Last year Vector Unit launched its rocket-powered hydro jets racing experience Riptide GP2 onto the PS4 with an almighty splash and just as we’d about dried ourselves they return with Riptide GP: Renegade. If you’re a fan of the Riptide series then you’re in for a treat as Riptide GP: Renegade douses you with some high-octane racing with many new twists and turns. This time you’re given a deep and compelling single player mode that can’t simply be won with buying the fastest hydro jet on the planet. It’s a whole new experience with bigger, badder tracks, boss battles, deeper waters and some badass cops entering the action.
Your aim in Riptide GP: Renegade is to work your way up the ranks by taking part in illegal street racing, bagging cash and pulling off death defying stunts along the way. There is a balanced and well thought-out structure to Riptide GP: Renegade’s single player mode, which makes the game very rewarding to stick with. You need to earn credits to upgrade each hydro jet, with new jets being unlocked via the campaign, and also to buy complex stunts. There is also a handicap system in place restricting your racer. So if you over pimp a hydro jet making it too powerful for a selected race then plates will be added to slow your ride down, clever stuff. This means Riptide GP: Renegade becomes a skill based racer and one that pushes you into taking more risks to achieve greatness.
Riptide GP: Renegade serves up 4 different categories of races. These being Slalom, Elimination, Freestyle and a standard ‘first past the chequered flag’ race. There is also split-screen 4 player multi-player, online leaderboards and ghost racing challenges. Also there are nine hidden Easter eggs, one per map, to find if you’re up for the hunt. As well as each hydro jet looking slick, sexy and fast they have the ability to perform tricks. If landed correctly tricks will fill your boost bar. Standard tricks while easy to perform will only give small spurts of boost, whereas executing the harder, unlocked tricks will give a bigger wallop to your boost bar. Get enough air and you can some pull off some sick moves like Back Scratcher and Inverted Pizza. Remembering which sequence of right and left toggle stick to move is the key to nailing such mammoth stunts, but once you’re in the swing of things such moves flow out. You’ll need to buy and perform these outrageous moves or you’ll have difficulty progressing in the freestyle events, stringing stunts together racks up the points and tames your ego. There are also side quests that unlock stickers and a chance to earn more credits. There’s definitely a lot going on in Renegade.
The races themselves are super fun; part of this is down to each track visually throwing out outlandish and eye popping futuristic backdrops and the other part is the lifelike physics of the water movement, digital water has never looked so wet. Each of the tracks look and flow different to others. The Ruins has some deep and angry currents to deal with while Firewater displays a hot and fiery land. Downtown Rush shows off some of the most varied environments I’ve seen in one race. Riptide GP: Renegade loves its huge waterfall jumps, as you’ll discover. Some tracks have shortcuts and other let you shave off seconds with by experimenting with different racing lines, there’s so much to love about Renegade and its arcade feel. You’re looking at an attractive racer too, because of this you may find yourself skipping past the story and wanting to dip straight into the next race, but at least the developers have tried to further enhance the overall experience by way of an explanation as to why on earth you’re there on the water. Another hit or miss option is the inclusion of the cops. They arrive and try to spoil the fun. These eager boys in blue wet-suits harass you big time, and can be the difference between winning or losing a race. They’ll try and slow you down or force you into mistakes that might see you smashing head first into a bridge or being wiped out as you fling yourself into a tree stump.
Nowadays we gamers are a pickier bunch, creating a fast and fluid arcade racer is all well and good but it needs to deliver something special and exciting to make us want to invest our gaming hours into it. North Californian developers Vector Unit know this and Riptide GP: Renegade bangs out a slick water ride packed with content and an addictive single play structure. With quick load times, top class racing and some epic stunts this racer has cranked up the action to deliver a perfect arcade racing experience. Vector Unit are turning into champions of the arcade water world.
Lizard Rating 8/10