Redout: Lightspeed Edition Review

In all walks of life, as well as art, there are only two forms – the familiar, and the surreal. As the most successful pieces of art either concentrate on things that are familiar to their assumed audience, or things which are so far out of the left field, that they simply feel surreal to all who are at the receiving end. However, at times the two-dimensional forms of art undergo transformation, and ascend from their core form, and become a singular product of the two.

In the last hundred years, many have managed to achieve a level of excellence by combining the familiar with the surreal. Bauhaus School of Art, has used simple shapes and elevated them to a higher level, whereas Mike Judge, has taken simple lives of ordinary individuals, and turned them into a spectacle of the highest form with the critically acclaimed King of The Hill.

The combination of the surreal with the familiar is not only limited to stationary art and motion pictures, as many other forms of art have referred to it over the years. And most recently video games, have done exactly the same, as many have combined things familiar to us, with concepts so foreign, that they feel like they’re from a different planet. And the recently released Redout, has done just that.

As mentioned above, Redout is a combination of two things. First is the vehicular racing, which is the familiar; and second is the futuristic, cyber-punk setting, which is the foreign. And when two are combined, one is given a chance to experience basic car racing, but in a transformative form. And while titles such as WipEout have done the same in the past, Redout is arguably much more successful at doing so, as its art style prevents one from getting overly familiar with the setting. Whereas WipEout’s photorealistic visual façade, always allowed on to familiarise him/herself with the neo-futuristic setting right from the get go.

The overall presentation of Redout, is simply spectacular, and is on the level with the rather impressive driving/flying mechanics, which are simply dead-on. Redout looks and feels like a modern title, despite of a lack of photorealistic visuals. And that’s because all the vehicles, tracks, and environments have been crafted within a very unique polygon-based art style. All in game objects feature a high polygon count, but not high enough in order to make everything seem real. The way in which Redout plays out is like metaphor for the fact that life moves so fast, that we fail to notice its imperfections, as while moving at breakneck speed of over 1000km/h, you fail to notice, that the world around you is simply fake.

At closer inspection, palm trees, Sphinx’s heads, and ice mounds all are nothing more than clusters of polygons, assembled to simply create an illusion of the objects they are trying to mimic. But despite of its crude physical form, Redout is simply beautiful. The combination of basic models, with a range of high quality textures, and reflections, makes one feel like he/she is playing a AAA title, with an AA price tag. And that’s because Redout has been meticulously designed, and created with quality in mind.

Redout’s visual façade is simply spectacular and as sharp as a butcher’s knife – but that is not surprising. As this particular title is simply exceptional across the board. From visuals, through the core driving/flying mechanics, all the way down to the technical side of things, Redout is simply impeccable. All in game vehicles feature their own quirks, and feel unique to control, and they’re all simply a joy to use, and many who purchase this title will spend hours saving up money, just so they can try each and every in-game vehicle.

Perfect and intuitive controls are a vital part of any arcade racing game, and in many ways, they are the do-or-die, of any title of this particular sub-genre. However, when it comes to titles such as WipEout, and Redout, the technical performance is just as important, as without a stable 60FPS frame-rate, such titles are ultimately not as succesful, as any delay or hitch will simply result in a crash and dissipation of enjoyment. However, as stated before, Redout is as sharp as a knife, and unlike other titles, it runs at stable 60FPS, but unfortunately only on PlayStation 4 PRO, and has a tendency to drop below 50FPS, on the standard version of the console (for a direct comparison follow this link). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPRjiVDpFpg

Inconsistent framerate on the standard PlayStation 4 will surely disappoint most users as it is inarguably the most popular version of Sony’s console. And while the framerate may be patched in the future, at the current time, it is sub-par, especially for the game of this ilk. And most importantly a game with a price tag, way above your bog standard indie title.

At its release, Redout will retail digitally for £34.99, meaning that it will cost £5 more than WipEout Omega Collection, which features three unique titles. But Redout is a brand-new release, whereas the Omega collection is a compilation of older remasters. And if one is looking for something new, he/she should definitely go out of his/her way and spend the additional fiver, as Redout is more than worth it – especially when one takes into the consideration the overwhelming number of tracks, vehicles, skins, upgrades, modifications, and modes, which can be found within Redout.

The sheer volume of Redout’s content may be overwhelming for some, but unfortunately it won’t be the only thing which many will find difficult to take a grip of, as Redout’s difficulty is equally insane. And that’s because Redout doesn’t require ‘’your best’’, but it simply demands perfection. As on latter stages, from level II onwards, any minor accident, scrape, or unnecessary stoppage will result in failure. And once one drops a position or two, it may be borderline impossible to reclaim it – as once the AI gets in the pole position, it gives its all, and catching up is at times impossible.

Redout is a punishing and unforgiving title, and some may find it to be overly difficult. And while the early stages may be a little misleading, as they lead one to believe that the career mode of Redout is going to be a walk in the park, it ultimately serves one with a roundhouse-kick of a wake-up call within the very first level II stage. But ultimately, that’s what titles like Redout are about. All arcade racing titles are meant to be tough, and unforgiving, and will always demand perfection.

When all is said and done, it has to be underlined that Redout is a simply spectacular title, and one of the best arcade racers on PlayStation 4, but unfortunately, it is not a title for all console owners. And that’s because it is as demanding as the racers of old, and in order to work at its optimal level, it requires the optimal hardware, in form of PlayStation 4 PRO. But those who are familiar with the sub-genre will feel right at home, even at 50FPS. And that’s because Redout is simply phenomenal, and it should be at least taken into consideration by all who crave some hard-hitting arcade racing.

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@bonusstage.co.uk.

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