The 90’s were a revolutionary era for gaming, not only due to the advance in technology with appearance of consoles like the PlayStation and Nintendo 64, but also because it was a time that game developers were trying out different formulas and creative ideas when developing their games. When it came to the racing genre, one of the titles that stood out at the time was Road Rash, a motorcycle-racing game where you could get violent and attack your opponents if it meant you would win the race. Developed by EQ-Games and Pixel Dash Games, Road Redemption tries to offers a similar experience, and while there are some interesting ideas and fun moments, the game doesn’t never quite achieves the greatness Road Rash had.
Road Redemption takes place in a period of uneasy peace for biker gangs. When a masked assassin kills the leader of the Ironsight Weapons Cartel, the cartel offers a $15 million bounty to whoever brings the assassin, dead or alive. As a member of Jackal’s biker gang, you are tasked with bringing this masked assassin down, however, you won’t be alone, as several other gangs are also after the same reward.
As you are riding your bike, you will be constantly attacked by either bikers from rival gangs or the police, and you must defend yourself by attacking them with bats, swords, guns, and even explosives. The interesting mechanic here is that each type of weapon has its benefits and disadvantages in combat, which encourages players to try out different combinations depending on the situation at hand. For example, while swords deal more damage than bats and give you more rewards when you decapitate an enemy, they are weak against armored enemies. On the other hand, bats overall deal less damage, but this damage will mostly stay consistent whether they are using an armor or not. Guns and explosives deal quite a decent amount of damage whether the enemies wearing armor or not, however, amno is limited, meaning that you can’t rely on these all the time.
Road Redemption isn’t just about riding from point A to point B, as each mission has its own objective, such as taking down a certain number of enemies, or winning a race. It’s not a game over if you fail a mission’s objective, but you will receive a penalty, such as getting you maximum HP reduced. While you could focus solely on the mission objective, there’s also a risk/reward mechanic in place. Focusing solely on the mission objective would mean that you would get less cash and XP by the end of the mission, meaning that you wouldn’t be able to purchase as many upgrades as you could should you have chosen to defeat many enemies while going for the objective. In addition, killing enemies earns you some HP (and nitro), making enemies a good source of HP if you are in a bind, but also a risk should they hit you.
As you complete each mission you receive cash that you can use to purchase boosters that will be active throughout the rest of your playthrough, such as health or attack boosters, upgraded weapons, health and nitro packs, and more. In addition to cash, you will also earn XP after each mission. Once your playthrough comes to an end, whether you complete it or die trying, you can use this XP on a Skill Tree to purchase skills, stat boosts and other bonuses. Unlike the boosters that you purchase with cash throughout a playthrough, these skills are permanent, meaning that they will carry over to new campaigns. While each playthrough is relatively short (around 1 hour if you make it to the end), I felt like some kind of quicksave feature was needed here, since all your progress will be lost if you have to leave or your game crashes.
After completing the campaign, there’s still a few challenges you can take on. For starters, you unlock campaign+, a mode in which enemies are more powerful and the order of the levels is randomized, meaning you can get late game levels right at the start. You can also challenge yourself further by trying to complete the campaign with new riders that will come with some handicaps, such as not being to use guns or not having access to the Skill Tree extra stats. You can also invite up to three friends and experience the campaign together in split screen. In addition, you can also test your skills online in 5v5 race battles against other players, although, I did experience some server issues and never found other players. Overall, there’s still some replay value here, if you really want to play the campaign a few more dozen times at least.
When it comes to presentation, Road Redemption is one of those games that won’t impress anyone. While you are racing through the different levels, you will quickly notice how bland and empty the environments are, and while there is some attention to detail when it comes to bikes and riders, Road Redemption still looks like a game that came out from the PS2/Xbox era. In addition, while the game tries to keep a steady 60 frames-per-second, I often experienced frame drop whenever there were explosions or a lot of enemies on screen.
With its violent high speed races, Road Redemption brings an entertaining racing experience to the table, but one not without its flaws. While the roguelite campaign offers lots of fun and challenging moments, with a dead online mode and harder “versions” of the campaign, the game has little to offer once you are done with campaign. If you are a fan of the genre and don’t mind short experiences, then Road Redemption is definitely worth your time.Road Redemption was reviewed using a PS4 Digital Copy provided by Tripwire Interactive. You can find additional information about Gaming Union's ethics policy here.
|Entreating combat racing experience.|
|Decent variety of weapons, each with its strengths and weaknesses.|
|Fun roguelite campaign that can also be experienced in local co-op.|
|Online is mostly dead.|
|Has little to offer once the campaign is complete.|
|Visual presentation on par with the PS2/Xbox era.|