If you own any of Oculus’ headsets then you’ve probably bought a videogame or two from its dedicated store, perused through the reviews and looked at the star rating before purchase. One little feature that you probably overlooked is the comfort ratings, ranging from ‘Comfortable’ to ‘Intense’. It’s handy, especially as rival Steam doesn’t tell players if a particular title might get a little OTT for some. A consideration all should bear in mind when selecting GRIP: Combat Racing which has added virtual reality (VR) support.
GRIP: Combat Racing is an extreme racing experience which is all about lightning-fast cars, lots of guns, and some ludicrously twisted tracks to race on, through, over, under – almost anywhere there’s a solid surface. The normal flat version which has been available since 2018 was already great at what it does, with all the Steam comments testament to that fact. But the VR version is like GRIP: Combat Racing’s evil twin sibling cackling in the corner, tempting you to the dark side because once you step into VR it’s never the same again.
If you’ve ever played titles like Rollcage or Wipeout you’ll be familiar with GRIP: Combat Racing VR’s setup and its massive selection of options. To start with there’s single-player with classic race, ultimate race, elimination, speed demon modes, then the deathmatch arena and finally Carkour – which is almost utter insanity in VR. Then there’s multiplayer and its raft of modes before you get to the campaign to test those skills across a selection of tournaments.
After that, you’ve got the garage, the cars to be unlocked and the various customisation options to your wheels (if the vehicle has them), paint job and more. While some VR titles may only offer three or four hours of game time and little replay factor, GRIP: Combat Racing is the complete opposite as there’s so much on offer. If you’re looking for a racing title that’s value for money at full price or discounted then GRIP: Combat Racing is it.
This is a videogame about speed and destruction, where you can zip along at a fair old speed normally before you even hit the boost button or boost ramps. They can then be used in conjunction with the item pickups to offer all sorts of offensive and defensive capabilities which makes GRIP: Combat Racing super fun to play.
Not only that, but the track design is also some of the best in this genre of racing videogame. You have plenty of choices when it comes to the best line to take, stay on the ground, hit the jump button for some ceiling racing or run up and down the walls when available. GRIP: Combat Racing easily puts a smile on your face when things are going well and can quickly remove it when you get shot at the finish line.
However, and this is a big, however, GRIP: Combat Racing VR should not be entered into lightly. As mentioned at the start, VR experience comfort ratings were created for a reason. If Steam had them GRIP: Combat Racing would be listed under ‘Ultra Intense’. One of the major hooks to the gameplay is the undulating track design making your vehicle twist and spin all over the place at points – especially when shot mid-air.
This has all the hallmarks of a nausea-inducing experience, a big no-no in VR. Heck, even the promotional trailer for the videogame makes vomit jokes. But here’s the thing, for some reason whatever developer Caged Element Inc. has done to make sure none of this happens has worked. Having played a great deal of VR this might be the VR legs talking, so anyone particularly susceptible may want to be cautious, or at least play with the viewpoint.
Half expecting the bumper (first-person) view to be the worst, this proved to be easy to drive and the most immersive; even when doing a 360 flip with a mid-air twist, landing on the track backwards. This should have been really disorientating. The standard third-person view behind the car is the more comfortable solution in case you were wondering.
With the end of March, start of April offering so many VR choices GRIP: Combat Racing VR has come out of nowhere to be a bona fide surprise. It looks good, there are options for days and most importantly the gameplay is entertaining. GRIP: Combat Racing VR is pure digital witchcraft, making the addition of VR look seamless. Plus it’s a free update if you already own the original title, which is a bonus.