Breaking the boundaries, or should I say “Unbounding” the boundaries is the latest installment in the Ridge Racer series.
Those familiar with the 'Ridge Racer' series will not be in for a big shocker once they are behind the wheel of their latest project, named “Unbounded.” True to its roots, RR (Ridge Racer) sticks to its arcade base, which could be argued, the main reason why the series has been so successful. So yes, this means “Unbounded” is basically more of the same, however developer Bugbear does their best to trick up this edition with more of a destructive edge. Borrowing from the modern classic Burnout (yea, I just called it a classic,) “Unbound” lets you smash and bash up everyone and everything. It's a game of high speed, big crashes, and even bigger drifting. 'Ridge Racer' with an edge, hell, why not. So if the basics are enough to get your motor running, read on, my friends.
The main objective in this new focus, aside from finishing first, is to smash up your opponents via a boost that is earned by drifting. Drifting is the same as any other racing game and smashing is simply a button press of boost that lets you demolish other cars or select bits of the environments. Now, I know this doesn't sound too impressive, and rightfully so because you have played this in a dozen other destruction inspired racers. But still for some reason "Unbounded" has enough mojo to keep you racing around its tracks for hours on end. It could be the slightly higher than normal difficulty, or it could be the crisp, shiny graphics. Whatever it is, this "new" racer is a more lively then we've seen in the past and is worth a look for arcade racing fans... even if they don't mind the overdose of techno music.
Keeping you motivated through the somewhat basics of racing is a steady curve of unlocking. Points earned in races increase to unlock new tracks, editors, vehicles, etc. By having everything locked from the get-go, “Unbounded” achieves its goal of making you feel like you are constantly progressing. From its main mode “Dominate Shatter Bay,” to heading online “Dominate The World” you can enjoy plenty working for progression racing. So beyond the addictive gravity of the smooth arcade racing this perpetual unlocking of items is really satisfying.
The main “career” styled path is ”Shatter Bay.” A type of industrial/city backdrop that is divided into eight sections. Starting with 'City Limits' you will rank up unlocking new areas as you go. Each city selection (like City Limits) has a number of different event races. Each event has a different objective from “Drift Attack” to “Domination Race(s).” Again, its all standard arcade racing 101% and nothing that has be given more detail. Not to forget about the basics-of-basics, you can still simply boost race at high speeds, which is your “typical” ridge racing experience.
Online (“Dominate the World”) is an interest switch up from what you might expect. Well, partly. Borrowing from other online creation concepts you can now create and share your own tracks/race events with the world. Heading online is to check out other peoples masterpiece creations are interesting, fun and usually gratifying. When creating, you get to make your own “City” and then fill it with events. The online section is extremely popular with cities ranging in popularity from the 1,800,000s to the lifeless 0. In all these cities you'll find similar options that you can get from the Bay, although you will also see timed-challenges popping up. I cant express how much this section “saves” this project from becoming quickly stale. Smart choice Namco, and the future of the series if I can toss in my two cents. Like other “create” games, fans will get out enough content to keep them busy until something else comes along. Besides the simple joy of playing other entries, you can enjoy the simple please of creating your own events.
Beyond the “create” section a small multiplyer option for Domination or Quick Races matches is presented. It is your standard affair here; nothing special, but better than nothing. Although it was slow to populate every time I logged on, I had enjoyable times when that event ticker timed down. Actually, the easy to get into "Unbounded" and enjoy yourself is one of the games highlighted traits. Even when novice gamers pick up the controller for a quick round of racing, it usually ends up turning into a marathon with no one ready to relinquish the control. Addictive, ya I'd say so.
'Ridge Racer Unbounded' is indeed bounded by its arcade roots and unbounded by its embracing of the “create” world. Racing with an old flair, yet creating with a new one, Ridge Racer fans will find a lot to love here. “Unbound” isn't going to be anyone's favourite racer, but it is good enough to pay (or should I say, smash) through a few tolls.
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