Grip is a spiritual successor to the world famous Rollcage games. A racing game with cars that can drive on both sides. The circuits are arranged in such a way that they can be played in 360 degrees. Add some power ups and weapons for a violent racing game.
A gamer's instinctual sense is very transparent. Once we see a ramp there is only one thing that goes through a gamer's mind. With Grip, however, it is sometimes advisable not to follow your instincts, but to play the game as your mother might. Now you may be wondering why I'm saying this. That's how it is. Taking a ramp in Grip usually does not have the outcome you would like. Too little or too much speed can already put a spanner in the works. Your placement is also very important. This is not very easy when you are sweeping at speeds of 500 km per hour.
It's not even the case that some dubious Frenchman is trying to drive you off the track, but more a matter of do I want to win, or do I want to be cool? The game offers you a lot of opportunities to show how cool you are, but usually this results in a negative outcome for your speed. Even the slightest collision can put you from first place to last. I am also not entirely sure whether it is a matter of design or a lack of design. Is being cool or winning a genuine choice in Grip or is something wrong? Some jobs offer you a lot of freedom. Sometimes too much if you ask me. Freedom is what limits you, although you wouldn't expect it.
The great thing about Grip is that you can use the environment to your own liking. There are several routes and tracks you can take to race from start to finish as quickly as possible. Combined with unprecedented speeds and different power ups, each lap provides a new and surprising experience. You don't have to be an expert in racing games to have a chance at first place, because every mistake is severely punished in Grip. Blue Shells from Mario Kart are nothing compared to this.
As I mentioned before, performing cool tricks is not always the solution if winning is your goal. It's always nice to just jump over this car instead of passing another car. Yes, this is a thing in this game. You can jump with your cars. This is also a way to turn back to the floor once you are riding on a ceiling. These are all super cool mechanics to experiment with, but the sky is not the limit in Grip. Literally. The game uses infamous invisible walls that will thwart your creative approach. In addition, there are strange glitches in certain points of the tracks that cause you to bump into an invisible obstacle.
If the standard racing is just too much, the game offers all kinds of other modes that can be very entertaining. There are different racing modes, but also Arena modes where you have to demolish other cars. There is even a parkour mode called Carkour.
It feels a bit like stepping back in time with the customization options of the vehicles. You can choose from different cars, although you must first have reached a certain level to unlock new options. The same goes for the wheels and different sprays for your car. Then you can provide everything with your favorite colors and you are ready to race. Other players will see your own creations, although it can sometimes be a bit tricky to make up your mind when you're flying around the track at these speeds.
Multiplayer is where Grip actually shines. At least it is, as long as you can find other players. In total I tried for about an hour to find other players, but I kept getting a message that no game was found and one would be created. Okay fine, then you spend 10 minutes in a lobby on your own before trying again to find new players. For example, I appeared several times in a lobby with only one person, coincidentally always the same one. My NAT type is set to 2, so it can't be my internet connection.
Maybe it's just that the game just came out, and there are still very few players on the Playstation 4, but in any case it's been damn hard to find other players to race with online. It doesn't really help that you can filter the races online by way, way too many criteria. However, once you find players, the racetrack is a mess. There are rockets flying past your ears, other cars crashing everywhere and you get the feeling that you are in an action movie. The Drum 'n Bass music in the background completes the experience. The Unsung Hero of this game: Splitscreen multiplayer. You can't claim to have made a spiritual successor of an old multiplayer focused game if it doesn't have split-screen in it. Grip has it! For no less than 4 people!
Grip was a great idea with a 'meh' execution. This is mainly due to the technical defects of which you sometimes wonder whether it is intended that way, or whether it is a mistake. I would have liked to see more players to play the game with online, because this is what you really play the game for. However, once you find a game it is chaotically awesome and actually extremely challenging to win.
Grip easily ranks as one of the best arcade racers if it tackles its current problems well. The game doesn't feel smooth enough yet and the current bugs in the game can cause you to lose your race in the last lap. The idea of the game, with its mechanics, 360 circuits and power-ups, makes for brilliant competitions, if everything functions equally well.
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