Developer: Team 6
Publisher: Maximum Games
Format(s): Playstation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC
Do you ever look at a game and really hope that it’s going to be good, but kind of know deep down that it’s going to bad? That’s exactly how I felt about Road Rage – the open-world motorcycle adventure from Team 6 and Maximum Games. There was something about it that screamed ‘badly-made budget title’, but I just hoped that it would offer something that’d entertain me.
Road Rage puts you in Ashen City – a place that is absolutely rife with crime following a massive breakdown in society. The rich rule the roost and the poor are left to suffer, whilst no-one is safe to actually walk the streets without being attacked by some thug on a motorbike with a chain.
Thus, you – our nameless but wonderful hero – set out to try and wrong these rights, take down these vicious gangs, and maybe, just maybe, bring peace to Ashen City once more. How do you do this, you ask? By jumping on a motorbike and smashing people up, of course…
You know what? It isn’t an awful premise if you decide to not take it too seriously. Don’t get me wrong, it’s in no way a particularly good narrative nor is it well-written (in a game full of thugs and badasses, getting called ‘Mr. Brag-o-matic’ felt incredibly lame), but you can enjoy the absurdity of it all if you try hard enough. Maybe…
The game itself sees you driving across an open-city, all whilst taking on the countless missions that are littered around. These missions might consist of racing, completing a time-trial, completing stunts, or having to take out some enemies on bikes – it’s all a bit bog standard and inoffensive really. However, Road Rage has so many issues that it makes the game almost unplayable at times.
Firstly, actually riding your bike is incredibly dull. Whilst you do get a nice sense of speed, you have to completely slow down if you want to take one of the many sharp corners without crashing into your surroundings. You’ll be riding across tracks that are full of bends and turns as you speed through the streets, but having to slow yourself down completely makes everything feel so unsatisfying. Also, when you do crash (which you will do a lot of) the game respawns you in the exact spot that you hit, meaning you’ll be facing up against a wall or against a vehicle instead of being back on the road. It makes no sense whatsoever and completely slow gameplay down.
Then there’s the fact that the AI of your opponents is terrible. This isn’t just a case of your opponents being easy to beat in races either – they’re literally useless. On more than one occasion I saw one of my rivals get stuck in the environment, whilst another time they simply wouldn’t react to me when I was near them. One time my rivals didn’t even bother racing at all, handing me an incredibly easy victory with no opposition to face off against. To Road Rage’s credit, there were times when they’d compete and actually do what they’re supposed to – they were so slow and useless at racing though that they’d pose no threat to my victory. Honestly, at times it literally felt like there was no one there riding against me.
The worst offender of all though is found with Road Rage’s glitches and crashes. I had the game hard crash on me on multiple occasions, whilst the amount of times I had to reset because I was stuck in the environment or falling through the floor became ridiculous. One time my bike exploded for absolutely no reason at all – don’t get me wrong, there were times throughout the game where I would have rather spontaneously combusted than have kept playing, but there was no excuse for it in-game. The physics are absolutely awful too, with your bike exploding or getting launched across the map by simply tapping another vehicle. It really, really, REALLY is a broken experience.
Road Rage couldn’t even get the combat mechanics right, with each attack you make feeling slow, cumbersome and just incredibly awkward. It’s easy enough to line up an attack on a rival racer with a simple button press, but actually landing a shot on them can be awfully unpredictable – there were countless times when I’d seemingly hit them with a shot, only for them to just keep on riding as if nothing happened. On the flip-side, the amount of times I’d get smashed off my bike because of a hit that clearly missed was unreal. At least it’s a lot easier to hit the civilians walking around in the street (I mean, if you’re into that…) though that somehow manages to feel boring too.
If there’s one thing I liked about Road Rage it’s the game world. It’s a decent little size and has a fair bit of variety to it, so there’s plenty to see. The game even has some decent lighting effects in place – don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t stop some of the textures being ugly, but it at least adds a little bit of atmosphere to the world.
It’s just a shame that the game itself is so unpredictable that it makes it nearly impossible to enjoy exploring this world. There were a few occasions where I just went off for a ride only for the game to crash every time I went to a specific area, whilst the fact that minimal contact with just about anything can completely wipe you out eliminates the desire to be adventurous in your riding. If you stick to a straight line and there are no cars around, you should be fine – unfortunately, even if you don’t crash your motorbike, there’s no guarantee that the game won’t anyway.
Look, I don’t like being mean about games and I’m sure some people worked incredibly hard on Road Rage, but it’s just terrible. The game is boring, unsatisfying, ugly, and broken – I tried really hard to find something to like, but every time I’d have a little bit of enjoyment with it I’d either suffer some horrible glitch or have the game crash out on me. Seriously, just avoid it and stick to Road Rash on your Mega Drive.