There's a very open gap currently in the market for racing games that aren't hyper-realism (Forza, Grand Turismo) and those which are cartoony (Mario Kart). GRIP: Combat Racing seems to have taken a pinch from both sides and landed firmly in the middle. But will it stand shoulder to shoulder with the other titans? Let's find out.
Our first taste of the action comes in the form of a nicely put together tutorial which walks you through the ins and out of the game. Whilst the track is simplistic and essentially just a circle, it works very well. You're taught how to utilise the weaponry, how to achieve the highest speeds possible and what is one of the more unique aspects of GRIP, how to wallclimb, drive on ceilings and use the shifting paths to your advantage.
The way the car handles is a little clunky to start with, with the cars feeling quite heavy and looking like the old wind up toys that if drove into a wall would flip themselves. But after speeding up walls, through tight gaps and off ramps, you start to feel fully in control of your vehicle through the tracks, blasting through at top speed. There are moments where the car will decide to climb a wall which you didn't want it to, or the handling of the weapons seem to not always be greatly accurate, but it doesn't detract from the gameplay and almost gives you a push to learn not to make the same mistakes again.
The weaponry however lacks a sense of variety for a Combat Racing game. With the ability to count all of the choices on your hands, it gives a bit of a bland-ness to it. This almost seems to carry throughout as well, with each of the different scenarios having the identical industrial/ruin brown-ness to the aesthetic. This is the design choice chosen admittedly and the game keeps a good consistency, but the true highlight of the tracks comes from how open they all are. Every lap is completely different if you choose so, with wallclimbing and taking the interesting paths rather than just speeding across the dirt rewarding weapons and boost. It can be a slight hinderance however, as there is a distinct lack of direction within the tracks, which can result in you pinging off the track and dropping considerable progress in the race.
GRIP does have a good amount of content, from single player to multiplayer. A big draw from myself was the inclusion of 4 player split screen. It's great to just hit the couch with a few friends a blast a few tracks out. But this again is where I get slightly let down by GRIP. Where is has a huge amount of content, everything feels a little lacklustre and thin. There's no really incentive to keep coming back and it just feels that after 4-5 matches or races, you start to repeat yourselves.
Overall, GRIP: Combat Racing fills a gap in the market that has been outstanding for a while. Whether it fully fills the slot is unknown, but it's a good fun racer that has a nice amount of action. A solid 6.5/10