Review: Redout 2 (Nintendo Switch)

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After 20 years of complete absence, we F-Zero fans have concluded the beloved racing series is no more. We’ve had to take the last few years and see what independent developers came up with. Someone who understood that F-Zero wasn’t just about fast racing, but also high difficulty, extreme frustration, and the right balance of rewarding gameplay. It’s not an easy equilibrium to strike and many games have failed to truly recapture that feeling. Redout 2 is a unique case, though, as the original in the series was a strong title, coming close to matching that F-Zero feeling. Yet, something was missing throughout its experience. Now the developers are back with a sequel, Redout 2, and while it still doesn’t quite hit all the notes of that F-Zero magic we’re looking for, it’s a wonderful improvement on its predecessor in a game F-Zero fans would be wise to check out.

Like I mentioned, Redout 2 makes no mistakes in hiding its inspiration. This is a modern-day take on F-Zero if there ever was one. The game is about high-octane racing, pinpoint controls, and brutal difficulty. As a long-time F-Zero fan, those are all the things I want in a racing title.

Redout 2’s major strength is its blisteringly fast, yet brutal, gameplay. Every single race is an insane test of your reflexes, as you basically have split seconds to decide where to turn, how much to turn, or how long you have to prepare for the worst. This challenging gameplay won’t be for everyone, as it’s very much a trial-by-error sort of experience. This isn’t Mario Kart either, where there’s a variety of options to make the game easier or more fun for newcomers. Redout 2 is brutally hard and it knows it. I guarantee that, during your time playing, you will crash into walls, fall off courses, and barely make it through races before your ship blows up (which is what happens when you take too much damage during your race). 

The overall track designs are also nice, however, they feel fairly similar if you played the original Redout. Tracks have a diverse set of landscapes that you can race on. This helps the game feel fresh after you’ve played your 15th race or so. That said, if you played the original Redout, a lot of these tracks are going to feel vaguely familiar. Perhaps it was an intentional design by the developers or something they thought you would not notice. It’s not a downside by any means but it definitely will stand out more if you played the original Redout.

There’s also plenty of content to be found in Redout 2. You’ve got your standard racing modes such as Time Trial and Career Mode. Redout 2 also has online racing, which can be a blast when you’re playing with some of the top-notch players out there. It’s a bit less fun if you’re playing with a bunch of newcomers, who end up spending the whole match crashing into everything in sight, including you. Ultimately the Career Mode will keep you busy for quite some time, as there’s plenty of tracks for you to master to win the championship.

Ultimately, Redout 2 starts to falter when it comes to how it looks and runs. The developers did a great job making it run on Nintendo Switch, but it’s obvious it’s pushing its limits. It’s definitely not the prettiest game, especially not as pretty as the Switch launch title, Fast RMX. Environments and details are a bit blurry and they don’t quite pop out to you as they do on other consoles. There’s also a weird issue where crashing into walls causes the game to have a brief hiccup. For a split second, it’s like it stutters after a crash and then instantly fixes itself. Maybe this is just a simple glitch I ran into or something that will easily be fixed in an upcoming patch. Still, it was something that I noticed quite often, as I might have had a tendency to crash into walls with regular frequency.

My other issue with Redout 2 is that it presents a story to you, or at the very least attempts to put in a story but in a very poor way. The game tries to tell you the history of the world prior to this racing series, but at no point in the previous entry was this ever mentioned. The assumption was just it’s a futuristic racing title and that’s that. Redout 2 throws in a story of corporate greed, environmental destruction, and a horrible war that took place prior to these races. The thing is, the game never shows you or directly tells you the storyline. Rather, it’s a weird intro video at the very start and then that’s it. There’s the occasional reference to some history in the past through a splash screen but, otherwise, nothing else. It’s just a very weird addition that feels off when you play . It’s almost as if the developers felt they needed to have an explanation for how this world exists and slapped on a bunch of things that, sure, kind of make sense, and explain why it looks the way it does.

Ultimately Redout 2 is a blast play for long-time F-Zero fans. Its blisteringly fast gameplay and brutal difficulty make it feel right at home with some of F-Zero’s more recent outings. The game demands precision, insanely fast reflexes, and the willingness to fail and try again. Redout 2 does this with just the right level of frustration, but also rewards and entices you back for more. It’s definitely not for newcomers to the F-Zero-like genre, as it’s easy to get frustrated and consistently lose races. It also doesn’t help that this Nintendo Switch version currently has a few visual and gameplay hiccups; they don’t ruin the experience but ultimately hinder it a bit. Regardless, Redout 2 on Nintendo Switch is a must-play for F-Zero fans.

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