Italian game developer 34BigThings were not content to create your standard racing experience. Obviously inspired by classic arcade anti-gravity racers of yesteryear, Redout’s developers wanted players to sit in the cockpit of a gravity defying vehicle capable of hurtling down the track in excess of 900 km/h. But just racing at the speed of sound wasn’t enough, and so they opted to create 35 different tracks and 11 different game modes for which to fling yourself at.
Redout – Lightspeed Edition comes to Xbox jam packed with a single player campaign mode, challenge mode, and online multiplayer capability. Players start the game’s career mode with nothing more than just a Class 1 vehicle of their choosing, but with sheer determination and skill they can gradually work their way through the career’s extensive list of 100 events, earning money and experience to unlock higher class (and more expensive) vehicles as well as upgrades and power ups.
There are twelve available power ups that players can purchase when funding permits, and players may choose one from each category – Passive or Active. Active power ups include actual speed boosts, an EMP blast that can temporarily disable nearby enemy racers, or even a repair drone to keep your ship in tip top condition. These active power ups must be activated during races and consume all or part of your ship’s energy supply in order to work. Passive power ups are a little more stealthy, such as the one that improves your vehicle’s hull integrity, and work for the entirety of the race without needing any input from the pilot.
Each of Redout – Lightspeed Edition’s 35 tracks feature extreme environments – from lush jungles to frozen tundras and back to harsh deserts where sandstorms obstruct your vision – that are visually stunning even in their low polygon style. Granted, the races carry on at such extreme speeds that nothing is on the screen long enough for players to actually see any details of the environment anyway. To succeed in Redout, players must learn the best way to navigate these narrow, twisted tracks while avoiding the AI racers. In the beginning, however, avoiding the AI racers is a lot easier than it should be as they shoot away from the player near immediately. Once they’re gone there’s no catching up.
And thus, Redout’s excessive difficulty comes front and center as it’s greatest downfall. The default setting is simply called “Redout” and upon starting the game I was never able to get higher than 3rd in any of the races at that difficulty. Surprisingly, in career mode coming in 3rd is still seen as a success, and there is a small prize pot and the player is allowed to progress. But the prize pool being as small as it is makes it difficult to purchase any of the necessary upgrades that make even a third place finish attainable in later races.
Once I lowered the game’s difficulty to “Rookie” I was at least able to get second and third in some of the races against AI. Changing the difficulty, though, does not affect the times required for time trial or speed events, and so progressing in these is left entirely up to the player to learn the tracks so that they are not grinding their vehicle into walls or the floor and bursting into flame mid race. Even experienced fans of the genre may find that Redout poses a real challenge with its hidden platinum medals – some of which need lap times of less than a second to acquire.
Online multiplayer mode allows up to 6 players to hit a track together. All 4 car classes and power ups that have been unlocked in career are available to the players in multiplayer races, meaning its entirely possible for a new player who only has class 1 vehicles to be thrown into a lobby against other players all rocking the best powerups on vehicles from class 4. Multiplayer races run fairly smooth, despite the vehicle and power up discrepancies, but there wasn’t a large active community immediately available at launch. Despite the sheer volume of content available in the game, its price has frequently come up as a hindrance for many players, and so it could take quite some time for a larger community to develop.