Riptide GP: Renegade was a game that I was looking forward to, but it fell pretty flat for me. Now don’t get me wrong, it is not an awful game. I had a decent amount of fun playing it, but it certainly wasn’t a GREAT game. It felt pretty average to me. The basis of this racing game is you’re a young racer attempting to come back to the big leagues after a stint in jail for illegal racing. Let’s be real though, the game is much more about racing and improving your vehicle rather than the story.
The overall graphics and aesthetic of the games leaves something to be desired. The game doesn’t look horrible, but there’s certainly something missing visually. For a game where all you do is ride on water, the water itself doesn’t look fantastic. It gave me the feeling that the devs were like, “Hey, it’s blue liquid that you’re riding a jet ski on, so it’s water.” The looks of the environments aren’t awful at face value. However as you begin to repeat the same race to farm cash, you start to realize how empty and bland they really are. At times, Riptide GP: Renegade can look visually pleasing, with added special effects such as water splashing up against the screen. I will give credit on their work with each individual “Hydrojet,” (their name for the futuristic jet skis) as they each one had a clear amount of work put into them, some had very distinct differences while others a bit more subtle, but overall, a nice selection of vehicles.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the gameplay options when I first started the game. It comes with a decent story mode, a challenge mode, a quick race mode, online multiplayer, and split screen. At a time where split screen gaming seems to be disappearing, it’s always nice to see a local play option like that. The game mechanics themselves felt pretty average. The controls at times are rocky, but can be quickly picked up and dealt with. The water physics, in a game where it’s basically all about water, left a poor taste in mouth. You don’t have the ability to tilt the nose of your Hydrojet down or up, so coming off ramps or waves can leave you in precarious positions and make you bounce around like you’re on some sort of weird trampoline.
But I think overall, the worst part about the gameplay, is the amount it repeats itself. You’re stuck in this constant loop it seems. You get to a new chapter, you go through the races, scoring low because your new Hydrojet isn’t upgraded. From there, you grind through the same levels until your Hydrojet is good enough to get first place as well as beat the boss. It’s this repetitive cycle and grind just so you can place which makes the game feel tedious at times. Each map and game mode is fun to play the first time, but when you’re forced to grind on them, just so you can stand a chance in the races, it begins feels like a chore. I would be fine if it was just a “GIT GUD,” scenario. But it’s not, it really feels physically impossible to get a high placement in the races if your Hydrojet isn’t decently upgraded. This also goes along with your own player’s level, if you aren’t leveled up enough to get better drafting and beginning boosts, you will have a difficult time. This in turn leads you to having to grind for cash and levels, only to have your progress reset when you get that cool new Hydrojet. The only part that really stuck out to me gameplay-wise, was the addition of tricks. Hitting ramps and preforming a trick to gain some boost was a fun mechanic in the game which kept me somewhat focused on my races.
The sound design for the game is pretty lackluster in my opinion. Some of the sounds, like the wind, come off too strong and drown out the majority of other sounds. But other sound effects are decent. The sound of your engine and slapping of your vehicle back onto the water after a long jump sounds great. My biggest gripe about the sound design is the music. It’s very typical, racing game music. There isn’t a ton too it, some tracks are pretty good, while others are a bit on the boring side. The OST feels haphazardly slapped into the game. The tracks don’t really seem to have too much creativity and originality to them. They do serve their purpose though, and leave a decent, although forgettable soundtrack within the game. Some tracks stand out more than others, but it’s not anything you’ll remember after putting down the controller.
In conclusion, don’t buy the game full price. However, if it’s on sale and it’s like four or five bucks, it’s worth a pick up. Riptide, being ported from mobile to PC and PlayStation 4, feels like a budget game. There’s nothing that really stands out to me while playing and leaves me with a very “average” feeling. The most fun I had with it was kicking back and doing some races against friends with the local play option. The story is not anything you should pick up the game for. However if you enjoy racing games, and want to try and capture some of that old nostalgia from games like Wave Race 64 or Jet Moto, it’s worth a cheap, on sale, pickup.
Release Date - July 26, 2016
Review code provided by Vector Unit