Racing games have always been a favourite of mine. From the early arcade racers such as F Zero and Super Mario kart to the highly polished and super realistic simulators of today, I have always been eager to see what the genre has to offer next. Riptide GP: Renegade is Vector Unit’s newest forays into the genre.
As is the same with many other modern-day racing games, Riptide’s career mode sits at the heart of this game. The game does an admiral job at setting up a semi believable backstory to the main character; Impact, who you will be playing as throughout your play through of the game. It sets up Impact as renegade, hence the games title, who has been betrayed after agreeing to race in a few events that weren’t exactly legal. While the story isn’t really at all necessary in a game such as Riptide, it’s use in creating a reasoning behind all the races you will go onto to do is appreciated.
Anyway, enough of the story as it is by far the least interesting part of the game. Once you’ve watched the tedious string of text bubbles pop up in the opening sequence, you’re set free into the world to go and make a name for yourself. You do this by working your way through the numerous different modes and maps that the game offers you to play. Each map has a good number of hidden shortcuts and jumps to find. I appreciated this as it means that I could replay certain maps over and over again without getting bored with them. Some of the more interesting of these maps are a military base, a space station and a floating island. The other 6 maps included all seemed to be a bit too generic for my tastes and didn’t help enhance any of the games personality.
As mentioned earlier, the game also provides a number of different modes which can all be played on each map, four to be precise. The first, a standard race, aims to give the player a pure racing experience much like any other racing game would. The second was a form of elimination race. In these races the player who was last at the point of the timer running out would get kicked from the race. The third encouraged you to perform a number of different tricks in order to accumulate points and final game mode was based on getting to each checkpoint of the race course before the timer ran out. My favourite of these four was definitely the tricks based mode. Unlike the other three, this mode felt as if it truly embraced the goofiness of the game and its mechanics. I thought it was a real shame that there weren’t more modes like this as I was really hoping for a more arcade like experience.
Two huge problems I had with this game were the difficulty and some of the mechanics of the game. At first, the difficulty seems to be fairly evenly matched with your level. It’s a struggle to get first place but It was defiantly achievable. However, as you progress through the game you will quickly find that your opponents soon become much faster, more agile and better equipped than you; to the point that some levels seemed impossible to get third place, let alone first! This to me, sucked any enjoyment out of the game for me and left me with a sour taste in my mouth every times i was brutally defeated in a race I had attempted many times.
The multiplayer of the game was fun to say the least. While it was exciting to be racing around a water environment instead of the usual dirt track or race track, it quickly became apparent that there wasn’t enough gameplay variation there to warrant playing more than a few rounds before we moved onto the next game.
Graphically the game wasn’t the most impressive thing I had ever seen. Nevertheless, I never expected much on that front anyway as that isn’t really what interests me in a game such as Riptide. What was nice to see was that each of the tricks I performed looked pretty awesome and it felt as if I was rewarded for doing the trick with a magnificently crazy stunt.
Riptide GP: Renegade is game that I so wanted to be great. Unfortunately, it doesn’t live up to some of the better examples of games in the genre. Yes, it has visually interesting tricks and stunts, but that’s about as close as it gets to being a good arcade racer. Only a select few of the maps were interesting and the gameplay was frustrating at the best of times.
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