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LIGHTFIELD

is a hyper futuristic racing game with a parkour twist. Drive on any surface including walls, tunnels and sci-fi architecture to piece together the fastest racing line.... read more

LIGHTFIELD Review (PS4)

Author: Franz Aebischer
26-Sep-2017

Category: Review

Ready for a ride? LIGHTFIELD is the ultimate hyper futuristic racing game featuring unique mechanics and intense high speed gameplay! From wall riding to ceiling jumping and free flying, this game is one action packed racer!

LIGHTFIELD Review (PS4)

INTRODUCTION

Lightfield is an intense hyperfuturistic omnidirectional racing game made by developer Lost in the Garden that is sure to scratch your racer itch!

This racing game is jam packed with creative ideas and fast-paced gameplay. Travel the galaxy and challenge any racer who comes your way or even hunt down the secret treasures of each planet and more! Be sure to use your parkour-like abilities to your advantages to guarantee your success. Will you partake in this ultimate showdown?

Lightfield is available for purchase on the PlayStation Store (UK PS Store) for $19.99 US.

LIGHTFIELD Review (PS4) - Asteroid Belt!

STORY

Lightfield has little to no story unfortunately but there are minor substitutes to one. The closest to a story we get is the tutorial which welcomes you to the setting of the hyper future and introduces you to the basic controls and mechanics. There are also descriptions that give a few details and hints here and there such as background information on levels but there really isn't much story other than that.

It's a real shame that there really isn't any actual narrative at all as there was some great potential for a cool sci-fi future racing game with an epic tale to go along with it but at the same time it doesn't matter as this game delivers quite well atmosphere-wise even without a story.

GAMEPLAY

As Lightfield is a racing game, it has most mechanics that define the genre such as driving and races with laps. However, Lightfield puts quite a unique spin on the genre with tons of new unique features that greatly make up and enhance the gameplay. Not only do you have the task of racing around a large track but to succeed you'll also need to use the parkour elements and use the terrain to your advantage.

The controls for this game are pretty interesting with the player having to mainly only use the L2 and R2 buttons as well as either the face buttons or L1 and R1. L2 and R2 are your accelerate, and the face buttons/L1 and L2 are used for the in-game moved called "snapping". For control you can also use both the left and right analogue sticks to move around. All of these control options are well appreciated and can make learning this at first somewhat complicated game a bit easier to comprehend and adjust to by giving you a lot of freedom.

LIGHTFIELD Review (PS4) - Speeding Along
How Lightfield works is you have the choice to accelerate but accelerating by itself is normally your slowest option for traversing the tracks. Which brings in the use of the snap ability, which you can use with a press of a button as well. You can only use your snapping ability when close to a surface of some sort, whether that be a wall, the ceiling, or a giant cylindrical shape, and it will allow you to dramatically speed up whilst sacrificing being airborne. When switching snap surfaces it's quite easy yet hard to master, mostly though you'll be pulling off the jump technique and then holding down the snap button as you come close to a surface of any sort which the snap function will mostly easily change its direction and rotate your ship and camera properly for the appropriate surface so you can continue with the action-packed race. Although I will admit that the snap didn't always work this way and the camera and ship would sometimes sloppily rotate around and sometimes your vehicle will even get hit by the surrounding surface and slow you down which was a bit troublesome at times. I did find ways around these though so bypassing this trouble doesn't make it so bad.

When you snap your vehicle transforms from an airborne space ship to a space car, and to change to and from it's as easy as holding down or letting go of a button. Regular accelerating in the flying space ship form is normally only used for short periods of time when there's no surfaces nearby and when you're pulling off tricks, or even in the Exploration mode where you explore a race track for secret treasures. Other than that though you'll mostly be snapping as much as possible for maximum speed.

Speaking of tricks, there are plenty of them you can perform and master to help you ensure your victory in races as well as give you experience points when you successfully pull them off. I found a few but my personal favorite would have to be the barrel roll as it's a very easy and fun move to perform. Another big trick that's more of a main technique is jumping. When you stop snapping and lift up at the same time this is called a jump, and when you do it on the edge of any platform, it provides you with a nice speed boost. Most other tricks also help speed you up bit by bit plus they generally look cool and boost your experience. There are also tons of other techniques and tricks to use but I'll leave those for you to discover.

LIGHTFIELD Review (PS4) - Flying Through Hoops
Combining all of these techniques makes the parkour part of this game really shine. Snapping from one surface to the next and going from being upside down on a ceiling to being on a left side wall while performing a plethora of tricks and techniques and speeding along at hundreds of thousands of miles an hour feels amazing and really is the shining part of this game that makes it a solid fun experience.

This game has three game modes: Race, Time Trial, and Exploration. Race is your usual racing mode where you go head to head against your opponents for gold. These are six player intense races with multiple difficulties ranging from beginner to hyper. You can either get a gold, silver, or bronze medal if you get top three and you can do it on every difficulty. In Time Trial it's pretty much Race but just with only one lap and an emphasis on time. There are also online leaderboards and everything so it's quite fun to challenge your limits in this mode. And finally there is Exploration where you explore a race track and collect treasure and other collectibles which you can find around the map. The race tracks are quite expansive so this was especially a cool mode. There are both stars and treasures to collect, the latter being the rarer one. The stars are very fun to collect and once you pick one up it throws you into a sort of mini-game where you go around collecting every star. The treasures on the other hand are quite the rarity and are few and far between so good luck finding those.

What the experience points you earn in this game do is mainly to unlock new race tracks. Once you obtain a specific amount of experience points you'll be able to race on a brand new track and play on it whenever you want.. Some ways to earn experience points include meeting certain Time Trial requirements, pulling off tricks, finishing Races, and collecting collectibles in Explore. Alternatively, you can actually play on the locked race tracks but only by overriding a lock which is basically just spamming the X button as fast as you can until it unlocks and you can play on it.

There are also quite a few race tracks in this game with a total of 7 regular tracks and 7 "nightrider" tracks. The nightrider tracks are pretty much reversed versions of stages with some more unique twists such as a different color scheme and more. The level design was very well done, with each level having its own awesome surprises and standout mechanics and areas. These race tracks are quite diverse with the location ranging from asteroid belts to an airborne structure over top a water planet, all based around its sci-fi space setting.

On the courses there are many different mechanics such as photon, photon bursts, speed hoops, object movers, and more. These mix up the gameplay in many ways and are great additions to the overall experience. Things like the object movers make random objects like walls and platforms shift to a different location, and other big mechanics like photon and photon bursts speed you up and give you experience and more. These mechanics and obstacles and such are great and are kind of the "power-up items" of this game.

LIGHTFIELD Review (PS4) - Cylindrical Chaos
In the menus you have the option to do things like pick the race track and difficulty, look at leaderboards, and more things of the like. The menu also has a section for tips and controls too just in case you need more aid which I found helpful. Alternatively there are also tips that appear on the loading screens too if you need a quick refresher now and then. There are also some other cool features like how you can change and manage the soundtrack and do things like skip music tracks which you can also do on your controller using the d-pad. One epic feature they also included in the menu is the ability to slow down or speed up your game! This was very fun to mess around with and if you prefer faster or slower paced gameplay definitely give this feature a try.

One slight issue I have with this game is that the game will stutter in framerate randomly every now and then which normally is quite frustrating as it makes pulling off techniques much more painful, especially if you're going for gold. The developers seem to be on the trail of this issue though thankfully and it seems to be less and less frequent but it still is there every now and then. Getting that out of the way though, the game does mostly run super clean and smooth which is great, just this little issue can be bothersome at times is all.

The multiplayer in this game is also a great addition and adds to the replayability and fun of this experience by a lot. You can play local or online multiplayer and from my tests it seemed to work out fairly well though a tad slow at times but it shouldn't be too much of a problem. If you don't have any friends to play this game with though don't worry as the AI was very solid and seemed very fair and balanced for the most part and were fine to play with.

A few disappointments I have with the game are unfortunately you can't do things like customize your vehicle and anything really which is a real shame as it would be quite awesome to add some personal flair to my ship, especially to show off in multiplayer. Even without this feature though the ships already look fantastic with their respective vibrant colors so it isn't really a problem but it would be awesome for an update down the road.

VISUALS AND SOUND

The visual style of this game is very stylistic and appealing for the most part and it really stands out. The only thing is a lot of things like backgrounds and some other out of the way objects can come off as quite bland but the objects and areas in the main pathways are usually quite stunning. If you just play the game  for some fast-paced racing fun you probably won't notice it but when you slow down and do some of the other modes like treasure collecting in Exploration, you can really notice that a lot of the backgrounds and out of the way textures don't look the best. The menus were also very bright and eye catching which was a plus.

The neon lighting and futuristic visual effects are very well done and really shine and the lighting in general made the game look gorgeous. Definitely one of the most visually appealing things about the game. Even when you crash it looks incredible due to the exaggerated effects, lighting and all. The bright neon colors that fly in a trail behind the racers as you drive along as well as the bright neon lights in things like sci-fi architecture look beautiful too and really stand out to make the game look stunning.

LIGHTFIELD Review (PS4) - Race Preperation
The soundtrack for this game was mostly a blend of songs by real world artists and the tracks mostly had a techno vibe to them to match the theme of the futuristic setting this game has. Most of the tracks went along with the theme quite nicely but there were a select few that didn't quite match up the game that were skippable. As for actual quality it was a well put together soundtrack with good sound quality and I liked the included option in the game that lets you skip through the soundtrack as you please while in-game and during play.

The overall presentation of this game was just right in delivering on the game's theme and its overall quality was very high.

CONCLUSION

Lightfield is a very unique racing experience that you can't find anywhere else. The flow of the game is amazing and the high speed racing mixed with the parkour elements and all was quite the interesting blend and I'd say it works very well and was a fantastic addition. All of the included modes plus local and online multiplayer should be more than enough to justify a purchase.

With the recent resurgence of the futuristic racing genre, this game definitely adds to the list of the recent greats in the category. If you enjoy racers, I'd say you should definitely look into buying this one.

PROS
CONS
+ Unique and well done racing gameplay mechanics- Choppy frame rate and stuttering at times
+ Fast-paced fun- Snap mechanic can sometimes be sloppy
+ Great track design
+ Diverse selection of modes



SCORE: 7.9/10

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