Review – Redout
If there’s one type of game that has seen some kind of revival over the past couple of years, that’s the futuristic racing genre. We F-Zero widows have received great games over the past months, such as Fast RMX and Wipeout Omega Collection. Another game that has received quite a bit of praise last year was Redout, initially released solely for PCs, and which has just arrived for the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One. I was actually looking forward to it a lot, but while I don’t think it is a literally bad game, I can’t help but say I felt quite disappointed by the end product.
If Fast RMX feels like a new generation reboot of the F-Zero series, Redout is the equivalent for the classic Star Wars Episode I Racer. There are lots of similarities, including the looks of some of the ships (literal podracers), their controls, a repair system, the prize system, course layouts, and so on. Given how Episode I Racer is one of my favorite games of all time, all of those elements mentioned above are actually big pluses. Sadly, a good chunk of my hype went downhill once I started playing the game.
The main offender was the frame rate. The PC version of Redout runs at 60 frames per second without a single slowdown or frame hiccup. The Xbox One version, running on an Xbox One S, could barely manage to keep a constant 30. For a game so focused on going as fast as possible at all times, this was a severe disappointment. It’s not even like the visuals were punishing the Xbox’s hardware: a lot of in-game elements are composed of a smaller amount of polygons and retain a certain retro look at times, an art style which was most certainly chosen in order to maintain performance at constant high levels. Whether this was a poor work of optimization or consoles are just too weak for their own good, we’ll probably never know. All I can safely say is that the game doesn’t provide the same magnificent sensation of speed as Fast RMX or even older titles like F-Zero GX provide.
The framerate issues also directly influence on the gameplay. Sometimes the controls aren’t as responsive as they should given those hiccups, and given the course layouts, that’s actually a severe negative. Most courses are laid out like Episode I Racer, as in huge straights followed by tight snake-like turns with walls which are almost always impossible to avoid crashing onto. The game features braking and a weird strafing mechanic, but neither of those are actually very helpful in order to maintain constant speeds. The brakes are too strong, making your ship anchor itself to the floor in an instant, and the strafing isn’t nowhere near as helpful as in other games like, for instance, the F-Zero series. I may sound like I’m constantly comparing Redout to other games, but given how many elements are similar to other futuristic racing titles, comparisons are inevitable.
Not everything in Redout is bad, on the other hand. The soundtrack is decent enough and the game features an interesting career mode that, just like Episode I Racer, allows you to constantly buy parts in order to upgrade your not-podracers. The career mode is extensive enough, and will keep you entertained for quite a long time, provided you don’t mind that much about the aforementioned issues from the previous paragraphs. There’s also your classic and always reliable multiplayer, both online and splitscreen. Both modes worked as well as you would imagine, featuring the same framerate problems.
I guess I just expected too much from Redout. The game isn’t terrible. It is a fairly okay racing title, but its bad framerate and weird gameplay disappointed me a lot. I thought this was going to be the next Episode I Racer, but all Redout managed to do to me was to revisit the old N64 classic and see that it still holds up pretty well in comparison. If possible, just stick to the PC version of Redout. If not, you can always count on the Wipeout collection instead.
Reviewed on Xbox One.
Redout is also available on PS4 and PC.