The 1990s was a time when creators dreamed of a fascinating future, filled with interesting but realistic possibilities. Movies like Judge Dredd, Ghost In The Shell, and The Fifth Element all had fascinating depictions of life in the years ahead of us, from exotic planets to gritty takes on fighting crime. This sensation and vision were translated into various video games at the time, especially racing video games. Games, such as WipeOut and Extreme G painted a fast and extremely high-tech future of extreme racing, with life and death on the line. Among them, was a game called Roll Cage, a racing game that featured wildly creative tracks and an imaginative take on gravity, as players drove massive trucks at high speeds, oftentimes upside down. This is where GRiP takes place the latest game from Wired Productions. GRiP is the spiritual successor to Roll Cage and once again puts players in the field of illegal racing on the fringes of outer space. While its predecessor is 20 years old, great mechanics don’t die and GRiP is proof of that, becoming a fantastic racer in the process.
GRiP takes place in a colonial interpretation of space. Mankind has managed to terraform other world’s, with massive refineries and bulky infrastructure. While the wealthy profit off of off the expansion to other worlds, illegal activities have erupted, allowing for illegal combat racing to form. Surprisingly, the colonial industries have sanctioned this event, allowing for the racing to continue unabated. Whoever wins will be wealthy, but whoever loses will be dead. GRiP is a lightning-fast racer with a unique gravity mechanic. Players driver massive vehicles, that structurally looks similar to the Marine APC in the movie Aliens. The vehicles are wide and bulky, but they move incredibly fast. They even have a low center of gravity and a downward shift. This allows for your truck to drive sideways and upside down, as long as the drive maintains a high enough speed. No combat racer would be complete without an assortment of weapons to choose from. Along the track, players will need to grab weapons such as shields, missiles, rockets, and machine guns. If employed correctly, players can easily gain a huge advantage in the middle of a race. But that doesn’t mean victory is assured.
The track design and locations in GRiP are excellent always giving the drivers possibilities. You can drive regularly, on the main path, but if you want to win, you have to risk using walls and going upside down. This is where GRiP shines. Players will scale walls, enter gravity-defying tunnels, and even scale the sides of mountains. GRiP constantly presents surprises and opportunity, encouraging the player to try tracks. This is further encouraged by the environments. On one world, a refinery’s automatic defense will attempt to destroy you while on another world, the ice will make driving conditions slippery. The alternate path and the wise employment of weapons are essential to getting 1st place.
The overall racing sensation is incredible! The vehicles move much fast than expected, and the graphics engine gives players a physical sensation of weight and momentum. There is a feeling of driving a 10-ton utility truck at 500 mph and it feels incredible! Using the weapons is quite the delight as well. There is a strong sensation of impact when using weapons, making then feel exciting to use. For example, the guided missile needs to attain a lock-on. When locked on, and fired, the missile deploys from the truck, flies for a few moments, then ignites towards its target. Other racers would have had the rocket use magic to reach its target, but little touches like that give GRiP a sense of depth. Additionally, there is plenty of ways to enjoy GRiP, with team death match multiplayer, online racers, and the promise of additional content coming. This gives GRiP a huge advantage over other racers by providing long replayability and various ways to enjoy the game.
Accompanying the game is a stellar soundtrack from a variety of UK-based Drunk & Bass artists, creating a frenzied and pulsating racing experience. The soundtrack is varied and filled with different styles of beats, provided an aggressive but kinetic sound. With the soundtrack, there is a unique kind of energy, in the midst of high-speed passes and deadly weapons going off. Ultimately it fits well with GRiP, but I’d also recommend firing up Spotify and listening to 90’s house music, such as KMFDM, and Snap!
GRiP is an amazing sci-fi racer that gives a much more mature spin to racing games. It’s industrialized future style is fantastic, its racing combat mechanics are tight, and the overall presentation experience greatly embraces the world of the 1990’s video games and sci-fi. Whether you play on the Nintendo Switch or PlayStation 4, GRiP is a great racing game and shouldn’t be missed by anyone.