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I feel the need, the need for – a new anti grav racer to fill that void in my heart that Wipeout and F-Zero X left from the once popular anti-grav racing scene. The door has been left wide open and through the space zooms Redout 2, the sequel to the 2016 original by Italian studio 34BigThings.
Thump, whomp, boom – three words that sum up my time with Redout 2 accurately, and I don’t just mean the soundtrack. Those noises you may hear were my ship crashing time and time again into the sides of the anti-gravity tracks that are found across the vast landscapes of Redout 2.
You see fellow racers, Redout 2 is fast. Very fast. It claims to be the fastest racer in the universe, and it’s a claim that is not wrong. Racing at speeds of over 600mph, Redout 2 is a track based anti-grav racer through and through. While the aforementioned Wipeout or F-Zero X may lean to the arcade side, if there was a sim version of the sport, this would be it.
Difficulty is high, so high that even on the lower difficulty setting you will see yourself crash, bang and wallop around the courses on your first jaunt. The barrier for entry here sure is tough to get over, but many long term fans will relish the challenge that is found.
Sure many racing games have annoying AI competitors with unfair rubber banding, something which is also present here even on lower difficulties. But in Redout 2 the difficulty also comes from the control of the ships.
You have an impressive level of control of your ship; steering and strafing is all fine and dandy. But when you have to start thinking about manually adjusting the pitch for an incline at speeds over 600mph? Well, that doesn’t always lead to a good time. Each turn must be mastered with both analogue sticks in play to get round the tight, fast approaching bends that appear out of nowhere thanks to the breathtaking speeds achieved on track.
On top of the intricate manual control of your ship, something which is needed to take on the behemoth tracks, you must also be aware of boost and heat. Boosts are used not only to get the advantage on your fellow racers, but also to make several lengthy jumps on tracks. Alongside boost, the heat meter must be kept in check or your ship could explode; it truly is a fine line to keep all these systems balanced perfectly.
Speaking of time, one other mode offered aside from Career is Time Trial. Time trials allow you to practice the intricate twists and turns of each track, setting times and challenging yourself to get better each time you retry the trial. Paired with the really great tutorial lessons, it’s the time trials of Redout 2 where your focus should lay, at least when not competing to achieve success in actual races.
Boss mode, while it sounds like a throwback to 2019’s space shooter spin off Redout: Space Assault, instead combines multiple tracks together to form one mega track. This can tend to get a bit boring in solo mode, but fun could be had in these endurance style marathon races with a few friends.
There are indeed thirty-six unique race tracks featured in Redout 2 and each has its own devilish loops, twists, turns and jumps that must be mastered in whatever mode becomes your go to default. Each new track you unlock shows a cutscene flyby of the track and surrounding areas, each one with a colourful real world meets cyberpunk pleasing aesthetic to them; all are distinct from each other.
Unlocking new tracks is easier said than done though, mostly as they are locked away behind stars. Adding to the longevity of Redout 2 you receive stars for finishing positions on each race, with one to three given out providing you have done well enough; a bonus fourth star is in place for various challenges such as achieving a set speed.
Once you have built enough skills in the offline modes, there’s a chance you’ll want to head over to the online arena. Here you can put your pride on the line and take part in races against players around the world for bragging rights and the occasional reward like exclusive decals for your ship.
There isn’t much here that breaks the mold for the genre, but Redout 2 achieves what it sets out to be. A fast, fun, robust anti-grav racer. Honestly, it could have been much more entertaining with the simple addition of a story in the career mode.
However, visuals are absolutely on point – a real mix of cyber punk and real world. 60fps seemed to remain stable throughout my time with the game, something which is a must for a game with such speed in its races. In fact, that speed needs to be seen to be believed as it truly makes you sit back and refocus your eyes every now and then.
The soundtrack features forty-two original tracks and nine licensed ones, helping to crank things up as you zoom through the loops and swoops on each race. Over three hours of thumping electronic music is here in total, putting the cherry on top of this anti-grav racing experience.
Fun can certainly be found in Redout 2, however there is a level of patience and practice required to fully feel the in-game rhythm; controlling your ship at breakneck speeds in this unforgiving sport has never been made so difficult. The definition of sim racer should definitely be applied here, much more than the arcade and more forgiving anti-grav racers of the past.
Redout 2 may not be for everyone, mostly due to the level of skill required to play, but for fans of the series it will go down like a fine wine… a very fast fine wine.
Redout 2 is available from the Xbox Store