We've stepped up our game in 34BigThings' comprehensive sequel.
Redout is a phenomenon typically experienced by fighter pilots when they are exposed to negative g-forces and blood flows from the lower part of the body up to the head. Redout is also the title of an anti-gravity racer that almost single-handedly keeps alive the genre that F-Zero and WipeOut made so popular in the early and mid-90s.
WipeOut was the game that made me buy a PlayStation - I tried it out at a mate's house and was sold on the spot. The cool design, the wild soundtrack and not least the lightning fast gameplay grabbed me straight away and for that reason the anti-gravity racing genre holds a special place in my gamer heart. Sadly, it's a genre we don't see much of these days, but 2016 saw Redout from Italian 34BigThings and after a not-so-successful detour with Redout: Space Assault in 2019, the series is back on track with Redout 2, which has just been released for Xbox, PlayStation and PC.
However, don't make the mistake of thinking that Redout 2 is another take on WipeOut - because it's not. Because if there was such a thing as anti-gravity racing in real life, Redout 2 would be the anti-gravity racing equivalent of Forza Motorsport or Assetto Corsa - it feels much more like a simulator than an arcade racer like WipeOut.
This is an ad:
Redout 2 is quite traditionally structured and there is no story in the game. It all takes place in the year 2059 and you take part in the Solar Redout Racing League (SRRL), which is the future's answer to Formula 1. This means that in the game's surprisingly large career section you take part in a variety of races around the world (and indeed out in space) on some pretty well designed tracks that wind around themselves, through the landscape and move both up in the air and underground.
As you move through the many races, you unlock new upgrades and new parts for your hovercraft, and you also gain access to brand new hovercrafts over time. The upgrades help make your hovercraft either faster, more manoeuvrable, stronger or your boosters more effective, so you'd do well to familiarise yourself with them as they become available.
In addition to the career section, there's an Arcade section where, in addition to familiar game modes like Time Attack and Last Man Standing, you can try Arena Race, where either the first hovercraft across the finish line, or the last one remaining on the track, wins. In Speed, you have to get as many points as possible by staying above a certain speed. There's also a multiplayer section, where you compete against other players in either ranked or unranked races - though ranked isn't available yet. Neither are areas in the main menu like Season Challenges and Community, as they are marked "Coming Soon". A bit disappointing that several parts of the game has not yet opened up after release.
This is an ad:
So it's quite traditionally built, but the gameplay itself isn't quite so traditional. The controls are good. There are two kinds of boosters to keep track of and, you have to use both analog sticks on your controller to guide your little hovercraft safely through the levels. This means that when you come to a turn, you use the left stick to turn your hovercraft into the turn and the right stick to drift through the turn. You also need to use the right stick to lower the nose of your hovercraft if the track is going down (otherwise you'll be lifting off into thin air when you come over a hilltop at 1,500 km/h) and you need to pull the nose up when, for example, you enter a loop, so that the nose doesn't dig into the track and you lose speed.
In fact, speed is very much the focus here. There are no weapons (like in WipeOut) to throw at your opponents, so it's all about building up as much speed as possible and it gets really, really fast: up to 2,000 km/h in fact and the sense of speed is really good. It's not just stepping on the accelerator though, because as you might be able to tell from the above, the difficulty is generally high and on the later tracks, it's almost brutal - and that will put some players off. Penalties for mistakes come promptly and a single one can be enough to lose you a race. Fortunately, there are six difficulty levels and a whole host of auxiliary features to make use of, and that makes things a little easier - at least at first.
As mentioned earlier, the sense of speed is excellent and you don't get to see much of the graphics around the tracks. But the tracks, as mentioned earlier, are well designed, the environments are colourful and the various hovercrafts are nicely designed (though nowhere near WipeOut level). Unfortunately, there were problems with the sound, or rather, the soundtrack. Redout 2 features a fine electronic soundtrack, which suits this type of game well, but it's chopped oddly and could disappear for split seconds and when it came back, it was as if it wasn't in sync with itself - the beats were simply wrong. It's a shame, because it ruined a bit of the atmosphere and we hope it's something that will be fixed soon with an update.
Redout 2 is a fine anti-gravity racer, with well-designed tracks, slightly different gameplay to what we usually see in this genre, a surprisingly extensive career section, incredibly high speeds and nice graphics. Still, it doesn't really stand out, as it seems a bit generic; it lacks edge and the high difficulty will be too much of a challenge for some - and then the soundtrack is a bit broken.
The Redout series already has a good chunk of loyal followers and they'll love Redout 2 - and while 34BigThings has made it more accessible with a whopping six difficulty levels and a number of helpful features, it's still a game that demands a lot from the player. But should you want to give it a go, the price tag is approachable, at around £25.
7 / 10
Extensive career section. Sublime speed feel. Well priced.
Soundtrack breaks a bit. Parts of the game are not open yet. Difficulty may be too much for some. Long load times.