GRIP (Switch) Review
Despite promising exciting, fast-paced action, GRIP’s Nintendo Switch iteration is a bland racer that frustrates far more than it thrills.
Set in a near-futuristic illegal combat street racing syndicate, GRIP takes you through a healthy variety of game modes, but none of them stand out in the capturing your attention for an extended period of time stakes. There are standard races, combat races where you earn points for blasting opponents with weapons, in addition to a demolition derby-like mode. However, while functional, these modes barely generate enough momentum to keep you playing to the finish line.
It certainly doesn’t help that GRIP looks and feels like an outdated game from a previous generation. Visually, GRIP’s textures lack sharpness, and the UI is minimal and regularly difficult to read. Extending to the track designs, other than a handful with splashes of colour and light, most of your time will be spent puttering through drab, dreary and dull circuits. Especially the demolition deathmatch events, where the relatively flat design makes for a clock-watching experience as you mindlessly drive around the same handful of paths over and over again. The arenas featured here are antithetical to the fast action GRIP strives for, forcing you to make clumsily slow U-turns across barren maps. Almost tauntingly, GRIP’s loading screens feature stylish comic book-styled stills which pack significantly more interest and personality than what the actual gameplay contains.
Disappointingly, for a game where you’ll be averaging speeds well above 350 km/h, GRIP feels oddly sluggish. There’s not a great sense of pace, nor much of a kinetic reaction to collisions and blasting weapons beyond a tepid controller rumble. Controlling GRIP’s vehicles defy its traction-based name, feeling rather loose and unsatisfying to drive. Which is further exacerbated with how easy it is to fall off tracks or crash into obstacles you didn’t even realise were obstacles until making contact. Even on the early races, making one mistake is punished severely, with rubber-banding AI opponents pouncing to take the lead following your slightest mistakes. Semi-regular frame rate drops and vehicles clipping through various environments compound GRIP’s sluggish feel, causing moments of potential excitement to quickly plummet to moments of contempt.
Even navigating GRIP’s menus is a tedious exercise. The worst offender, in this case, is the vehicle selection and customisation menu. Instead of using an intuitive menu which shows you all (or at least a decent sample) of the available vehicles, GRIP forces you to scroll horizontally one car at a time to pick which hunk of metal to push accelerate in – often requiring you to scroll through a bunch of locked cars until you stumble across which ones happen to be accessible to you at that moment in time.
Although not a terrible, irredeemable game, GRIP frustrates and disappoints me in too many ways to be recommended, for reasons stated above and the loose, intangible feel of the game.
On paper, GRIP sounds like a thrilling combat-racing experience. In practice, it’s a dull and outdated execution despite its content-rich package.
+ Plenty of game modes and events to participate in
- Looks and feels outdated
- Vehicle handling is loose and not fun to drive
- Enough frame rate drops to frustrate