Shin'en Multimedia try again. After the excellent results obtained with Fast Racing League, considered by many to be one of the best titles available on WiiWare, the German software house (authors of the Nanostray e Art of Balance) returns with a new and very fast episode of his futuristic racing game, ready to debut on theeShop di Wii U from the next December 10 at a cost of € 14.99. Let's find out together FAST Racing Neo.
Zero gravityWhile paying homage to F-Zero and Wipeout, it manages to maintain its own identity
When it comes to futuristic racing games, the thought can only go straight to "immortal" series like F-Zero e Wipeout. But what happens when, for reasons unknown to us, two such cornerstones are missing and an unbridgeable void is created?
Fortunately, at least for us, not all seems lost and thanks to the guys from Shin'en it is possible to go back to riding the emotions of the past thanks to FAST Racing Neo, racing game that almost seems to pay homage to the two “historical” series with continuous references to their respective series, both in style and in graphics, managing, which is very difficult when one is so clearly inspired by the works of others, to maintain a well-defined identity.
The structure of FAST Racing Neo is one of the most classic. Once the game is started we are faced with some game options with which to start running immediately: we pass by Championship, a series of Grand Prix to be tackled in succession, al Time Attack, essential to perfect your driving style and beat developer records (placing our result in the standings, thanks to an online leaderboard), to the devastating Hero Mode, a hardcore variant of the game rules that adds a high level of challenge to the basic formula, and then comes to the two modes Multiplayer, one local, the other online.
Once we have chosen what to tackle, we will be asked to pilot the flaming anti-gravity single-seaters by selecting one of the four models available initially (each with its own exclusive characteristics such as speed, acceleration and weight), which they will increase in number by completing the accessible tournaments from time to time.
From the starting grid we will be able to start the race when the green light turns on, thus starting our climb to the podium. The controls are very simple and easy to learn and follow the mapping of the controls of the most common arcade driving games (from Wipeout to Mario Kart), immediately putting the player at ease. You accelerate with A, while with B you can activate the brake. The two rear triggers of the GamePad (ZL and ZR) will instead be used to make lateral movements, useful for correcting our trajectory or accentuating the steering angle of the nacelle. The turbo is assigned to the right backbone, which can be exploited by collecting icons on the track that will allow us to fill the appropriate bar.
On the other hand, the Phase is more complex, a system linked to the use of the turbo and which in this new chapter takes on a more integrated aspect in the infrastructure of the game.Through a quick press of L it is possible to switch between two phases of our vehicle, visually represented by the orange and blue colors. Some acceleration zones (and springboards) will be scattered on the track: depending on the color of these zones, if faced with the corresponding phase they will give the vehicle a greater thrust and speed allowing us to touch dizzying speeds. On the contrary, if we get the wrong phase, the car will suffer a setback, compromising the results of the tender. Although the system is easily assimilated to most, in the higher leagues where the overall speed reduces reaction times to zero it will be a great challenge to always keep concentration high, as well as knowledge of the route will be essential for placing on the podium. Also because our opponents will certainly not stand by and watch, but they will do everything to catch our every single mistake and make us eat the dust. From this point of view, FAST Racing Neo demonstrates a level of challenge well above the average already from the first class, as well as a good AI of the opponents who will be fierce and ready to tear us up but also subject to making mistakes.
Drive FASTHero Mode is a cruel and unsettling mode
FAST Racing Neo also offers the possibility of using motion-based controls as was the case in the previous episode on Wii and also allows you to use the Wiimote, either in the basic configuration (grabbing it horizontally) or combined with the Nunchuck, which will use the analogue to drive the spacecraft. Accessory compatibility is particularly useful in local multiplayer, which allows up to 4 players (via split-screen) to take part in a race, proving to be at ease even in this improvised party game guise.
In case of shortage of friends, however, you can access the online component. Here there are no great options to choose from, offering only two alternatives for matchmaking, with everyone or with friends, while our results will be ranked with points that will determine the overall rank. Not yet available, the online mode is only populated by those who have a review code. Despite this we managed to set up several races (with 4/5 participants) with excellent results. It is true that this does not represent 100% the final yield of a full-fledged netcode, but it has left us fully satisfied and hopeful of the final result.
After spending several words on the two main modes and the control system and just talking briefly about the Hero Mode, one of the novelties of this chapter. Available only after unlocking the Hypersonic class, the fastest and most devastating one, in Hero Mode things get complicated and more interesting by adding new rules to the game formula: every race is held at speed Hypersonic, the circuits present are mirrored versions of the normal ones and the turbo bar represents our health. In terms of competition, what does all this translate into? That every game will become a death race, in which we will have to be extremely careful about how and how much to dose the extra speed, trying not to overdo it, putting the outcome of the game at risk. Any mistake will cost dearly, as well as off-piste will not be forgiven and will force a restart of the race. Hero Mode is a cruel and unsettling mode, but it will surely delight lovers of extreme challenges.
The Art of SpeedFAST Racing Neo is a source of pride for Shin'en as regards the graphics sector
FAST Racing Neo is a source of pride for Shin'en as regards the graphics sector. The German team thanks to its experience and the support of Nintendo has succeeded in its primary goal, that of reaching and maintain a constant framerate set at 60 fps. This milestone made it possible to return the player to a unique fluidity that allowed for better perceive the sense of speed that you can try by piloting one of the pods, a fundamental element of all the futuristic racing games of this mold. Already from the first class the sensation of whizzing between the various tracks is high, and the passage between one division and the other is palpable, enough to force the player to review their driving style, anticipating braking times or entering corners.
In general, the visual aspect is striking, with a video rendering that immediately fills the eye, with numerous elements on the screen and effects that enrich the image and make FAST Racing Neo a beautiful sight. Even in the case of multiplayer, the optimization made to keep the quality unchanged must be applauded, at least in the case of the 2-player split-screen.
Despite this, compromises had to be made to obtain certain results. If the car models make a good impression and the stages boast a good level of detail, the overall resolution stops at 720p and what is most annoying is present a strong aliasing that ruins what is good done. Fortunately, however, the serrated effect will only be visible in the moments before the race, while in motion the perception will be mitigated thanks to the effects and speed that manage to mask this decidedly conspicuous defect quite well.
Last, but not least, the level design that contributes to making FAST Racing Neo special. The game offers 16 tracks, divided into 4 classes. Each track enjoys a unique setting ranging from green forests, desert areas or mountain locations whitened by cold snow.
Races take place both day and night, some even offering climatic situations such as rain or fog, which do not necessarily affect in terms of vehicle performance but have a greater impact on the visibility of the track itself. Many of the tracks also offer different paths and disturbing elements that risk destroying our spacecraft, forcing us to regenerate by making us lose precious positions in the race or simply slowing us down. Lethal, for example, the gigantic robot monster that will dominate the circuit of Kamagori City (an old acquaintance for Nanostray fans) and that will invade the tread with its huge steel paws or even the meteor shower of Daitoshi Station or the containers of the port of Muller Pacific. In general we are faced with a good selection of tracks, above all, fun to ride, although some do not shine particularly or are too short, especially in the more advanced classes, where speed will shorten travel times.
Here the source of inspiration for the two titles mentioned at the beginning is strong, and it is undeniable not to notice similarities in the proposed graphic mix, both in the construction of the vehicles and in that of the tracks, in some cases almost forcibly torn from the two series to which they belong.
Ultimately, let's talk about the sound, with a soundtrack composed of electronic songs that blend well with the sci-fi spirit of the game. The selection of tracks fully enhances the competitive soul of FAST Racing Neo, making every race “lit” also in this respect. It is interesting to note the presence of Jack Merluzzi, the announcer of F-Zero GX in a nice cameo that will surely delight all lovers (and nostalgics) of the series Nintendo.Verdict 8.5 / 10 Where have my retinas gone? Comment What about FAST Racing Neo. After a long wait, it finally arrives on our consoles and the results are more than appreciable. The experience and skill of Shin'en has allowed to give life to a valid title both from a technical and a playful point of view, with a futuristic racing game that pays homage and restores youth to an increasingly fugitive genre. Perhaps the only flaw we could do concerns the presence of little content which, once the effectiveness of the main mode is exhausted, leaves very little. However, it must be remembered, which in our opinion is important (if not fundamental) that the game is available at a price of € 14.99, a small amount compared to the intrinsic quality of the game, deserving every single cent required for the purchase. So if you are nostalgic lovers of F-Zero and Wipeout, orphans of your favorite series, with FAST Racing Neo you will make yourself one of the best (in this case Christmas) gifts you could ever make. For everyone else a great arcade driving game. Pros and cons ✓ 60 fps in the service of speed
✓ Fast-paced, fast-paced gameplay
✓ Hero Mode designed for hardcore gamers
✓ Definitely inviting price x Excessive aliasing
x Few modalities
x Not all tracks inspired