With Sony and Nintendo refusing to do right by their respective futuristic racing franchises (that WipEout collection barely counts), the mantle is being taken by enterprising third-parties hoping to fill the void with their fresh takes on the somewhat niche anti-gravity racer genre. Some actually do a pretty good job, like Fast RMX, while others are almost there, like Redout: Lightspeed Edition. And then there’s Radial-G: Racing Revolved…
As you can guess, the game takes inspiration from the greats that came before it, though I’d say it leans a little more on the F-Zero side of things. You race anti-gravity ships around tracks made up of tubes that twist and turn, though some are a little simpler than others to help ease in new players. The racing aspect itself is straight forward and, despite it being all about mind-bending turns, you can take that quite literally.
See, the problem with Radial-G lies in its gameplay. It’s not especially challenging, and if I’m being quite frank, it’s a bit… boring? As you whip along these tracks, your vehicle follows the path with minimal input from you, the player. But before I get into that, let’s talk about the PSVR mode – the big offender.
If you want to play the game in PSVR mode, you’ll need a headset. Obviously. You won’t need any PS Move wands or AIM controllers as your DualShock 4 is just fine. In this mode you’re put in the cockpit of whichever racing craft you’ve selected. At first I was mildly impressed by the detail on the inside of my anti-gravity machine, but that subsided after a few moments when I realised I was merely a spectator posing as a racer. The game assists you to the point that you can just hold down R2 to accelerate and nothing else. Sure you’ll hit a few red slow down barriers, but for the most part you can complete a race without really trying. Should you attempt to control your ship, you’ll be met with controls that don’t seem to want to play ball. Want to turn left to hit that green boost pad? You’re at the mercy of the gods. Heck, you might not even be able to see the upcoming speed pads anyway.
Due to the nature of the game’s tracks that go up and down, round and round, you’ll only be able to see a few virtual feet ahead of you at any given time unless you’re on a particularly long stretch of straight space road. There’s never really a feeling of being in control, and it’s this that really hampers the game, at least in PSVR mode.
I should also mention that this one isn’t for the weak-bellied PSVR owners. It’s fast and sickening, and should you hold down left or right and send your craft all the way around a tubular track, you’ll be scrubbing the floors before you’ve even bothered to try out the online mode. That’s just me, mind you, and your mileage may vary. It’s still worth a mention though.
Surprisingly, the non-VR mode is actually better than the PSVR mode, though only slightly. If you’re playing in the traditional way with a TV setup, you can change the view at will to go from cockpit to the traditional chase-cam. This is much preferred as you can actually see what’s happening up ahead. It doesn’t solve the problem of the game being boring but it’s at least a little better.
I guess my main complaint is that the tracks just aren’t that great. They look pretty decent in both PSVR and regular TV mode, but the lack of variety is sorely felt from the offset. It doesn’t help that the moment to moment gameplay is still awfully simple and doesn’t really require much user input.
Radial-G boasts a full campaign with unlockable tracks and vehicles, as well as standard quick events like races, time attack, and even an online multiplayer mode. In fairness, the developers obviously have a passion for what they do and it’s obvious by the amount of content being offered, but even with the different game modes and progression system, I can’t shake the feeling that Radial-G just isn’t very good. It’s OK at best. A middle of the road kind of thing. It’s going to end up like James Blunt: it’ll make a lot of noise to begin with but it’ll eventually end up as nothing more than a footnote in history. Well, the history of gaming. Proper history doesn’t give a toot about my main man, Blunters, or gaming.
Radial-G: Racing Revolved PS4/PSVR Review
I'm giving this one a 'Not Bad'. It's not a terribly bad game and there were some flashes of brilliance, but unfortunatley it's just not quite there. At least not yet. Perhaps a sequel could right the wrongs and get this racer back on track.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS4 Slim.