Check out our review of Star Wars: Episode 1 Racer, now available on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch.
We’ll tell you everything you need to know before you play this high speed racer!
Hello and welcome to our review of Star Wars Episode I: Racer, soon to be available on both PS4 and Nintendo Switch. We’ll give you the lowdown on everything you need to know before you play, but before I do, make sure to hit subscribe and the notification bell for reviews, interviews, features and more.
I’ll defend the Star Wars prequel movies until the day I die; often thought of as the leperous arm of the franchise, they’re only now finding a newfound appreciation with fans in the past few years. This reputation has always been unfair, with all three films offering moments that eclipse the iconic Original Trilogy, while developing a rich universe and deep lore that until this point had only been touched upon in reference and expanded media.
One of the coolest moments in the Prequel Trilogy can be found in The Phantom Menace. Commonly derided as the worst of the bunch, even its harshest critic will concede that Podracing is awesome. Essentially Roman chariot racing but with rocket boosters and aliens, it gave us 15 of the most exciting minutes found in the entire saga.
That’s why it was a no brainer for LucasArts to release Star Wars Episode 1: Racer alongside the movie in May 1999. Putting you in control of your own Podracer, it’s essentially Wipeout set in ‘a galaxy far, far away…’, where you compete in very fast, very dangerous races across not just the planet of Tatooine, but several hitherto unexplored worlds.
With tight controls, a surprisingly deep upgrade system for your racer and original voice actors reprising their roles, it’s clear a lot of time, effort and love went into what might have otherwise been a throwaway title. It’s no surprise that it’s garnered a cult following that persists to this day, culminating in a 2020 re-release for PS4 and Nintendo Switch.
But after two decades away, is it still worth playing Star Wars Episode I: Racer? Watch on to find out…
The first thing you’ll notice is that this isn’t a complete rebuild as we’ve seen recently with the likes of Resident Evil 3 and Final Fantasy VII, rather a fresh coat of paint and remapping of controls to make it more palatable for modern players. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and particularly with the 4K support of the PS4 Pro, looks great. Just don’t expect a brand new game.
What has definitely persisted from the original game is that it’s just as fun as it was all those years ago. Each course offers a unique setting; from the mesas of Tatooine to the aquatic backdrop of Aquilaris, it’s great to explore the breadth of the Star Wars Galaxy at breakneck speed.
You also get to a wide roster of characters to choose from. Ok, unless you’re a hardcore fan, you’ll probably only recognise Sebulba and Anakin, but each racer can be found in the movie too, however fleetingly. And each have their own racer stats, meaning they’re more than just a cosmetic skin. Besides, where else can you play as Ben Quadinaros?
Aside from maps, characters and lore, Star Wars Episode I: Racer still handles really well for a game of its age. Considering you’re travelling at hundreds of miles per hour and you’re about 5 feet off the ground, you’d be forgiven for thinking your racer would handle like a bar of soap. Instead you always feel in control of your character, meaning tracks always feel fair and manageable. Different courses even offer differ terrain to manage. Should ice really make you slide around more on an ice considering you’re literally floating above the ground? Probably not, but it’s Star Wars, try not to overthink it.
But this accessible handling also happens to be my biggest gripe with Racer. It’s really easy, and that’s not me bragging. I’m normally the one relying on Billy the Bullet to save me from last place in Mario Kart. Even from the first race, you’ll probably be in pole position and stay there until the end. The difficulty does ramp up towards the latter races, but you’ll have to skim your way through less than formidable competition before you reach that stage. But again this is by no means a game ruiner. Instead, consider it a great title to introduce younger games to the world of arcade racing, Star Wars and specifically Mars Guo shouting RAWR.
To wrap up, Star Wars Episode I: Racer is still very much worth playing in 2020. It’s aged well both cosmetically and technically, and can be enjoyed by gamers of all ages. My advice? Pick it up on the Switch, rather than PS4, as it’s not something to sit back and play for hours on end. The quick ‘pick up and play’ nature of the game makes it perfect for the more portable console.
But what did you think of Star Wars Episode I: Racer? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to like, share and subscribe for more videos every single week. See you next time!
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