There’s a distinctive association been flying around the internet prior to release with Road Rage that this is this rebirth of the acclaimed EA series of the 16-bit era, Road Rash. If you’re expecting such delights then I am sorry to disappoint. This is nothing like the latter. But that doesn’t mean that developer Maximum Games hasn’t delivered a stellar biking experience, does it?
Road Rage itself is an open world motorbike action title that borrows more from that of GTA than anything else. With your great city of Ashen in political turmoil and ruins, motorcycle gangs roam the area and they’re not afraid of whacking you to death in broad daylight with a lead pipe. And this is where the story begins as your character works their way through numerous missions as you move your way through various sub districts of Ashen.
The story in Road Rage is told for the most via text based messages on your smart phone, but also comes complete with voice acting. Albeit, pretty shoddy. There’s no gripping twists or turns to grab you right away. As you progress you earn cash to purchase new bikes, riders and upgrades from your clubhouse. You can also unlock a variety of weapons so if you want to whack a golf club around someone’s head, you’ll soon be able to.
What does immediately catch your attention is the games graphics. Now, there are a few half-decent sections of the game and the bikes don’t look too bad. But that’s where the niceties end. At most, this looks like a last gen launch title and that’s being generous. There’s horrendous pop up, that lazy fogging effect not seen since the days of the N64 and a whole host of rough edges. It’s just not pretty to look at nor play with a lot of broken physics and places you may find yourself getting stuck in.
The city of Ashen itself is sparse. Few cars, a handful of pedestrians. It’s soon apparent that this is not going to change much at all after a few missions in and you head to the next district. Other broken aspects are the cops. Hit too many people and you’ll soon accumulate your GTA style wanted rating. You’ll hear the sirens but there’s rarely any contact with the police unless on a specific escape mission. Even with all five stars you can happily ride straight past them without a chase being ignited. An online multiplayer is included also, but at time of writing I not once was able to connect with another player so be warned that without friends, this is pretty much a dead horse.
The handling of the bikes feels reasonable. Though it’s maybe too unrealistic at times. Pull a wheelie and you can go for miles without even the slightest hint of a wobble on the bike. For those with hairlocks on an elite, or trigger lock grips – be sure to switch these off as you will not be able to perform the aforementioned otherwise.
There’s quite a few hours that can be put into Road Rage, the real question is whether you have the patience to persist. It’s just an overall dull experience that offers little excitement or story to suck you in. Races are often far too easy to win and challenges labelled as hard could be completed without little effort at all. The overall feel however, does give off some form of nostalgic buzz at times. Not because this is anything like Road Rash, but because it’s that damn poor you end up remembering all those early to mid 2000’s titles you loved to hate.
Maximum Games could have had something special here. But lazy developing (which may be down to publisher time constraints) only leaves us with a game that absolutely cannot be recommended, even on sale. Granted this is a budget release, but how such a title with its broken physics has been allowed to be released is diabolical. The blue print is there for a fun game, but the execution clearly leaves only one person with rage, and that’s the player.
Road Rage is available now on Xbox One, PS4 and PC