Hands-on with Road Redemption, the Spiritual Successor to Road Rash
It’s hard to believe it’s been 15 years since there was a Road Rash game. When it debuted in 1991, it quickly became a favourite series of mine and although some entries in the long-running series were disappointing, it’s a series that’s always warranted a comeback.
‘Road Redemption’ from Dark Seas Games looks to recreate the high-speed chaos of Road Rash and expand upon it through modern game design. With gorgeous graphics, a fantastic sense of speed and brutal combat, it looks to fill the void left in many gamers’ hearts by the absence of an actual Road Rash title. It’s currently in alpha, and while it has a long road ahead of it (see what I did there?), it’s shaping up to be one hell of a racer.
Upon starting up the alpha demo, the player is instantly transported to a race. There’s no loading screens yet (it’s in very early alpha stage) or countdown to the beginning of the race – you simply need to catch up to and batter your opponents. You begin the first race equipped with a baseball bat, but other races will see the player wield anything from a lead pipe or a katana, to pipe bombs and sticky time bombs. It doesn’t hold back on the violence, either. If the player gets struck in the head, the first hit will knock their helmet off. Other hits will increase the damage reflected on the player’s racer, which also indicates how close they are to falling off their bike and crashing. You start off normal looking, but will end up bruised and bloodied if you are on the losing end of a fight.
Road Redemption looks great considering it’s still in alpha stage and I’m sure the game will have a few more coats of paint added to it before the final game is released. There aren’t many unique features design-wise, but everything looks accurate. The bikes look the way they should, as do the cars and the environments. There are also a few nice touches of motion blur when needed, though it isn’t used excessively like in other games.
Control-wise, Road Redemption fares adequately, though having to use the default setting of keyboard and mouse can make for a slightly irritating experience. As the mouse controls the camera, players like me who might not have the steadiest of hands may find they will move the camera into a detrimental position. The camera itself never resets so it’s then up to the player to fix the issue. You can remap the controls however you wish, though there is no controller support at this time. Hopefully that will get implemented at some stage in Road Redemption’s development.
While Road Redemption is a love-letter and spiritual successor to the Road Rash series, I feel comparisons to the classic game series will ultimately be a disservice to Road Redemption upon its release. Yes, it has high-speed illegal motorcycle races and brutal melee combat, but Road Redemption looks to be a title that will not only will match its influences in terms of addicting gameplay, but could also exceed the highly-successful Road Rash series. One of the biggest challenges facing any new intellectual property is the core gameplay, which at this point has been nailed by Dark Seas Games. All that’s needed now is a strong campaign mode, kickass soundtrack, custom bikes and custom riders. While the final build of the game could turn out drastically different from what we see in the alpha build, I am confident that Dark Seas Games have a winner on their hands.