The Xbox is home to a number of different racing titles, one that is sure to please nearly everyone. Rally fans have Colin McRae Rally 3, NASCAR fans have EA’s lineup of games, and fans of simulation racing games have Sega GT 2002. Microsoft though noticed a serious gap in their lineup though, that being a white-knuckled, high-speed, adrenaline pumping racing game, so that’s basically the story of how Quantum Redshift came into existence. And while not the most amazing racing game ever, or the most innovative, it’s still pretty fun.
Remember Wipeout, the game that sparked a revolution, which featured high-speed racing and bad ass music, and was one of the PlayStation’s first titles? That was a pretty good game [damn right! – Ed]. Quantum Redshift is basically Wipeout, just with some slight differences. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily, but for someone who’s played Wipeout a lot, it made Quantum Redshift seem like a rehash.
QR is all about high speed racing. The game features a wide variety of characters that you can select. No one character has any real advantage over another, so it’s purely aesthetic in all actuality. It’s the crafts they drive that is what makes them different. Crafts have 3 main features that you power up while you race, those being shields, homing attack, and regular attack. The power-ups are situated conveniently around the track you race around, and are very important to your success.
The racer’s vehicle-hovercrafts-pod racers are pretty cool. The designs vary per racer, and they look very futuristic. The different weapons you shoot off are pretty cool, and learning the controls of the vehicles is a snap. The default view is great for the racing, and the camera keeps up with the action fully. The game starts off coddling you with weakened, lesser versions of vehicles, and then moves you up to Redshift mode, where cars can go an excess of 900 MPH at points, and the vehicles handle it wonderfully.
At the end of each race you are granted money. You gain money by your position at the finish of the race out of the six that were competing, the power-ups you collected and how many enemies you destroyed with your weapons. You then use this money to upgrade a part or two on your craft so that your weapons, shields and turbo are enhanced. Speaking of turbo, the feature that allows for a quick speed burst, I must say that they messed up this part. You see, you can only use a limited amount of the turbo power; you get it by crossing the finish line. It would have been better if they made it a power-up you collect, but they didn’t. A minor annoyance.
Wipeout had some badass track design, and so too does QR. The track design is very cool; there are huge drops off waterfalls, giant vertical loops and lots of tight turns. The texturing and environments are varied as well, and the game doesn’t feel very repetitive given the games relatively low number of tracks. The environmental effects during the tracks are equally cool, rain falls and such creating differing driving experiences.
Graphically, I must say that QR is as stunning as Wipeout was when it was first released. The rain effect is very well done, the camera is perfect, and the racers look wonderful like I said before. The really cool things are the little graphical stuffs that you don’t really notice, like water falls, splashes and weapon fire. So maybe I’m a whore for the water effects, I’m not sure, but I like them. The graphics engine fully keeps up with the racer engine, so the graphics don’t become crap at high speeds, which is definitely a good thing.
The audio is perplexing. The game features a soundtrack, but it’s crap. Fortunately, the developers had the good sense to include soundtrack support, but for some reason or another it’s limited to 4 songs, making me curious as to what they were thinking. I’ve got over 90 songs on my Xbox; why not just let me stream them all? The voice acting of the racers is pretty good, and nationalities are all preserved, so British racers sound British, French sound French and American’s sound American. The vehicles sound decent, but nothing that’s going to make you wet yourself.
QR is a good title, but fans of Wipeout may be a bit hesitant to play it because that’s all it basically is, minus the good music. However, the current Platinum Hits status of the game makes it a cheap title, so I suggest adding this to your Xbox library. You’ll definitely get your money’s worth and then some, considering all the unlockable racers the title has, as well as a few other options.