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 Post subject: Redout: Space Assault (XB1 - Series X|S - PS4 - Switch - PC)
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2021 9:26 am 

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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
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Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
Back to more shootouts, this time is Redout: Space Assault.

Get Ready!

If you're familiar with Redout, you will be surprised to find this unexpected turn of the game. I mean, a racing game that suddenly becomes an After Burner clone on its second entry?, sounds like an interesting experiment. As an After Burner II like shooter, you can utilize your regular fire and missiles, however, the vulcan/laser will automatically fire on your enemies once they're on the sight. The missiles are used like this: You press and hold the missile button to lock on the targets and the missiles will be fired against all the locked enemies. You can increase the total of missiles by upgrading and leveling up the Missiles before starting a mission. But here's a catch: The missiles are weaker than the regular shots. Along with the use of vulcan and missiles, you can accelerate or brake with specific buttons or moving the Right Analog Stick either up or down like a throttle. In a twist of StarFox-ism, your ship can do barrel rolls with a button or moving the Right Analog stick to the left or right.

Going "Super", eh man?

While at first it may look like a nod to the infamous Superman 64 game, this "Fly through rings" is actually a nod to Redout's origins as a racing game, and yes, there's missions that involves racing and get on the first position before the race ends. The rings are a speed booster for your ship, like the flashing arrows in F-Zero X. There's missions where you will be relying on them more than the use of the thruster function, saving the need of using them once until the boost from the ring wears out. Learning this is essential on the racing based missions that you'll be facing later in the game.

Someone left his anime girls folder on the schematics.

There's missions where you'll enter in a full 3D environment called "Reconnaisance Mode" which will be based on exploration more than combat. This is where you can shoot Iridium crystals to get more extra Tokens which will really come in handy during your playthrough. Most of the times, the objectives on this mode involve heading to a certain spot on the map, and/or getting blueprints as part of the objective, there's only an instance where you'll fight enemies in this mode as the rest of times the game will switch to the After Burner-like shooter mode.

A dogfight with the space smugglers.

At the end of each chapter, you'll be facing boss fights that most times will be utilizing the 3D reconaissance mode as they have multiple objectives as engines or cannons. This is where evasive maneuvering is required as they go beyond the traditional missiles. They can utilize energy spheres, explosive rockets, and even lasers that autolock on you. Most of the times you'll be dealing with missile locks, so it is required to make evasive manuevers, this can be easily done by moving the right analog stick to either left or right.
If you have the bad luck of being shot down, you'll respawn like in any other shmup, the only difference is that the Tokens you've got through the stage will be gone, the only way to fail a mission is by failing the main objective indicated with a green mark, the other orange two are optional objectives that you can try to clear in order to get more Tokens. You can revisit any mission any time if you want to get more Tokens to power up your ship.

This combination of modes is what makes Redout: Space Assault an unique title since its kinda rare to have a game that switches from different genres that are not the basic horizontal-vertical like Salamander/Life Force and Axelay. The closest thing that I can compare Redout: Space Assault is with Thunder Blade, which switched from Vertical to Third View and Edelweiss multi-scroll shmups Ether Vapor and Astebreed.

Aw, man! I thought you've brought me that Medialand card I've been looking for.

Clearing missions have more than just Token rewards. Everytime you play (and replay) a stage you'll get random effect Cards which increase one specific status of the ship. Depending on which color they have, the rarer they'll be. Green is common, Blue is Uncommon, Pink is Rare and Gold is Legendary. Also, when you pick a card, the others will be discarded and turn into Tokens, giving you an additional boost to your Token total (Common = 200, Uncommon = 500, Rare = 2,000 and Legendary = 5,000).
Also, the cards can also have other special effects that improve more aspects of your ship like reducing the reload time of missiles or increase the sight of your main weapon.

By your Tokens combined, I am CAPTAIN UPGRADE!

The upgrade shop allows you to increase the powers of your ship as long as you can pay for them, While at first it starts with a price of 500 Tokens, it increases its price, but by 10 Tokens, so that will be 500>510>520>530 but it will gradually increase, making the price increasing reasonable and functional without requiring the tedious grinding factor at first, but as you keep upgrading the price will rise exponentially to 44,890 Tokens or more for its Mark 10-11 upgrades requiring you to play the later levels in order to get more Tokens.

Graphic description of "Chasing Ghosts".

The game suffers of flaws and bugs. Let's start off with the bugs, the first one is the "Farmer" achievement which is obtained by destroying 200 Iridium crystals, the XBOX Achievement Tracker will stop at 2% making the unlocking impossible. The second bug is in the mission "Victory in Sight", during the all-range segment where you have to destroy the Mola Corvettes, you can find these "Ghost" fighters since the missile lock and the cannon sights will target at something, but you can't destroy them. Also, getting the "90% of targets" sub-objective is impossible and I think these ghosts are the reason why. The mission "Home Court" requires you to destroy 80% of the targets, but after destroying a few of them it ends without unlocking the objective, since there's no way to tell who's the "optional" target and who's the main objective (think of Ace Combat's radar where main objectives are red and the rest is yellow or white), and finally it's "Breakout" which despite destroying anything in sight, it won't unlock the 80% of hostiles bonus objective. Clear testimony of "TEST THE GAME BEFORE RELEASING IT!"

Now, let's go with the flaws. One of the major problems of the game is the sometimes overpowered enemies that you'll fight and the short, unmentioned time limit you have to defeat them, 'cos you have around 3 minutes to defeat the majority of bosses, and with a low level ship, it might take you more time to destroy them, forcing you to repeat stages constantly in order to get enough Tokens to buy upgrades. The mission "Retaliation" is among the worst of them since you'll be facing an Auto-aiming murderbeam that will destroy your ship almost instantly if you don't have a strong enough shield to react and drop altitude to avoid the laser attack.

It is already clear that the Redout series started as a racing game. So, there's racing-based missions, and while this change from shooter to space simulator to race game and back is an interesting idea and is well received for those who want to play more than just a shmup, there's instances where the game fails further. In a racing game it is very important to know the path you're gonna take and even which position you are. None of them are indicated in your HUD, and to make things worse, there's a race mission called "Bragging Rights" where you have to fly through falling pistons, resulting on instant death and loss of time, combined with the forced slowdown time after pulling the brake on the ship rather than having a more functional speed control like in After Burner, this means nearly unplayability in the racing segments.

Reconnaisance Mode is not exempt of flaws. The lack of radar that I've mentioned on the bugs is also a problem. Once again, compare this with an Ace Combat game where the radar can tell you how close or far you're from the combat zone border (leading to a failure if you cross it or if there's a "Return Line" to refuel). In Redout: Space Assault's case, the only warning you'll get is "RETURN TO MISSION AREA" on the center of the screen, if you cross it, your ship will explode as if it was a self destruct. This whole game feels like if you're playing an incomplete product since some of the key elements of each game genre's were missing, but the injury is that this is the full commercial game, as if someone decided to polish things and then release the game for a quick sell.
Weapons have their own problems, like I've said before, the missiles are weaker, and to make things worse, the lock on system most of the times will launch almost all of the missiles against a single enemy instead of letting you choose. In the 3rd view shooter segments this could mean lose targets, compromising the mission since some of the levels require you to destroy a minimum percentage of targets.

To put an end to all these problems, once you've finish the final mission and see the Mission Complete cutscene you'll be rewarded with...NOTHING!, only the results, the reward cards and back to the mission select screen. It's like what happened? "Continue the fight, for the war is not yet over"?, Does "A peaceful time will come" after the Earth-Moon war and mankind made its way to Mars? For the game designers, giving the game a decent epilogue was a story for another day until the day they meet again.

UPDATE 31-03-2021: 34BigThings released an update for this game. The subobjectives that required a percentage were replaced with "Destroy 32 Hostiles" and the "Farmer" achievement was also fixed, making it 100% possible to get all the achievements.

I can see my house from here!

Graphically is the fast injection of hi-speed realism from its racing predecessor Redout adapted in space combat as we have real-like texture rendered designs and realistic depictions of space, starfields and both Earth and Moon throughout the game, all of these while keeping the futurism theme of the series, as we have ships that despite having separate parts, they form a whole vehicle.
This outer space background however feels repetitive through the whole game as the plot always take place between the Earth and the Moon, making all of the stages to have that "Space again?" feeling in contrast with the more varied scenery of Redout.

UPDATE 31-03-2021: The update addressed a minor detail and that was the Loading screens which were black and now they feature colorful artwork, making the wait a little less boring.

Comic book fans will be happy with the character designs.

For the first time in the series, we can see who is piloting your ship, which adds identity to the whole game, breaking with that generic archetypical concept of "You as the pilot" used on a lot of games and Redout. It is also worth of mention that the game utilizes the western comic book style but more in the style of IDW's works like The Transformers and The X-Files Conspiracy.
In an exercise of racial equalty, our protagonists are black, breaking with the common use of white skinned characters as protagonists. This decision is well accepted and is a step towards a more inclusive future in terms of character design.

As for the soundtrack, it goes to a more cinematic approach as the music takes influences from BT, the composer of Stealth as we have this Techno-Orchestra Sci-Fi Thriller that makes the shooting action of the game more thrilling.
The voice acting is worth of mention since it has the quality of a high budget animated movie or a good anime dub, and the final battle has the proper atmosphere of action, suspense and tension without having the characters yelling "OOAAAAAGHH!, URYAAAAAH!!" as if they're practicing Kung-Fu screamings (Yeah, that goes for you, Ginga Force!).


Get in the fighter, Shinji!

- The achievement name "One small step" is a reference to Neil Armstrong's famous words after the landing on the Moon.
- The skin "Lightyear" is a reference to Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story.
- "Jurassic" is based on the jeep from Jurassic Park. The color "Azule" gives the ship a Jurassic World-influenced colorscheme, while "Magma" is a dark alternate version of the default Jurassic, its name is a reference to the eruption of Mount Sibo in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
- "Type 01" and its colors "Type 00" and "Type 02" are a clear reference to EVA-00, EVA-01 and EVA-02 from Neon Genesis Evangelion and Rebuild of Evangelion.
- The Genesis pilot quote "Prisoner 1138" is a reference to the number associated with various George Lucas projects, coming from his first film THX 1138 and it was referred on many aspects of the Star Wars universe, being Chewbacca's alleged prison cell block number in A New Hope the most known of them.
- The achievement "Join the Dark Side" is another Star Wars reference.
- "Pimp my Ride" is a nod to the MTV car tuning reality show hosted by Xzibit.
- The ship name Trilobyte comes from the Trilobite, a group of extinct arthropods that lived on the Early Cambrian to Late Permian period 521-251.9 million years ago.

Just another space day as usual.

Redout: Space Assault tries to be "The After Burner for the New Generation" as it keeps the spirit of Sega's classic arcade shmup and adapts it to the new consoles with new and fresh ideas, but all of them fail on the execution due to the circumstances mentioned throughout the review, which is a terrible shame. If you want to get stucked on Bragging Rights due to the piston traps, want to deal with money grinding, and deal with downright unfair difficulty moments, then this is the game for you.
If you're looking for After Burner II-like action, you'd be better off dusting off the Genesis.
UPDATE: While the update fixed the broken achievement and side objective issues, you've might be re-considering to pick this game if you're asking for a challenge if unfair difficulty is your kind of game.

UPDATE: Lea's neutral look describes the overall fixes of the game.
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