GRIP Xbox One review: Is this combat racer worth buying?
Cars, guns, and a whole lot of speed
GRIP follows a formula that is, conceptually, very similar to the Mario Kart series: a group of racers compete to see who can complete a certain amount of laps first, using offensive and defensive items and skills in order to gain an upper hand on their opponents. Something GRIP does that sets it apart from Mario Kart, though, is that it plays around with gravity. Several of the numerous race tracks found in GRIP are designed with this in mind, and as long as you're going fast enough, you can easily drive up the sides of curved walls and even reach ceilings. This is fun, and you can use these mechanics to reach different parts of tracks to access hidden paths.
When it comes to items, GRIP doesn't hold back. Missiles, chainguns, energy shields, an explosive harpoon gun, and more are all available throughout the racetrack for drivers to pick up and use, and each one allows you to hamper other racers in various ways. For instance, energy shields will protect the rear of your vehicle from attacks, while missiles will explode on contact with other cars and cause them to flip into the air. Learning how to utilize each item is fun, and these items ensure that every racer can find opportunities to either get back into the race if they fall behind or protect their lead.
Great multiplayer that doesn't work
GRIP is a really fun game to play in singleplayer against bots, but the real meat of the experience comes with the multiplayer, where you can race against other players online and participate in side modes like deathmatch that focus on fighting other players directly instead of trying to reach the finish line before they do.
Unfortunately, the multiplayer is very glitchy and broken, to the point where it almost never works well. Matchmaking is slow; server connections are unstable; and lag spikes are frequent; and all this really hampers the experience for GRIP. Hopefully, the developers are able to get everything in working order soon, but until that happens, the best and most enjoyable part of GRIP is basically inaccessible.
Should you buy GRIP?
While GRIP is very enjoyable and plays wonderfully in singleplayer, it falls apart the second you try to access the multiplayer. This effectively strips you of half of what the game has to offer, and it's hard to recommend buying while the game is in this state.
If you really want to get a hold of GRIP, I recommend buying it while it goes on sale, but ultimately I think waiting for a patch to release is the best course of action.
Combat racing for the win
Greatness marred by glitches
GRIP is a fantastic game that is being restrained by its multiplayer not working properly. Over time it will surely be fixed, but as things are now the best thing to do is wait before buying.
A fantastic alternative to GRIP is Forza Horizon 4, which is the latest in the Forza line of stellar racing games. It may not be violent like GRIP is, but it has some of the best visuals of any Xbox One game and more than enough high speed vehicular action to keep the adrenaline pumping.
Pedal to the metal
The best racing experience on Xbox One
Between smooth driving mechanics, gorgeous visuals, and extensive vehicule customization, Forza Horizon 4 is the cream of the crop when it comes to racing titles.
Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.
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