We mentioned Road Redemption last week in a news story, discussing how Dark Seas Games and company were trying to bring back the classic vibes of EA’s Road Rash series in a visceral new racer. And while a lot of folks have moved on to more complex stuff these days, like Forza Motorsport 7, the game still caters to a need, especially if you’re looking for a great stress reliever after a hard day at work. Nothing wipes away all that yelling your boss did like a well-deserved crowbar to the face. (Of a random rider, mind you – not your boss.)
I’m happy to report that the game has not only lived up to the hype, but exceeded it. Road Redemption is a fun little surprise, a game that blissfully combines the thrill of racing with the desire to really let your road rage out – even to the point that you’re performing a few decapitations and scoring a bonus score as a result. It’s not without its blemishes, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a better Road Rash-style game these days – unless EA gets around to releasing another one again some day.
The game puts you in the shoes of a convict wrongfully accused of destruction and mayhem. After spending years in the clink, you have one goal in mind – bring down a dangerous assassin and his crew, who may have been involved in your incarceration. And what better way to do that than on the open road, with weapons that include everything from C4 explosives to a kendo stick to a sword that allow you to lop off someone’s head in one clean slice?
Road Redemption is built on destruction, and thrives because of it. The gameplay feels very good, like the classic Road Rash, as you combat others on the road. The cornering could’ve been handled a little better, as sometimes you go drifting off the road a little too quickly after a tight turn, but otherwise, your bike handles well, and the combat controls are cool.
What’s more, the game makes you work for your bonuses. The challenge increases over the course of Redemption, with even bigger vehicles joining the fray, and a growing police presence trying to shut you down. Fortunately, the weapons pick up nicely too, including bombs that you can plant to vehicles and blow to kingdom come. (But maybe get out of their vicinity before they go kaboom, yeah?)
That said, it may be a bit too tough for some. The game only gives you so much of a life bar to work with, and it yoinks away any bonuses you earn if you die, forcing you to start all the way over at the beginning. It took me a few tries to get past the first level and really open up the game, and I’m a Road Rash veteran, so it might be the same for you.
But you can earn some long-term stuff that will help you power up in a number of areas, including strength, speed and earning bonuses, and these are useful each new time you start a race. They don’t go away, thank the maker.
Along with short-term bloody thrills, Road Redemption also offers a pretty good long game, with solid online play (well, thus far – I’ve only tried a few sessions) along with bonus goods to unlock and a large tree of bonus items and perks to go through. It’ll take you a while to earn it all, but that means you get to rack up the kills in the process. And there’s support for up to four players locally as well – and the game doesn’t lose any detail in the process. Now that’s impressive.
Dark Seas Games also kept things simple with the presentation. The frame rate is nice and zippy, and the tracks look great, tying in to a much larger set of cities to clean up. The bikes are animated well, and while the enemies don’t show much variety, it is great setting them up for some creative kills, like kicking someone right into the path of a moving vehicle. BOOM!
The audio is good, too, with some decent road music (what I wouldn’t have given for more licensed tracks, but it’s a small team, so it’s understood), as well as decent voiceovers, like your gruff cohort that helps you along every step of the way. It’s about right when it comes to the level of Road Rash corniness, though it would’ve been great to have a police chief sounding like a nutbag here – in-between eating donuts, no less.
Here’s the bottom line, though. For every minor setback that Road Redemption has, it makes up for it with its visceral action, non-stop racing, a strong amount of unlockables and a fun retro presentation. Even with its slightly tough learning curve, it’s a must for those of you who grew up with EA’s iconic racing series.
Now, let’s see if these guys can do something along the lines of a Skitchin’ spiritual successor…
RATING: Four out of five stars.
Disclaimer: A review code was provided by the publisher.