Friday, August 2, 2019

Eric Vs. 365 - Day 33 - Star Wars Racer Revenge

Trucking right along into day 33 of Eric Vs. 365, today we're talking about a Star Wars pod racing game. No, not that one, the PS2 sequel that everyone forgets even exists, Star Wars Racer Revenge. Racer Revenge is a bigger, better playing, much better looking pod racing experience and it's a shame it was pretty much ignored when it released in 2002. We played it back then, though, and played it again in 2019 to share it with you. Continue reading to watch the video and find out more.

One of the biggest surprises you'll find upon booting Star Wars Racer Revenge is that it was made by famed racing developer Rainbow Studios (of MX Unleashed fame). With that kind of pedigree behind it, you know it's probably going to be good. And it is. Perhaps a little too similar to the original Star Wars Episode One Racer, which is why it only got so-so reviews at the time, but looking at the games again 20 and 17 years after they were released, it is clear Racer Revenge is superior.

Taking place eight years after Anakin won the big race in "The Phantom Menace", Racer Revenge sees Anakin returning to pod racing as a cringey teenager instead of a cringey kid. Sebulba wants revenge and all of the other doofy idiots you raced against in the first game return as well. As you win events you can upgrade your pod and there is a pretty sizable performance difference as you progress through the game, which is always nice. 

Star Wars Racer Revenge clips along at a flawless and smooth framerate, which helps enhance the fantastic sense of speed you feel while slipping through narrow canyons on what essentially amounts to a sled strapped to two jet engines. The environments also look much more detailed than in the original N64 and Dreamcast game so you're not just tearing through smeary blurry textures anymore.

The gameplay is where Racer Revenge truly excels, though. The controls just feel sharper and more responsive and it feels good to play. I know, I know, "feel" is a useless descriptor in video game discussion, but dammit, it feels good to play. Not wildly different from the first game, but still a lot of fun. Perhaps people didn't want more pod racing just a couple years after the original came out, but in 2019 it is somehow fresh and new and fun again.

I played the PS2 on PS4 version of Star Wars Racer Revenge and have no complaints. You can get it in a bundle with Star Wars Bounty Hunter and Star Wars Jedi Starfighter for $25, which isn't bad, but it is on sale quite often if you wait. I think it's worth it.