Redout: Space Assault Review(PS4)
Genre: On Rails Arcade Shooter
Release Date: Jan 22nd, 2021
*Key provided by publisher
''In space, no one can hear you barrel roll''
Redout: Space Assault is an arcade on rail game in the vein of titles such as Star Fox and is developed and published by 34BigThings. Having already been successful with 2016's arcade racing game of the same name, RedOut , 34BigThings decides to take this title a step further in the form of a prequel game and attempts to show us just how the racing league from 2016's title came to be. But is it worth knowing how it all came to be? is it a satisfying journey in both narrative and game play? We'll just have to find out, so let's go!
Set centuries before the introduction of the Redout Racing League and the colonization of the solar system, you play as Leon Barret, a pilot working with the Poseidon Corp. Your job is to help transfer civilians in a project that you and the company eventually hope will end in the colonization of mars and beyond. But there may be more hidden beneath the surface and secrets to uncover along the way that Leon was not expecting.
As stated before, Redout: Space Assault is an on rails arcade shooter in the style of games such as Star Fox on SNES and N64. In what can be considered a pretty drastic departure from its original racing roots in the 2016 title, Redout Space Assault tries to tell us the origin story of how the racing league was started and what events transpired that got us there in the first place. It's a task to me, that on one hand I feel it succeeded, but on another, I feel it falls rather short in. Were in mixed bag territory sorry to say.
The great thing about this title from the get go is its ease of play. You don't need some lengthy tutorial or long drawn out set piece to play out in order for you to get how the game works or stop you from jumping right into the action. I'm looking at you Twilight Princess, I'll never forgive you. From the start of the first mission, which is the actual tutorial mission itself, you're thrusted right into the action of this on rails shooter as you're given the objective to just get to the end of the level and kill anything in your path, simple right? Well yeah, that's because it is, very basic.
In this short beginning tutorial, which will only last you a few minutes, you will learn the basics, such as your normal gun fire, locking onto enemies so that you may kill a group of them in one hit using your missiles, spinning left and right to avoid enemies using a barrel roll and... that's pretty much it. That's the core of what you're going to use at the beginning of your journey through the main games campaign mode. As Ricky from Trailer Park Boys would say ''It doesn't take rocket appliances to figure this stuff out'' and he's totally right. Once you've gotten through the main tutorial, it's time to dive into the main games story and other game play mechanics they have in store for us, which really, isn't that many, sad to say.
Once into the first official mission of the main campaign you're treated to the start of the main narrative that tells the story of your job as a pilot working for the Poseidon Corp that involves you taking civilians and transferring them to different areas with the ultimate end goal being to colonizing mars and the solar system itself. Sounds pretty interesting right? well on paper yes it is, but as you push through its narrative piece, it just feels.. underwhelming. The things that are spoken of by the friendly A.I. through voice acting, either doesn't have enough emphasis behind their convictions in the line delivery or you find yourself zoning out from what they're talking about because it's just done in a way that really doesn't keep your focus long enough to care about it in the long run. So the game has to fall back to its crutch and what people are really here for, the game play.
During your time spent with Redout Space Assault, you'll be treated through 4 different game play modes and mechanics, such as Free flight mode, Combat, Racing, Boss battles, all of which offer their own unique style of game play. With Free Flight mode, it acts Star Fox 64s ''All Range Mode'', which allows you to freely roam around specific areas unrestricted by the on rails game play. This opens up minimal amounts of exploration, as well as various ways to take on boss battles when the time is right, however, most of the time its relegated to just flying around and collecting something and that's it. Not too exciting, but it can be a welcomed change in pace if on rails gets a little repetitive.
Racing missions are also present in ''racing mode''. But they do not feel as fluid or as responsive as they did in 2016's Redout. In an on rail focused shooter, the mixing of these two genres just don't mesh well and it feels like a case of trying too hard when really the game wouldn't of been any different without its inclusion. Don't get me wrong, they aren't terrible or unplayable, it's just that.. they feel a little bit un-needed with the way they're presented. But at least it offers a little bit of fun right? that's at least some good news.
Finally we have combat mode. ''Uh wait, you said 4 things, did you forget how to count? this is only the 4th mode''. Yes I totally forgot how to do the learn, after failing kindergarten twelve times, have pitty on me!. No no seriously, the reason why were going right into combat mode here is because Combat mode and Boss mode blend directly into each other. Combat mode makes up roughly 90% of what you do in this game with your on rail missions that take you from point A to point B and moves you through a variety of areas and set pieces where you mow down all your enemies with your normal gun fire, as well as your missile attacks. Every once awhile, just like Star Fox, you will come into contact with actual boss battles and man do these things range from really fun to really frustrating at times.
Now I've noticed a trend here, in a lot of games I seem to get fixated on my favorite parts of certain titles, usually being the boss battles, and the trend of course continues here. The boss battles to me is where the games potential can be seen. Each boss battle you encounter offers you a different way to think or play and an equal amount of rage at times. One moment you're beating up one an enemy boss and you're thinking to yourself ''man that's it?... okay''. But then bam here comes the bullet hell barrage from all sides of you and sometimes not even barrel rolling your heart out will save you and you'll eventually have to take that L and try once more. But thankfully after meeting your end, you're thrusted immediately back into the fray and get started right where you left off at the boss fight again, so thank beebo for that. Overall to me, the most awe inspiring fights though in this game, in regards to boss fights, are the David vs goliath moments you encounter. It leaves you feeling like a needle in a haystack with these giant towering ships towering around you.
Whoops, we almost forgot, there's an actual upgrade system in the game that allows you to update various parts of your ship, as well as unlock extra skins using currency and credits that you pick up for completed missions or from objects you find scattered around during all range mode free flight. Using your credits you are able to upgrade your Hull, Shield, Missiles and your weapons, but there's just one issue, it does not feel worth it. Even after upgrading multiple times and even maxing out specific stats, it never felt like I was getting stronger or that I was taking less damage. I never felt I was out leveling or out pacing my enemy, no matter what upgrades I made to my shields and weapons. It's a bit of a disappoint for me as someone who likes to grind out my stats and basically decimate my opponents in games I play, but having spent hours leveling stats to achieve this goal, in the end, I was just left disappointed that it was not achievable in the first place. Definitely a bummer.
At the end of the day, Redout: Space Assault does provide some fun for people that are scratching that on rail shooter itch, but it ultimately ends up as a case of a massive rash where itching it might actually make your symptoms worse. At its core, Redout Space Assault is an enjoyable little romp for what it's attempting to be, but where it falls short is in its narrative and its ''put too much eggs in a basket'' mentality. Combat can be fun and engaging in spurts, but you're left feeling the sense of ''why am I not playing Star Fox instead?'' and yes that even includes you, Star Fox Zero. If you are wanting a quick on rails game that offers you a few hours of fun, than I say have at it and get it, you might enjoy it. It's only $10. Normally I would say pass on this title if it was any more than that, but for $10, for that low of a price, it's worth it for what it offers, but just barely.