Ok, I’ve decided that during my review of Quantum Rush: Champions I’m not going to mention Wipe Out once. Not once you hear me. Uh, Uh. No way. What? I did? Already? Doh!
Well, c’mon, who can blame me? Hands up anyone who loved Wipe Out on the PS2 and PS3. Keep your hands up if you’d love to play a combat racing game like Wipe Out but on a next-gen console. At this point can I say that I kept both hands up for quite a while until I realised I couldn’t write this review that way.
By now you’ve probably realised that I am one of the army of fans who thought Wipe Out was one of the best racing games ever made. I mean, racing a super-fast ship along murderous tracks, picking up rockets, shockwaves, auto pilots and missiles to hurl at your opponents. And all the way, nodding like a Churchill dog to the heart thumping sound of the Prodigy’s Fire starter. What’s not to love, right? You can only imagine my excitement when I was told that Quantum Rush: Champions would rekindle the combat racing flame and, hopefully out shine its predecessors. I was quite literally rubbing my hands and grinning like a randy uncle at a family wedding.
Flash forward seven days and I have been playing Quantum Rush: Champions for a good seven days. How was it you ask? Did it live up to my expectations? Am I going to name my first-born after the games developers? Sadly I must report that Quantum Rush: Champions is, at best, an ok game. It most certainly is not a great game. Developed by Game Art Studio, Quantum Rush: Champions offers the obligatory assortment of racing ships manufactured by three different makers. Each vehicle has its pros and cons: if you opt for speed, you lose something on your shields etc…There are three campaigns with numerous challenges including the standard races, time trials, demolition style events and pick up item targets.
As you progress through the game you earn credits which allow you to upgrade your ship and, eventually, you get to unlock the next vehicle from the manufacturer that you’ve chosen. On paper this sounds like Game Art has ticked all the boxes for a great combat racing title. But where Quantum Rush: Champions falls down is in its execution and lack of overall polish. A good example of this is the ability to pick up various weapons as you race along the tracks. Once you’ve picked up the weapon an icon appears on your screen which is supposed to represent the type of weapon you’ve acquired. Simple, right? The only problem with this is that you have no idea what the weapon is or what it does. Why? Because no one tells you. Like me you will spend most of your time randomly firing off your pickups just to see what they do. And as all of the icons are pretty similar, you have zero chance of remembering what does what to whom.
The difficulty curve in Quantum Rush: Champions is also one of the most unforgiving we’ve encountered in a very long time. We’re not talking Demon’s Souls level but we’re definitely heading into that car park. At the beginning of almost every race, your opponents disappear over the horizon so quickly that, if this were a real race, you would probably open your car door and step out because you were convinced your car was standing still. During one race I was so far behind, I seriously thought I was first. Note to developers: a mini map or radar system would have been a good idea here.
In the audio department Quantum Rush: Champions could also have made more of an effort. Although the tracks included are not offensive, they can hardly be described as memorable. And I’m talking as someone who made a point of collecting the tracks played in Wipe Out even though I’d never heard of most of the bands.
Lastly, Quantum Rush: Champions graphics also leave a lot to be desired. After a day or so of playing Quantum Rush: Champions on my Xbox One, I fired up Wipe Out HD on the PS3 and the difference in polish and sheer eye-popping beauty was staggering. Compared to the 2008 game, Quantum Rush: Champions looked decidedly tired and uninspiring. Oh, and one more thing just before I get off this soap box: why oh why is there no multiplayer option in Quantum Rush: Champions? I mean, this is a next-gen racing game and you can’t race against other real players. I can only imagine that this function was out of the game due to time or budgetary constraints. Hopefully its an area that will be addressed if and when the game receives new downloadable content.
Over all Quantum Rush: Champions is not a terrible game. Honestly there is some fun to be had here. But you have to search hard for it. If this were a school report we’d probably end it by saying Quantum Rush: Champions has potential but could do better.
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