Since the original PlayStation, motocross games have been a staple for the console. Time trials, competition, and road races are typically what comes to mind when you think of a racing game. However, in Road Redemption, weapons, fighting, and explosives are what should come to your mind. Road Redemption incorporates the darker side of racing games into its core elements, spicing up the racing genre.
A Bloody Race
The main purpose of Road Redemption is to win the race and kill your opponents in the process. Racers are given various weapons, like swords, metal pipes, guns, and explosives to use in order to eliminate their opponents. To take out another racer, all you must do is drive up next to them and start swinging, shooting, or planting explosives. Depending on the strength of the rider, sometimes it can take a few hits to knock them off their bike and other times you can knock them out with one blow. I’ve got to admit, it’s a pretty satisfying feeling when you knock out a multitude of opponents.
As you start the game, you are only given a sword and a metal pipe to use. As you progress further in the game by unlocking new maps and leveling up, you can get upgrades of the weapons you already have and unlock guns and explosives. The further you get in the game, the more tools you have at your disposal.
You can succeed in the game by minding your own business and not attacking anyone, but it is a little more tricky. You’ll need nitro boosts to catch up to the front of the pack when you inevitably wipe out. You can only get these through occasionally placed power-ups on the track, end of the objective purchases, or by killing opponents. By far the easiest way to get them by killing opponents. The same is true with health points, as you land hits on other racers, your own health will increase a little bit. If you run out of health during a race, you’re done for and must start all over. This is especially an issue in the campaign mode.
A Disastrous Race
The campaign mode is, well, not very fun. After a masked assassin kills the leader of the Ironsight Weapons Cartel, a bounty is placed on his head of $15 million to bring him to the cartel, dead or alive. All of the biker gangs in the area are in on the race for the multi-million dollar bounty, but it isn’t going to be as easy as they think.
In order to reach the assassin, you must go through a series of objectives to advance. Objectives could be finishing top 3 in a race, beating the clock, or taking out X number of opponents. Each race stacks on one another, so whatever happens to you in the first objective carries over to the second one. So if you take a beating and have 20 health points left, you’re going to start the next race with 20 health points.
If you run out of health, you die. Dying means complete loss of progress, and you must start your race to the assassin all over. This creates an incredibly frustrating and repetitive process, especially if you make a stupid mistake and die. You can be on the fourth objective with over half your health, and after a mistake or two, you can die and lose all of your progress.
There are unlocks that you can earn with XP. Unlocks last forever. Although, you must earn enough XP before you die to unlock different rewards. Once you die, you lose your XP. The best unlock that you can get are the checkpoints, that allow you to start at objective 3, 6, or 9. While these are available, they are pretty far down the skills tree, and you must unlock a few skills before you can get to the checkpoints. The skills are pretty costly, so you’re going to need to make it into the first couple of objectives and kill a decent amount of opponents in order to get enough XP to unlock anything.
Not All Hope is Lost
I think the most enjoyable aspect of the game is the quickplay mode. With over 16 courses, there are a variety of tracks available to you. Each has different obstacles, challenges, and environments. My personal favorite obstacle is probably when cars begin falling out of the sky. You never know where they will land!
New courses are unlocked by your performance on the previous courses. For example, getting a bronze medal (3rd place) on two courses will be enough to unlock the next course, and so on and so forth. Some require getting first place and others don’t. So it’s a nice challenge, without being too hard like the campaign mode. One thing I didn’t like though is that in order to unlock new bikes in quick play, you have to reach certain accomplishments in the campaign mode.
You can also play online if you want. My experience wasn’t great, but it is an option. The first time I tried to play, only two people were in my race. The second time I tried, there were 0 people in my race. It works pretty much the same as the other aspects of the game, you race each other, try to kill one another, and whoever ends up in first place wins.
A Short Race
While Road Redemption succeeds in a few ways, there are a lot of ways it doesn’t excel. A repetitive campaign, lackluster online play, and difficult progression outweigh the simple quick play mode. Road Redemption may be fun for a short period of time, but it’s not something I will find myself going back to play. It’s not a bad game, it just doesn’t stand out among the array of options available.
Road Redemption review code provided by the publisher. Version 1.0 reviewed on a standard PlayStation 4. For more information on scoring, please see our Review Policy.