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WiiU

North America

Fast Racing Neo (Wii U) Review

by Neal Ronaghan - December 8, 2015, 7:22 am PST
Total comments: 8

9

F-Zero to the core, Fast Racing Neo is almost everything you’d want in a future racing game.

It’s almost impossible to boot up Shin’en’s latest Wii U game Fast Racing Neo and not think of the dormant Nintendo franchise F-Zero. Everything from the blazing speed to the futuristic setting feels akin to the Nintendo series. Heck, Fast Racing Neo even has the same announcer as F-Zero GX. The similarities aren’t just cosmetic, though, as Fast Racing Neo is a superb racing game that offers up unique tracks and novel gameplay mechanics set to stunning visuals and pulsating music that matches up technically to some of the best efforts on Wii U.

On the whole, this is just a pure, fulfilling futuristic racing game, but it has some distinct elements that make it stand out. Boosts operate based on a phasing system similar to Ikaruga. At the tap of a button, you switch between blue and orange, and you have to make sure you are on the right color when you go over a boost. It takes some getting used to, but once you acclimate to the tracks, it becomes a welcome addition to the racing. For most boosting, you can also collect items on the track to build up a meter that you can activate whenever.

16 tracks are playable spread out across four cups. It’s not an overwhelming amount of content, but each track is distinct and often has its own twist or tweak. One track has cascading water, which makes for a neat graphical effect. Another has large orange and blue barriers that are passed through quickly by being in the right colored phase. The four cups are reused for three different leagues of increasing difficulty before you unlock Hero Mode, which is one of the most brutal and beautiful gameplay modes I’ve played in a while. Hero Mode is essentially pure F-Zero, as your boost meter doubles as your shield, everything is crazy fast, and the tracks are mirrored. It’s delightful insanity, and also a reminder of how challenging Fast Racing Neo can get. The various cups aren’t a cakewalk, and you have to learn the tracks and the game’s mechanics inside and out to progress. This isn’t for the weak at heart.

The vehicles look and feel like they could be matched up against the Blue Falcon, and each one has different weight, acceleration, and max speed settings. Unfortunately, the vehicles, and the game on the whole, don’t really have much of a personality. Each one is named after an in-universe company, which I guess adds to the whole “future racing” concept considering a lot of companies back present-day racing, but it makes for a less-engaging video game. Kicking back with some friends in local multiplayer, which supports up to four players, mitigates some of that by turning it into good old-fashioned couch fun, but still, a car named Ziro Industries and FulCon Capital doesn’t stand next to Mr. EAD’s Great Star or Samurai Goroh’s Fire Stingray. There’s also online play for up to eight players, and through my minimal time spent with it, it has run fine. We will update the review with final thoughts on the online when it’s out in the wild.

At the end of the day, the lack of character doesn’t weigh heavily on the quality. This is a balls-to-the-wall, lightning fast racing game that soars with gripping gameplay and excellent visuals. If you’ve been longing for a new F-Zero or another rad racing game, this is for you.

Summary

Pros
  • Eight-player online
  • Finely tuned and compelling racing
  • Four-player split-screen
  • Incredible visuals
Cons
  • Lack of personality

Talkback

EnnerDecember 08, 2015

Fast!


Eager to download this game when it comes out this week. It's been too long since I've played something like it.

sudoshuffDecember 08, 2015

I'm in!  It's not everyday we get a Wii U game praised for its (realistic) visuals.

SorenDecember 08, 2015

Day 1 for sure...

Evan_BDecember 08, 2015

Welp. This propelled my hype to new levels.

tyto_albaDecember 09, 2015

How is the music?

LemonadeDecember 09, 2015

Still not sure if I want this. I was never a big fan of F-Zero.

PhilPhillip Stortzum, December 21, 2015

I think my biggest gripe with the game so far is how you can do well in every race but make ONE mistake, and that costs you the whole cup. Since you don't lose a life when you crash, you can easily do well in the first three races, crash near the end, get ninth place, and end up losing the cup. It's annoying, but not something that has ruined the experience for me.


As an aside, there is no rush at least from me, but when will this review be updated with more in-depth info on the online?

sudoshuffDecember 27, 2015

Quote from: Phil

I think my biggest gripe with the game so far is how you can do well in every race but make ONE mistake, and that costs you the whole cup. Since you don't lose a life when you crash, you can easily do well in the first three races, crash near the end, get ninth place, and end up losing the cup. It's annoying, but not something that has ruined the experience for me.

Sounds about like Mario Kart when you are going for three stars.

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Genre Racing
Developer Shin'en
Players1 - 8

Worldwide Releases

na: FAST Racing NEO
Release Dec 10, 2015
PublisherShin'en
RatingEveryone
eu: FAST Racing Neo
Release Dec 10, 2015
PublisherShin'en
Rating7+

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