Road Redemption, not to be confused with my Red Dead Redemption modern fanfiction, is a very promising Early Access title. Like all Early Access titles it’s a little rough around the edges, and it has a ways to go. That aside, the idea (wailing on bikers and motorists) and execution (… wailing on bikers and motorists) makes for some pretty good times.
The title suggests that there will be some kind of redemption. Personally, I think Road Rage or Road Revenge or Road Fuck You would be more apt. There’s no redemption to be found in Road Redemption; only chaos, fury, and skid marks red with the blood of your enemies. And blood shall be spilled. Yours. Hostile bikers. Cops. That woman in the station wagon who quit her job to spend more time travelling since her husband died and the kids left for college. The road – or rooftops, which are frankly the road of the sky – is an angry, old blood god. And it’s thirsty. Offer up some sacrifices, all to the tune of a shred-tastic soundtrack.
You start off in what I can only assume is right outside Tucson, AZ, riding your motorcycle with a bunch of other bikers. You’ve all just left an early screening of the Mad Max reboot. With tensions high over the controversial choice to have Angela Lansbury play the pivotal role of Max, you all set out across the United States, murdering one another. But what will you murder each other with, you might ask? Pretty much everything. Baseball bats, sawed off shotguns, swords, machine guns, C4. If it can bludgeon, shoot, or ‘splode, you’ll be using it to repave the streets in gore. Your weapons will degrade over time, and killing enemies will keep the supply steady. Each weapon has different range, speed, strength, and durability – which will require you to think before you strike. There’s also parry mechanics and a few unarmed attacks to keep baddies guessing.
As you travel you’ll be given different objectives. On some stretches of road you’ll race, others you’ll have to accrue wanted stars, a la GTA. Some are more frustrating then others (I’m looking at you ‘kill three foes unarmed’) but most are generally fun. With each victory you’ll continue on your road trip, buying temporary power-ups with your temporary cash. But once you die you’ll start all over. To make each subsequent journey a little less harrowing you’ll get experience points that are permanent and that can be used to give you an increasing edge over the competition.
Each section of this fictionalized USA also changes the variety up a far bit to keep the gameplay fresh. In scenic outside of Tucson, AZ, you’ll drive down desert roads, slaughtering indiscriminately. Assuming you survive you’ll find yourself driving across skyscrapers, using a grappling hook and hop mechanism to Spiderman your way to victory. And assuming you survive that there’s the old, snowy, mountainous pass Frodo and the gang passed up in the first Lord of the Rings. Each region introduces different tactics and tools to survive.
So what’s the verdict? I think this is a blast. At the moment there’s only couch co-op and the campaign, but the developers will be adding a competitive mode relatively soon so you can start hating literally every one of your friends. This needs a lot of polishing, though. Sometimes the physics can be wonky – cars will either leave you sprawled on the pavement or bounce against you harmlessly – the graphics are hit and miss, and vehicles will spawn out of literally nowhere at times. That said, what’s currently available is a weirdly (like, super weirdly) tactical, fun, pick up and play casual motorcycle brawler/racer. And how many of those can you name off the top of your head?
I can name six, but that’s beside the point.