Developer: Perpetual FX Creative
Publisher: Tammeka Games
Platforms: PS4, PC, Playstation VR
Rating: E10+ for Everyone
Sporting millions of little neon lights and a futuristic setting, Radial-G: Racing Revolved perfectly encapsulates my childhood vision of what a zero-gravity future racer would look like. Racing at blistering speeds on unfathomable tracks is an experience that you need to see for yourself. However, a few unfair track designs and some slippery controls caused unneeded frustration, keeping this futuristic racer from reaching its full potential.
Violence: Racing is intense and vehicles explode if too much damage is sustained. Weapons can be used as well, but no physical damage to a vehicle is present and the vehicle will just disappear once an explosion occurs.
The best thing about Radial-G is how it doesn’t concern itself with motion sickness. This game is essentially roller-coaster racing, complete with loops, corkscrews, and sudden anti-gravity flips. When you chain together boost after boost, you will reach speeds that will have you holding your breath and clenching your teeth. But while blasting around turns isn’t necessary to finish first, most of those turns are performed blindly, and on top of this, there are speed traps that can slow your racer to a crawl, and they can destroy your ship if you hit too many and your shield is low enough.
There are countless ways to die, and oftentimes, it seems like memorizing the track layout is your only chance for survival. However, tracks need to be learned and responded to almost subconsciously to be successful and this type of mental imprinting can become tedious when speed is of the essence. This alone will scare away many who don’t view the racing genre as their favorite, frustrate the persistent, and totally exhilarate veterans.
Some of the modes allow for weapons to be used only during certain race types, and no ship comes standard with guns. All weapons are acquired Mario Kart style, or even Wipeout/Redout style for a more accurate comparison. Unfortunately, none of the weapon pickups have the same impact of either those two games. Shooting or laying mines at enemies is a fun diversion, but it eventually became distracting, and I found that I actually had more success ignoring the weapons altogether and just focusing on the race.
Numerous race types, unlockable ships, and nine tracks, can keep most players invested for a fair amount of time. The novice and intermediate sections of the campaign don’t present too much of a problem, but the speed in expert is dialed up so high that I nearly found it impossible. I eventually threw in the towel to save my own sanity. Adding to the chaos are somewhat slippery controls, especially when racing on flat surfaces.
The campaign also consists of career challenges of eighteen events, but most of these can be done quickly; in less than twenty minutes I was already a third of the way through. The challenges ramp up in difficulty the further you go, but the types of events are pretty generic. The challenges include, time attack, regular races, elimination races, speed challenges, and a few other events—unfortunately it still feels like slim pickings.
Even with the lack of options, the tracks are still awesome to see in first-person in VR. Being able to look around the enormity of the tube-like structure that is the racetrack and see a good distance ahead is really cool. This sets itself apart from other racers in that you are able to see obstacles earlier than if you weren’t in VR due to actually being in the driver seat. The environments seem enormous and they definitely play to the strength of VR overall with the sense of scale.
Even with plenty of options and a customizable multiplayer mode, Radial-G’s menus and UI are finicky and tedious to navigate. Luckily, the graphics are nice and the framerate is silky smooth. The requisite techno soundtrack is appropriate to the speed and action happening around you, but unfortunately, the sound effects really detract from the overall experience. This is supposed to be a futuristic racer so I would think engine noises may not be appropriate, but some kind of noise to accompany my exhilaration would have really heightened the experience. The sense of speed is there, but the audio could have really driven it home.
Overall, Radial-G: Racing Revolved delivers with being one of the first futuristic racers for PSVR, and deserves a look for the intense speed alone. But like an actual roller coaster, the fun is short lived and a little shallow. If you are a thrill seeker or just need to see everything your PSVR is capable of, Radial-G might be for you. However, for a deep rewarding racer, you may want to look elsewhere.
Review code generously provided by Novy Unlimited
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