Pacer Review – A zero tribute
Pacer is a fans-oriented game. Fans are those of us who love races by weightlessness in the wipeout vein. Some members of the original Wipeout team even rolled up their sleeves on this title, so if you have already run in the future without gravity, you will know what you are embark on.
For non-initiates, Pacer is a game where you are running with spacecrafts that are just above the track at dazzling speeds. The caterpillars are designed for a maximum speed and tight turns where you can exceed an opponent through cautious use of aerobilies. The use of these brakes allows you to take tighter turns and recharge your boost (Kers system fans will be familiar here). When it works, it’s a wonderful sensation. But the poor design of the Pacer track limits this euphoria to brief moments, and I found my time with it especially frustrating.
In a typical race, you slide at the maximum speed, thoroughly aligning your runner with increased speed or object bonus on the tracks. You will accelerate in dodging or pulling your opponents. There are moments of happiness, while a track narrows and you earn more and more speed, you will understand why people like these types of runners. Your dreams will however be annihilated because the turns, even on the ships best equipped in a lower CC support, are often too tight, resulting in unnecessary collisions against one or the other of the guardrails. This could be a question of “Get Gud”, but even by modifying my ship for the best maneuverability and being agile with my controller, I always crushed in every turn as a clodhopper because some curvatures seem outright nasty for the first players.
In standard modes, you face ten opponents IA on three towers. I was very happy to see that the bots are not too elastic. Congratulations to developers to not give them the impression that they have rubber because you are far in mind. Nothing can kill a buzz faster (looking at Mario Kart). For those of us who want to gain against living humans, many matchmaking options are offered with most modes of the game.
For the solo player, the career mode is deep and fleshy in the right direction. And where I spent most of my time. You can discover everything the game has to offer and compete for a gold medal in each event. This accumulates the currency you can spend to unblock more tracks and objects for future races. There are also rankings so you can boast or be sad that someone has crushed your new record (basically me all the time).
The fight can take place in most modes. The weapons of your runner are chosen by you before an event, so it’s up to you to decide if you prefer the missiles to the bombs. In practice, it’s a little disappointing, however. I often found myself uncertain if I was even connected with an opponent or if I missed it, because the telegraphy is uneven and the effects themselves are subtle. Weapons too, lack serious punch. If I shoot a huge missile and connect myself, let me hear him and let me see the explosion! I want to feel the heat on my eyebrows like a boost by my surprised enemy.
This does not mean that there are no luminous points in Pacer like breathtaking graphics and tracks. While the tracks themselves tend to bend in a predictable way, I have often felt the jaw loose by looking at the Niagara Falls Scroll while I turned in a corner. All this works on Unreal Engine 4 at a high frequency of images, so it’s a marvel to watch.
Finally, no good zero-G game will not go anywhere without a sound and memorable music. Pacer does not put the bar very high here because the music seems somewhat forgotten (contrary to a multitude of remarkable pieces found in Rocket League, for example). I finally simply refused things because nothing really landed.
All this ends up appearing as an “almost” experience. Pacer is almost a successor of Wipeout, but a bad design of the track, a lack of solid audio design and dull weapons are added to a HO-HUM experience that lets you desire for the first days of Wipeout. If you really need something to scratch this old itchy, give a whirlwind to Pacer. If you are looking for the next Class S Zero G runner, you will probably want to dust off an old Playstation.
- Beautiful racing circuits
- A lot of variety and customization
- Many modes to stay busy
- Dull soundtrack
- Weapons seem sub-powerful
- Some bad track designs