Following a great reception on the PC last year, Redout arrives on Xbox One, subtitled Lightspeed Edition. So, there’s the fancy title, what’s in the box? Redout: Lightspeed Edition includes a new split-screen mode which enables you and your friends to go head to head, furthermore, we’re also getting the Europa DLC and the Neptune DLC thrown in for good measure. One thing that is missing however, is the inclusion of 12 player online racing found over on the PC build, console owners will be limited to just 6 players, for reasons unknown. Now that we know what additional extras (and tweaks) have been injected into the experience, what the hell is Redout: Lightspeed Edition all about?
Simply put, Redout is described as a tribute to classic racing monsters such as Wipeout and F-Zero. Let me tell you, if you ever wondered how fast being in a podracer was, Redout has you covered, and then some. It’s apologetically fast, tough, and thoroughly engaging. The game has been built using the ever so impressive Unreal Engine 4, which provides stunning highly detailed environments and visuals that are captivating to the point of distraction. As already alluded to, Redout is not an easy game and if you want to make it far, you’re going to need sharp reflexes and a great level of skill and perseverance. Both the floating system and the driving models are physics based, meaning that every turn, bump, brake, and acceleration will manipulate your race.
You’ll often find that this manipulation will cost you a race, but that’s the beauty of Redout, because it forces you to quickly acquaint yourself with these obstacles and parameters so that you can better judge what will affect your movement on the next run. Each race sees you and your opponents going head to head across a diverse range of environments, whilst riding in futuristic hovercrafts, which again, vary greatly from one another. Movement is so fast that the track and the world around you will just whizz by before you can blink. The devs could have easily have been lazy and crafted a world with little detail and design, seeing as you don’t really see much of it up-close. That however is in direct contrast with the end result, because among the many pros of Redout, the visuals are right up there at the top. The details and the design of each hovercraft and map are nothing short of stunning, and although you lose your focus of the map in favour of the track, it’s a beautiful experience to be immersed in.
The layout of each map is also commendable, offering up some pretty harsh tracks that will take some adjusting to. Here is where you’ll need to find your hovercraft of choice, and there’s no shortage of them let me tell you. Each of which come in varying shapes and sizes, with added stats to ensure that each craft feels unique. Stats play a large role in how you want to shape your experience, should you go for speed and lack health? Or should you lose some speed but house more endurance? Finding the right hovercraft is vital, but that’s not to say that each of them wont get the job done, because they’re all more than capable of seeing each race through to first place. You can also customise them through unlocks as well as upgrade your engine, magnets, structure, and energy levels.
Controlling the hovercrafts is as simplistic as you could hope for. Obviously you’re able to accelerate and brake, but sometimes it’s better to utilise the ability to strafe or pitch up and down to avoid damaging your hull. You see, you’ll explode if you take a heavy hit and you haven’t regenerated your shield. On top of this (I found this to be especially helpful) if you strafe against your turn you can drift, which helps to glide your hovercraft around a corner, so long as you pull off the drift with enough notice. It’s certainly not something that I was using in my first race, or even my first ten races, but again, this game is all about getting your hands dirty as you work out the basics of play. Redout is the definition of easy to play, but hard to master.
It’s a shame however that the Xbox One version of this game is suffering with some horrendous frame rate issues. I’m fully aware that the devs are working on a patch to remedy the problem, but this review is being conducted beforehand, and as such, the game is certainly not safe from such criticism. I’ve had drops in frame rate at all of the wrong times, many a times it resulted in my crashing, which lost me the race. There doesn’t appear to be a specific scenario that brings in the jittery interruptions, it just happens at random, be it when you’re alone on a long stretch, or neck to neck with other hovercrafts on a corner. It’s present whenever it wants to be, and it’s certainly something that the devs need to fix asap.
Career mode is by no means exhaustive, serving over 100 different racing events that caters for varying experience. You’ll be taking on solo races, time trials, survival runs, boss races, and many more. Successfully completing a challenge within the career will see you rewarded with credits, which can then be spent on upgrading your hovercraft. Feel daring? You can opt in for some contracts that will throw an extra curve-ball at you in return for more rewards. I wont lie, these were freakishly tough in places, but not so tough that you never feel out of your depth, more so that the task feels just out of your reach. It pushes you into giving the game that proverbial one last attempt before you move on, despite my annoyances with some tasks, I never felt as though Redout was a chore.
There’s a great balance when it comes to upgrading your hovercraft, with each being able to house one passive and one active ability. You don’t get any weapons, so don’t worry about this being a Mario Kart game on crack, because it isn’t, but you do get some abilities that will truly aid you on your way to victory. I found that drone-repair for my ship was a solid ability as it helped to keep me stable and make sure that I wasn’t out of the fields of play for all too long, something I felt comfortable with throughout. You can choose from a lot more, but these stood out for me above the rest.
Despite housing a lengthy career mode that will easily last well over 10 hours, the multiplayer online mode is very hit and miss. This isn’t so much a fault on the devs part, but a lack of populated servers make it hard to find a match. I note that the PC counterpart received criticism for this problem too, which may explain why we have 6 player online in comparison to 12 player online, to sort of help each match feel full. Sadly, it took me a number of attempts to find a match, and even then it wasn’t full. I have since managed to enjoy a full lobby race, but it doesn’t appear to be consistent seeing as my latest race (again) consisted of me and two other players. Let’s hope everyone is glued to the career mode and will jump online to breathe life into the mode.
Redout is one hell of a great racer that dishes out speed that Sonic the freakin Hedgehog wouldn’t be able to process. Unfortunately the frame-rate issues cause quite an interruption and the lack of a population for online play is somewhat frustrating, but with a good patch and some more reach, I’m hopeful that this will be remedied. Redout looks, sounds, and plays absolutely fantastic, with a career mode that will easily last well over ten hours. The diverse well detailed environments along with the unique hovercrafts that can be customised and upgraded is top notch. If you’re looking for your next Wipeout and F-Zero fix, you wont get any better than Redout.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.