Road Redemption acts as the spiritual successor to EA’s Road Rash series. While it stays true to its roots, championing the same arcadey vehicular combat, its simple mechanics and simplistic gameplay loop fail to remain engaging.
A campaign mode provides the core of the game’s experience. 16 maps, all set against similarly grey backdrops of ruined cities, forest and mountain passes, provide the racetracks for its rogue-lite levels. Plentiful pickups and shortcuts ensure you can boost and weave your way through the track, and the sense of speed can be exhilarating.
While staying in control can be testing at times, speed matching makes pulling up along an enemy to land a fatal blow feel slick and satisfying. Although the procedurally generated nature of objectives ensures a degree of variety, gameplay frequently boils down to offing foes with rinse-and-repeat tactics and being the first to reach the tracks end. As such, the same handful of objectives and enemies soon become repetitive.
Given one life, survival becomes increasingly challenging as levels ramp up in difficulty. Removing an enemy’s helmet with a blunt weapon to then behead him with the swing of a machete is undeniably gratifying but the novelty soon wears off. Certain enemies who give health packs, weapon pick-ups and nitro-boost fuel add a level of strategy to how you approach enemy encounters. Bosses bring some variation to combat, but again defeating them usually entails the same tried and true tactics. Meanwhile, a range of buffs, upgrades and unlockables add a sense of progression and incentive as you drub and decapitate your way through this quasi-Mad Max world.
Like any rogue-lite game, good runs and bad runs rely upon which random level layouts and upgrades you are presented with. Unfortunately this system is poorly balanced, with the rate at which you gain XP and unlock new bikes and riders feeling frustratingly slow. Before unlocking the ability to jump back into the campaign from a later mission, restarting each time feels like a real grind, made even more monotonous by the repetitive objectives.
Road Redemption’s minute-to-minute gameplay is satisfying enough, and while the game does little fundamentally wrong beyond dull presentation and limited content it simply fails to remain fun or engaging. Multiplayer modes including 4-player couch coop fill out the rest of the experience but unfortunately sharing the experience does little to elevate its enjoyability. There is some fun to be had in Road Redemption, but this is less a glorious rebirth and more a passable rehash.
Road Redemption PS4 Review
Overall - Bad - 4/10
Road Redemption’s vehicular combat provides fleeting fun but repetitive objectives, limited gameplay variety and tedious progression make this ride feel like a slog.
Brutal, satisfying combat
Repetitive gameplay and objectives
Progress is a grind
Reviewed using PS4 Pro.
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