Pacer Fills the Wipeout-Shaped Hole on Xbox

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If you’re a fan of anti-gravity racing games, you don’t have a lot to choose from no matter what your format of choice is.

Xbox gamers, though, have particularly had it bad. But that changes today, with the launch of R8 Games’ Pacer. Originally starting out life as Formula Fusion, released on PC in 2017, Pacer is that game reworked and refined. It made its way to PC and PS4 back in October 2020, proving to be fairly well received by critics. And finally, after suffering delay after delay, it’s available to purchase on Xbox.

We reviewed the PC version of Pacer, and while we though some aspects of it weren’t spectacular, such as its by-the-numbers campaign mode, we enjoyed it on the whole. We particularly liked the way it looked, and, having given the Xbox version a spin on Xbox Series X, we’re happy to report that this port is equally impressive. It’s notably impressive considering that Pacer isn’t optimised for Xbox Series X/S – Xbox One X optimisation and Microsoft’s stellar backwards compatibility is to thank here. In any case, it’s easy to state that Pacer is the best-looking anti-gravity racing game available right now.

Even more importantly, Pacer performs beautifully as well – at least on Series X. Our old consoles have been packed up, so we haven’t been able to test Pacer on a bog standard Xbox One S or Xbox One X, but on Series X it appears to run at a rock-solid 60fps, even when hell is being unleashed onscreen. And that happens a lot. Take part in an event with weapons enabled and as you make your way through the pack you’ll be bombarded with shots of energy, machine gun fire and more, testing your ability to outmanoeuvre your opponents under pressure. Pick up a weapon yourself, and you’ll be able to fight fire with fire.

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Pacer‘s campaign mode is the real meat of the game, challenging you to make your way though numerous championships. As you go, you’re able to buy and equip weapon and craft modifications, tweaking your craft to your own personal preferences. And of course, as new championships are opened up, the craft get speedier and the tracks more challenging. Soon, you’ll need the reflexes of a ninja to be able to compete, with the scenery going by like a blur. It’s just a shame that so many of Pacer‘s tracks feel a little too narrow; the action is certainly at its best when you have room to breathe.

Outside of campaign mode, a quickplay mode allows you to easily create events to your liking, and there are many event types available. Online multiplayer is available too, allowing you to race against other anti-gravity racing fanatics from around the globe. Needless to say, there’s plenty to keep you occupied. So, if you’re a fan of games like Wipeout or F-Zero and are now primarily an Xbox gamer, definitely consider adding Pacer to your games library. It may not be quite as good as those titles, but it sure does give them a run for their money.

Pacer is available now on PS4, Xbox One and PC. It’s also playable on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S thanks to backwards compatibility.