Mario Andretti said, “If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough.” As I was careening off-track or barely able to make it through a turn in my first hour of Redout 2, this was all I could think about, because I was definitely going fast enough. The sequel to the 2016 futuristic anti-gravity racer goes to ludicrous speeds, you’ll rarely if ever feel in control. Anti-grav racers used to be all the rage in the late 90s and early 2000s, and they just kind of faded away. 34BigThings have brought back this style of racer in great style and grace that Redout 2 is one of the best racers out there.
There really isn’t anything of a story to the game, but there is lore sprinkled throughout. While getting flyover of a new area, voiceover will tell you the history of things gone past. There was once a “Water World War”, and Earth became uninhabitable for a while as the human race migrated to Mars and colonized it. It’s heavy stuff, but the year is 2589 AD and we’re past all that, and are racing hover ships at hundreds of miles per hour for sport. This Formula 1 of the future is the SRRL, or Solo Redout Racing League, comprised of pilots with impeccable reflexes and skill compete for top prizes. It’s a solid foundation for an anti-grav racer, and helps build the narrative as you race across different planets on looping, disorienting tracks.
There are now six difficulties with Redout 2, up from just the three that the original offered. The game will use the tutorial sections to determine what it thinks the difficulty should be for the campaign mode. The game set me on Redout, the middle-of-the-anti-grav-track option. After banging my head against that difficulty for a couple of hours, I realized that it was too hard. Now, this series is meant to be challenging, and offer some stiff competition. But I’d recommend bumping the difficulty down one or two levels for it to be more fun than a fight.
The game feels largely the same, but rides feel heavier this time around. There’s a greater emphasis on control that wasn’t there before. When playing the game, you’ll be using what I call dual-stick steering. The left stick will control direction while the right-stick does strafing, understanding how to use them during a turn while going 777mph is crucial to your success. A lot of work went in to making the game accessible with assistance settings in addition to difficulty. There’s one thing about the game that didn’t quite work for me, though. On the more advanced tracks, you’ll come across gaps that you have to adjust your orientation. And this is when you have to use the flight controls, and where it gets weird is that you have to use left or right on the d-pad to make a good landing. Problem is, your hands are already occupied trying to pilot this out-of-control machine, and can’t really spare anything extra to make this adjustment or maneuver. The requirement of this is minimal, and you can set it so that the game just does the flight controls for you, I find it awkward nonetheless.
There’s three main modes to Redout 2: Arcade where you just race anywhere with anything, Career where the bulk of the game is happening, and Multiplayer to play online with friends and strangers. Due to the game not being out yet, I wasn’t able to experience the multiplayer in any capacity. There’s also sections for Season Challenges and Community, but both were greyed out during the review phase. The campaign progression is a lot richer than its predecessor, and far more engaging, if not overwhelming. There’s 41 events in the first tier, of four leagues in total that make up the campaign, which is a lot. In order to unlock new events, a certain number of stars won from races must be earned in total. There’s a very healthy variety of races to partake in, with some different rules for the same kinds of races, none of which disappointing. There’s time attack where you’re racing against the clock, a traditional race, an arena race where you can’t respawn (so use that rewind!), last man standing is an elimination style event, speed where you try to reach a certain score, and boss where you race across a whole series of tracks in one seamless run. I wish the boss races were named different, because you still have a full grid of races, but it’s a tougher style of race. At least at the end of those races, you have a new ship or unlock to show for these endurance races.
There are 12 hover ship chassis to choose from, with only one of them unlocked from the start. Redout 2 has a larger focus on customization than before, and it’s all the better for it. As you race and complete challenges, you’ll unlock upgrades that make your hoverships better. In addition, you can customize the bodies, liveries, paints, parts, and more as you make your way through the campaign. It’s a slow, but steady stream of unlocks that’s a great addition, though I will say that the game becomes more fun as you unlock more performance parts.
What’s interesting, that despite being a pilot or racer, you aren’t winning money for your efforts now. The game has shifted away from currency, and everything is based on unlocks through performance and progression through the campaign. It feels balanced, but this shift may not be something everyone likes. Though I’ll be the first to argue for some sort of payday when one location is at a black hole, I should definitely be paid for that.
Since this is a system-spanning racer, you’ll be visiting different planets that offer completely different biomes. The way the campaign is structured, is that tracks and locations get more exotic and interesting as you progress, but also requiring more skill. There are an impressive ten locations, with multiple layouts for 36 tracks, not include reverse variants that double that. The tracks of Redout 2 take into effect atmosphere, gravity, temperature, and hazards. Some planets will have Earthlike gravity, or be cold planets, and have hazards like magma that can take you out easily. It’s not a major feature of the game, and you don’t have to spend too much time learning it, but they add unpredictability. On the hot planets, it makes it so when you boost, your engines get hotter faster and are harder to recover or cooldown. The inverse is also true, and that on cold planets your hover ship doesn’t get hot as fast as others. It’s an interest mechanic that keeps you thinking.
While I like most of the changes Redout 2, they took away the cockpit view that I utilized, and found to be really immersive in the first game (which would be used more heavily with the VR support it got). That said, I love everything else about the game, without question. Your health now regenerates, and it’s very easy to overheat and die or fly off the track and die, you feel fragile. There’s no minimap to guide you through a track, especially your first time on one, but there are indicators like a rally racing game to tell you about turns, hazards, and more. Flying off the track uncontrollably is both hilarious and adrenaline rush of fear. If all else fails, Redout 2 now has a rewind system to rely on. If at any point you do come to an untimely death, you can rewind an infinite number of times to get perfect what was done imperfectly.
Redout 2 looks incredible. There’s still a copious amount of it, but it does seem less blurry, and colors just explode off the screen. I had no issues reaching 165fps through a majority of the game, even with all races on the screen. The suite of graphics options are rather basic, the standard settings you’d find for an Unreal Engine 4 game. It’s a very pretty game that goes by at incredible speeds, but is great to look at.
My PC Specs:
– Microsoft Windows 10 Pro
– Intel Core i9 9900K @ 5Ghz (Turbo)
– Corsair H115i RGB PLATINUM 97 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler
– Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-3200 Memory
– EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11 GB XC ULTRA GAMING
– Seagate FireCuda SSD (500GB)
– Seagate BarraCuda SSD (1TB / 2TB)
You won’t find a more colorful, energetic, or exciting racer than Redout 2, it’s simply radiant. 34BigThings resurrects the style of racer that Wipeout and F-Zero made popular, and it’s a great return to form that succeeds the original in every way. The expanded places you’ll go, the customization you have available, and the plethora of content to enjoy is staggering. Redout 2 more than delivers, it comes in to your house and sets the table for you to feast on its offering. The high-speed, futuristic psychedelia that is Redout 2 is a tour de force, and warrants your attention.
A Steam code was provided in advance by the publisher for review purposes