Road Redemption – Review
Follow Genre: Racing, fighting
Developer: Pixel Dash Studios, Dark Seas Interactive, EQ-Games
Publisher: Tripwire Interactive, Dark Seas Interactive, Sunken Treasures Games
Platform: Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox One, Linux, Mac OS
Tested on: PS4

Road Redemption – Review

Site Score
8.0
Good: Classic gameplay with improved mechanics
Bad: The grind can be a bit tedious
User Score
7.5
(4 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.5/10 (4 votes cast)

Many of us will remember the racing series Road Rash. This addictive franchise combined racing with punching your opponents off their bikes by using fists or a range of savage melee weapons. The franchise saw its end with Road Rash: Jailbreak in 2000. Fans waited years and prayed for a new installment in the series. Around the late 2010s, there was leaked footage of what was thought to be a new Road Rash and it was kind of true. Road Redemption is the spiritual successor of the aforementioned series and went into Early Access in 2013 and saw its complete release four years later in 2017. After the success of the PC version, a console version was created and is released right now and this is what we got our hands on. With the classic gameplay returning in its former glory with some new elements, this game made us feel instant nostalgia.

Story

In a world rummaged by violence, there is a silver lining as the peace slightly returns after a masked assassin takes out the leader of the Ironsight Weapons Cartel. The Cartel now has put a hefty fifteen-million-dollar bounty on the head of the assassin, dead or alive. Each biker races to find this masked feller and bring his head to receive the biggest bounty in history. Naturally, every thug wants a piece of the cake and will not allow anybody else to succeed. Each gang has its own territory and background, when entering their habitat, the backstory is always explained by your leader. Because you get updates on the story at certain intervals you get a nice flow throughout the campaign with a short introduction at the beginning. During the middle of your visit in a certain territory you’ll get more information, as well as when facing the boss at every end-stage.

Graphics

In this day and age, you basically have two kinds of developers: there are those that want to have the best graphics and those that want to create that nostalgia feel. Road Redemption takes you back to the simplicity of the early 2000s in a good way. The simple HUD setup ensures the player has all the information at the ready at any time. Overall the graphics are decent with the many different bike models, ranging from normal to fantasy designs. Road Redemption’s world is set in a Post-Apocalyptic setting, so the roads look destroyed and there is a lot of waste everywhere. The developers made the world very interesting with various gangs battling over dominance and each tribe having their own unique location with matching appearance.

Sound

This game has been made in honor of the Road Rash franchise and you notice this quite well. Not only the graphics are reminiscent of the good old days, the powerful soundtrack that supports this title will certainly be a fun trip down memory lane as well. Nothing is more fun than driving your loud bike and smashing the faces of rival gangs while listening to the roaring guitars of this heavy rock inspired soundtrack. The machines sound good, but due to the arcade setting, they feel more generic.

Gameplay

Road Redemption is a rogue-lite racing game in which you literally fight your way to the first position. Because of its genre, this means that the main game mode is quite short but very hard. Just like other rogue-lites, it takes some grinding to finally make it to the end. In order to earn cash and experience there are two ways to get them. You accumulate small amounts of money and XP for each kill you get, doubled if it’s done by decapitation. Finishing 1st to 3rd also gives a respectably nice bag of coins that you can spend in the item shop after each event. If you fail to meet the requirements when crossing the finish line, a penalty is obtained but you may continue your quest. Cash is king in the world of Road Redemption and if you have enough to spend you might be able to buy weapon upgrades, temporally increase health, longer turbo boosts or even get some XP to level up at the end. After each run (that either ends with you completing the story or die trying) it is time to level up. With accumulated XP you can buy perks that grant the player more health, more damage, bigger pickup percentage, better vehicles, starting further in the campaign and much more. These permanent upgrades make getting to the assassin slightly easier and keeps you motivated to complete the game many times to unlock everything. A slight hampering factor though is that XP is reset each time you play a new game, so when you make it into the higher levels it can be a real struggle to earn enough experience to actually unlock new perks or upgrade the ones you already have.

In the campaign mode, you are part of the Jackal gang that is sent out to capture the bounty, but to do so, you must fight your way through three gang-occupied zones. Each gang wants to take the bounty and will under no circumstances allow you free access throughout. Road rage is something that can happen to all of us, and in this game, nothing is as fun as smacking another biker in his face with a nailed baseball bat or chopping some scumbag’s head off. The combat system is also more complex than in the old games. Back in the days, you just needed to overpower your opponent with quick combos or a lead pipe to the face. These days, combat is a bit more complicated, which is beneficial to the gameplay. Now, you can deflect incoming attacks and counterattack to inflict great damage upon your rivals. If the other rider is too pesky, you can just grab him and either kick him off a bridge or smack his face into the steering.

Fighting your way to the assassin isn’t only done with your fists as four types of weapons are fully at your disposal. First of all, you have a blunt weapon, a short and a long one. Beating up your foe with this will grant some money, XP, health and turbo boost with each successful takedown. These hard-hitting objects are ideal to knock off other bikers’ helmets, which is where the next toy comes in: the trusty sword. While this sword is weak against helmets, decapitating foes grants you an even bigger bonus that doubles gained resources. New to the genre are bombs and firearms. You can stick C4 to a bike or a car to take it down or throw a pipe bomb down the road. If your nemesis is driving in front of you or is just too powerful, you can whip out an AK 47 or shotgun and blast them to the eternal happy hunting grounds. It is not always just racing and fighting. There are a handful of modes: just racing, surviving lucid warzones, and achieving a certain kill count, making every race a bit different.

Road Redemption takes good care of its rogue-lite status with the addition of some RPG elements. When starting the game, you can select a character and a bike. Drivers all have unique properties from having more health or getting more resources to imposing special challenges in order to make gameplay more interesting. Controlling the game is quite easy with very simple buttons assigned to the tasks and good response from the bikes. In the beginning, the game can be a tad frustrating because you have to start over every time you fail, but as soon as you get used to the controls, it just works splendidly.

Conclusion

Road Redemption is the spiritual successor we wanted for Road Rash and it takes us back to the good old days of punching others off their bikes. The normal story mode has been traded for a shorter rogue-lite version that will have the player retrying a few times until they get used to it, which isn’t a bad formula for a game such as this. With the graphics throwing us back to arcade times and an explosive soundtrack, Road Redemption is a fun game to invest some hours into or to just pick up, play a round and relax for a bit.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.5/10 (4 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Road Redemption - Review, 7.5 out of 10 based on 4 ratings
MC_JP
MC_JP


Never give up on a dream. It might be a long nightmare, but one day it will change into a beautiful reality - MC_JP 2014

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