While I did enjoy some aspects of the previously released Riptide GP 2 when it came out for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, I felt some parts also worked against the game, like the vicious AI, the somewhat dwindled presentation (due to the fact it was originally a mobile game) and the lack of modes. Well, I’m happy to say that the developers at Vector Unit have addressed most of these problems, and, as a result, Riptide GP Renegade is a pretty sweet ride. And it’s likely to be the closest thing you get to Wave Race on newer systems.
The game is still set up the same as before, as you set out across a number of circuits and race for first place victories. This includes doing tricks to earn more turbo boost, whether it’s by performing aerial feats across large gaps, or grinding across smaller pipes (a new part of the game) to build up a little portion of speed. There’s no end to the trick-executing opportunities here, so learn them well. The game’s controls make it simple to pull off some of these masterful moves, while keeping handling of your vehicle intact.
What’s great about Renegade is that it’s not just about the single player campaign any more. There are a number of new events to take part in, including time trials against fellow players, elimination races, and even the old slalom battles that Wave Race made so famous years ago. What you choose is up to you, but you’ll build up stars all the same and unlock even more content, as well as the ability to level up your craft so that you can perform well against other racers.
Perhaps the best part is the introduction of the boss league. On occasion, you’ll run across a much tougher racer over the course of the game, and if you manage to beat them, you’ll add them to your collection of playable drivers. They really deliver an edge to their own, so it’s worth hunting them down and conquering them.
Alas, there is a slight issue with the AI. As before, it’s still a little daunting to some newcomers. But it’s not as bad as before, as it feels encouraging when it comes to leveling up your jetski and conserving your turbo for just the right time. There’s hardly that much pressure here – though you’re likely to still scream once you get knocked off your bike due to a collision or a bad wave. I hate that.
Riptide GP Renegade has plenty of multiplayer competition, and a fairly good amount of tracks that offer just as much diversity as, say, Vector’s own Hydro Thunder Hurricane. Sure, that arcade racer has a bit more personality – the drivers don’t do or say much here – but it’s good to see a bit of mixing up with the tracks. They actually feel like living layouts here, instead of futuristic tracks simply aligned to get the job done.
The presentation isn’t half bad, with a solid frame rate, cool rider details and beautiful track designs, even though there are times that it can be hard to find a hidden shortcut. Hey, that’s the risk you take with some racers, so we’ll accept that. However, I really wish Vector would’ve licensed out a good soundtrack. The music featured in Renegade just isn’t that good, as it simply drones in the background instead of adding to the racing festivities. What’s more, there’s hardly anything coming from the drivers at all, save for very tiny sparks of personality. More could’ve been done.
But I digress, as progress is progress. Riptide GP Renegade feels like a divine little arcade racer, something this generation could use more of. While it’s not the best one in the genre, it’s a defining one, with plenty of modes, online leaderboards, flashy graphics, solid controls and unlockable goodies. This is one ride you’ll certainly want to take again and again – even if some of the waves might knock you for a loop.