Preview: Ridge Racer: Unbounded
The Ridge Racer series hasn’t had a console title for a few years, and Unbounded definitely feels like a different kind of racer, almost like a spin off to the franchise. The new direction in mind for Ridge Racer Unbounded provides players a more urban style racing title, as the races take place on the streets of Shatter Bay where racers compete for territory. The game also provides a new game mode called “Drive and Destroy”, and from what I managed to play, this new mode is based on wrecking as many cars a possible. I only got to try the truck in this game mode, and I cannot confirm which other vehicles may be present. The truck worked great though, as it’s definitely much stronger than a regular car, and as expected, it fares pretty well to smash up other racers.
Racing across Shatter Bay was an interesting experience. The game was running at a solid frame rate, and showed off some of the new elements of this take on the series. The original Ridge Racer elements from previous titles don’t seem to be present in this adaption, as the game seems to be focusing on a more arcade/burnout approach to the franchise. This said, the game still features a beautiful roster of cars and unlockables. The gameplay does feel different and being a Ridge Racer fan it’s hard to say that this could be the future of the franchise. The gameplay has changed a lot and is now focused on smashing into cars, buildings and taking out competitor racers across street races. This isn’t a bad idea and the game does present it quite well, especially with the explosions and slowmotion elements making the game feel like a high-end hollywood block buster, but there were a few issues I noticed whilst playing. Ridge Racer has continued its fast paced action, but from what I experienced in the few areas I played there were texture issues and a few random glitches which would cause the AI players to crash into walls. Even with these issues, it was definitely fun to play, and with the game getting nudged from its March release to sometime later in the year, I wouldn’t be surprised if these quirks were ironed out. Quite clearly, if you’re a fan of the Burnout and Split/Second, you’ll feel quite at home here.
The soundtrack features a lot of techno, drum & bass and dubstep-esk tracks that help present the game’s atmosphere as a fast paced racer. It’s a strong set list so far, and I can’t wait to find out what the full game will hold in the audio department.
Ridge Racer Unbounded will also be featuing a few extra modes at launch which sadly weren’t currently playable in the build we played. These modes include :
Dominate – Challenge your friends to online races. This mode will feature up to 8 player races.
Create – Create thousands of new tracks which you can race on your own or share online.
With these new features, and a completely different look for the series, I’m very optimistic that Unbounded will appeal to a much wider audience.
Ridger Racer: Unbounded is due to release in the UK on 30 March 2012, and at a later unspecified date in North America.