Redout: Lightspeed Edition review code provided by publisher
Ask anybody what the defining characteristic of WipEout Omega Collection is and more often than not they’ll come back with ‘speed’ as the answer. This is a good answer, not least because it happens to be true; all the games in the WipEout Omega Collection are blisteringly fast and it’s a fact that the series has prided itself on since its inception.
Evidently inspired by that very same franchise, Redout strives to replicate those same white knuckle thrills which have for so many years been synonymous with Sony’s indomitable racer, and in the end, while it doesn’t quite compare, Redout still provides sci-fi racing fans with a decent WipEout stopgap all the same.
The fastest racer money can buy
Though Redout finds itself qualitatively outgunned against its more famous first party counterpart, the one area it doesn’t lose out in is speed. Simply put, this might just be the fastest racer you can buy on PS4. When it’s running at full pelt, with the nitrous engaged on the fastest ships, there’s nothing which can touch Redout when it comes to the sensation of pure speed. At its fastest, the track and everything both within and outside of it, just screams past the screen; a kaleidoscopic blur of technicolour horizons and intimate trackside detail.
Complementing the frankly dizzying sensation of Redout’s speed is the handling model that governs how well its very anti-gravity vehicles control. Happily, I can report that for the most part Redout does a commendable job of emulating the wonderfully floaty and satisfying corner drifting that the WipEout games have been doing for years, and so on evidence of that alone, fans of Sony’s anti-gravity racer should be able to settle into the game extremely easily.
The caveat to this great handling model, though, is that it’s only really as ultra-responsive and smooth as this when we’re talking about the PS4 Pro version of Redout, because somewhat unfortunately, there is a sizable disparity between the Pro and standard PS4 versions of the game. Though the Pro version of Redout manages to maintain a rock solid 60 frames per second throughout (with no boost, optional or otherwise, to the standard 1080p resolution somewhat disappointingly), the standard PS4 version of the game fares much worse by comparison.
Even though the standard PS4 version of Redout targets that same 60 frames per second limit, it rarely meets it; often dropping into the low 40 frames per second region which somewhat unsurprisingly, results in a far less smooth and less than enjoyable racing experience. Clearly, this could be something which might be addressed by a future patch, but in its current state, players should bear in mind that Pro owners currently enjoy a far superior experience than standard PS4 folk do.
This loving mimicry of WipEout extends beyond the realms of its handling model, as Redout also boasts a similar system of power-ups and upgrades that the player can nab in order to turn the tide on their fellow racers. The problem though, is that the gadgets that you pick up are as cookie-cutter as it gets (shields, mines etc.) and as such, do little to inspire. Perhaps worse still, is the fact that they can sometimes seem unclear as to what their application actually is, meaning that you can expect be to doing a lot of less than ideal trial and error with these power-ups during a race.
Sat on top of the array of power-ups that you receive during each race is the upgrade progression system that persists throughout Redout’s single-player career mode. By placing highly in races and unlocking different medals, you are awarded a form of in-game currency which can be used to purchase upgrades for your craft that range from improvements such as an extended nitro boost to an expanded capacity for taking damage. Split into passive and active abilities, Redout allows you to effectively set your loadout for each contest, permitting a tailorable approach to your crafts strengths and weaknesses depending on the track that you’re about to race on.
When it comes to the quality of the tracks themselves, it’s fair to say that the end result is somewhat mixed to say the least. Though each of the 25 tracks, which are in turn spread across five different locations, are visually eye-catching (Redout does leverage Unreal Engine 4 after all), their formation tends to run the gamut of what be expected, rather than introducing anything new. Indeed, all the usual tight turns, loop the loops and long jumps manifest themselves in Redout’s track design, but beyond that, there’s nothing here that will surprise players who have long since been familiar with the high-octane racing realms of the WipEout: Omega Collection.
Though the quality of the track design remains staunchly workmanlike and rarely veers into the spectacular, Redout nonetheless compensates for this to some degree with the near dozen of different event types that the player can get suck into. From standard position based races, to point focussed endurance events, Redout performs an admirable job of keeping folks engaged while also providing ample support for multiplayer shenanigans that encompass both local split-screen and online multiplayer play.
There’s no denying that Redout: Lightspeed Edition suffers from being in the shadow of the notably superior WipEout Omega Collection. Regardless, for those who have yet to burn themselves out on Sony’s triumphant collection of sci-fi racers, Redout: Lightspeed Edition represents a great way to keep that obsession alive.
That said, such comparisons to the WipEout games also somewhat unfairly overlook the sheer amount of content that has been crammed into Redout: Lightspeed Edition, too. Bursting at the seams with a veritable smorgasbord of tracks, upgrades and more; there’s a ton for eager racers to get stuck into, it’s just a shame that the playing field between standard PS4 and Pro users, is anything but even.