Have you ever wondered what would happen if you took a competitive team based game like Counter Strike, took out all the guns, the bombs, maps and avatars and replaced it with a race track, cars and special abilities? I’m guessing you probably haven’t. Racing games up until now have been very traditional with a track, and the aim to be first. Now we have a new genre, competitive racing. Let’s see how it goes.
The first thing I need to say about this game is that I’m definitely on the fence about it. I want to like it, I really do, but the majority of the time, I have no idea what the fuck is going on. The game is always competitive with one team against the other; each team has 6 people, so that’s immediately 11 other cars to keep track of at the same time. The game also has sacrifice cars, destroy them and you can get some extra boost. This adds even more vehicles to the screen and the overall effect with cars flying around, dodging left and right, being destroyed and respawning means there’s just a little bit going on; hence the reason for me not knowing what the fuck is going on. The game is designed to be very teamwork based but when the game is moving so fast, any plan that you make in your head is immediately thwarted due to your untimely death.
With that said, let’s take this a little slower and see what’s really behind the game. The game is developed by CodeMasters, but really it’s Evolution Studios. You may not recognise that name but you may know the series that they have developed. How about MotorStorm or Driveclub? MotorStorm was a series I personally loved in the past as a kid, but as I grew older the games seemed to start slipping and we all remember what happened to DriveClub. Since Codemasters absorbed Evolution Studios, they have been working on this.
During the beta, I got to test two different game modes, Countdown and Overdrive. Countdown is your standard checkpoint time trial race but with a twist, everyone is going aiming to get the checkpoints and battles ensue. As you pass through a checkpoint, you don’t gain time for yourself, but for your whole team. The first team to run out of time is the looser. Overdrive is a mode where your aim is to be as flashy as possible, perform tricks, jumps and takedowns to earn a RUSH, the ultimate boost that does ultimate damage to members of the other team. This mode is the most confusing to me because with everyone trying to fight and perform tricks at the same time, there’s no way to keep track of what’s happening on screen.
Once again, because the game is in beta, there was a limited amount of content that I could experience, even if there was a decent amount in the beta. Along with the two different game modes that I’ve already talked about, there were four different classes that I could choose from to play with. These where Blade (a reinforced motorcycle), Vortex (A dune buggy designed to be light and nimble to perform tricks with), Interceptor (a RAID vehicle designed to perform as much damage as possible to enemy vehicles), and finally the Titan (a beast of a machine that is designed to give as much damage as it takes while protecting your team at the same time).
Each class handles differently and different people are going to prefer different classes. For example, Joe played OnRush while at EGX Rezzed last month and said that he massively preferred using the motorcycles. Personally, as someone who enjoys playing racing games, and often uses motorbikes, I found that the controls were a little too floaty and light, overall not precise enough for me. While the bigger trucks (Titans) were much heavier and felt how they looked. The two classes in between, Interceptor and Vortex, felt okay at best, they did feel a little too heavy for what they were. That’s not to say that things won’t change between now and release on 5th of June. During the beta, they would have received a huge amount of information and feedback that they can use to make some adjustments to the game.
I think the final thing to talk about, and probably my favourite thing about the game, is the quality of the music within the game. It’s always high energy and fast too match the feel of the gameplay; The game contains a mix of tracks that range from pure dance to Electronic Rock (The latter being my favourites featuring music from The Quemists). Whoever picked the track listing for this game deserves a medal, while the game doesn’t always make sense, the music always feels right; Upbeat, Fast and completely mad.
I can imagine that the developers of this game were imagining a new type of eSports to come out of the game. Unfortunately, I just don’t think that is going to happen. The game is just way too fast-paced and complex, even if the idea behind it is very simple. But that isn’t to say that the game is not fun, because it is (even if it can be a little frustrating). People will play this game, its different and will attract attention. Whether it manages to hold that interest is a different matter. Only the future will tell.
Overall I’m going to give this game a 7.6/10