Road Redemption review for PS4, Xbox One, Switch

Platform: PS4
Also On: PC, Switch, Xbox One
Publisher: PS4
Developer: EQ Games, Pixel Dash Studios, Saber Interactive
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-10
Online: Yes

Somewhere deep in my brain, I have fond memories of the original Road Rash series. I wasn’t much into gaming in the late ?90s, nor have I ever been very into PC gaming, but for a couple of glorious months around 1997 or so, for whatever reason, a friend got me completely hooked on the game’s PC release.

I mention this because I suspect 1997 me would have been blown away by Road Redemption. Compared to the standards of those days, it looks and plays incredible, with relatively great graphics and all kinds of fun ways of taking out your fellow racers. It would have felt like Road Rash, but a million times better in every conceivable way.

1997 me, of course, didn’t exactly have the highest standards.

What’s more, Road Redemption should be judged against its modern-day competition, not against its spiritual predecessors. And in a post-Burnout, post-Danger Zone, post-Carmageddon world…well, it doesn’t look quite as great.

In fact, Road Redemption looks and plays like something that would’ve come out 15 years ago, and that probably would have been considered a little buggy and half-finished even then. Racers seem to pop in and out of existence, as does scenery. It’s not uncommon to crash your bike, and then find yourself tumbling through the underside of the world.

And the controls…my goodness, the controls. There is a button for turning abruptly, but it doesn’t make a huge difference. If you ever find yourself going offroad and in need of an instant course correction, you’ll find it feels more like turning a battleship than a motorcycle. Likewise, as the rider, trying to hit your fellow racers will often feel more like a matter of luck than of skill — and, honestly, most of the time you’d be better off just steering into opponents and driving them off bridges or into other cars.

Given how long it’s been since I played the game from which this draws such a heavy influence, it’s quite possible that this was how the original Road Rash games played as well. But even if it wasn’t, Road Redemption is such a reasonable facsimile that it makes me feel like it’s a possibility, which seems like an achievement in and of itself. That doesn’t make it a great game (or even a very good one, or even one you should consider buying unless you have a desperate need to relive the ?90s), but it does make Road Redemption a perfect successor to the games it’s trying to emulate.

Tripwire Interactive provided us with a Road Redemption PS4 code for review purposes.

Grade: C+