Carmageddon: Reincarnation is the driving sensation where pedestrians (and cows) equal points and your opponents are a bunch of crazies in a twisted mix of automotive killing machines. It’s the antidote to racing games!!
GAME NAME: Carmageddon: Reincarnation
DEVELOPER(S): Stainless Games
PUBLISHER(S): Stainless Games
GENRE(S): Racing, Vehicular Combat
RELEASE DATE(S): 21 May, 2015 (Steam)
In 1997, a videogame was released that caused establishment scandal and media hysteria around the world. Banned in some countries, censored in others, and even condemned by a Pope, overnight it became the poster child for everything that’s wrong in society… and therefore right in a videogame.
The game was CARMAGEDDON. For a generation of gamers coming to the end of a decade of 2D, wireframe, and corridor combat, it was an awesome introduction to the concept of the “real” 3D open world, do-whatever-the-feck-you-like, chuck-out-the-rulebook-and-just-BE-STUPID gameplay. And in doing so it also introduced the gaming world to the whole concept of realistic physics and real-time dynamic damage. What’s more, it was the FUNNIEST GAME EVER.
So what have we done to update the game that was not only one of the most controversial titles of its day, but also the most innovative and technically advanced of its generation? Well controversy is pretty hard to whip up these days, but we are still proudly offering you the chance to turn PEDESTRIANS into POINTS (which continues to get certain sections of society hot under the collar) using your car or a whole host of hilarious ped pulping POWERUPS! And we continue to be boldly innovative and technically bloody clever – our CAR CRUSHING CODE continues to be the envy of anything else out there. Plus it’s all more HILARIOUS than ever!
All this means that what you get is a Carmageddon fit for the 21st Century, tuned for today’s fun-seeking bloodthirsty adrenaline junkie game fans…
ATTENTION: Everyone by now should know that I am a huge fan of the Carmageddon franchise and of Stainless Games and as such I have followed the development of the game from when it was just an idea through to it’s actual final release, I was one of a handful of people to find out about the project before it was announced publicly but in this review I will try to provide the most unbiased opinion on the reboot of the Carmageddon franchise that I possibly can.
The way Carmageddon is presented and the way that the press have used it as ammunition for their ‘violence in video games’ arguments you’d be forgiven for thinking that the most notable feature of any game within the Carmageddon franchise is it’s gore but it really isn’t, yes Carmageddon is a gory and politically incorrect game that rewards you for mowing down (assumed) innocent people but just portraying the games in the franchise as such would be doing them a great disservice, each Carmageddon game (ignoring console ports and that incident in 2000) has pushed the boundaries when it comes to video game technologies with realistic damage physics that actually react to collisions and stunningly complex environments that have pushed the tech of the time to it’s limits and Carmageddon: Reincarnation is no different.
The game itself is a reboot of the franchise and a re-imagining of the first Carmageddon, bringing fan favourite characters, vehicles and levels from the first game back for another outing but don’t go thinking Carmageddon: Reincarnation is just a fresh coat of paint on the old Carmageddon formula, Stainless Games have mixed up the old with the new adding in various new and interesting features that make this the most accessible Carmageddon game to date.
In previous Carmageddon games you were thrown into a level and left to do as you please, you could win the events in one of three ways:
1. Completing the race- Never encouraged and you were barely rewarded for doing so, races would tend to prove more costly racing than anything
2. Mowing down all of the pedestrians- Which takes great exploration, patience and skill and you’re rewarded well for doing it and
3. Destroying all of your opponents- The most favourite and most common method of winning a Carmageddon event
In Reincarnation this has come to be known as the ‘Classic Carma’ event but Reincarnation adds a lot of other events into the mix such as Checkpoint Stampede which involves players racing to as many checkpoints as possible before the rest of their opponents, Ped Stampede which is the same as Checkpoint Stampede but you’re racing to mow down specific pedestrians before your opponents, Car Crusher which is a demolition derby style mode where the only way to win is to wreck your opponents and Death Race which is just a race.
Now whilst I’m all for innovation especially with older games, Carmageddon was always about being able to win the game how you want to win it and when you’re being presented with an event where the only way to win is to actually race it feels not only like the whole ‘antidote to racing games’ and touting Carmageddon as an anti-racing game is actually a lie but it also doesn’t feel like Carmageddon, even though Stainless Games have to their credit tried to give the players additional unique ways to beat these events, for example in a Death Race event you can waste other opponents and steal their laps instead of actually racing, these gamemodes still feel like a shoe-horned in effort to present a wider variety of content without actually providing new content. I was always fine with these events being solely-multiplayer modes as they used to be in the previous games, presenting them as actual gamemodes feels the same as Quake III Arena’s singleplayer mode, it’s just multiplayer but with (AI) bots.
Whilst I’m on the subject of content I must mention that Carmageddon: Reincarnation doesn’t have as much as other games in the franchise, whilst it does offer more than enough content to keep you happy the game does feel like it’s prolonging your experience by recycling the same levels a lot, this feels especially true in the career mode where you’re given 16 tiers of events to complete and within these tiers is around 3-4 different races, each one of these races is a different gamemode, the first one being Classic Carma and the remaining events being a mixture of the new stuff, now the game has only a handful of environments so it throws a lot of events at you and a lot of these are within the same environments just with different track layouts but one positive thing is that the game doesn’t force you to complete every single event as each tier is unlocked by accruing a certain amount of credits within the previous tier, so if you hated Death Race and only wanted to play Classic Carma (like me) then you can just replay Classic Carma events to get enough credits to unlock the next tier, which is a nice compromise.
I’ve made it clear that I don’t like how few environments we’re presented with in the game but what we are given is insanely detailed and every level has plenty of things that you can do, be it collecting Smelly Bushes (yes, you read that right), finding ‘cash cows’ or just exploring little side areas and interiors, a lot of work has been put into fleshing out each of these environments and giving them life and they really do feel great with thousands of different accessories just sitting about waiting to be destroyed, you really feel like you’re causing havoc in a living world. Stainless Games have also confirmed that they will be adding another environment to the game in a future update, which is nice of them and should alleviate the repetition.
Complaints aside Carmageddon: Reincarnation is a stunning game and really takes the franchise into the modern day gaming world, the most impressive aspects of the game are the vehicles, they’re intricately detailed each with their own personality, they’re donned with blades, spikes and all manner of ped-maiming weaponry, every vehicle has it’s own modelled suspension that buckles if you push it too hard, the vehicles crumple and deform to where they’re hit and tyres deflate and come loose from rims just as if you were plowing real cars into each other and all of this happens without the game dropping a single frame, it really is an impressive sight to see!
Now I’d like to address the performance of the game, I am running an i5-2500, 8GB RAM and an NVidia GTX 560 (1GB VRAM) my system is around 4 years old, so it’s getting on a bit but Carmageddon: Reincarnation will run on mostly High settings with a few of the major ones on Medium at my full screen resolution of 1680X1050 without issue, it doesn’t run at a constant 60fps and tends to stick between the 40-50 mark though it rarely ever drops below 30 which for a game as complex as this is quite astounding.
The game boasts a wide variety of different graphics options so you’re able to tweak the game to your liking to get the best experience possible out of it but because it streams in virtual textures as you’re playing you cannot really adjust texture quality to your liking as this happens automatically based on the amount of VRAM you have available, so you should take this into account when playing as it needs a lot of horsepower in not only your GPU but also your CPU and hard drive to get the best out of it but with that being said it will run just fine on a mid-range system, load times are on average 45 seconds for me which is also fairly impressive given the amount of assets that the game loads in initially.
In pre-alpha and alpha I couldn’t even get the game running at anything other than sub-5fps but Stainless have really polished their baby and added a lot of love, care and attention to turn it into what it is today and that’s quite possibly the most-fun (anti) racing game on the market, filled to the brim with humour, gore, crazy powerups, impressive tech and most important of all fun and for pure enjoyment alone I would highly recommend another romp in the Carmageddon universe with Carmageddon: Reincarnation.
Don’t forget that mods are already starting to roll out for the game and when the Carmageddon community gets into it’s stride with modding nothing can stop us, the game will continue to stay fresh for many years due to mod support and Stainless definitely award more points for building a game so openly around modding, they certainly know their community! Maybe this very last sentence was a tad biased but mods are awesome!
– Stunning damage physics
– Lots of humour
– Modding Support
– Detailed worlds
– Lack of levels
– Only 5 opponents per race
– No ‘Classic Carma’ in Multiplayer due to no pedestrians
– Vehicle splitting not implemented yet
– Some Events force play styles
– Audio feels a bit rough around the edges and can get repetitive
Thanks for reading and good gaming.