Riptide GP has come a long way since making its debut on Android devices back in 2011. Coming from the developers of Hydro Thunder Hurricane, it’s no wonder that it had the deep rooted old-school racing appeal. When Riptide GP 2 hit the Xbox One marketplace back in 2015, I jumped at the opportunity to another budget friendly digital title to my growing collection. What I got in return was a fun but casual arcade style racer that brought me back to the N64 era racing games, the ones that anyone could pick up and enjoy alone or with friends. That same statement rings true in Riptide GP Renegade, albeit in an even more modernized approach. It’s got all the same workings as the past title, but as the third in the series it aims to be the biggest and best. I think it is safe to say Vector Unit hit their mark.
Riptide GP Renegade is a jet-ski styled racer that features a story mode for single player in addition to both local and online. This story mode is a series first if I am not mistaken, as GP2 only had a career styled single player that allowed you to climb the ranks. In Renegade though, there is a cast of characters that engage in dialog (text, not spoken) and a somewhat overarching story. Though the story is a simple tale of revenge and making new friends along the way to help exact it, it fits the universe quite well. It’s familiar and cheesy in all the right ways, never overstaying its welcome or taking itself too seriously. It is an exceptionally paced career of sorts, one that feature both main line events as well as bonus ones. Progressing through it not only unlocks new rides and abilities, but also new characters which were not present in the prior title. Most have stories and traits that are as cheesy as the story, but again, it works for a title of this nature. It is nice to get some variety out of the character selection, as well as picking up new rides and adjusting the color schemes. It has a surprising amount of depth, while still remaining a truly budget friendly title.
The modes offered in the game are a pretty standard affair for the genre, including races, eliminations, and trick events. The trick offerings are one of the main selling points in the series, as you can unlock a range of tricks that are performed with the analog sticks and net you boost. This boost in turn allows you to smoke the competition speed wise. The tricks come in handy, but learning the necessary air time to successfully land the tricks comes with experience. My favorite mode personally is the Slalom, which like in skiing, you must ride past markers on either the left or right side, whichever it indicates. This is a solo mode where your time and missed markers will determine the winner. I have always been a fan of racing the clock so to speak, and this mode is the closest thing to a “sprint” style event within the game.
Multiplayer wise you cannot really go wrong. On Xbox, up to six players can compete in split screen, with pc allowing four local players to take part. This is fun and while it does not have the action orientation of a battle racer, the tricks allow it to stand on its own allowing you to shake things up the with a well-timed stunt. Only downside is the computer difficulty, which seemed fairly hard on the normal setting. Once you hit a turn wrong or wiped out, there was little to no chance of coming back, usually resulting in a bottom three placement depending on how severe the mistake. Online, you can play in the variety of modes with up to eight players. It is a great option to have when you want some real competition but have no guests to show off to.
Another great thing about Renegade, at least from an Xbox One owners perspective, is the cross-play option via Play Anywhere. That’s right, Renegade is one of the earliest titles to be a part of the program, which means you can win a few races on your console, take a week-long trip for work like I did, and continue to smash the competition on your laptop or PC. Even on a not so strong laptop like mine, it ran just fine which was great for me. At $10, being a play anywhere title is a steal that really adds to the value of the overall package. Renegade packs a punch at that price. There is a good offering of exceptionally designed levels that flash with a certain vibrancy and just genuinely look good. They not only give off a great sense of an arcade feeling, but just bring to life that retro appeal I mentioned earlier. The electrifying music also keeps that sense of engagement and arcade appeal alive, which is just a killer feeling.
Riptide GP Renegade is everything I want it to be. It is casual, fun, more than fairly priced, and retains all this while looking and handling great. For $10, it is a steal of a game, and offers much more than face value. I had plenty of fun playing, and anticipate continuing to do so while I mop up the rest of the achievements. Whether you are in it for the nostalgia, the local and online multiplayer, or just need a fun racer, Riptide GP Renegade is going to steer you in the right direction.
*Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purposes of the review
Final Score: 8/10
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