One of the newest racing games to hit the field is GRIP: Combat Racing. We’re looking at tracks, campaign, multiplayer, single-player, and if it does anything different opposed to other racing titles. There are some faults to be had with the overall game, but most are mitigated with how fun and interesting it is to play. Controlling a vehicle that can drive up walls, on ceilings, and literally on rails. It is very fast-paced, easy to get into, and you are given very simple controls. This game boasts heavy weapons and stunts to go along with that! Is it really worth your time and money? We’re here to find out with GRIP: Combat Racing!

GRIP: Combat Racing looks pretty impressive…

GRIP: Combat Racing

From developer Caged Element Inc, we get a visually pleasant experience with GRIP: Combat Racing. Is it mind-blowing? No, but it does the job. You can see every explosion, and every color within the game pops out at you. Power-ups along the tracks are green, glowing balls, and are actually pretty easy to miss if you are not careful. Going at such fast speeds, even if you think you should have been given a power-up, you might miss it altogether. When you do get something, like a homing missile or speed boost, you will notice and want to use it immediately.

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The backgrounds of the tracks can be pretty cool-looking, sometimes to the point you actually want to dive off a track to get a better look. Some textures look flat, but for what this racing game is, I’m fine with that. You’re able to customize your own vehicles, but it will take some time to unlock various decals and of course the vehicles themselves. Each map is generally different in scope and background and looking a bit like a Mario Kart type of game. They’re all fun maps, and each one even allows you to climb on the ceiling and walls. There are a few structures here and there, small short-cuts which are more like different paths of the same length. The game really looks good from the overall scope of things.

Campaign? Well, it has one at least!

GRIP: Combat Racing

The campaign with GRIP is more or less just a bunch of tournaments with no story or structure to them. Single-player feels essentially like the campaign, only with a bit more options as to what you will be doing. With single-player, you get to choose the game mode and map, and it’s not that much different from the campaign after that. You can also create a tournament, which is basically campaign in the single-player setup. It’s a good, solid game, but as a whole, the campaign and single-player is something that is to be desired.

There is no real differentiating between both campaign and single-player and would be nice to have at least some actual narrative to the campaign. When we think campaign, we often think of some semblance of a story rather than just a long and drawn-out tournament. Maybe the game could be stronger if it added a separate story mode or feature, otherwise, you might as well trim both campaign and single-player down to one. Seeing as how you can play tournaments in the single-player regardless, it makes sense to just cut out campaign entirely.

How is the handling? Can you trust the controls?

GRIP: Combat Racing

GRIP: Combat Racing‘s controls are simple and easy to manage. You can drive up walls, the ceiling, and even on your side. The game does a great job in making you feel as if you’re in complete control of your vehicle. You’re able to unlock various vehicles with different stats applied to them, and it works well. Each vehicle really does have their own feel, however small. Power-ups can allow your vehicle to speed up, as well as the use of small speed ramps. You’re able to use a boost as long as you have enough charge saved up, allowing yourself to catch up if you hit a snag. Sometimes you can get stuck in a corner, or turned around, but holding down the reset button will allow you to get back on track quickly.

A major flaw with GRIP while racing is the fact you can feel this rubber-band effect between you and the AI. This is caused by an assisted function in options before a match, but can make that race feel out of your hands, even in Normal. Screw up merely a few times and you’re done. In multiplayer, obviously this isn’t an issue, so if you want a real test of your skills then it’s better to go with that. With multiplayer, as long as you’re able to find a match, you’ll be fine. There is some lag, but if you have a decent connection then there shouldn’t be much of an issue. You can join matches by entering other players’ rooms or create your own. It’s pretty simple.

Fun? Yes! Worth investing time and money into? Well…

GRIP: Combat Racing

Some other problems that need to be addressed with GRIP: Combat Racing. How you compete and win, a lot of modes are based on a points system. You go in, you race, you acquire points. How you get points determines on how much damage you deal out or the amount of air time. Going back to a game such as Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series, you were awarded points based on flips and tricks. This game would certainly stand out among many other racing games if that was implemented. Most often what winds up happening is people hanging back just to deal damage and not even finishing. There is a mode called Speed Demon, but it’s just a normal race at that point.

Arena was fun and okay, but that’s just it. It wasn’t something that stood out in my mind. There are really only two maps that take full advantage of the racing system. The other Arena maps feel more like fields to play in. It doesn’t feel right for some reason. Carkour is basically training.

For GRIP, it lacks certain amounts of depth it needs to really succeed in a competitive market. There are so many racing games out there that cost less with more replay-ability. That’s the most resounding issue that I’ve had while playing. The game feels nice to play, and I want to continue playing it. At the moment, it just needs more features. Add an actual story, maybe give us some actual rivals (not just a vehicle) in the campaign to go after. Give us challenges… The fact you can gain experience is nice, allowing the ability to customize your vehicle while unlocking others in the process. Single-player is far from dead, as a fan of story-driven scenarios myself, so even a decent one would suffice.

Either wait for a good sale or wait for possible future content to be added. It really just needs a tinge to feel like a solid racing game. What GRIP: Combat Racing does now is still good, and I admire this game and the developers who designed it.

Great controls!
Good tracks.
Very fun.
Does the 360 degree racing well.
Lacks depth.
No real campaign (for a campaign).
Confusing win/lose dynamic.

Review Summary

While the game does 360 degree racing really well, there just isn’t enough to keep a player invested. The fact you can place 3rd, or even last, and still win in certain cases is a little off-putting. The weapons and the tracks together are fun, but the game overall feels like it’s missing the mark on what could potentially be a personal favorite. The controls, at least to myself, feel perfect even using a keyboard. Without a proper campaign, I had lost interest pretty fast. This game has so much potential! I suggest giving it a try to see if it is something you would come back to. As for myself, I will definitely be on the look out for any future content.

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