2560 AD: Humanity moved to Mars and some of Titan’s moons. The most followed and expensive sport is a high-speed racing class employing magnetic hoverships, the fastest humanity has ever engineered: a sport named Red:Out.
Red:Out is developed in Unreal 4. Controlling a nuclear-powered ship hovering about two meters from the ground going over 400 km/h is no piece of cake Now, imagine doing the same in a vicious curve upside down, or in a double loop-the-loop. Your ship will never race on rails. Each input will apply a physical force!
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I’ve always tried to keep my eyes and heart open to new games in this specific category, the “futuristic/zero gravity racer” - a genre that genuinely excites me to the point of transforming me through sheer warp frenzy into a twitchy goosebumpy mess overdosing on adrenaline. F-Zero’s almost Scalextric-like handling, its demand for quick, ultra-precice maneuvers without a single lapse in judgement lest you hurtle off the track in a fireball of shame… Wipeout’s buttery smooth handling that feels more like you’re controlling air currents around the track rather than steering the ship yourself, frictionlessly carving through the track like a hot knife through butter. The two series have such strong mechanical identities. There are a fair share of games that try to reach for the stars and achieve what Wipeout and F-Zero accomplished in recent years, but it genuinely feels like a zero sum game; they never even come close.
Redout could possibly be my least favourite of the ZG wave. It all feels so unexciting, man. Stuck in an identity crisis where they’re trying to match the handling of Wipeout HD with the sprawling and twisty maps of F-Zero - neither attempt is remotely successful. I can not stress enough how much I hate the way the ships handle in this, they genuinely feel like cars that weren’t fully programmed - like they’re missing a friction value or something. These should be heavy airships, hovering over the track and powered by immense thrusters, but all my muscle memory is telling me is “Gran Theft Auto 4 car drift”. Turning corners is cumbersome as hell, and the tracks are lousy with right-angles and enough post-processing effects that you can hardly see them until they’re five feet away. The thing that really made me lose heart with Redout was the insistence on adding a shop component where you grind for upgrades for your ship in the form of active and passive abilities. Arcady racing games don’t need this, their leanness is a virtue - all micromanaging happens moment to moment on the track itself. Be more like Mario Kart, man.
With any luck, some more time in the oven will allow Redout 2 the opportunity to brush up on the things I’ve whinged about here, this genuinely isn’t a bad attempt for any studio’s first racing game. I’ll admit I am not particularly fond of the early Wipeout or F-Zero titles, we all fail upwards here.