Racing games have come in many forms over the years but over twenty years ago a series came around that added an extra level of violence that went beyond simply crashing into walls or other vehicles. That happened to be Road Rash, a game that saw players racing through the streets while wielding weapons to knock out other racers and police to try and win. Now that that series has been gone for many years, Road Redemption is here looking to scratch that itch. The question is, does this game manage to deliver a solid enough experience?
The premise for Road Redemption is simple enough, players take on the role of a biker whose gang is hunting down an assassin with a massive bounty on his head. The problem is, every other biker gang in the country is trying to hunt him down as well and of course the police aren’t about to ignore bikers racing through the streets swinging weapons and shooting at each other, leading to a race across the country where numerous bodies will be left on the side of the road, including your own.
For the most part players will be sinking the majority of their time in the game into the campaign mode that tasks the player with racing across country through a large number of stages that have different missions to keep things varied and occasionally throws a bit of a twist into them as well for a more unique feeling. These missions tend to involve either racing to the finish line within a certain period of time, being one of the top three to finish, slay a certain number of enemy bikers, and other such objectives.
To do this players, at least most of the time, are equipped with a blunt melee weapon as well as a bladed one though certain unlockable characters do start out with special weaponry once you’ve made them available. Blunt weapons allows for standard damage while bladed weapons can decapitate enemies and double your reward for a takedown but they do extremely low damage to riders still wearing their helmets, often making it so players can knock off a helmet with a blunt weapon and finish them off with a blade in what ends up being a very satisfying combat system that also features longer slower weaponry that can take down multiple riders at once.
Other weapons come in the form of explosives that can simply be stuck to an enemy biker or larger vehicle to deal massive damage or thrown into a pathway as well as firearms. These guns allow for a bit of extended reach as you can easily shoot foes in front of you, and deal damage to some of the more finicky enemy types such as some specific riders that will block most attack types, but aiming while racing often ends up being an exercise in frustration. If you don’t feel like taking other riders down with your melee weapons it is also possible to simply kick their bikes away from you though this usually only gives the player a brief respite unless you kick them into an oncoming vehicle or off the track entirely.
As you race you will have to keep an eye on your health gauge as it is more than possible to die during a race if you sustain too much damage from other bikers or crash too often. Defeating foes will reward you with some health as well as nitro that can be used to boost yourself back into the race but it will also reward the player with money and experience points. Money can be used in between stages to unlock various boosts to the character and also restore health and nitro between races while experience points play into the more roguelike features of Road Redemption. Once a player dies in a race or fails too many objectives they will be forced to start over while losing all of their money and items, though experience points can then be applied to provide permanent boosts to various stats and even unlock the ability to start at later stages if you so wish to.
Other modes found outside of the campaign mode happen to be a more difficult version of the same mode that can be unlocked, a simple race against AI opponents or your friends with more tracks being unlocked the more you win, or racing online against other players though it is unfortunate to say that these online lobbies are quite barren more often than not which leads into some of the rougher aspects of Road Redemption.
Most of these issues come in the form of numerous bugs as well as roughly balanced AI that rubberbands to a ridiculous degree at times. Thanks to the fast paced nature of this game, especially when using nitro, players will find themselves moving at a quick pace and often Road Redemption struggles with this fact as the number of times that my biker was sent flying only to see an obstacle load in too late has been too many to count. This carries over into the finicky nature of the collisions in the game, where smashing into a fence at high speed will do nothing only for a smaller obstacle to send you off the bike.
All this while the AI often avoids incoming obstacles with ease all while keeping easy pace with your rider no matter how fancy of a bike you happen to be riding on at the time. In fact there were numerous moments that saw a clear lead vanish into a tight finish or loss simply because the AI immediately appeared behind me, a problem made all the more obvious thanks to the rear view mirror that players can display. These issues compounded with only three real unique looking areas make for a game that ends up feeling like a repetitive experience despite its fun combat mechanics.
Visuals & Audio
Fans of racing games will enjoy that there are at least a decent selection of motorcycle types to choose from in the game, though don’t expect anything fancy here, while fans of indie games will enjoy the number of guest characters that have made their way onto the roster. That being said, the actual designs of the worlds that you race through are as bland as they come with, as mentioned before, only three areas that feel truly varied and the generic look of most enemies doesn’t help things much.
The soundtrack features a decent selection of tracks that fit this aggressive style of racing game while the voice work is humorous sounding more often than not but fitting given the tone of Road Redemption.
Road Redemption has managed to capture the fun of racing against other bikers while trying to take one another down with all different types of weapons but unfortunately it doesn’t do too much else beyond that. With a number of glitches and only the campaign mode offering a lengthy experience, and even that limited due to its repetitive nature, Road Redemption is a blast in short bursts but skids out beyond that.