accustomed to the crazy tracks.

The local games I played were fun and I could see this being played again, maybe with some mates and a couple of beers.

Review: Grip: Combat Racing (PS4)

Conclusion:
Grip: Combat Racing can be fun. The sense of speed is excellent and once you get used to the crazy stomach-churning tracks it can be entertaining. However, the combat isn’t great and for me at least, ruins the experience.

The menus need streamlining and the drum-and-bass music needed more variety but the local multiplayer portion of this game is really good and makes up for a few missteps. Grip: Combat Racing is a good game, not great, but definitely not bad either.

Score:
6.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Wii U, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

If you send a friend request please add ‘PS Nation’ in the subject area.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook