‘ScreamRide’ Review


Posted on March 2, 2015 by Alan Walsh

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ScreamRide is a fully-featured, physics-based coaster game where creativity and destruction are equally welcomed. It’s the first Microsoft Studios game of 2015 and is developed by Frontier Developments, the creators of Zoo Tycoon, Kinectimals and Rollercoaster Tycoon. ‘ScreamRide’ is a futuristic rollercoaster-tycoon type experience. Play, create and destroy are the three big aspects of this game. You can create rollercoasters, destroy them or ride on them. The game features a career and sandbox environment mode. Career entails travelling around the world across six main areas while Sandbox is all about creating your own roller-coasters and sharing them with the Xbox Live community. The game feels fun to play and offers hours of fun to casual players.

The story of ‘ScreamRide’ involves the society begging to have the impossible. A new organization called the ‘ScreamWorks International Research Facility’ is trying to create a new class of roller-coaster rides that no simple theme park could even imagine. They have facilities located around the globe and these are experienced in the games career mode. In the career, there is six main series’ located around the world. The first is ‘The Populous Labs’, a consumer facing location for ScreamWorks. This is where all corporate approved ScreamWorks attractions are located. The second being the ‘Falls Research Station’ which is located in the tropics. This is where riders can come soak in the sun while enjoying the latest creations from ScreamWorks research. The third is ‘Beldurraren Laku’ which is located right in the middle of a semi-active volcano, creating more danger for riders. Next is the ‘The Calderia Complex’ a land decorated with craters. Some natural, others man-made. Then there’s ‘De Frusna’, a frozen wasteland which gives ScreamWorks polar cover from the outside to create the most mind-blowing thrills and chills. The game closes off with ‘The Fortress’. This is a top secret location where ScreamWorks creates some of its most cutting edge experiments among rough seas and the ruins of historic wars.

Each series includes a number of missions of varying type. After each mission, you’ll be shown your stats and leaderboard comparative against your friends and the global Xbox Live community. For myself, this always encourages me to retry levels just so I can beat my mates, take a quick screenshot and boast about it for the day. The higher the score you get on each level also opens up further levels and new series. If your score is too low, you may need to retry previous levels to progress further in the career.

Here’s where Cameron beat me. But Greenskull surpassed us all. Damn you Dan!

There are three types of missions in ScreamRide and each highlights the insanity of this game. The first are ScreamRider missions which present you with the task of riding the coaster and creating the most intense experience for riders without throwing them out of the coaster. You control the speed of the coaster and well as whether to lean left or right at certain points. The controls the balance of the coaster, which at times allows you to just use two wheels rather than four which creates a deadly but rewarding experience. Not just that, but the level of intensity increases. At times, you’ll be prompted to press certain buttons such which will earn you bonus points and increase your boost meter. The boost allows you to go much faster but also increases the risk of de-railing. Sometimes, you’ll also have to jump off the track and land on the other side. If you aren’t going fast enough, you won’t make it. These are my favourite missions in ScreamRide because of how insane they get, the extreme fun you have and just how intense you feel riding on two wheels leaning on one side while using boost to go as fast as you can. It just feels like total mayhem at times.

Here’s the view given in ‘ScreamRider’ mode. Yep, it gets pretty insane at times.

Many players are going to love Demolition Expert, the destruction element of ScreamRide and the second type of missions found in the career. Here, you’re going to be destroying buildings to get as many points as possible. The more you demolish and less tries you need, the better the outcome. Thrill-seeking riders will be in these pods and there’s a few of different varieties giving you a choice of what you want. Some can break up in thirds just before impact, others deal greater damage. You launch these pods from a stand and you can adjust the power (speed) it’s rotating them at which will increase the speed of the pod upon departure. As you’re about to let go, you can hold ‘A’ to go into slow motion, making you more accurate. When your pod is mid-air, you can use the left analogue stick for after-touch to slightly alter the direction of your pod. As you hit into a building and the demolition commences, you can change the camera angle using LB and RB to see the desolation as it happens from various points of view. You’ll also be limited on the number of pods you have. There’s nothing better than seeing buildings collapse onto the ground.

Buildings collapsing. Just another day in the office for ScreamWorks.

The Engineer missions would be my least favourite, because these are the trickiest and require the most time and patience. In ‘Build to Thrill’ events you’re given the start of a roller-coaster and it’s up to you to finish it. Your objective here is to try and make the coolest ride while using the least amount of track possible. You can twist track, creates loops, smoothen the track, adjust turns and so forth. Once you’re done, you go into ‘Test Drive’ mode by pressing down on the d-pad. The ride needs to be going really fast once you test out your track without slowing down much and you need to try and keep everyone in the coaster. The faster it goes, the crazier it gets for those crazy riders and the less people that get thrown off, the more points you’ll earn. In ‘Build to Destroy’ events, players must create coasters that can do the most possible damage to the surrounding area. You must construct your roller-coaster so that once the coaster leaves the track it can do high amounts of damage on impact.

An example of the indicators used in Engineer missions. These show how much fear riders are getting on custom tracks.

The Sandbox mode found in ‘ScreamRide’ is where the community can build their own rides. This is the exact same editor that the ScreamRide designers over at Frontier used to make the shipped levels found in the career mode. This mode also includes some difficult/time-consuming achievements, such as placing 50,000 pieces of scenery. There’s also no real-time online collaboration mode that you could invite friends to help you create in unfortunately, which is one of the major cons of the game. The editor allows you to customize the island terrain, place scenery on the map, customize your own coaster as well as the entire ride so you can place track. Placing terrain is easy enough, you select the material you want such as metal or grass and you can place terrain as fast or slow as you want. You can also choose to place a shape onto the surface using a blueprint. Placing track on the map is also straightforward with the option of adding boosts and other effects. There’s also a camera mode (similar to Forge in Halo) where you can just navigate around the track/map in great detail while using the d-pad for access to quit options such as edit/delete. The depth of the editor in Sandbox mode astonished me (it’s a pity I don’t know how to use most of the stuff yet) as showcased below, the customization available to you in the game is insane and other reviewers/developers have already come up with some brilliant levels, so I cannot wait to see what the community will create when they get their hands on it. The length of track, height and depth of objects and terrain are some of the options at your disposal as you build your track to release to the world.

This is how detailed the Sandbox mode is. That’s a lot of customization.

The ‘Level Center’ allows players to download custom tracks created by the community in the Sandbox mode. You can find creations in two ways. Firstly, by browsing for the finished level so you can play on it. Or instead, you can get the level blueprints which are individual buildings, structures, rides and coasters that can be used in Sandbox when creating levels. These are shared easily with your friends and the wider SreamRide community. You can find tracks by what’s just been uploaded or search for key words. You can save tracks to favourites and rate them based on how much you like it. Cameron who works on the team made a quick track in Sandbox mode and uploaded it, so I decided to give it go. The download was very quick and there were no issues trying to find it.If you wish to only see your friends levels, there’s a filter for that.

I then went on to try out some community-based tracks in the Level Center and there is some pretty awesome creations already. One of them is called ‘Twisters’ by Team 4 P3, which involves the track just constantly twisting in loops over and over. Your cabin is going at a crazy speed and derailing of the track is quite common. Another was ‘IGN Offices Private-Coaster Island’ by Venomus01 which was this huge coaster you did three laps on and it spun round and you did loops, almost like the previous one and the ‘IGN’ logo was the terrain under the track. Really cool stuff. ScreamRider levels aren’t just the only community levels, there is also Demolition levels on the Center including a personal favourite called ‘Destroy The PS4’ by Meteora Cedric which like in the career, you fire your cannon (or the Direct X12 cannon) at the object (or a PS4 in this case) and one it hits the barrels, it blows up the entire thing. It’s safe to say I had quite a few moments of laughter with this one. This system for discovering community levels is perfect in my opinion, the search options allow you to easily find new levels and this is the system we need in Halo for discovering popular community maps and game modes. Frontier Developments really have perfected this system of discovery.

Just look at how EPIC the terrain is. Seriously, I cannot wait to see what the community creates!

With the career acting as a great introduction to ‘ScreamRide’, the real fun continues with community levels and this is crucial because it means the game doesn’t get repetitive or dull, providing replayability. It remains vibrant and fresh with new levels created by you, the gamers. A question I’ve seen everyone ask “is it worth the $40?” and a lot of people are avoiding it for now because of the price with limited content. I can assure you that the $40 is a worthy investment for this game, I think it’s a really fair price and everyone should look into ScreamRide. However, there is no Level Center on the Xbox 360 version which costs $10 less to account for that but I would recommend getting this on Xbox One for the extra feature as it adds hours more gameplay to the experience. I am thrilled though to give ‘ScreamRide’ a 9/10. The experience has been fantastic and I can’t wait to see what levels the community create when the game launches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pros:

  • Career acts a great introduction to the game starting with easy concepts before moving onto more difficult levels and you progress with missions.
  • The Sandbox mode offers a great way to create huge roller-coasters and demolition zones. Terrain, track and more is editable in the Sandbox mode.
  • Level Center adds hours of more fun to the game as you can download custom created levels made by the community in an easy to use interface.
  • The game looks great and there hasn’t been one FPS drop for me, showing how well the game has been optimized for the hardware.
  • Detailed leaderboards compare you and your friends scores making you want to beat their scores in more career levels.
  • Very affordable price at $40.

Cons:

  • A lack of online collaboration mode for Sandbox.
  • Xbox 360 players lose replay-ability value with the lack of the Level Center.
  • The text used in the game is really small when reading, I always find myself walking over to the TV to read it. An increase in font would be nice.

This review was a collaboration between BeetleComet and CameronMines.

9/10

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