“Into the Drink, You Go!”

If there’s one type of game that you don’t seem much of, it’s arcade style games. Sure, the indie’s are trying to bring them back, we simply haven’t seen any of them from established studios. So I when noticed that Vector Unit had dropped Riptide GP: Renegade onto Steam, my interest was peaked, as I had enjoyed the previous titles in the series. 

But would this new entry be any good? Read on to find out!

Game Name: Riptide GP: Renegade
Platform(s):  PC (reviewed), PlayStation 4

Publisher(s): Vector Unit
Developer(s): Vector Unit
Release Date: July 26, 2016
Price: $14.99
 

The game starts as several racers compete in an unsanctioned race, with your character being arrested and tossed in jail. Two years later, you’re released only to find out that the guy who got you locked up, because you were better than him, is the champion of the very league you used to race in. There’s just one catch; you can’t race in the league anymore, you did a bad thing and were kicked out. So, what’s a guy or gal to do? Yep, figure out how to get back at the guy who did you wrong. And yes, this game has a story that’s remarkably similar to a certain movie. I’m not sure why Vector Unit felt that a story was needed in the game, as the story is cheesy and boring. Sorry, Vector Unit, when it comes to a Riptide game, I only care about one thing; the racing. An uninspiring story that isn’t very interesting is a knock on the flagship racing series you’ve created. That said, the story is the main pitch of the career mode.

Speaking of modes, Riptide GP: Renegade does include several modes; Career, Challenge, Quick Race, Online Multiplayer and Local Co-op. With the challenge mode, you’re basically racing against other player’s, trying to become the best you van be on the leaderboards. Quick race does just that, let’s you pick a track and race to your heart’s content, while the Online Multiplayer pits you against other racers in real time. However, out of all the modes, the Local Co-op was the one I enjoyed the most. Games that let you play against 2-4 people locally makes for fun party games or when you have several other people who want to play with or against you.

In addition, the game includes 9 different track and during the course of the career mode, will introduce different variants for you to race on. It doesn’t change the factor that the track count is limited, but for a budget title, I felt that it includes just the right amount of content. Here’s to hoping that there will be more tracks available via some sort of DLC.

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The game has a huge issue in terms of the difficulty. To be more specific, rubberbanding. I could be way in the lead, only for several computer controlled players to zoom past me with no effort at all. I’ve had times where I’ve raced a perfect race, but the first and second racers are so far ahead that they aren’t even on the map anymore. Smack a corner, you’ll get passed. Mistime a stunt, you’ll get passed. The game will punish you for the silliest thing and sometimes make it so that you never catch up. Especially on the elimination type races, where you can get passed in an instant and repeatedly. Don’t even get me started about the cops in the game. Talk about an exercise in frustration. It does get better, but only after you’ve gotten enough money to upgrade your hydro jet.  As you win races, you’ll earn money that lets you afford upgrades such as acceleration, handling, Don’t even try to run every race without upgrading, because that’s just a formula for losing. However, this introduces a grind that forces you to race the same tracks over and over, in order to get enough money to keep upgrading and thus keep winning.

Those familiar with the Riptide series also know that one of the selling points of the game is performing stunts. This is no different here. Throughout the races your participate in, you are able to pull off stunts, all of which provide you with the ability to boost. Boost is your friend as it lets you go faster, depending on how much you have stored in your meter. So you would assume that doing stunts is the key to success and it is. Be mindful, however, as you can wreck yourself doing stunts, which can put you in dead last. I’ve had many races where botched stunt had cost me the race. Sometimes even a perfectly timed stunt can end up with you falling into the drink.

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I’m not going to pull any punches here, the game looks dated. It’s not all bad as most tracks seem to come alive with various things that happen in the background and sometimes the foreground, such as spaceships that will however over the track or ramps that disappear during mid-race and it’s all impressive. However, models for the racers, the hydro jets and even the courses themselves look like they were just pulled off of a smartphone. What’s more, many of the textures in the game are bland and muddled, all of which lessen the presentation of the game. This seems even more apparent when you attempt to change the graphical options in the game. Besides being able to select from Ultra, high, medium and low, that’s it.  No Vsync, no AA, nothing. It will, however, attempt to auto-detect your hardware, though I’m sure that any PC built in the last 2-3 years can easily max that out.

The sound department isn’t much better and come across as a half-hearted attempt. The music isn’t much better, as the game is full of forgettable tunes, now of which provide the “tempo” needed for a racing game. What’s more is you’re not able to cycle through music tracks during the game. So what happens if you get a music track that you simply can not stand? You’ll have to restart the race, over and over, until you find the tune you were looking for. Halfway through the game I simply turned off the music, I couldn’t stand it anymore.

Perhaps the saving grace of this game is the controls. Seeing how you’re racing on water, they have to be somewhat responsive, yet they have to fight you. Vector Unit pretty much nailed the water physics, yet I shouldn’t be surprised due to how long they’ve been at this. I didn’t have any issues with the controls and actually enjoyed zooming around the tracks. That is when I wasn’t being passed like I was doing 25 in a 55-speed zone. Though there are still issues abound.  If you’re looking to play Riptide GP: Renegade with a keyboard, you may be out of luck. One of the biggest draws of the Riptide games is the ability to input combos that turn into stunts. However, at least for now, the controls for the keyboard are simplified, meaning that you are limited in how stunts are performed. I did some research as to why and found out that it was deemed too “clunky” and the ability to pull off the stunts via multiple inputs was changed to just a button press. This doesn’t affect anyone who’s playing the game with a controller.

At the time of the review, the developer has been toying with the idea to change how the keyboard input is handled but has not implemented it yet.

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Alright, let’s go Mighty JetSki Racers!

As someone who used to enjoy the Riptide games on the Android and iOS platforms, I really can’t recommend Riptide GP: Renegade to anyone. The difficulty is ramped up too high to start off which, the story isn’t enjoyable and the overall presentation of the game is poor. I wanted to like this game, but it just seems like a half-hearted attempt, which is disappointing. I was excepting perhaps a game similar to the one great Jet Moto, but that didn’t happen. It just feels half baked. There’s definitely more than enough content in the form of several game modes, variations in track layout and a robust upgrade system. sadly, the visual, sounds and difficulty pull this game down. However, if you can overlook those flaws, you’ll enjoy Riptide GP Renegade

Pros:

  • Multiplayer is quite interesting
  • Game does load fast
  • Enough content to keep you interested
  • It’s only $15

Cons:

  • Boring and way too much grinding
  • Looks like a smartphone game
  • Terrible music
  • Really cheesy storyline

 

  • The poor-man's Hydro Thunder
Overall
2.5
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About The Author

Keith Mitchell
Editor-in-chief and all-around good guy!

Keith Mitchell is the Founder and Editor in Chief of The Outerhaven. A grizzled IT professional during the day, but a passionate lover of video games after his 9-5 grid. Loves playing the Dark Souls series and has been gaming since he was 6 years old. Available for podcasts upon request.