Ridge Racer Unbounded preview

Ridge Racer is a series that has been around for a long time, spanning across an impressive number of different consoles and handheld devices. If you’re a gamer there’s pretty much a 100% chance that you’ve experienced the insane drifting and boost in a Ridge Racer title at some point.

Ridge Racer Unbounded manages to create a fresh take on the series after all these years, whilst simultaneously maintaining those characteristics that simply make it Ridge Racer at heart. The main difference is that RRU takes place on the streets of Shatter Bay rather than on dedicated racing tracks.

There are two types of race in the game; Domination race and Shindo race. Domination races swap your boost bar for a power bar which can be used to destroy certain areas of the city for shortcuts and even other players once you fill it by performing drifts. The game feels a lot like Burnout in Domination races as you’ll be fighting to survive amongst your rivals whilst keeping your eyes peeled for shortcuts the whole time that you’re speeding through the city. Shindo races are more focused on speed and give you a standard boost bar to play with. This is filled in the same way, but won’t allow you the privilege of destroying things on your way to the finish line.

Other modes in the game include Drift attack, which awards you points for drifting around the city, frag attack in which you have to take out as many of your opponents as possible – a la the Burnout series’ road rage mode, and time attack which contains the incredible stunt tracks as well as a mode in which you must escape the police. There is also a mode in the game which allows you to create your own city and fill it with up to five events to play, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to try this for myself so I can’t comment on how well it works.

Nonetheless it’s all very new and exciting to Ridge Racer, and the challenging A.I. when racing means that it never feels boring either. Drifting is pretty much a necessity when you’re whizzing through the city, otherwise you’ll find yourself smashing into a lot of walls and losing valuable seconds in the process – it looks really cool too if you can get it right, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that it will feel exactly the same as in previous titles.

The soundtrack in RRU is extremely “wubby” with dubstep taking up a large part of it. The style of music goes well with the fast paced action packed gameplay whether you’re a fan or not, but you can skip songs at the press of a button if a particular tune doesn’t take your fancy.

The idea of a Ridge Racer reboot after all of these years aroused my curiosity when it was first announced, and after playing the game I feel that it has definitely been a step in the right direction. It still feels like Ridge Racer, but a more up to date version of a series that hasn’t done much at all to evolve in the last few years.

Ridge Racer Unbounded is a very interesting racing game and one that’s definitely worth keeping an eye on. The game will be released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 later in 2012.

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