January 29, 2019

Rise: Race the Future - Review

Be honest, car games these days are a dime a dozen, there is every conceivable concept covered with them as well, if it has four wheels and an engine, its been done in game form. However, there is one genre that has not gotten anywhere near the amount of love it used is the old school 90’s arcade racer, thankfully Rise: Race the Future aims to change that.

Heading into Rise: Race the Future, I knew of two things, one is was created by the team at VD-dev, who are very talented, you only need to look at what they managed to achieve on the 3DS to see that and two, the game was a beautiful arcade racer. I had no ideas on cars, tracks or anything, it was quite a refreshing thing, to go into a game, completely unspoilt. Thankfully, the game let me get to the racing quite quickly, which meant I was able to see what made this game tick and after an hour playing it, I found myself, having a blast. The game does provide two modes, Challenges and Arcade, in which you will find championship and time trials, the challenges section though, has a lot to enjoy and test yourself against. Some of them require you to complete a lap within a set time, others to finish at or above a set position and usually both at once, once you have completed the race, any challenges you have completed are ticked off and then you aim to get the one you missed.

In the Arcade mode you can choose time trials or like me and jump into a championship, though be warned as the game offered no instructions on how to play or anything, but as most games have the same basic controls, I figured I was ok. The right trigger was go, the left break, the A button was boost and X was handbrake and of course the left stick to steer. At the end of my first race, I was lucky enough to come in 9th, out of 10 racers, so clearly, I had to improve, by the end of the second race, I had come 10... out of 10, so I was missing something. As the game draws clear inspiration from the old arcade racers like Daytona USA or San Francisco Rush, I had to try and remember how they played, which was going back over 20 years, but by the end of my fourth race, to which I came in 4th, I was getting back into the groove of things.

What took me the most to comes to grip with, was just how the game gripped as you raced, if you were using too much power in the corners, or taking it to sharp, you could easily spin out, which I did, a lot. There were even times where I saw the computer players losing control, one of them did so, so early on, that they took another 4 cars with him. If you come barrelling into a corner, depending on how sharp you turn, things can play out pretty easy, you can cruise around, loosing some speed and eventually pop out the other side and try to catch up, but if you enter with the right approach, things becomes a lot easier. You can attempt it with the good old handbrake turn, which can give you some control, but at the cost of speed and boosting, especially coming out of a turn, is something not to engage lightly.

What I did struggle with, is just how easy it is to lose control, sure there were a number of times where it was my fault, either too much speed, or to sharp a turn, but there were more times when I would be bumped by the other cars and the result would have me spinning around. When this happens, there is no reset option, you simply have to turn around yourself and get back into the race, I went from 1st to 8th in a matter of moments, because of this and it was infuriating. But is not just you who it can happen to, you can also nudge other cars yourself and have them spin out, but doing so is a risky move, as they might spin in front of you, which means, they can block you, which is never fun.

Finding the perfect line is going to be a little different for each player, for me, it was about coming in from the outside, attempting to kick the car around and power through, this was not always successful, as I still managed to spin out, a lot, but what it did allow for me to do, is keep my speed up. As I mentioned before you can use a boost that the game offers, each car has different pros and cons, top speeds, better handling and so forth, the one car I stuck with was the default car and its boost option would only recharge my boost, if I stayed above a set speed, though you can opt to change how boost is earnt if you wanted to. The game starts each race without any boost, but if I was about 125kmp/h then it would start to fill, there was a minimum that I needed to have in order to use it, but I never felt that I had used enough to worry about it. Kicking the boost in resulted in a nice effect of wind whipping past the car and the always blue flames that spit out the rear of the car, turned a lime green.

The tracks were interesting, some took place amongst the tropical jungles and waterways, which had the cool effect of the tires turning on their sides and the car continuing along on the water. Some of the courses took place in what can best be described as a quarry, but the coolest part was, that each course had multiple layouts and even reverse options on them. While I have not seen all the tracks, the fact that each offers time trials, means that I can repeat each course, so that I not only get the best time, but also learn all of the shortcuts, if any. The first one I tried, turned out to not be a shortcut at all, so I went from 5th to last, because I got wedged in some rocks and while I am sure they are there, I have no found any yet. While the tracks presented are really nice, I would have liked to have seen the maps for them be on their own when racing, the mini map is always showing other parts of tracks from different layouts and it is a little annoying, especially when you are trying to ensure you attack the next turn properly.

The overall presentation is decent, the game looks amazing, even on a lower setting, there are plenty of effects on screen, snow and water for example, the amount of foliage around the place is also quite high. Though when you enter the desert tracks, the dirt looks good, you know for dirt, the game also does a good job of blending the styles together, dirt blends to asphalt nice, so does water to mud and a like. The cars themselves are very futuristic looking, a lot of long lines, which apart from the tires that turn to allow the cars to drive on water, could be something we see on the roads in the near future ourselves. Audio wise, the cars are just cars, they sound ok, but there is nothing special about them, the music reminds me a lot of F-Zero, the tracks are pumping and suit perfectly with the action on screen.

Rise: Race the Future is a game that I can see many people enjoying, it has the old school arcade racing deal down pat, it has a lot of track layouts to experience and cars to race. The amount of patience you are going to need, in order to understand the drifting mechanic and not get angry when you spin out, is a lot, but when you can seamlessly drift around multiple corners in succession, it will be well worth it.

Review copy provided by VD-Dev

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