Random Article


 
Must See..
 

Velocity G (Xbox One) review

 
Velocity G logo
Velocity G logo
Velocity G logo

 
At A Glance...
 

Formats: Xbox One (reviewed); PC.
 
Genre:
 
Year:
 
Publisher:
 
Developer:
 
Final Score
5.0
5/ 10


User Rating
no ratings yet

 

We Liked?


  • Fast, pretty, colourful. Visuals are the strong point of the game
  • As a budget title - £4/$5 full price - even with flaws it's decent value for money
  • Only a couple of background music tracks, but decent enough not to grate

Not So Much?


  • Lack of balance in the pickup-based weaponry. Higher level races are more about hoping the AI doesn't blow you up than actually racing
  • A lack of personality in the tracks. All are fine, none are memorable
  • Slaloms? No
  • And that long grid flyby feels longer every time


0
Posted April 21, 2019 by

 
Final Fiendish Feelings?
 
 

Based on games and films, there are two popular assumed-facts about the future; the first is that a minimum of 80% of building materials must be neon, and the second is that any sporting events will carry a risk to the lives of participants. It’s time for the latest racing game of the future to step forward: Velocity G, recently released for PC and Xbox 1.

Velocity G screenAs a concept, Velocity G is quite straightforward to explain. Eight hovering vehicles race through tunnels, able to ignore anything as inconvenient as gravity if the ceiling offers a better racing line, and otherwise picking up one-use items from the track to inconvenience – or destroy – the opposition. More than one user review mentions the game as feeling like it carries the spirit of the Wipeout series, though arguably it has a lot more in common with the tunnel-based racing of 1989′s S.T.U.N. Runner.

Content is locked behind eight level tiers; getting a top three place on any track gives a certain number of points, accumulating points unlocks the next tier of tracks and vehicles, and there are plenty of tracks covering several types of race at each tier. Sounds good? Well, it’s a mixed blessing. Most of the tracks are multi-lap affairs, though there are also A to B sprint races, slalom events with you weaving through gates or suffering a speed penalty, and drag races, where the course is marked with speed boosters to fly through or risk being left behind.

I’ll quickly say that the slalom events are not as good an idea as they probably seemed. The courses twist and turn, impossible routes built out of undulating pipes, and when the world is basically a series of blind sharp corners that stop you seeing where the next gate is… the idea just doesn’t work.

Velocity G screenIn contrast to this, when the game relies on being an actual race, it works well. Everything moves quickly, it’s bright and clear, and looking back at recordings I made while playing I was appreciating just how attractive the game could be. At its core as a colourful racing game, it actually works very well. The problem is that everything added on top of this obscures that core, leaving you with less to enjoy.

At higher levels it’s not just the tracks that get more challenging, but the AI does too, picking up and using the track weapons. In principle, this evens out the playing field; in practice, this means lots of stop-start penalties as you overtake, get hit with auto-locking lasers, explode, respawn. There isn’t room left in this for racing skill, just blind hope. If the weapons didn’t lock, or if the laser couldn’t destroy you in one burst, or if there weren’t so many littering the track… it’s not that the items don’t have a fun place in the game, so much as they aren’t well balanced for the place they’re filling. There isn’t an option to just race sans pickups, which is a shame. I’ll say again, the core racing experience is most enjoyable part.

Velocity G screenOf course, the racing is satisfying for the speed more than the ability needed. Part of the problem comes from the tube racing concept. It’s fine that it’s largely about picking racing lines and avoiding obstacles, hoping you have more speed and acceleration than the opposition; this isn’t a game of picking alternate routes and the like. But with 128 tracks – 16 events in each of the eight tiers – it means that none of them feel especially memorable. You react to the course as it comes, win and move on or lose and repeat, but never get attached to a favourite. None of it feels like it has enjoyed fine levels of personal craftsmanship, none of them feel like they have the sort of quirks to remember that have left the layouts of Ridge Racer, Sega Rally or even Wipeout fresh in the memory decades later.

One last thing, also worthy of notes, and sadly also a negative, is the pre-race grid flyby. It’s fine having loading times for the tracks; but when loaded you get a “press A to continue” prompt. This is followed by the camera admiring several of the AI vehicles, running down the grid, before settling on your viewpoint and giving a three second count in. Time between loading being completed and you accelerating off the grid? 23 seconds. 23 seconds of sitting still in a game fundamentally about moving fast. 23 seconds every single race, with some events lasting less than two minutes. And this doesn’t include the loading times themselves, which aren’t long but combined with this create far too much dead time. For review I ended up playing multiple short sessions rather than a few long ones. Partly, it’s the sort of game that can be rewardingly played in short sessions; partly, it’s because clicking “continue” quickly come to carry a feeling of “here we go again”.

In conclusion:

Velocity G isn’t fundamentally a bad game – it’s fast, it’s attractive, and the core experience is actually really enjoyable, with a sense that some tweaking and polishing it could bring that experience more to the fore. But it is a game that feels buried under the weight of extra ideas, things that were probably expected to add to the experience but ironically distract from it instead. Fewer pickups, fewer generic tracks, and less time admiring a starting grid of random AI vehicles would probably streamline the whole experience. As it stands, it’s adequately fun and decent value largely thanks to being a budget title.

Velocity G is available now for Xbox One and PC.

The product under review has been purchased by the site or reviewer and has not been supplied by a third party. Please see our site review policy for more information.

Peter

 
Peter can be described as an old, hairy gamer, a survivor of the console wars of the 1990s, and a part-time MMO addict. He has an especial fondness for retro gaming and observing the progressions in long running gaming series. When scandalously not caught gaming, he can also be found reading comics and fantasy fiction, or practising terrible photography.