It’s safe to say that the Wipeout franchise has blown more than a few minds over its long history, and hot on the heels of the recently released Wipeout Omega Collection comes Redout, a white-knuckle techno racer that wears its Wipeout inspiration on its sleeve. Luckily enough, while 34 BigThings’ title is certainly heavily derivative of the Wipeout series, it also channels its same quality and impeccable production values, making it a high-octane racing adventure most certainly worth taking.
Well hello there acid flashback
Redout’s premise is as simple as they come: drive at ludicrous speeds on ultra-futuristic tracks with ultra-futuristic vehicles. It’s a concept that was perfected by the Wipeout franchise and not much has changed here. You pick from various craft with differing stats and then pretty much have at it. While most race types in the main Career Mode are simple variations of ‘gotta go fast’ with or without opponents, there are enough of these variations to keep things interesting. From simple hot lap events to eliminations where last place on a lap is eradicated until an ultimate winner is decided, it pays to know the many event types in which you’ll take part in. If it’s one thing that is lacking in the lengthy event variation lists, it’s a battle-focused mode. There’s very little in the way of purely offensive weaponry when racing, leaving that magical combination of fightin’ and drivin’ (Daddy misses you, Burnout) untapped in this title. To be fair, vehicular combat is not where Redout’s focus lies, but you can’t take away my innate desire to cause destruction at high speed.
Events are segregated into classes (of which there are four in total), and if you raise your pilot level then you’ll earn the privilege of participating in harder events which will net you more cash. Cash flow is essential for upgrading your craft and various weaponry, and really there’s a daunting amount of crafts and upgrades to unlock and upgrade. This feeds into a great sense of progression, and your skills behind the wheel (or whatever the futuristic equivalent of that is) are bound to increase at the same rate as better equipped and snazzier vehicles become available to throw around the tracks.
All the content in the world wouldn’t mean anything if the act of driving itself wasn’t compelling, and fortunately Redout has some very slick mechanics underneath the hood. There’s of course the obligatory boost button linked to a finite resource (called Energy) that recharges over time, but the greatest addition which sets Redout apart from its contempories is the strafe and pitch control mapped to the right thumbstick. Primarily this allows you slide your craft towards the apex of a turn as you approach it at breakneck speed, and using strafing correctly can be the difference between smacking up against the side of the track and losing precious speed (not to mention damaging the structural integrity of the ship’s hull) and accelerating through a corner with the perfect line. You also have control over the pitch of your vehicle, which is essential when taking on steep ascents and descents or controlling your flight when your craft becomes airborne (and become airborne it shall). Combining strafing/pitch control with judicious use of boosting is the name of game here, and the satisfaction of smashing a perfect lap by combining these mechanics is palpable. Make no mistake, Redout is a tough game to master, and in most cases if you manage to take out the gold, it’s because you earned it.
Tracks work beautifully to showcase the tight controls and really put you through your paces. There are six track environments with distinct aesthetics on offer, and within each there are several masterfully crafted courses. These slick sci-fi inspired environments are incredibly detailed and absolutely gorgeous from a visual standpoint. My favourite were the Vertex environments, which feature tracks that play like computer-generated abstract art pieces come to life. Each track environment is also
Gotta go fast
Catching, like, three feet of air this time
paired with a unique soundscape, from the dark and brooding techno beats of Alaska to the guitar-heavy stylings of Vertex (replete with squealing pinched harmonics). The soundtrack is simply amazing, working in tandem with the crazy pace of the racing to create a distinct vibe that keeps you dialled into the action and ensure the adrenaline’s pumping.
Combining strafing/pitch control with judicious use of boosting is the name of game here, and the satisfaction of smashing a perfect lap by combining these mechanics is palpable. Make no mistake, Redout is a tough game to master, and in most cases if you manage to take out the gold, it’s because you earned it
One minor issue I had with the visual design was the minimalist HUD, which does well to keep your view of the track uncluttered, but at the same time makes it slightly difficult to discern some information such as Energy levels and speed. It’s a minor gripe, but given the insane speed you’re travelling at and the many twists and turns that demand your full attention, taking your eyes off the track to have a peek at your speed or Energy reserves (which are displayed on the left and right of your vehicle) can be enough distraction to make you fail to hit that perfect line on a tough corner. It would also be nice to have numerical stats for each craft (rather than the vague slider bars) in order to make it clearer as to the boons of each.
Redout is a Wipeout clone through and through, but it is an excellent Wipeout clone. Extremely tight racing mechanics and technically demanding (and visually superb) track design coupled with a pumping and varied soundtrack combine to make Redout a triumph for fans of going stupidly fast. Challenging yet accessible, Redout distils the essence of what makes these sort of racers so engaging and throws it together in an impressively content-rich package. Get around it.
Reviewed on Xbox One