Name: Redout: Enhanced Edition
Platform: PC [reviewed], Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch
Redout: Enhanced Edition is a tribute to the old-school future racers that once ruled the roost. The game takes heavy influence from games such as Wipeout and F-Zero to drop you into speed focused tracks laced with out of this world visuals. But does the Redout: Enhanced Edition succeed on its own, or does it rely to heavily on the past that it slows it down.
34BigThings have done a marvelous job crafting a really gorgeous racing experience that is easy to pick up and play, but very, VERY, hard to master. The game features a floating system much like Wipeput and F-Zero, but unlike those games, Redout relies heavily on actual physics. This is to say that the forces bearing down on your ship will make it react in slightly different ways. Every single turn and slope, every time you apply the brakes (ProTip: Don’t), every drift, and every single bump will wreak havoc on your run.
On the surface this is all well and good, and for the first class (there are four in total) the game is simply delightful. The entire time I was fighting for first place, but never falling below 2nd in the game various race types. These game types really keep the game flowing well even if you are repeating the same track over and over again. Although the standard race mode is my favorite with the time attack stuff feeling like more of a slog than anything.
In total you are going to be racing across 25 unique tracks across five very different locations. Redout is running on Unreal Engine 4 and its been put to good use as every look fantastic. That said, many of the issues visually I have with Redout come from the limitations oft he engine and not the design. Unreal Engine 4 is wonderful at creating really pretty games, as long as they are muted and dark.
Redout tries is best to be bright and colorful, but it just can;t help to get rid of the dull textures that Unreal Engine 4 seems to have become known for. Colors are indeed bright and colorful, but they feel far too muted, something that hurts the game when in motion as it led to many a headache. I can;t help but thinking that if the low-polygon style would have worked better in something like Unity. Still, Redout looks great and this is probably more a personal issue than anything.
What doesn’t quite work is how the game presents itself and its features. When you start racing there is a voice-over that helps explains how to buy your ride, how to race, and all sorts of important bits. This was all well and good during Class 1, but Class 2 was a different story altogether. The difficulty jump between the two was shocking and this was mostly do to not being clear on the features of the game.
I had to Google “Is Redout too hard” only to find out that the game never explains that you can upgrade the ship you have. This gets confusing because it does explain power-ups, so I just figured this was the upgrade system. And while the game offers up powerups, the same threads said that most don’t matter outside the speed boost. And after playing the game for a while they are probably right.
Once I understood the upgrade system things became easier, but not by much. You see, that physics system I talked about earlier really ends up hurting the overall experience for casual race fans. The A.I. in the game isn’t all that great, but they do tend to make very few mistakes. Much like F1 or any traditional racing game you are going to want to follow a line and stick to it, but the controls are quite slippery and makes that a bit difficult.
Every single bump, brake, or boost is going to betray you. This happens because Redout has defined places on the track where it wants you to boost, and these have nothing to do with the automatic boost points already on each map. This is so important that the developers released a companion app that lets players see where the best place to boost is. Look, I’m all for hard games, but when you have to download supplemental material to learn the game, you might have made it a bit hard.
The game just feels a bit too loose in my opinion. I understand there are active and passive abilities to help this, but don’t think a game should make you work for better controls. Speaking about controls I consider Redout a twin-stick racer and you control with the left sticks like most games and you shift/drift with the right stick. It’s neat in concept but when you add having to pitch up and down on certain loops, you are going to be doing a whole heck of a lot to control your ship. And god help you if you are playing on a keyboard.
I like learning games and hard games have their place, but what Redout fails to do is build upon what it teaches. In this respect it feels like more an arcade game designed to steal quarters, instead of focusing on fun. Pacing in games is just as important for difficulty spikes as it is for the story, and Redout doesn’t do this well. And since speed is the name of the game, you are going to be failing miserably as opposed to building upon your skills.
But there is so much to like about Redout including the audio design. Tracks are very techno and some even would feel right at home in something like Metroid Prime. Even the few tracks that use vocals work, even if I’d rather not have them as it sort of pulls you out of the experience when some lady is singing about something or other.
Redout: Enhanced Edition is a\the sort of game that really should work for someone like myself. I love F-Zero in all its incarnations, and really love the Wipeput series when it was on the original PlayStation. Redout looks bloody fantastic (some engine issues aside), features pumping music, and the game even runs like butter at its break-neck pace, but the difficulty curve kills the experience for someone like myself.
There just isn’t enough incentive to “Git Gud” like a game such as Dark Souls or Super Meat Boy that at least mix up locations an enemies. Redout starts off great, but it simply feels more like homework once you get out of the first Class or 2. This means you’ll skip the dozens of neat vehicles to unlock that require even greater skill and precision to pilot.
And lastly is the multiplayer aspect of the game that simply falls flat. This is the enhanced edition and it also just dropped on Xbox One, but on PC the community is pretty much dead. I tried to access the multiplayer and was never able to find a game. And if you do find some players you still won’t play unless you fill the lobby, which you can;t as the game won’t allow bots in multiplayer.
In the end Redout: Enhanced Edition kills the fun for more casual gamers that games like Wipeout and F-Zero didn’t. It’s simply too hard and the tracks come flying at you too fast to want you to spend the hours needed to master the game. Pick this one up only if you are the sort of person that wants to really challenge yourself. If you are looking for a fun racing game that you can finish, Redout: Enhanced Edition clearly isn’t for you.
“Redout: Enhanced Edition is beautiful, fast-paced, features pumping music, runs great, and yet often feels more like physics homework than actual fun.”