Riptide GP: Renegade Takes the Racing Excitement into the Waters
The adrenaline rush that goes with racing games has made them a staple in the list of beloved genres for avid gamers. Tracing back the genre's roots from the early days with Atari will show you how it has evolved into increasingly realistic scenarios with more death-defying features. Game developers keep pushing the genre into its limit, coming up with more ways to make it more appealing. It seems like the more breathtaking the gameplay, the more appealing. And now Vector Unit’s latest offering, Riptide GP: Renegade, has thrown its hat into the fray.
Riptide takes racing along the waters, where you compete with armored riders and slug it out as you race along steep waterfalls while dishing out some daredevil tricks with your ride. And you're evading cops at the same time. Think of it as a mash-up of Motocross, Fast and the Furious, and Death Race taking place on water -- you get the drift. And technically, the only rule is to win at whatever cost.
Gameplay kicks off after reading a handful of text bubbles (which you will probably ignore), and then you are on your own. You work your way through different modes while you follow a map that offers shortcuts and jumps. This provides variety in the gaming experience, since alternative routes are offered to avoid making the game monotonous.
The reward system in this game operates in the typical investment rule that the higher the risk, the higher the reward and vice versa. There are areas along the water course where you can perform tricks. The more intricate the trick you perform (like mid-air somersaults), the higher your boost gains. If you do not wish to fall from your ride, you may opt for those simple watercraft tricks. But on some occasions, the design of the areas where you can perform daredevil feats suggests what type of trick is appropriate, so it’s up to you to take the dare.
The tracks are well cut out and offer plenty of courses to challenge you. Of course, the layout is not too perfect, as you might find some of the tracks are too simple and generic. The only consolation to it is that it takes advantage of water as a prime obstacle, so you would often find yourself negotiating crashing waves even on the more vanilla tracks. Throw in your unscrupulous rivals, and you get a water race that crosses with unsolicited combat.
Gaming controls are smooth throughout play. Like most traditional racing games, Riptide offers elimination and timed trials. A slalom mode is another special feature in the game where you negotiate your way through buoys as fast as you can and avoid hitting them. You earn stars for doing this successfully, which are your ticket to unlocking more of the game.
And last but not least, the boss battles to be the real deal. Not all racing games offer this feature. You’ll find yourself facing bizarre antagonists like trash-talking robots. Every boss is an expert at a particular field in racing and battle. The bosses are either default or unlockable characters. If you wish to upgrade your skills, it is ideal to try some bosses first to see if you could match their mettle.
If there’s any bone I have to pick with this game...
...it is the seemingly increasing difficulty I encounter as I progress. From the first to the middle part of the game, all seems fair. I felt highly capable of meeting the challenges of my new level. Getting first place will make you pass through a needle hole, but it’s feasible. But as your level increases, the skills of your opponents also increase, and they seem so much better equipped that you abandon all hope of getting first place. Even getting to third becomes a Herculean task.
Then there’s the soundtrack. It would have been better if the rock music background complimented the slick graphics and high-octane sound effects. Unfortunately, Riptide settled for some lame, forgettable tracks. Background music adds an element of excitement to the game (at least for me). And Riptide could have done a much better job on that front.
Riptide is an ad maiora natus in the racing genre, but it stops at being destined for greatness, as it falls short on certain aspects where other games could offer better. Of course, it deserves a wide applause for its innovation and stunning visuals. But it needs to do away with the generic tracks and leveling issues if it is going to become one of the greats.