Road Rage loads up and functions as a piece of software. It didn’t brick my Xbox or cause a house fire, no-one got hurt and it allowed me to turn it off, which is perhaps the greatest praise I can give it. Road Rage is not a good game. It is not even an OK one. It is quite possibly one of the worst gaming experiences I’ve ever subjected myself to. From the moment it loads up it is apparent that this was made to a budget usually found down the back of a sofa. Of course, money isn’t everything if you have a solid game idea, which this kind of does. Riffing on the classic Road Rash, the main gameplay has you riding around, competing in races for money and to work through the ranks of a biker gang.
You have a weapon in one hand to fight other racers, and a boost on your bike to give you an edge. New missions are doled out via the in game phone which pops up after each one and play host to some of the most cringe inducing acting I’ve heard in a long time. There’s an over arching story about the fall of civilisation and government oppression cordoning people into areas such as the wonderfully named Subtroit and Chitaly, but if those names didn’t give it away, it’s complete rubbish and seems only to be included to pad out the bare bones game experience. To be honest, I may have liked it more had all this been excluded, though that’s not really saying much.
After the mission set up, whatever activity it is you are doing starts immediately with no fan fare or count down. You and the other racers just set off and it’s here where thing somehow get worse. The controls are basic, triggers to accelerate and brake, A is handbrake and Y boost. But they just don’t feel responsive or engaging at all. There is zero feedback from your character; they just sit motionless on the bike, one hand on the handlebars, the other holding the weapon. X and B attack left and right, but unfortunately the only hitting or missing you’ll be doing is whether the game responds to your inputs. The biker just seems to pivot on the spot when cornering; with a slightly sharper pivot should you brake harder. Somehow manage to wrestle the controls to get along side an opponent and you can knock them off their bike, though what should be a tense battle between the two is reduced to mashing the buttons, hoping you hit them first and watching as some demonic looking explosions effects consume them.
One mission type has you hunting down several bikers in a time limit, who just follow set patterns and are easy enough to find, but knocking them off is another thing. I managed to corner one at the side of a house, began bashing away only for them to phase through the wall, back on the road behind the building and carry on, all while I was stuck trying to wiggle my way back out. This lack of polish just coats the game, with racers getting stuck on corners in races, mild scrapes that cause every bike nearby to explode and just a lack of feedback to your inputs.
After a few missions you unlock open world events which are basically the same things again but not tied to story progression. At least, I assume so as not one of the events I found I could access. All had a splash screen showing some requirements but it was not clear why I couldn’t get in as I had the right bike and enough money. The first mission in Chitaly (uggghh) was similarly locked in this way, so after trying to get in for a few minutes, I took this as a sign to put the game down and never touch it again.
With so many great releases in the last few weeks alone, I can’t stress enough that this game is not worth a moment of your time. The whole thing has a whiff of Steam Early Access about it, which is not what I’d expect from a full game release on the Xbox store. And it’s brown. Like, really brown.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.