It’s been two years since Riptide GP 2 appeared on Xbox One and while it had some amazing highs, it also came with a few disappointing lows centralised around the lack of depth. So how well does Riptide GP : Renegade stand up to all time greats like the mighty WaveRace franchise.
I was personally a big fan of GP2, for £5 it was one of the best value packages available on the Xbox One and I said two years ago that with added depth and multiplayer we could have a wave-riding monster on our hands.
Almost as though developers Vector Unit listened to me (and many others) Riptide GP : Renegade feels much more of a full fledged title, and while slightly more expensive at just over £8, there’s also the very impressive Xbox Play Anywhere support, meaning I was able to turn off my xbox and continue my game on PC with the saved data and achievements carried over seamlessly.
Thankfully my unpar laptop could still run the game smoothly, and even using the keyboard wasn’t much of a chore. I’m yet to become a Play Anywhere convert because of my limited laptop specs, but this is living proof of how well the service works.
Onto the game, and gameplay has taken a step up since GP2. The hydro-jet’s feel more responsive than ever, and somewhat forgiving on badly timed tricks but deservingly brutal if you spin completely out of time.
There’s a handful of options starting with Career mode. After selecting which of the two tarter riders you’re going to take control of, you get screwed over by the soon to be champ and end up having to race illegal off circuit tracks to re-build your reputation.
At first glance you’ll see around 35 events ahead of you, and pretty soon you’ll realise that well over half of these are packed with 4 individual races, meaning you’re looking at plenty to do in single player. There’s only 9 courses in total, however there’s still plenty of variation as various shortcuts and routes open and close providing fresh experiences. Progressing through single player I found myself appreciative of certain tracks popping up as I built a familiarity with them which proved priceless when facing some of the tougher challenges.
There’s the occasional grind as I found myself repeating a couple of high earning events to raise the funds for much needed upgrades. It might be worth carefully selecting exactly what you need, as new Hydrojet’s aren’t necessarily that much more powerful compared to the many upgrades you could have purchased by the time they unlock. It just means you’ll have to spend more time and effort upgrading the new Hydrojet if you wish to progress.
It’s a pleasure to say that the way unlocks are handled is a real treat with RPG style handling of skill points giving enhancements to your trick list or boost. Also, boss events towards the end of certain sections reward both their craft and the character being used. With progression you’ll also find police crafts trying to take you out, and plenty of variations on the standard lap race. Slalom gives you red and blue gates that you must take on a certain side, and while only being a basic variation, this greatly changes the route you’ll take making the same courses feel completely different. Other game options include Elimination where last place is knocked out of the race after a set amount of time as well as trick based free-style events.
Tricks are a worthy investment both with time and skill points, taking the jumps won’t slow you down much at all, and pulling off a fancy trick will fill a large portion of your boost bar giving you the edge on the pursuing racers. However with some heavy rubber-banding wrapped round the AI racers, you’ll find it’s always a close race as you progress to the latter stages. This is fine for the most part, but a little annoying when you’ve run a perfect race and lose out because you took the last corner a little wide.
It’s clear Riptide GP : Renegade is still a mobile title, and it’s possibly thanks to the constantly improving mobile technology that enables such a high standard. The ability to race solo quick races, leaderboard topping challenges, career mode, as well as local split-screen and online (including cross platform) multiplayer provides plenty of choice, and regardless of whether you’re on Xbox One or venturing into Play Anywhere on PC, it all looks incredibly good, and runs smoothly at all times.
I didn’t have any slow down or graphical issues at all, and while the atmosphere was lacking at times, I’m quite sure there’s very little in this price range that can compete with Riptide GP : Renegade for both quality, and graphical performance.
Sound effects aren’t quite on the same level, while still pretty good the music seems a little too artificial and out of place, and once again there’s no real depth to the atmosphere of the races. This would be a massive problem for a higher budget title, but time and time again I keep coming back to the price and it’s tough to criticise what is a well built, full of value and overall incredibly impressive package.