What happened to arcade racers? It didn't even occur to me that they’ve become practically extinct until I got my hands on Wii U’s latest Fast Racing Neo. We’re seeing more and more emphasis on realism, and while you could call the excellent Forza Horizon 2 an arcade racer, it doesn’t quite belong in the same category as titles like Wipeout, F-Zero, OutRun, Virtua Racing, Project Gotham Racing and the countless other superb series that have now become nothing but relics of a different time. It’s a real shame too, because Fast Racing Neo reminds us that there’s plenty of room for over-the-top racing action.
Fast Racing Neo is arguably one of Wii U’s best games. For only $14.99, you’re getting more content than the majority of recent AAA releases...cough, cough, I’m looking at you Evolve and Battlefront. The game is structured like many classic arcade racers. At first, you only have access to one vehicle and the amateur cup. Each cup consists of four tracks, each drastically varying in layout and style.
Fast Racing Neo is fast and tough. While there is no rubber-banding or unfair AI, the game can move at such an absurd speed, it’s oftentimes difficult to keep up with the turns as everything around you slowly transitions into a giant blur. Learning track layouts is imperative, and the tiniest hiccup can lead to failure. Your opponents catch up in seconds, and they aren’t afraid to muscle their way through the pack by throwing you off balance. At the same time, the AI makes mistakes too, and it’s during those small openings that you can steal their glory and sometimes win races last minute.
"It’s beautiful to look at, it boasts incredibly satisfying gameplay and it’s the closest we’ll probably ever come to a Wipeout/F-Zero sequel."
To make things even more interesting, and challenging, you have to switch between blue and red phases when hovering over color-coded speed zones. You’re also constantly collecting orbs that charge your boost meter for additional speed. Yeah, Fast Racing Neo is built around speed, speed, speed and there’s not a moment of downtime during these nerve-wrecking races.
For a gamer that costs a little more than a movie ticket, Fast Racing Neo looks breathtaking. Every track is memorable, which isn’t something I can say for most modern AAA racers. Between deserts, jungles, cities and even space, the settings never become repetitive. Even though you are flying by at lightning speed for the most time, Fast Racing Neo never fails to impress with its weather effects overall style.
The game runs buttery smooth at all times, but it’s not technically perfect. System freezes plague the game constantly, which is particularly frustrating since you can’t save mid-championship. Crashes and freezes also rear their ugly head during online races, breaking the immersion to an otherwise smooth experience.
Despite its technical hiccups, Fast Racing Neo is a remarkable digital release that shouldn't be missed by anyone who owns a Wii U. The game is brimming with content and replay value. It’s beautiful to look at, it boasts incredibly satisfying gameplay and it’s the closest we’ll probably ever come to a Wipeout/F-Zero sequel.
Review by: Tin Salamunic | Reviewed on: Wii U