Radial-G: Racing Revolved came out on Steam last year, and is now available on Playstation 4 with Playstation VR support – the latter being the focus of our review, even though the game can be played without VR as well.
It’s surprising that we haven’t seen more racing games for the Playstation VR format. DriveClub and Dirt Rally were updated for VR, but I was surprised when the recent Wipeout collection didn’t have any VR support. The most recent VR racer for Playstation VR was Tiny Trax, though that’s a very different type of game that doesn’t support first person racing. Funnily enough, Radial-G: Racing Evolved is like the love child of Wipeout and Tiny Trax. You loop around a track that’s been laid out in all directions as you revolve around a tube – but the setting and point of view are much closer to the futuristic style of Wipeout.
Radial-G works best when you stick to racing around its tubular tracks, which you can spin around completely as you avoid obstacles and line yourself up for jumps. These jumps require memorization, since mistiming them might see you lose contact with the track – forcing a respawn. Once you get comfortable with the game, there’s a nice sense of speed and the VR functionality really comes into play then. Being comfortable with where you’re going means you can take advantage of the option to look around and scout ahead for obstacles and paths you want to take. It also allows you to admire the intricacies of the full track layout, which only really works in VR.
There is also a battle mode in Radial-G, but it’s the kind of vehicular combat that doesn’t feel completely right in VR – it stops the action whenever you get blasted, and it breaks the immersion for a second. Mistiming jumps does the same, but that’s much less of a factor when you become more comfortable with the game.
Though the racing itself is fun in VR, Radial-G is a package that’s relatively low on content. With just nine tracks, and all of them of the tubular variety, it doesn’t take long to see everything the game has to offer. There are different game modes available (including vehicle combat, as mentioned), but the package pales in comparison to something like Trackmania – which also got a VR upgrade for a small portion of the game last year.
The presentation of the game outside of the racing portions feels very bare-bones, which includes the menus. Many of the in-game assets also look similar to one another when you compare tracks, but the graphics are very detailed and I really enjoyed the futuristic style – it’s the closest I’ve gotten to playing Wipeout in VR so far.
As a sci-fi racer, Radial-G: Racing Revolved breaks into new territory for Playstation VR owners. It’s far from perfect and could do with more track and game mode diversity and some additional polish for its audiovisual presentation, especially outside of its pure racing events. On the other hand, it also delivers the thus-far unique thrill of futuristic racing in VR. That alone should be a reason for Playstation VR owners to take notice, since the tubular nature of the game lends itself very well to the medium.