Review: Riptide GP: Renegade (PS4)

riptide-gp-renegade-review-banner-yr10

Title: Riptide GP: Renegade
Format: PlayStation Network Download (391 MB)
Release Date: July 26, 2016
Publisher: Vector Unit, Inc.
Developer: Vector Unit, Inc.
Original MSRP: $14.99
ESRB Rating: E10+
Riptide GP: Renegade is also available on Xbox One, PC, iOS, Android, Kindle, FireTV.
The PlayStation 4 version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Riptide GP: Renegade is an arcade racer packed with content that includes a story campaign as well as online and offline multiplayer.

The story is generic but for an arcade racer it works out well, bordering on cheesy and throwaway. It follows a character named Impact, a prominent racer who is tricked into an illegal race only to be set-up to be caught by the police. Now two years of imprisonment have passed and Impact is determined to return to legal racing and take revenge against the racer that set him up.

It’s all told through brief dialogue boxes that pop up before a race where a couple lines are thrown out from the other racers and your crew. The story is light and not a major factor in the overall product and some of the lines are funny, but nothing substantial enough to be more than a small bonus.

Riptide GP: Renegade_20160729235900 Riptide GP: Renegade_20160730000141

Gameplay is what’s important and I was surprised with how solid the mechanics were and how much fun I had. It feels like it’s been a long time since I was able to enjoy a water racer. There have not been a lot of them over the years, but I’ve tried enough that just haven’t been able to hold my attention for as long as this game did.

The mechanics are simple. You race and build boosts by performing tricks off various ramps scattered through the environment. Tricks are done by moving the analog sticks in different combinations with more complex combinations requiring timing and speed to perform. Simple moves give little boosts while more complex moves give a greater reward with more risk.

… feels fast and smooth and it performs pretty well …
Each race will earn players cash, XP, and eventually SP which can all be spent on various upgrades. Cash is used to increase the attributes of your vehicle, XP is used for your level, and SP is unlocked when a new level is reached.

The SP can then be used to acquire more movesets, boost, and drifting skills. The reward system is nicely laid out and a good motivation to continue through the story and to do better at races since a Top Three placing is all most races will require.

The single player campaign is diversified with a couple different types of races. There’s a standard race, a time trial, a stunt race and an elimination race which is one where the last racer every couple of seconds is eliminated.

Riptide GP: Renegade_20160804212024 Riptide GP: Renegade_20160804211956

Racing on the water feels fast and smooth and it performs pretty well. It’s important for a game that wants to deliver a fast paced race to perform well with little to no technical hitches preventing it from happening. This game is able to accomplish that.

The tricks are fun to pull off and the timing required for the more advanced moves show that there is a level of skill required to be the best. I found myself becoming more and more efficient and skilled at races as I progressed and the difficulty increased.

… distract players from focusing too much on the backgrounds …
Visuals:
I found this to be a sharp looking game with some rough edges. To elaborate, the water looks fantastic and there are some nice physics happening with how the vehicle reacts to it. The rest of the game on the other hand is mediocre. The environment surrounding the race track appears to be of a lower quality.

To compensate for this the developers do fill the backgrounds with bombastic levels of activity. One level has some sort of war happening with ships battling and shooting while another has an impressive fireworks display.

It’s a smart way to distract players from focusing too much on the backgrounds which in the more mundane levels reveal low textured, bland stuff.

Regardless of the backgrounds, what matters the most is the action on the race course and that looks good and runs smoothly. I did not notice too many dips in framerate even on the more intense tracks with stuff popping off in the background.

Riptide GP: Renegade_20160730003319 Riptide GP: Renegade_20160807135721

Audio:
The music is passable, which may sound like a passive aggressive dig against it, but honestly that’s how it came off as I think back on it. It does exactly what one would expect from a racing title and is somewhat unimpressive while not being offensively bad in any way.

I did like the music but I eventually ended up lowering it and playing my own. The game is great for throwing on your favorite music or podcast and just riding the waves.

… the racing is fun …
Online/Multiplayer:
Online servers in my limited experience worked well enough with players being sent to a lobby where they could vote on a track and race. I say limited experience because I was not finding a lot of people playing online whenever I tried. When I did find people to play against the experience was smooth.

The local multiplayer is splitscreen action that supports two to four players and that works surprisingly well with little to no technical issues when I tried it with a number of people.

Riptide GP: Renegade_20160807140313 Riptide GP: Renegade_20160804211525

Conclusion:
Riptide GP: Renegade is a good racer and it has been awhile since I can remember this genre having a solid entry. The single player campaign might have a paper thin story, but the racing is fun.

There are a lot of upgrades to unlock along with decals and moves that provide just enough incentive for players to keep playing the campaign when there is no multiplayer action available.

I wish the online multiplayer had a larger community playing though that is not the game’s fault. Fortunately if you have some friends it can support up to four people locally.

The audio and video presentation might be somewhere in the middle on the grand scale of quality, but the core mechanics are enjoyable and I had a lot of fun grinding away in the campaign. If you are on the hunt for a casual water racing experience then this game is a great choice.

Score:
7.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook
  • I played a recent installment of Riptide on PC and loved it, glad this finally made its way to consoles. The developers that made this also made the excellent Hydro Thunder Hurrican on 360 from a few years back so they know their water racing games! Hope to see a lot of people give this a shot.