Review | Pacer
Anyone else remember the thrill of whipping across the water in Hydro Thunder in the arcade? What about defying gravity on the race track in any of the Wipeout games? Well if any of those are the case, then the newly released Pacer might be the modern iteration that you’re looking for! Developed and published by R8 Games, which consists of staff members from Wipeout 3, Pacer is another futuristic racing sim which will feel right at home for fans of the genre.
With no story to speak of, it’s all about the gameplay, visuals, and sounds. Gameplay consists of navigating through a twisting and turning track against a field of competitors, in an attempt to be the first to cross the finish line. There are other modes that emphasize other aspects like maintaining first place while those in last are slowly eliminated and destroying other racers, but the main focus is speed. On the track, the power ups are simple. Automatic boosts, weapon pick ups, and shield refills are evenly spaced vertically and horizontally on the race track, making missing a power up here and there pretty forgiving.
Visually, the game is pretty diverse. There are lots of customization options with cosmetics, performance, and weapons for your vehicle. Combine this with varied and gorgeous race tracks, and there is plenty to ogle over. This is especially noticeable during the pre-race cutscenes. They perfectly highlight the beautiful surroundings of the track, each one a unique paraphrase of certain real-life geographical locations.
The music consists of a soundtrack full of electronic music that mellowly fades into the background. Thus, it gives way to the much louder sound effects such as the start of the race countdown, crashes, and the whooshing of the extremely fast race cars.
While this all sounds like a recipe for success, the actual result is surprisingly lackluster. Even though there are quick play, career, and online modes, the gameplay is rather monotonous. This is due to most races playing out the same. Start in last place, take first place by the second or third lap, then cruise to the finish line. Maybe a more fitting title would have been Pace Car. More specifically, a pace car with an invisible field behind you. And ironically, the game lacks energy.
Unfortunately, the well designed visuals can’t save Pacer from being a mediocre game. The intense rush of a photo-finish hardly ever occurs and the combat is underwhelming. Hardcore fans of the genre might find enjoyment in Pacer. But honestly, they probably won’t find enough to sink their teeth into or a reason to keep coming back for more. Or maybe it would just be more fun to play Mario Kart.
Final Score: 6.5 out of 10