There aren’t whole lot of arcade racing games on current-gen consoles, like the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, right now, but one is about to hit sometime next year. At PAX Prime 2015, I got to check out Riptide GP: Renegade, an upcoming arcade racer that will have players racing on water with jet skis.
Riptide GP: Renegade is being developed by Vector Unit, the same folks behind two other current-gen games — Riptide GP 2 and Beach Buggy Racing. However, unlike those past two games, Renegade is being developed specifically for now-gen consoles, while the their other games were developed for mobile platforms first. Exactly what that means for the quality of the game, though, I’m not sure. See, what I assumed it would mean before trying out the game is that the racer would look, well, like a now-gen title. But, right after booting it up, I realized that was definitely not the case.
It isn’t that the game looks graphically subpar, it’s just that it doesn’t look all that different from past Vector Unit games. They all simply look like they belong on a mobile device (which makes sense), or that they belong in a 2005 arcade somewhere. Since Renegade is still early in development, it could easily get a graphical overhaul before it releases sometime next year, but for now, it doesn’t look pretty. For it’s part, however,, it is a whole lot of fun.
Racing and Smashing
Before starting out, I got to choose a jet ski and a racer. The jet skis all have different stats — some are faster than others, some are better at handling, and so on — and they can all be customized with different patterns. I was told that when the game fully releases, players will be able to customize that colors in the patters and the decals, making the jet skis more personalized. While the riders don’t do anything special at the moment, it is still fun to choose which one you want representing you.
After choosing my jet ski and driver, I loaded up a map and began the race. I raced against several AI opponents, although the game will have online and local co-op gameplay when it releases, and I also had to go up against police officers on jet skis. The officers tie into the futuristic, dystopian world of the game, and during the demo, they tried to knock me off of my jet ski and off of the path. In the full version, they might even be able to shoot ion lasers at players, but the developers told me they aren’t entirely sure about that.
As the race started, I was told that I can go off of jumps and perform stunts to gain speed boosts upon hitting the water. There will be a large number of different stunts to perform when the game comes out, and players will be able to unlock new stunts by winning races in a career mode. I also found that almost anything can act as a jump — passing boats, rocks, debris — you name it.
During the start of the race, I went off one particularly big jump, and landed on a bridge above the water that was filled with tables and chairs. I smashed through the pieces of furniture, sending them flying, and was told that the game encourages this sort of destruction, and many different things are destructible. During the rest of the race, and the race after that, I explored that more by smashing through glass and even breaking statues to bits.
It was satisfying to play such a relaxed and entertaining racer on the PS4, even despite the lacking visuals. It will be interesting to see if the visuals get enhanced before its releases next year, and how the customization and the police will be changed.