Game Review #349: Redout: Lightspeed Edition (Nintendo Switch)
Reviewer: Chad M.
Category: Arcade, Racing
Release Date: 5.14.2019
Price (at time of review): $39.99
Buy Redout: Lightspeed Edition from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
Holy Moly! It Actually Came Out!
There’s one game that was announced way back when the Switch was first announced, and we kept waiting for a release date to say something other than TBA or having some far-off market date. That game is Nicalis’ fast-paced future racer, Redout. At one point, certain retailers were even canceling the preorders because it had been so long. As of May 2019, just under two and a half years later from the announcement of the game, it’s finally here digitally for us to get our hands on.
F-Zero is a Nintendo property that I keep waiting to see reappear, as I loved that series as a child. Later on, I jumped onto the Wipeout bandwagon from my PlayStation days, and it’s been years since I’ve played any future-racers that I truly enjoyed as much as these games I grew up playing. Fast-forward to now, and we have Redout: Lightspeed Edition, the new release from 34BigThings, tries hard to live up to the games that came before that inspired it, but does it?
Don’t Wipeout If You Don’t F-Zero
Redout is an anti-gravity racing game that promises to be freakishly-fast and uncompromising, designed to be as challenging and satisfying as the best games in the vertigo-soaked futuristic arcade racing genre. When I fired the game up, I first jumped into a quick race to see how the futuristic racers handle. Since this is a fast-paced game, I figured the handling is key to survival. As I figured, this was key, because the right stick is used to adjust your vehicle’s pitch or to strafe.
My first race, I kept bouncing off the walls like a damn ping pong ball, and I kept losing over and over until I began to get the hang of using the right stick. I’d equate this to how you use the drift in Mario Kart, using the right stick to help the racer lean just right, or adjusting the pitch to get the speed just right while strafing. If this element is used properly and can truly be implemented the right way, then you’ll find out that using the right stick properly may be the difference in winning or losing. This is your fair warning, as this game is NOT easy, and if you’re not willing to put in the time to learn how to master the controls, then you may have a hard time with Redout.
Not only do you have to learn the controls, but you’ll have to get the tracks down as well, because the AI is no slouch. If I let the racers get ahead, they’d never let me get back ahead of them, so I had to really learn how to leverage my turbos; but I never saw the AI wreck or mess up. The toughness of the AI is also what makes the game so fun for the audiences that are aiming for this type of game. It’s unashamed at how hard the gameplay is, and the game expects you to bust your butt to learn what’s needed to win.
You’ll likely spend the majority of your time in Redout’s extensive career mode, which acts in some way as the ‘campaign’ through which you progress. It’s not your typical campaign, as there are no storylines and deep character arcs, but rather, a collection of missions and events spanning a surprisingly diverse and interesting set of courses that are gradually unlocked as you become a better racer. Placing high within a race or doing well performance-wise will reward you with medals, and more importantly, cash prizes that can then be spent on unlocking better vehicles or for upgrades to your weaker vehicles, making them better contenders.
As far as this overall career structure is concerned, there’s nothing new here. Where the game becomes an addictive and fun experience is when you begin learning the course layouts, buying upgrades, and using the power of those better performances to advance, even if the AI is hard as nails to race against.
Some missions may have six laps, rather than the standard three laps, and the person in last place will be eliminated after everyone else completes a lap. Another type of mission calls for you to maintain a certain level of speed throughout the race, with failure coming swiftly if you fall below the required speed—was this meant to be exactly like the movie with Keanu?
Too Fast Too Furious… In Space
The system of active and passive upgrades with the several types of vehicles shows that you have to plan accordingly for the type of mission and track if you plan to be successful; and tweaking the slightest thing really can make a difference, so knowing your racer’s strengths and weaknesses will only serve to help you. Purchasing these upgrades can allow you to do a lot more than just make your vehicle faster by increasing the overall speed; for example, you can equip a powerful EMP that will zap your opponent’s vehicle’s boost and give it to you instead.
What’s nice about this system is how it smoothly increases customization options and grants the player more than just racing the same vehicles, which allows them to change, rather than being stuck with the same vehicles for the life of the game. The upgrades aren’t bloated and over-complicated by needless things; instead, it streamlines things to make it feel quite easy, as sometimes this can feel a little overwhelming.
Well That Just Zoomed Right Past Us
A game like this relies on the experience and how you can play. The gaming experience is pretty solid, but how you can play feels as if it was cut off at the knees. The game, at the time of this review, has no local multiplayer, and I can’t for the life of me understand why it’s missing. A game like this begs to be played in split-screen against a friend.
The other side of this was, when I went into the online multiplayer, it was more of the same: the lobby was dead. It took me over 15 minutes just to get one online race. Until the community can grow—and I’m not sure how quick it will, as the market is very over-saturated with games, and more flood in every week—I can only hope that the game is patched so local multiplayer is enabled, because as the game sits now, it’s more of a single-player experience. Luckily, there are tons of modes to choose from, with a lot of tracks and vehicles to unlock and upgrade, so as long as you focus on mastering the controls and gameplay, it can be rather rewarding.
Audio & Visuals
The soundtrack fits the futuristic, fast-paced vibe they’re going for, with techno, EDM, and rock music all blended up to keep the high-octane feeling intact. Nothing stood out, and I didn’t notice the music, but I have to say I enjoyed it, and it helped me feel engaged in the races.
The visuals are more of a mixed bag. Though the art style of the vehicles and the tracks feel top-notch, the performance in the visual department is what’s disappointing. The low-poly look of the environments is beautiful to look at, as this is truly eye candy. The art design is well-done, with twelve track types—sixty tracks all together with the DLC. We get the winding raceways that wrap and twist but are nicely set on floating rock vistas in sun-drenched coastal locales.
The routes and turbos begin to feel repetitive within the tracks, and I wish they could’ve worked to make the tracks feel more diverse in that sense. The game clocks in at 30 FPS in both docked and handheld mode, and for the most part, this pretty good compared to some games. With a racing game that’s as fast-paced as Redout, though, it really hurt the gameplay, as I sometimes would be going so fast that the screen would get a little fuzzy, and I couldn’t tell if the turn was there or not. This didn’t kill the experience for me, as I got used to it, but we shouldn’t have to. This should have been raised to an expectation of 60 FPS, but what we have on Switch is still passable in either mode.
It’s A Wrap!!!
Redout does a solid job of paying homage all the games that came before, while still being its own game, but it’s not perfect; instead, we’re left with an arcade racing experience that’s rough around the edges, but ultimately still fun. I really wish the local multiplayer was here—and maybe it will be in future updates—but for now, we have a solid single-player racer that will push you to learn its controls and gameplay. If you’re a fan of this niche type of racer, then I think you’ll quite enjoy this one, but, as I warned, it’ll take dedication to master it.
Buy Redout: Lightspeed Edition from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
*Review Code Provided by Nicalis