Anyone who remembers the good old days of the Playstation, will surely remember Rollcage. A breakneck paced racer with the unique trait of being able to drive on walls and ceilings, accompanied by a killer soundtrack including the likes of Fatboy Slim. 20 years later, a spiritual successor to the Rollcage games has come along in the guise of Grip. To generalise may be a bit of a disservice, but think WipeOut on wheels. It’s a very fast racer, which reaches some intense speeds, all the while you fend off other drivers with power ups, whilst using walls and ceilings to your advantage. The game plays wonderfully. Even though it may take a few goes to get used to how the vehicles handle, once you get to grips with it, there’s nothing more exhilarating than smoothly blasting through one of the several brilliantly designed circuits. Grip’s tracks range from simple to almost overwhelming in scale. You’re not confined to a small sections of road like some racers, and it feels much more open, usually with different routes available. The fast and furious game play is accompanied by a fantastic drum n bass soundtrack, which complements the game’s sense of speed perfectly. The visuals are great, albeit a bit of a throwback. There’s a gorgeous grainy look to it, that almost gives it kind of an old school feel, as if you’re playing this on your original PS1, on a CRT TV. The same could be said for the frame rate however. While it doesn’t exactly have too big an impact on the experience, it does dip occasionally, giving you a really authentic PS1 experience!
The variety in courses and tournaments is vast, particularly with the latter. The tournaments are presented in tiers, each with their own set amount of tournaments within those tiers. The first tier breaks you in gently, but it’s not long before the difficulty spikes and things get more challenging. It’s the age old saying, easy to learn, difficult to master. There’s a level progression system to the game, which as you level up, new vehicles and customisation options become available. The more you play, and the better you finish, the quicker you get the experience points. On top of that, the further you progress through the career mode, the more game modes you unlock. Yes, there’s more to Grip than straight forward first past the finish line racing. Sometimes it’s about the amount of damage you cause and there are also some fantastic arena battles too. These play out like Twisted Metal, but you couldn’t drive on the ceiling in those games. It’s a great mode, which doesn’t out stay its welcome. These can also be played in the regular single player if you just fancy a quick blast, and you can even take it online or on the sofa with the option of local multiplayer, too*.
Fans looking to fill that Rollcage shaped hole are getting a real treat and a whole lot more. There’s a lot of content in this arcade style racer, and the career mode alone will take hours to complete, and even longer if you’re after that perfect score. Forza Horizon 4 may have cornered the market for racing realism, but if it’s fast and frantic arcade driving action that revs your engine, look no further than Grip. Breakneck speeds, dizzying action and tons of variety make up one of the best racing games of the current generation.
*I couldn’t get a game in the online mode at the time of reviewing prior to the game’s release, but if it’s anywhere near as frantic as playing solo, this is going to a blast.