IF YOU have ever wanted to drive at high speed through a city centre, smashing through buildings, and destroying rival vehicles in an explosive fireball, then I would seek professional help immediately.
Then again if you want to do it in a virtual world, RIDGE RACER UNBOUNDED is the place for you
RIDGE RACER UNBOUNDED is the latest release from NAMCO-BANDAI and BUGBEAR ENTERTAINMENT and is a petrol heads wet dream , Ok it`s no FORZA or DIRT but it doesn`t claim to be, in fact this is more like BURNOUT`s evil cousin
Not since the days of BURNOUT have I enjoyed myself so much with a driving game, fair enough the cars are not as realistic as say FORZA 4, each car does have its own characteristics though, let’s face it folks this is all about carnage and destruction.
RIDGE RACER UNBOUNDED has some of the best elements from BURNOUT, and then added its own twist to the tale, no surprises though as the developers are BUGBEAR who are responsible for such classics as FLATOUT and FLATOUT ULTIMATE CARNAGE.
This game is nothing like its predecessors, in fact the only thing it has in common with them is the name, yet this is a good thing BUGBEAR have introduced a fresh and dynamic new look to the series and about time too, after all RIDGE RACER has been around for nearly twenty years.
The whole game is set in the city of SHATTER BAY, so be prepared for some hairy inner city driving.
RIDGE RACER UNBOUNDED is not a forgiving game at all, and you really have to earn your points right from the start, it`s not like FORZA 4 where you can progress to the next track whether you win or lose, oh no not this time buddy, be prepared to return to races over and over again until you reach that magic top 3 position, you can of course earn points for crashing into things and taking out opponents, which does eventually unlock cars and tracks, but you still have to do better each time or you won`t progress.
The level of destruction available is very impressive and I took great pride in smashing through objects at high speed, make sure though that the object is smaller than your car, otherwise its crash and burn time.
You do have a power boost bar which fills when you do a nice power slide round a corner or slipstream another car, its then that you have the ability to smash through buildings and create short cuts, you can of course use the power boost to FRAG other cars and initiate explosions, when timed right, can take out multiple rivals.
The big thing about RIDGE RACER over the years has been the drifting, and of course that is available in this game, by holding the B button as you hit a corner it allows your car to drift around it, which is fine with a controller, but a slightly awkward when using a driving wheel, I found I could reproduce the same effect by braking and spinning the wheel like a real car.
Of course using a wheel is the best way to enjoy this game, I used the MADCATZ WIRELESS WHEEL which was superb and really brought the game to life.
RIDGE RACER UNBOUNDED is divided into different zones within the city and within each of these zones (as they become unlocked) are a variety of races and challenges.
DOMINATION races are a real test of your driving skills, and you aren`t given an easy ride from the offset, in fact you will be hitting the restart button a good few times before you get up in the top 3.
FRAG ATTACK speaks for itself really you have a certain amount of time to take down (FRAG) as many opponents as you can, again not that easy when you are trying to avoid oncoming traffic and obstacles.
SHINDO RACING which is more racing than anything and can be fast and furious.
TIME TRIALS are all about completing an outrageous stunt course within a certain time; you have to hit the bonus time tokens to keep going.
DRIFT ATTACK again pretty obvious, you gain points and time by drifting, which is not easy with a steering wheel.
RIDGE RACER UNBOUNDED is a big game, and well worth the money as the nine different areas take some time to get through, plus with the course building element as well, which enables players to build their own course and share it online.
This is a great and innovative move by the developers and should be a favourite amongst the on-line community, what a great idea to be able to build your own racetrack and challenge people to beat it.
The on-line play apart from the course building element is spot on, just a pity the game doesn`t have a multiplayer/split screen element.
RIDGE RACER was after nearly twenty years due for a makeover, and RIDGE RACER UNBOUNDED fits the bill beautifully, it is challenging, fun and creative and apart from the lack of multiplayer/split screen options is a classic in the making, if you really want to enjoy this game to the max then get yourself a gaming wheel and go for it!
I give RIDGE RACER UNBOUNDED 9 out of 10 because of the lack of multiplayer/split screen can be a problem if you have friends round.
Ridge Racer Unbounded
Developer: Bugbear Entertainment
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Age rating :12
Release Date: 12th March 2012