Racing games are typically divided up into three different types. There are arcade racing games like Need for Speed, simulation racing games like Assetto Corsa, and Simcade racing games like Forza that sit somewhere in between. They all appeal to different target audiences, with arcade racers drawing in a more casual playerbase. But what would happen if you created an arcade racing game designed specifically for fans of the genre’s more serious entries? You would end up with Redout 2.
Redout 2 is a futuristic arcade racing game with a surprising complexity in its driving mechanics. You can’t just drift through every corner and boost like crazy on every straight. There is a lot that has to be taken into account and managed at once to earn respectable lap times. Those looking to get really good can expect to play hundreds if not thousands of hours beforehand.
A unique aspect of Redout 2 is how it uses both analog sticks as a core part of driving. As you’d expect, the left stick is used to turn. But just turning and braking isn’t going to cut it. You also have to use the right stick, which controls pitch and strafe. Strafe leans your ship on the horizontal plane, while pitch leans your ship on the vertical plane. You need to use strafe to go through tight corners quickly and pitch to climb or drop-down steep inclines without taking damage.
Taking less damage is important, as your ship’s health is a key part of using boost efficiently. You have a boost bar that fills up as boost is used. Once full, you have to wait for it to drop again. However, Redout 2 gives the option to continue boosting beyond that bar’s limit. Doing so will damage your ship rapidly, but allows you to keep on boosting. If you’re not using pitch and strafe properly, then you’re taking unnecessary damage. If you’re taking unnecessary damage, you won’t be able to push your health as far while over-boosting. Less boost means less speed, and less speed means slower lap times.
Learning how to manage all of these different factors while also navigating Redout 2’s wild tracks is difficult. I mean no exaggeration when I say that the difficulty curve of Redout 2 is less forgiving than most simulation racing games. For most people, I suspect this game will be extremely frustrating at the beginning. It doesn’t help that the tutorial is not very good. The Rookie Academy – Boosting tutorial is particularly irritating, as it’s just too difficult for the third event you take part in.
Despite its so-so approachability, Redout 2 can be an incredibly satisfying game. When everything comes together and you nail a corner or you set a new best lap time, there isn’t a better feeling. With the driving mechanics being so difficult to master, it’s very rewarding when you get things right. Not everyone will enjoy having to fail over and over to improve, but there are definitely racers out there who will enjoy Redout‘s unforgiving nature.
More of the same
The variety of game modes in Redout 2 is disappointing. At launch, there are five modes, but two of them are listed as “coming soon.” The remaining three are Arcade, Career, and Multiplayer. Arcade is a simple exhibition mode where you pick whatever track and race type you want. Meanwhile, Multiplayer is divided up into Unranked and Ranked. Ranked is not currently available, and Unranked only has default matchmaking with no server browser. Not that it would matter anyway, as it takes so long to find a game that it usually isn’t worth trying.
That leaves Career, which is where you’ll spend most of your time playing Redout 2 until multiplayer improves. Career starts you off in the Trials division and then has you progress through the B League, A League, S League, and finally the SRRL Invitational. In order to progress, you have to pass each tier’s Promotion Event. This is done by earning enough stars in other events, with stars being given for finishing first, second, and third, plus an additional star for successfully completing the trophy goal. Trophy goals are secondary targets that vary from things like winning by a set margin or only respawning so many times.
On paper, Redout 2‘s Career sounds in-depth and interesting, but the reality is that it’s far too repetitive. From the first tier to the last, you just complete the same events again and again until you get enough stars to progress. The later introduction of more race types like Last Man Standing and Arena helps offset this problem, but it’s not a true solution. The real problem is that this repetitive cycle doesn’t have an interesting progression model mixed in to keep things interesting.
There are racing games out there that rely on similarly repetitive gameplay loops. For example, most of the events in Forza are just races on different tracks, while Need For Speed‘s street circuits are hard to differentiate from one another. But what carries those games is their car customization and the number of cars there are to collect.
For me, this is where Redout 2 falls short. Instead of buying better ships and tuning them, you are given a default ship that can then have parts equipped. However, these parts are only earned by completing events. There is no earnable in-game currency to break up the monotony of completing the same events over and over. While there is an good amount of parts to unlock, most of them are just rebalanced versions of another part. There is no notable difference between the Harper rudder and the Tornado rudder outside of some minor stat tweaks.
It’s not that the upgrades aren’t impactful, but rather that they’re just boring. There’s never a big jump in performance, and it’s often hard to tell if you’re going faster than you were before installing an upgrade. Although given Redout 2‘s relatively low price point, a lot of its customization’s shortcomings can be overlooked. I just wish it was more exciting to unlock a new Propulsor or to install a new Stabilizer.
One area where Redout 2 does deliver is in its visual customization. The cosmetic upgrades are also locked behind arbitrary Career events, but they look incredible. Developer 34BigThings has tapped into the potential of Redout‘s futuristic setting and given us some spectacular cosmetics to play around with. There are enough options to create the spaceship of your dreams.
Not for everyone
Redout 2 is a niche but well-made game. The concept of an arcade racing game that is harder to get into than most simulation racers is bizarre. There’s a reason most other publishers haven’t tried it out. The demand for a product like this just isn’t overly prevalent.
Even so, that doesn’t mean that Redout 2 is a bad game. It offers a genuinely unique experience that very little else in the genre can match. Many will find its unforgiving difficulty curve an irritation but others will love how brutal Redout 2 is. Obviously, if you aren’t interested in a racing game that tests your patience, this probably isn’t for you. But those wanting a challenge like no other should consider giving Redout 2 a try.