STAFF REVIEW of Liftoff: Drone Racing (Xbox One)

Friday, November 27, 2020.
by Heather Webster

Liftoff: Drone Racing Box art Lift off-Drone racing is the latest game from LuGus Studios and astragon Entertainment, available on the Xbox One. Almost instantly when trying out Liftoff: Drone Racing and found it overall to be rather dizzying experience and difficult to control. However, the attention to detail in the graphics were really cool. But for me, the combination of the high tempo loud even when quiet sounds of the music and the buzzing of the drones left my head spinning and feeling a little on edge, so it's hard to recommend if your are looking for a game to relax with.

Lift off-drone racing at first glance looks like maybe as a new person to the hobby I might learn something like... maybe how to fly a drone. Another thing I thought was maybe my buddy who actually flies expensive drones in real life would really like this game because Liftoff: Drone Racing looks like it might be really similar to the real thing, minus the cost of equipment of course.

Liftoff: Drone Racing is advertised as "Being the most detailed first person view simulation on the market". I thought to myself "cool, my buddy flies drones. Maybe I could learn and fly drones without destroying his equipment to the point where maybe I could fly some real ones without worrying about the cost of losing one.".

For those of you who are very into drones and drone racing you have probably seen this game, possibly even tried it. The guide through the game is Joshua Bardwell and (from what I can gather) is quite a well known YouTuber of drone racing and drone flying. Playing this simulator was the first time I had ever heard or seen anything about him, but from what I could tell he seemed to give fairly good instructions and explanations.

Visually, Liftoff: Drone Racing are well done for its context and I appreciated the the attempt at the realism with the minor details when it came to the drones' parts and movement. First off, I found the controls for Liftoff: Drone Racing to be very difficult to get a solid understanding of what to do and how to do so properly, even when going through the tutorial. I found my self often flying too high, landing upside down in the grass or in a body of water or also flying badly through lots of trees. This made for an incredibly frustrating experience, even with the assisted flight option turned on.

While playing, I found that I had a very hard time feeling like I had full control over the drone. Unless I had the assist turned on I would always end up just flying up and ending up out of the flight area and having it restart again. I must say that I hope that real FPV quadcopter racing doesn't include the dizzying aspect of what it looks like to fly a drone, as there were quite a few times that I was trying my best to zip around the course only to find my eyes becoming strained and really tired after, almost to the point of needing to close my eyes for a few just to reset them. Because of this I found the game to be rather difficult to get into. I later had my friend who actually flies drones try this game out with me, and maybe it was because of the Xbox controller (he's has a different controller preference) or maybe it's the basic unchanged settings, but he looked at me after playing for about an hour and proclaimed "There no way you can learn to fly actual drones with this game.".

The items and gear that becomes available to make and customize your own drones is pretty interesting though because you can design and test out what the equipment reacts like within the game. Knowing that the brands of the equipment are legit in the real world leads me to believe that the builds and tests you may do in the game would hopefully be very similar to their actual counterparts in real life that you could purchase and create, so maybe if you are an avid drone enthusiast and you enjoy building drones, maybe Liftoff: Drone Racing could be a clever way to work out that tough drone idea you've been thinking of doing.

Once I played for a few days and sort of got a hang of what I was doing I started to become less frustrated over time, though I still personally prefer my races to be on the ground with rubber on the pavement rather than drone blades in the air. It could be that I don't have a knack for being a drone racer or flyer, that I couldn't get a good understanding of how to control the drone intuitively, or just that I got too dizzy playing for me to really focus and get into the game. That doesn't mean that Liftoff: Drone Racing isn't the right one for anyone, but it may be a bit more of a niche.

Perhaps you have a friend or family member that isn't into gaming but is really into drones and you want to crossover the hobbies to spend a little extra time together without the overall cost of the drone equipment and/or potential damages. If so, then go ahead and give Liftoff: Drone Racing a try, but otherwise, maybe see if you know anyone who does play with drones in real life and see if they have one you can learn on; it might be more fun.

Overall: 5.0 / 10
Gameplay: 4.0 / 10
Visuals: 6.0 / 10
Sound: 5.0 / 10


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