After the official demise of the UK development house Psygnosis, the studio responsible for the genre-defining Wipeout, much of the team regrouped at SCEE's Studio Liverpool, which has kept the Wipeout series alive with Wipeout Fusion for the PlayStation 2. Other key members went on to form Curly Monsters and have produced their own futuristic racing game for the Xbox, Quantum Redshift. The collective experience of the team is quite apparent in the game, which is recognizably inspired by the Wipeout games. But you'll also get the impression that they've become so accustomed to making Wipeout games that they're unable to do anything else, as the game just doesn't bring anything particularly new or inventive to the table. Quantum Redshift is by all means technically proficient, but it's uninspired and will probably give you the sensation that you've already done all this before.
The developer's history with the Wipeout games is apparent.
You should be able to pick up Quantum Redshift pretty quickly, because the controls are fairly forgiving and similar enough to those in other futuristic racers to keep the initial learning curve from being too steep. The ships have an appropriately floaty feel to them, without completely sacrificing responsiveness. The game gives you some offensive power on the track in the form of a simple three-part weapons system, which includes an unguided projectile attack, a homing missile attack, and a temporary energy shield. In order to use these, you'll have to pick up different-colored gems found throughout the track, and each gem will give you a single use of that particular power-up. You'll also have access to a reservoir of turbo boost you can tap at any time, which is replenished at the start of each lap. Scoring hits on your opponents, catching big air off jumps, and placing in a high position in the race will net you points that can then be used to upgrade the effectiveness of your shields, weapons, and turbo boost.
The track designs in Quantum Redshift tend to be very wide with lots of turf variety, including (but not limited to) rocky desert terrain, the icy slopes of a mountain, groomed dirt tracks, paved roads, and various bodies of water. And your ship's handling will change depending on the track surface. The tracks are also rife with shortcuts, rewarding you for racing smart rather than just fast. The inclusion of water on the tracks is a cool idea and is best used in one of the later tracks, where you'll actually start off several meters underwater and slowly rise to the surface as you move forward. Unfortunately, this little stretch is one of the only truly unique and interesting bits of track in the game. The others seem inspired more by conventional rally racing games like Rallisport Challenge than the gravity-defying luge-like tracks of a Wipeout game.
Quantum Redshift offers nothing out of the ordinary in terms of gameplay modes, either, which are made up of tournament, time attack, quick race, and multiplayer. The tournament mode is the most fleshed-out of the five and comprises five different leagues--novice, amateur, expert, master, and redshift. You'll start off the game with access to the first two tiers, and once you've completed the amateur series, you'll be rewarded with a new track, a new pilot, and access to the expert difficulty level. The length of the race and the fierceness of your adversaries increase with each level, becoming seriously difficult on the master level and requiring nothing short of perfection on the redshift level. The time attack mode pits you against your own lap times, with your best run represented by a ghost ship. The quick race mode lets you jump into a single race with any pilot on any course and difficulty level that you've unlocked in the tournament mode. The multiplayer mode is pretty cut-and-dried, letting four players compete in a standard single-race competition.