Back in the Sega Genesis days, I played a ton of a motorcycle racing game that focused more on combat than it did on racing. My friend Luke and I would trade the controller back and forth, putting in many satisfying hours working to win races while beating the crap out of the opposition. It was called Road Rash II and I have many fond memories driving through Vermont on the Wild Thing. When you crashed that beast of a bike it seemed like you would skid forever because you went so fast. I don’t know how that would hold up today, but I’d imagine much better than some current games like Road Redemption for the Switch.
This relationship between Road Redemption and I did not start out on a very good foot when the opening scene was choppy and ran worse than Apple iTunes movies on a PC. For those suffering from that affliction, turn off the auto sync option and it will help. Why is that necessary? It’s close to 2019 and we still have video issues on computers with insane graphics cards, 6 core processors, 32 gigs of RAM and solid-state hard drives? The Switch is no slouch when it comes to technology and I know it can handle an opening screen animation whether it be video or rendered graphics. At some point, like Deadpool says about the dad in Taken, you have to wonder if he’s just a bad father.
At this point I’m excited to see what 26 years of technological innovation has brought to the motorcycle racing games that exemplify brutality and destruction. What came to my screen was what I would consider to be a poorly executed mess that has so much potential. While starting my first race I am expecting to have a learning curve and appreciate when a game helps you along with some of the finer points of the controls or features that may not be that obvious. It crosses a line when, every 30 seconds or so, the game is telling you to hit a button to use your turbo to go faster. This happens whether or not you even have this nitrous turbo available. So, while I’m trying to beat on other cycle riders and gain some ground on the leader, the words are flashing on the screen to hit your turbo. You do and, much like Han Solo trying to jump to light speed with a broken hyperdrive in the Millennium Falcon, nothing happens because you don’t have any nitrous. Then could you do me a favor and just remind me when I actually have this feature available?
The tracks are procedurally generated and it takes a very long time to create these landscapes, anticipation building as the game slowly loads and you are finally lined up to race. The first thing I noticed is how incredibly difficult and annoying it can be to get close enough to another biker to hit them. Then, when you do get close enough, you tap your button to initiate the strike. Surely this will be a thing of beauty as you whack a gang member in the head with a stick or chain and send them to last place. It was more like a batter in Major League Baseball as I shall do my best to illustrate with words. The pitcher starts his wind up, the batter anticipates the ball coming so he brings the bat over his shoulder, lifts his forward leg, steps into a swing, and misses the 100-mph fastball by what can seem like seconds. I hit the button, my racer raises his left arm up to my right, then brings the club or chain toward the target, and by the time said weapon is to the point where it should be connecting with a helmet or skull the target biker has already hit a car, spun off the road, or hit his nitrous that actually exists for him. What you do hit is air or maybe a car.
Speaking of wiping out, more than once a crash resulted in the entire environment around me disappearing to a white backdrop because my racer has apparently fallen through the world. It reminds me of those PC games you can purchase in alpha release where there are a lot of problems with complicated environments and there are times where you just fall through the world, the game crashes, and you shrug it off because, hey it’s in alpha release so you expect that stuff. Where this becomes unacceptable is when you get a game that has been cleared for release and this happens to you on the first race. Again, as bad ass as Liam Neeson was in Taken, he felt less so by the third one and your desire to watch it has waned to an almost nonexistent point.
The music is decent, and the graphics are nice. This one is good for 4 to 6 hours of biker punching before you may begin to wish you had just played something else in that time. I don’t feel like this is a worthy title of your time and money. With last count being over 1000 games available on the Switch, I’m quite sure you can find something else that will be much more rewarding.
Road Redemption Review
- Graphics - 5/105/10
- Sound - 5/105/10
- Gameplay - 3/103/10
- Lasting Appeal - 3/103/10
Final Thoughts: BAD
Looking for an amazing racing game that involves combat, thrilling speed, stellar controls, and rewarding excitement? I’m sure there is a game out there that can offer that to you, but Road Redemption is just not it. With graphical and game play issues that frustrate more than exhilarate there are far more worthy titles of your time and money.