If you've been following the progress of Darksea Games' upcoming motorcycle, combat-racing game, you would know that the game is literally the spiritual successor to the age-old 16-bit racing title, Road Rash.

I was fortunate enough to have received a gift key of Road Redemption from a die-hard gamer who contributed to the project and wanted to spread some of the love. So, a huge thanks to Bret for that.

The game, I should add, is in the very, very, very early pre-alpha stages of development. Rough around the edges doesn't begin to describe it. One should expect as much from the first playable build of the game made available to the Kickstarter backers.

However, what is there and what is playable in Road Redemption is terribly enjoyable, borderline addictive and a true love letter to the series that EA put on the map back during the Genesis and SNES feud.

Even while a lot of what the alpha has is very incomplete, a lot of what is there is actually quite fun.

So just as a basic introduction for those of you completely unfamiliar with EA's old Road Rash titles: you start off in a pack of motorcycles and the objective is to race to the finish line. The tracks are designed as point-to-point races, so there are no laps and there's plenty of unpredictability involved. As you progress through the levels, you have to deal with denser traffic, road hazards and the police.

Racing on motorcycles from one end of a road to another seems thrilling enough, but Road Redemption – just like in the original Road Rash – offers you the ability to grab weapons and beat the living crap out of your opponents, too.

The fight mechanics are mapped to the face buttons – I was using an Xbox 360 controller – so 'X' and 'Y' performed left and right attacks, while 'B' was to kick. Kicking works pretty nicely in this game and I managed to kick a few people off a bridge (and get kicked off a bridge) a couple of times.

One of the biggest differences between Road Redemption and Road Rash is that players and bikes respawn at the point of where they fell, which brings it closer to the PSX versions of the bike-thrashing series than the old PC and Sega versions. If some of you remember, in the very old sprite-based Road Rash games any time you fell off your bike you had to manually run and pick it up. I completely understand why that would seem a bit tedious for Road Redemption given that you can ragdoll pretty far away from your bike and you can also fall into ditches, fall off cliffs, blast over into hilly areas and manage to get knocked into areas that's rather difficult to traverse. Instant respawning makes sense here.

The alpha demo contains only one stage but if you complete it a couple of times the difficulty will crank up and the traffic will start working against you. This opens up some very interesting possibilities for the full version, as players will have to work hard to race at top speeds, stay on the track and fight off opponents.

That's another thing worth mentioning: Darksea did a fantastic job of recapturing both the speed and the intensity of the melee fights from the old Sega Genesis games. I'm not entirely sure how they did it, but there's an extremely satisfying sense of momentum and steadiness to allow you time your attacks, utilize precision melee brutality and yet still feel like you're moving fast. Great job, Darksea.

The animations still need a ton of work, and there's obviously a lot of placeholder stuff in the game right now, but the general direction of Road Redemption is right on target. I can't wait to see how this game evolves moving closer toward the beta phase of testing.

You can learn more about Road Redemption by paying a visit to the game's official Kickstarter page.

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