Road Redemption is the spiritual successor to a game many will have played from their childhood called Road Rash. The game being discussed here is currently in a very early Alpha stage, version 0.002 to be exact. For such an early build the game is showing one helluva lot of promise, with most of the basics already nailed down. Without a single doubt all fans of racing (specifically bike racing) should have this one on their radar as it is set to take the road by storm, or force, whatever it feels like really.
Once you click play you are greeted with a simple window stating various graphical settings, such as resolution and input controls for the keyboard or controller. You do not expect details like this in such an early game, so it would definitely appear to be a great sign of things to come. One interesting tidbit you will notice is the road map of development shown which states the following:
- Seamless, procedurally generated world
- 100’s of weapons
- Deserts, cities, rooftops, forests, mountains and more
- Intelligent AI factions
- Online and splitscreen multiplayer
These features above are ambitious to say the least, but it allows for a quick look into the future of Road Redemption, and it’s hard not to be wowed by them.
Upon entering the main menu for the game the very first thing you will notice is the odd music chiming away in the background. As Road Redemption involves viciously murdering cops and criminals alike, you would expect some kind of heavy metal music thrashing away. But no, instead the music is almost calming, and makes you feel like you are about to step into a child’s platformer. Though this may be immensely misleading, it serves well to the dry humor of the game, and only helps to enhance its intrigue.
You are also given the option to play in up to 4 player split screen, with online planned also, Road Redemption really does not want to cut any corners. The controls were not shown before the first race, but a quick tap of the start menu brings up the image below, which was most welcoming. Having an option in-game to lower the visuals is also greatly appreciated considering the games early stage.
Accelerating onto the game now, it becomes very clear that despite its jokey formula, this is without a doubt aiming to be a damn fine game, both in its looks and gameplay. I was fortunate enough to try the game in its 00.01 stage a while back, and it goes to show the developers at Darkseas Interactive are not messing around. The first version of the game was set in just one location with the simple goal being to reach the end through 10 progressively difficult stages. It starts off with the player having to get used to the basic mechanics of drifting, camera control, and hitting other riders, but then the game ramps up the difficulty to the point where cars will literally go out of their way to smash your face in. Its a great challenge, and I cannot wait to see how Road Redemption will advance with this kind of gameplay overtime.
Skip ahead a few months and you enter the next stage of the alpha where a whole new track is available and the AI has improved greatly. There was a real bad case of rubber banding in the first version, but it seems to have improved greatly in the move to 0.002, which made the game 10x better. The screenshot below perfectly captures Road Redemption in all its glory. Acquiring weapons via battering an opponent with the one in hand is a great incentive to not just race to the finish, the game genuinely makes you want to attack the other riders, and it’s great you get rewarded for doing it.
There is a serious sense of speed in Road Redemption, and it feels great! The blue numbers shown in the screen above are points which would add onto the overall boost bar if it were not full. This of course allows the rider to boost with a rapid double tap of the right trigger, and speed ahead leaving the rest of the players in the dust. When the bar depletes the halt you would expect is not quite in place yet, as the bike does not really slow down, but rather it snaps straight back to the speed it was going prior to the boost bar being used. This is obviously something which will be worked on, so it’s a worry that likely will not last. One thing that does seem to be nearly perfected at the moment is the battle system. As the controller above shows, it becomes very easy to attack enemies, and it’s a great challenge in addition to having to dodge traffic and later, car storms (see below).
It is so damn satisfying whacking an enemy to the ground with the already large arsenal of weapons. I will not spoil them, but three of the best for me were the metal bat, the samurai sword, and the one-hit-wonder sledgehammer. They each have their own attributes which stop them from being considered OP. For example, the samurai sword is fast, but does much less damage. Whereas the sledgehammer is slow, but can clear riders in one swing. These are all of course simply being tested as it stands, and over time the weapons currently in use could change dramatically, but that’s the beauty of an Alpha product. Recently the developers posted an update on the page stating the intent to add in guns, grappling hooks and grabs, which as you could imagine could drastically change the state of the game.
Road Redemption still has a long way to come, but if what has been shown so far is any indication of the lengths at which the developers want to go, then fans of the genre are without a doubt in for the race of their life. Sure, the game has dozens of bugs, of which I encountered many, but they do not really detract from the overall experience. Getting stuck in a wall is not the greatest thing, and being expected to go flying when a car hits you at 200mph, but instead being nudged slightly is not so brilliant either, but these are all bugs that can and very likely will be fixed. Road Redemption is definitely a game to watch out for.
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