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Review

Road Rage Review

Bleed for Speed.

Combat racing games haven’t exactly been at the forefront of video games in recent years. In fact, not since the late 90s and early 00s have we enjoyed a proper dose of virtual vehicular mayhem that felt new and fresh. Despite being a much-loved genre, it’s still in desperate need of a revival with numerous failed attempts in the last few years. 2012’s Twisted Metal reboot was promising though still felt stuck in the past, the same was true of last year’s Carmageddon: Max Damage and, now, Road Rage.

From the name to the focus on motorbikes, Team 6 is clearly paying an homage to the popular Road Rash series, but theirs is a poor tribute at best. It’s bland, soulless, and ultimately not very fun to play, crushing our hopes for a great combat racer to round out 2017.

Set in a rundown city under police lockdown, Road Rage tries to tell a story that is pretty much impossible to care about. It’s great to see a small studio like Team 6 make an effort, but the quality of the filler dialogue, of which there’s a surprising amount, is awful and had me hammering at the skip button every time it popped up.

The story is there as a very loose handrail to guide players around an open world sandbox populated with various missions. These include your bog standard circuit and elimination races as well as stunt rides, time trials, and some more combat-focused variants. Placing first in any of these events will earn you cash to buy new weapons, bikes, and upgrades which gradually unlock as you progress.

Road Rage’s bike handling can take a while to get used to. There’s an awkward stiffness that makes turning corners a labour until you learn how to properly use the handbrake. It’s serviceable, sure, but not quite on par with your average arcade racer. Fair enough, you may think, concessions have to be made if the team is also trying to juggle a high-speed combat system too, but the biker-on-biker clashes are pretty rubbish and don’t really do anything for the gameplay as a whole.

When approaching another racer you press a button to zero in, creating some kind of magnetic link between the two of you. These duels, if you can even call them that, are won by whoever lands the first blow, sending the other rider tumbling to their doom. There’s nothing more to it and only two combat actions available, swinging your weapon either left or right. It’s incredibly basic, but then the way Road Rage stretches an invisible band around two racers means you’re more likely to hit a wall or obstacles instead of being struck by a metal pipe or baseball bat.

A couple of mission types will force you to hunt down targets but for the rest of the game combat is purely optional and should honestly be avoided. For the risk involved, you’re a hundred times better off simply trying to outrace your opponents instead. It’s pretty dire when you stop to think about it; a combat racer in which players actively avoid combat.

What’s Good:

  • Clubbing pedestrians to death with a selfie stick

What’s Bad:

  • Bike combat feels like an afterthought, not the core focus
  • Drab open world
  • Paper-thin story that’s impossible to care about
  • Stiff bike handling
  • Bugs and performance issues

The easily outrun and overly simplistic combat is a major blow that Road Rage never manages to recover from. The basic open world design, ugly visuals, and various bugs become harder to tolerate knowing just how deeply unfulfilling the core gameplay is, even when you factor in the budget price tag.

Score: 2/10

Version tested: PlayStation 4 Pro

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5 Comments
  1. Tuffcub
    On the naughty step.
    Since: Dec 2008

    Oh that’s a shame, was looking forward to this.

    Comment posted on 21/11/2017 at 16:44.
  2. coruscant
    Member
    Since: Oct 2010

    I just wish these actually had splitscreen, because without that I don’t really see the point in these games. Hell, me and my friends still like to play Star Wars Demolition on occasion!

    Comment posted on 21/11/2017 at 21:23.
  3. Starman
    Member
    Since: Jul 2011

    They’ve got a handbrake on a motorcycle? Even though it’s terrible I’ll probably end up buying it when it’s £7.99 in Game.

    Comment posted on 21/11/2017 at 21:29.
  4. Severn2j
    Member
    Since: Aug 2008

    If you have a gaming PC, then I’d recommend a look at Road Redemption instead. A ‘spiritual’ successor to Road Rage by the original developers, who weren’t allowed to call it Road Rage as they no longer owned the license.

    Comment posted on 22/11/2017 at 13:49.
  5. Nera Eris
    Member
    Since: Aug 2009

    surprised the greedy folk at EA hasn’t made an endless Road Rash game for mobiles

    Comment posted on 23/11/2017 at 17:30.

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