Contender for most pointless game of 2017
Road Rage is a vehicular (Motorbike) combat game set in an open world and is one of the worst games I have encountered. I say that with deep regret as I really believe this could of been a great game. Most people around the 30 age bracket will remember Road Rash, it was a release on the Sega Genesis/Megadrive that i still regard as one of my all time favourite racing games. The cynical would say Road Rage is a rip off of Road Rash; while Optimists would say this is a re-imagining of a classic which was so successful it spawned 3 sequels. A clear nod towards its predecessor is visible in the character names. The problem is that Road Rage fails to deliver on every aspect which made its predecessor such a unique and beloved game. This is certainly not a new issue, Mario, Sonic and a host of platformers that ruled the 1990s have fallen by the wayside, as they simply do not translate to modern consoles.
The game is set in the fictional open world of Ashen, visually the world is detailed and at times impresses, the scale is immense and there is a lot of detail in places although the fact there is no sky ensures the world looks cold, boring and often murky. If you have played a Spiderman or TMNT game that should give you an idea of the Cityscape. Although the world is huge and looks good it also looks bland. The NPC's which occupy this skyless world are horrendous, square pixelated assets which have the A.I of a bad 90s game, their animations are awful. I saw 8 of the same guy gathered on one corner, just bumping into each other. Normally I might not have noticed and may even have applauded the developers for the attempt to populate the world; however they saw fit to include an achievement for killing 1000 pedestrians, this made sure I noticed. Other issues include; Lamp posts seem to be invisible you can drive through them at will but hit a plastic cone and you will explode. So many times I ended up driving straight through buildings, falling through the map or spawning in ridiculous places e.g on top of parked cars.
Road Rage's unique selling point is the combat but any player will quickly realise this is the games biggest flaw and you will be reluctant to use it. Firstly it takes around 3-4 seconds to complete one strike action, the movement is so slow that you can travel 50 meters before its done. Thinking about hitting in quick succession, think again. the strike action must be fully completed if you hit the attack button in succession it cancels the first attack out. For some reason the devs thought that hitting a pedestrian should be in Slo-Mo, with animations this terrible why on earth they would want to show-case it is beyond me. The motion is slowed down so much it practically freezes time, the only people who would benefit from watching these terrible animations are other game devs to see how not to do to it. i dreaded any mission where combat was involved as it so poorly constructed.
Lets talk about game-play, which shouldn't take long. I believe there are 7 different types of race each one more frustrating than the last. There's the standard race, checkpoint race, escape, assassination race and stunt and a couple more not worth naming. The game recycles the same old mission type in each area of the map leading to boredom due to the repetition. For the escape races you can just pause wait 30 seconds and you win. Other races only serve to demonstrate how terrible the A.I is, watch the police crash full speed into dead ends, watch other racers just stop in the middle of the road and watch the god awful pedestrians gather in a corner. The motorbikes offered get progressively quicker and better looking as you progress but there is no desperate urge instilled in the player to acquire a certain bike.
The only element of the game which I found to be interesting was the music, it genuinely harks back to a classic arcade era however this is not enough to save this game. I genuinely have no idea what the dev's were trying to accomplish with this game, it is not challenging, it's not impressive, it's not unique and it certainly is not fun. The game lacks depth, it lacks a purpose and critically does not forge any connection with the player. Its quite a shame as I really wanted and tried to enjoy this title. It seems as though the developers started with a unique concept and the best intentions but either gave up and settled on this version or perhaps realised that the concept didn't really translate to the modern era. In short this game has more wrong with it than right and is a very poor release for 2017. The simplistic concept which thrived in the 1990s I genuinely recommend you avoid this title.