Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Redout: Lightspeed Edition Review (PS4)

Futuristic arcade racers are pretty much the most videogame-y videogames you can make. Ridiculously and unrealistically fast speeds, winding tracks that break all of the laws of physics, and a selection of futuristic sci-fi inspired craft that don’t have to follow any rules in their design sounds like a recipe for success to me, anyway, so it’s surprising there aren’t more of them. Like most genres that “AAA” publishers have decided to neglect (though Sony did just put out the Wipeout Omega Collection for PS4 …), indie devs are here to save the day. Redout: Lightspeed Edition from developer 34BigThings is here to satisfy your lust for high speeds, gorgeous visuals, and challenging sci-fi racing. See our full Redout: Lightspeed Edition PS4 (also on Xbox One) review for all of the details.

Game Details

  • Publisher: 505 Games
  • Developer: 34BigThings
  • ESRB Rating: “E” for Everyone
  • Genre: Racing
  • Pros: Great sense of speed; very nice visuals; solid gameplay; fun upgrade loop
  • Cons: Steep difficulty curve; fluctuating framerate
  • MSRP: $40
Redout is a futuristic racing competition featuring anti-grav vehicles traveling at insanely fast speeds. The game features more than 100 events, multiple race modes, and 35 tracks. There are 7 distinct teams, each with 4 classes of vehicles that are customizable with performance upgrades and powerups. You can play in a lengthy single-player mode as well as local splitscreen and online multiplayer. You might balk at first at the $40 price tag, but there is no denying there’s a ton of content here.

I think the first thing that needs to be said about Redout is that it is very, very difficult when you first pick it up. My usual routine with a new racing game is to try a quick race first just to see what things are like, but doing that in Redout resulted in frequent fiery deaths as I slammed into the barriers out of control. And even when I managed to keep myself from grinding on the sides of the track constantly, I was going far too slow to keep up to the incredibly sharp A.I.. Redout kicks your butt pretty much immediately.

Starting up the single-player career mode brought me better results as you start with slower cars and easier competition and can ease yourself into the game a little more smoothly. As you complete events you earn money and XP that allow you to purchase upgrades and powerups and eventually entirely new vehicles. I have to say that I love the upgrade system in Redout. Every upgrade you buy has a really tangible effect that is immediately obvious in how much it improves your performance out on the track. I’m talking one upgrade shaving multiple seconds off of your lap times. By the time you have bought all of the upgrades for your bottom class vehicle and can move up to the next class you’ll be blowing the doors off of the CPU by several seconds. It is an incredibly fun and satisfying upgrade loop that kept me coming back for more just to see how much better my times could really get.

As you move up to higher classes the upgrade loop starts over and the difficulty curve starts to get steeper and Redout starts kicking your butt again. Now you’re armed with knowledge of how the game works, however, as well as learned some of the tracks, so you’re better prepared for the increasing difficulty than you were at the start of the game. With that said, I’d be lying if I said the game didn’t get really, really difficult to the point of frustration sooner rather than later. Your ability to overcome frustration and take on the challenge is definitely something you should consider before buying Redout.

The gameplay in Redout is fairly straightforward – it’s a racing game, after all – but it does have some unique tricks up its sleeve. The biggest change is that you actually have to use both analog sticks to steer your craft. The left stick steers like normal while the right stick alters the pitch up and down and allows you to strafe. The idea is that you have to pull back on the stick while going through loops so as not to grind the front of your craft on the track. And you strafe left or right while also steering to help sort of power slide around corners. Add on to that an energy system that lets you use turbo boost, but also automatically repairs your craft as long as you aren’t hitting stuff, and you have a fairly intuitive racer with some unique mechanics that is a ton of fun to play.

Presentation in Redout is pretty fantastic overall. The graphics are at the same time fairly simple, but also really stunning. The tracks don’t have a ton of detail, but thanks to the lighting effects and great use of color it all looks really nice. And the sense of speed is truly incredible. You really feel like you’re blasting along at 1000+ km/h and don’t have time to look around at the details anyway. My one complaint is that I wish there were a more pulled back third-person camera option – you do have a couple of different first and third-person cameras to choose from – so you could see a little further ahead. Sound-wise, Redout is exactly like you’d expect. The vehicles don’t sound like much, honestly, but the soundtrack full of thumping bass lines and lots of fast paced synth and electronica fits the game perfectly.

I also want to add that I played the game on a PS4 Slim and the game does have some framerate issues – other sites’ tests indicate it bounces between 40 and 60 FPS – but I didn’t really notice it that much. I admit, though, that I’m not especially sensitive to framerates anyway. I still had a great time with it and don’t think it’s a huge problem, but if framerate is important to you then you should probably play it on a PS4 Pro or wait for the Xbox One X.

Overall, Redout: Lightspeed Edition is a pretty fantastic futuristic racer that fans of the genre will be very pleased with. It looks incredibly good, has a great sense of speed, features a ton of content, and puts a unique twist on the racing gameplay that sets it apart from the series – namely F-Zero and Wipeout – it set out to emulate. Redout is also fantastically challenging but with a satisfying upgrade system and learning curve that keeps you coming back for more. Redout is a total blast. Buy it.
Disclosure: A review code was provided by the publisher.