Redout 2 PS4 Review In 1994, a new gameshow appeared on BBC television called Wipeout, presented by celebrity magician Paul Daniels who at 3′ 8″ was the shortest gameshow host in the history of television. The Great British Public were enamoured by the simple nature of the show which made a multiple choice quiz in a children’s comic look like University Challenge. One year later, games publisher Psygnosis shamelessly lifted the title of Daniels’ hit show to try to attract players to their new futuristic anti-gravity racer WipEout. Of course their ploy worked and the game was a smash hit.
Fast forward twenty one years to 2016, and Italian developers 34BigThings decided to pay homage to Wipeout with their new racer Redout, and now six years on, Redout 2. It’ll be no surprise for readers to learn that their offices in Turin are adorned with numerous promotional shots of, you guessed it…Paul Daniels.
Redout 2 Review (PS4)
For anyone who played the original Redout, you will remember how challenging that game was, particularly compared with its main inspiration. The visual clarity and the sense of speed trumped Wipeout but at the same time, was far less forgiving to the player as they wrestled the ships around the tracks at eye-watering speeds.
Well anti-grav race fans; if you thought Redout was difficult, it pails in comparison to the controller-smashing emotions brought on after several hours chasing an iota of success in Redout 2. I pondered on the fact that maybe my reaction times aren’t what they used to be, but judging by other reviews, its causing a great deal of gnashing teeth across the board.
I booted up the game excitedly, anticipating a modern day take on WipEout and was greeted with a fairly engrossing set of cut scenes showcasing the fine visuals along with a vague storyline about how the planet was recovering from some sort of apocalypse and how other planets had been made habitable. Amongst these new futuristic worlds, the high speed Redout tracks had been installed to weave amongst the metropoli and the events which take place upon them are a benchmark of the upper echelons of racing and technical prowess. Or something like that.
A Lesson You’ll Never Forget
Anyway, the menu screen appeared and I sidestepped the Arcade option for the Career which is always the prime choice when one wants to get their teeth stuck into the heart of a new game. Tutorials loomed but hey, they’re only tutorials, right? Wrong. The very first chunk of three tutorials stopped me dead, namely the third which introduces the boosting mechanic via L1 (standard boost) and R1 (hyperboost).
By then I’d already mastered the ingenious dual stick steering which uses the Right Stick to pitch up and down on loops / hills and to strafe left and right to turn more tightly on corners in combination with the steering via the Left Stick. It doesn’t take long to get your head around this slightly counter-intuitive idea any more than it did to master WipEout’s left and right braking mechanic and it’s a definite strong point.
Returning to the impenetrable third tutorial, I was required to score over 1000 points by navigating one of Redout’s simplest tracks using both types of boost to attain consistently high speeds in order to increase the score counter. Now, working against your judicious boosting is the OVERHEAT warning, which basically tells you to stop boosting before your ship explodes. This gives you very little actual boosting time before you have to back off, and there’s zero indication as to what the benefit of ‘hyperboosting’ does, nor what the power-ups do which are dotted along the track.
After around 30 attempts, all of which failed to attain the bare minimum to scrape a bronze despite near-perfect runs with zero explosions, I gave up and have yet to make it to the second tutorial in Career, let alone an actual race. Clearly the developers haven’t tested the game with anyone other than teenagers with sky high metabolisms and even then, how the hell did they work out how to get through the first batch of tutorials?!
30 Ways To Smash Your Controller
Moving on dejectedly, I decided to sample the Arcade mode which gives full access to all of the cities / planets which boast three tracks on each. Each race is totally customisable including a choice of the majority of different anti-grav ships, race type, laps and in which direction to attempt the track. There’s no progression so it’s more of a ‘Free Play’ option but I wasn’t complaining after the drubbing I’d received through the tutorial which could’ve entirely scuppered my ability to review Redout 2. God knows what effect it would have on someone who’d actually purchased the game.
Each of the cities / areas / planets have three tracks which seem to be split into easy / medium / hard in their layout and intensity of twists and stunts. There’s quite a difference between each circuit so the amount of unique content available is more than impressive. Also impressive is the amount of track detail and animation along with the ship detail although the backgrounds are often pretty low-grade especially when you plummet to your death and get to see them in all their grainy low-res glory. Nevertheless, Redout2 manages some superb visuals on each and every track.
Weapons are now a thing of the past so each event relies upon pure racing and boosting skills to take one of the top three positions. Unfortunately the AI field of competitors don’t appear to have any foibles programmed into their robotic brains, so literally any mistake you make sees you doomed to languish at the back of the field with zero chance of catching the front runners. While there are more simple circuits which can be anticipated and played by the seat of your pants, each of the tracks is so long and complex that learning them requires a superhuman feat of persistence.
An Ingenious Meticulous Roller Coaster
Part of the problem is that the majority of the circuits have blind spots or airtime launches which can’t be anticipated and failure to guide your ship to a branching tunnel or an obtusely placed landing strip from a jump causes you to explode and re-join the action many seconds later. There is no doubt at all that the tracks are ingeniously and meticulously designed with truly breath-taking sections which made me marvel at the roller-coaster style creativity on show within the confines of an anti-grav racer. It’s a crying shame that the difficulty level of the track design and the AI makes the game incredibly frustrating to the point of punishing the player before they’ve had the chance to enjoy all the positives which have been so lovingly crafted by the developers.
At best there’s a huge swathe of circuits, ships and customisations to play with and it’s a real visual treat while you’re on track. At worst, you’re unlikely to feel the satisfaction you get when a game has been tailored to ease you in and reward you as you progress, as the crippling difficulty level scuppers all but the most dedicated and persistent players who can shrug off the feeling of being kicked when you’re down.
Redout 2 is available now on PS4 and PS5
Review copy kindly supplied by Saber Interactive.