Redout – Review
- Disclaimer and introduction to the review
- The review itself
I am well familiar with the (futuristic) high-speed racing genre, so this game should be right up my alley. However, as a gamer, I mostly care about having a fun time in the campaign, so multiplayer is mostly not a factor for me–though I will address it briefly. The VR part of the game won’t be addressed however, as I don’t own a VR headset. The version I’ve played was the Steam version, that I’ve played with a controller. Before I’ve started writing this review, I’ve finished most of the campaign missions and unlocked every vehicle. I have also purchased all the DLC that came with the game, that I also won’t really cover in the review because what you see is what you get: more racing tracks. Also, no music this review as I personally don’t enjoy it, and it’s most likely also copyrighted. But if you’ve played any futuristic racing game, you know what to expect.Normally this is where I write about how I got introduced to a game, or a personal story I can share. That is not the case for this game however, as it was part of a bundle that I wanted, with this game hopping along for the ride. To be fair, I do always look at the other games in the bundle and see if they actually interest me, and Redout certainly did. I was in the mood for a good racing game again–especially after the sour taste Grip: Combat Racing and the budget-game-from-a-major-company named Toybox Turbos left me with. And hey, I certainly love my futuristic, high-speed racing games that take inspiration from franchises such as WipEout; I don’t need that much convincing. Now let’s hope I’ve actually found a racing game that manages to entertain me again!
Redout is the first internal IP developed by 34BigThings, one of the bigger independent studios located in Italy… or at least, they used to be, but recently they were acquired by Saber Interactive under the Embracer Group, perhaps better known as THQ. The studio was founded by three students from the IT University in Copenhagen, but the studio quickly grew as they’ve received several chances and projects that gave them the opportunity to. Several of their other projects include Hyperdrive Massacre, Helheim and most importantly: a new game in the Redout series called Redout: Space Assault, that is currently planned for a release in 2021. After all, Redout had a pretty good reception, receiving multiple award nominations and having a good sale record overall. With them being recently acquired, this definitely won’t be the last time we see their name pop up!
Note: The following trailer shows pre-alpha footage and is merely placed here to show the history of Redout. This trailer was made two years before the actual release, and is not reflective of the final product.
I always start my reviews off with my experience straight from the start, which brings me to a weird topic to start with. I have a lot of issues with the user interface of the game, and it remained a problem for pretty much the rest of the game. It begins right when picking a car which is fine and all, but it took me some time before I realised that I could upgrade their stats as well. This is because important mechanics such as upgrades and colours are not given any form of highlight in the menu. On the car profiles themselves it’s barely shown, and I’ve learned where the menu for them was due to a very small button menu in the bottom-right corner.
This doesn’t become much better for the remaining parts of the user interface. Selecting a race in the campaign mode is a very long list of events, instead of splitting them up by difficulty. Seeing what you have to do for a contract forces you to go to your profile first, and then select the option that is yet again hidden in the button menu at the bottom-right. I guess the campaign missions could also display the actual tracks that you’re going to be racing on, and I haven’t even tackled the in-race UI yet that doesn’t show you how far behind- or ahead you are of your direct competitor as well as what their name is, but I can hear someone from the audience begging me to stop as I’ve already killed this UI long ago so let’s keep it at that.
After all, we’re here for the racing, and how well it’s done. There are a total of seven teams to choose from, each specializing in a different stat such as speed, grip or structure. Furthermore, there are also equipable power-ups to cover that team’s weaknesses, or make your desired stat even better. I personally just focussed on grip a lot since the game is a high-speed racer with a lot of turns. I’ve already played a lot of futuristic racing games such as these, so I knew what I was signing up for. I’m not really an absolute pro at these kinds of games, but I could not race well without the grip power-up activated; I kept hitting walls, with only braking preventing me from hitting them. Though it isn’t a necessarily easy game, I’ve gone through it fairly well with my set-up, and I can definitely say that each racing style is rewarded here. I also didn’t really notice any rubber-banding–or at least, not often–though I sometimes did have trouble catching up with the racers in front of me, no matter how perfectly I drove.
There is also a very slight part of the gameplay dedicated to combating, though it’s mostly just your racing skills that are important here. The combat weapons are the active power-ups you can equip before a race starts, in the same menu as the upgrades. I never really bothered with the weapons too much though; they’re mostly just an extra, which is perfectly fine with me as there is more emphasis on actual racing. The repair drone is useful for when you hit walls often, and I found the EMP blast nice to speed away from enemies, but none really turn the tide of battle–at best, they’re a lifesaver.
I never really bothered with the weapons too much though; they’re mostly just an extra, which is perfectly fine with me as there is more emphasis on actual racing.
I’d say the controls are overall fairly good. You’ll certainly be at a high speed at all times, but the view distance is big enough to know what’s going on at all times. You also won’t just be using the control stick for directions, but the other control stick for staving as well. This is definitely essential for corners, but also when making jumps or going through loops. It’s recommended to master this control scheme, since it makes turns much easier and also prevents you from damaging your aircraft too much. They can handle a lot of hits, but damage them too much and you’ll have to respawn which takes a lot of precious time away. The health bar will slowly regenerate when not taking any damage for some time, so skill is definitely rewarded here yet again. Finally, there’s the energy meter for power-ups that also functions as your boost which will also slowly regenerate over time.
The course design definitely enticed me. They are a gorgeous futuristic spectacle to look at, going through all kinds of loops and jumps while racing on ceilings, all transitioning seamlessly. What I also liked about them, is that the developers used some form of gates to essentially ”split” the course into pieces, that can all be connected to each other. I wish they did this more often, but my favourite mode ended up being the boss stages for that very reason. In it, you race on the entirety of what that area has to offer, all courses connected to each other. There is a nice variety in modes to begin with, ranging from your usual races- and tournaments to endurance where you have to avoid hits while still driving at a good speed. This makes the campaign pretty diverse and fun to go through right?
Barring my issues with the UI (having all the campaign missions placed in a list that goes on), I’d say yes but with an asterisk. I definitely had fun going through this campaign, but something felt… off after I did mission after mission. It didn’t take me long to realise why my excitement dropped; I did not feel any sense of accomplishment or progression. Every race awards you with a medal from bronze to gold, experience for your player level and money to buy new vehicles and upgrades depending on your placement in the race. I do not see the purpose of the player level, as it only functions as a gatekeeper to unlocking newer- and faster vehicles until level 20. After that, it may unlock more campaign missions but I couldn’t really confirm that since y’know, UI. You’ll also be swimming in money quite fast, especially if you already just focus on one or two teams. The game boasts more than 100 races, but I stopped after around 50 and went straight to the final one–not because the races were bad, but because they didn’t motivate me to do them in the first place. Isn’t it wonderful how I start the review complaining about the UI, and also end it that way?
It didn’t take me long to realise why my excitement dropped; I did not feel any sense of accomplishment or progression.
I guess I could mention the target demographic before I move on to the verdict. Redout is a game from 2016 and as you may unfortunately suspect: the online is pretty much dead. That’s not necessarily the fault of the game I’d say, but just where the interest of people lie–even if they could have done more to encourage more online play such as leaderboards and seasons or something. The online is also integrated into the campaign, but only to show you how fast you did a mission compared to the rest of the world. There is a Discord server specifically for Redout and you can always ask friends to join you, but if you’re looking solely for a multiplayer game, you may end up disappointed.
Redout was definitely an exciting high-speed racing game for me. The tracks were gorgeous to race on with a lot of futuristic settings, and the controls felt just right to blaze through the corners with a multitude of different teams and power-ups to fit your racing style. The emphasis on actual racing instead of combating is there, which is a nice change of pace for futuristic racing games and also feels more rewarding. But the rewards solely felt that way for the actual races, because the campaign barely motivated me to do as many missions as possible due to a lacking sense of progression. This feeling is amplified by a user interface that just felt horrendous to work with, not highlighting anything important and also not making it feel like every different career mission is important. Even though there is a good variety of racing modes- and tracks, I eventually stopped finishing the campaign because of the UI and lack of progression, which is unfortunate because the racing overall is very solid.
Final Score: 7.5/10
Thank you for reading! I am glad that I did indeed find a good racing game again after the previous two were less than stellar. I just didn’t expect my impressions to be more geared towards the UI instead of the actual game itself. But trust me on this: if the UI was actually better, the score could easily be higher than it currently is.
As for next time, I’ll probably take a small break from reviews and focus a bit on a few alternative articles. It’s not because I don’t want to review, but I am literally at the end of my games left to review so… I really need to go and play more games!What is the worst User Interface that you’ve had to work with in a game? Be it due to my problems with this one not highlighting anything important, or putting options in really weird places for example.
I guess Fable III‘s sanctuary counts as an interface? It feels strange to call it that since it’s an actual explorable area, but at the same time it’s also the main menu–which is the bad part. Having to go to this sanctuary every time you want to equip something is just stupid. What was wrong with equipping gear the normal way?
There’s also a game that I own but haven’t played yet, and it’s actually because the UI… scares me. The name of the game is Yggdra Union and it’s probably a fine game, but there is something everywhere on the screen.