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Developer:    Caged Element
Publisher: Wired Productions
Players: 1 - 4 (Split Screen)
Genre: Assault Racing
Launch Date: November 6th 2018
Price:  $39.99, £32.99

I loved Rollcage on the old Playstation. The fact I’m even calling the PSX old now makes me realize just how old I’m becoming. It had everything you could want from a futuristic racer. It had the pacey gameplay that made it shine, the graphics to get you sucked in and a proper soundtrack that thumped you just as much as the weaponry that was trying its absolute hardest to take you out. We now move forward nearly 20 years and we have a new spiritual contender to the throne, but the big question is whether or not it can deliver the same feel good factor the Psygnosis title did all those years ago.

Gameplay 6/10

It is not through a lack of trying, it has to be said. The amount of race styles and multiplayer options available are pretty impressive and these include Twisted Metal styled destruction arenas where you have to blow your opponent up instead of you, obviously. There are also standard drive and survive races, the last man standing sections and even an almost Super Monkey Ball type section where you have to reach the end and grab the item at the goal. I much prefer the latter option and it is in this bit that I also become infuriated as to what we could have had if the developers had gotten one thing right on the consoles. The Steam like percentage proves my point even more.

Let me tell you what my issue is. In a game that involves so much precision, dedication of senses, not to mention a fantastic reaction time and control, you need a frame rate to match such ambition. Imagine playing something like Battlefield I or a Call of Duty game with a 30 frames per second limit. You would feel the difference almost instantaneously and be cursing under your breath because things were not going the way you wanted them to. This is no doubt why the PC version is getting a really high score. It is simply because it does everything else you want done right with an almost consummate ease. The only issue is that the one thing it does get wrong is a pretty important one and it takes so much enjoyment away from playing Grip that it hits the score on consoles..... HARD!!

One more thing. Trying to get a multiplayer game is easy enough to do, but in the few times I tried to play, I had at least one occasion where it crashed and another two where I could not ready up. I don’t know if this is a known issue, but if I can’t play online then I need the other bits to be up to my level of satisfaction. The one race I did get was ok, but again suffered from a sub-standard frame rate.


It looks fabulous... when it isn’t moving.



Graphics - 7/10

I can’t say much bad about this part. The tracks look lovely, in particular all of the night time and winter courses. I’m even a fan of the bulky cars that you control, as well as the more sleek and interesting ones you get as you progress. I love the trails of vapor from your missiles as they hone in on your target. It does have a unique feel to it and I really think it is a looker for it too. I mean look at the light trails on the image above when you slap the afterburners on. I like the feel that Grip has in a graphical sense and, OK, not every track looks amazing, but there are some true stunners out there and it can be hard to not just slam the brakes on and have a look around you. It isn’t quite Wipeout Omega Collection, but hey, it is good enough for me.

Sound - 7/10


Another area that this game seems to pay homage to those before it in is the music department. It goes all jungle and drum ’n bass in the way it brings melodies to your ears, over and above those of the engines of course. It’s all groups that you won’t have heard of if you’re most like over the age of 18, but you’ll think you’re back at a rave in a club that shut down years ago. It fits though and it adds to the impact the game makes on your senses. I do like how the audio aesthetics come together. It does give you a feel from games gone by and I certainly can’t say it does a bad job at all. I’d have liked to see tunes I may have known, but that would just be picky.


I shouldn’t be facing this way. I REALLY shouldn’t.


Difficulty - 8/10

Just like jazz club..... Nice. Very easy to start with and it just gets progressively harder as you go on. It is clever enough to keep things simple at the start because it mainly has you using only speed pick-ups on the first tournament and keeps the weapons locked until a little further up the racing tiers. This allows you to get a feeling for Grip and how everything works. You’ll get first in almost everything on the first part, then you’ll lose the odd place as you get up a bit and then you just have to make sure to don’t feel like the bias of Mario Kart has made its way over to your Xbox. It is a solid game, don’t get me wrong. This is why I’m so bloody annoyed with that frame rate.

Achievements - 7/10

The fact I’m getting rare achievements scares me a little bit. This means I’m either remarkably talented at gaming, which is very unlikely, or there aren’t many people playing this game. I would opt for number two on this one. This would be a great opportunity though to get those rare achievements up a bit. If you do like to get the GS up a bit then you’ll certainly get through them nicely enough, without major issue.



It’s always nicer when you FIRE the missile, isn’t it?



Summary

Grip could have been a contender in the arcade racing genre. It has so much potential to be something special, but the frame rate really kills it for me. Some people may think I’m being harsh, but I don’t feel like I am in the slightest. This game NEED a 60 frames per second presence and it gets exactly that on a PC. If this happens on the Xbox One X then I’d say go for it on that, but leave it up to a quick check on the Game Pass to see if you are happy with it. I personally think that this is an opportunity missed, rather than one gained and it kills me to think how close Wired were to getting this spot on with the console port.

Final Score 6/10


 

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