Radial-G: Racing Revolved- Thoughts Before Playing

I am a huge fan of anti-gravity racing, especially WipEout.

So much so, one of the only things that’s cheers me up about hurtling towards the point of decrepitude is that I might live until 2048.  It wouldn’t be physically impossible for me to live until 2097.  Other humans have lived that long, though I think it’s unlikely.

Imagine, living long enough that anti-gravity racing actually became a real thing?  VR seemed impossible a few years ago, but here we are.

So Radial-G’s line ” If you loved F-Zero or Wipeout, you’ll definitely want to be involved with this!” on their Kickstarter page made me truly excited.  I am a little sad I didn’t see it while it was still active.

A friend sent me a link to the trailer and I instantly feel in love with the idea:

Radial-G is exciting because it’s a new type of anti-gravity, revolving around a a cylindrical track instead of moving along a flat plane.  I love little twists like this.  Bringing new challenges to old, loved ideas.

This game sounds like it should be fun as it is.  There is a standard PC version.  But sadly my neglected PC became too ancient to play it while I had my nose stuck on my PS4.

But this is really a game designed for VR.

When you’re in the zone racing in WipEout, it’s already an engrossing and immersive experience.  So  I’ve been bouncing about wondering what VR could add to that experience.

I love whiling away the hours in a meditative state, completely engrossed in a psychedelic joy ride.  Thoughts pure, clear and sharp.  Will VR take this experience to a new level?

The dark environment, neon features, and speed boost gates remind me of WipEout.  While the long tracks undulating up and down remind me of XGRA.  Another game I loved.

I hope that revolving around the track will add new depth to game play.  I’m interested to see what additional challenges that presents.

The sound track of WipEout was another major selling point.  I was already a huge Prodigy fan, but it introduced me to The Chemical Brothers, Fluke and FSOL as a child.  All of which became life long favourites.

From what I have heard on Soundcloud, Radial-G has not let me down in this area.  It has a nod to the 90’s with more current touches.  There’s some classic sounding synth patches mixed in with some solid beats.

While it has modern elements, it hasn’t been over come by monotonous dubstep bass lines or tedious Skrillex-esque hooks.

It pains me to admit it, but they have done a much better job of finding (creating?  Who made this?) new music than I have recently.  I even prefer it to the Formula Fusion music at the moment!  And they had a large community working on that soundtrack.

I literally grin ear to ear every time I hear it.  I am going to have serious trouble not looking like a nutter if I manage to try this game.

My only slight concerns are that I hope it plays better than the Android app Radial-G: Infinity and this one dodgy review by UploadVR.

The android app was a little clunky.  It sort of plays like Amplitude, where you have multiple tracks which you can jump between.  I also found the drift on this intense.  After about a minute of play I ended up looking completely behind me to keep the view looking forward in Google Cardboard.  This made me feel oh so sick.

Radial-G is very different though.  You are not travelling along a straight track, you are moving 360 degrees around a cylinder.  I will also be very surprised if Oculus/Vive/PSVR suffer from the same drifting problems as Google Cardboard.  I think that would be a top priority to sort out.  I have also read many thing about Radial-G being one of the least nauseating games to play.

The UploadVR review was interesting.  The thing that surprised me most about it was their comments about the steering mechanic.  It had not even occurred to me that you wouldn’t really be able to steer.  If I understand correctly, you can shift left and right to move to hit the correct gates, but there is no freestyle steering.  This idea again reminded me of Amplitude and the Android game.

This is my  biggest concern.  I have been pondering it a lot.  But I do wonder if it will actually matter.  That doesn’t necessarily mean it will be easy or less involving.  Things like Audiosurf are consuming!   It feels a little odd comparing a racing game to audio games, but I think you take my point.  The mechanic does not detract from the enjoyment of the game.

They also complained about the game being slow, which Radial-G addressed directly:

A fair question I thought.

I will reserve my judgement for when I have played it.  These comments have not managed to dampen my enthusiasm!

I sincerely hope that I get to try it today.

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