With all the remasters we’ve seen released over the past twelve months or so such as Dark Souls: Remastered and Spyro Reignited Trilogy, you’d be forgiven for thinking that there had recently been a released remaster of Rollcage, the high-octane racing combat game released on PlayStation and PC way back in 1999. But you’d be wrong because what you will have seen is not a simple remaster of a classic, but instead, a new title developed by Caged Element and published by Wired Productions called GRIP: Combat Racing.
Despite having a different name and some much better graphics though, it is essentially the same game that many gamers will have grown up with just before we all panicked about the Y2K virus destroying the world as we entered a new millennium. And those who do remember Rollcage will have fond memories of racing against friends using power-ups to wipe them out and to protect yourself from harm’s way. Which happens to be the exact same way that GRIP works too. Even the cars, although as I’ve stated do look better with more detail as part of GRIP’s enhanced graphics, look identical with the basic chassis and mechanical design being exactly the same.
So while it doesn’t score points with me for originality because, well, in no uncertain terms it’s just a glorified copy of Rollcage, GRIP is an enjoyable title to play especially when it presents you with the opportunity of embarrassing your mates as you make them eat your dust. And you don’t just have the opportunity to beat them online too, you can also open a can of whoop-ass on them via local split-screen multiplayer, which is a very nice feature to see because too many games nowadays don’t include what I think was an essential part of gaming when I was growing up.
GRIP is not a 100% copy though, as it does develop things slightly giving you more opportunity to have fun navigating tracks by driving on walls, ceilings and performing all sorts of acrobatic flips and spins. But despite all these new opportunities, the game feels somewhat easier and like it has missed out on some real ways it could have taken the game to the next level. For example, in Rollcage, and before I get berated by people I know GRIP isn’t Rollcage, but you could crash through certain obstacles like posts and they’d fall down. That doesn’t seem to happen in GRIP and with the technological advancements, we have at our disposal today there is no reason why this couldn’t have been done, as it would have made a whole new way to create obstacles on the track and alter terrain to trouble your opponents. And what could be better than bringing platforms crashing down on them to slow their progress?
As for the game becoming easier, I say this for two reasons. Firstly, the GRIP’s controls are a lot sharper and more refined than Rollcage, a testament to the dev team’s work to make this game as smooth as possible, but it does make handling the car a lot easier than the good old days, although they have probably saved a few people some money because if it was anything like the controls for Rollcage, gamers today would have had their controllers sticking out of their screens. The second reason kind of goes back to what I said just above and that is that tracks seem easier. At times you seem to just feel like you’re going round in circles, and not just metaphorically because tracks do just go round and round, but like literal circles. I’d like to see some more variety in tracks to combat this and as I said, interactive environments could’ve wiped this problem out.
I know I’ve moaned a lot about the game in this review, but it’s not bad at all, it’s actually a well-made title that is enjoyable to play alone or with friends. I think I’m more annoyed that it kind of feels like a Rollcage remaster rip-off than anything else. Graphically the game looks visually stunning and the detail is incredible, and it offers the same high-octane combat racing fun I remember in a whole new title. It may even be a little nostalgic, I mean look how many times I mentioned Rollcage (there I did it again). But ultimately for me, the game has fallen flat a little and not necessarily delivered what I was expecting, with more that could’ve been done to actually take this game to a whole other level.
Grip: Combat Racing is developed by Canadian studio Caged Element and published by Wired Productions. It was released for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch on the 6th of November, 2018.