Ridge Racer Unbounded: Others have done it better

There is nothing particularly wrong with this game - it's just that it has all been seen before.


Ridge Racer Unbounded

For: PS3, Xbox 360, PC

From: Namco Bandai

Two stars (out of five)


Ridge Racer Unbounded is honestly about five years too late.

Games like Burnout Revenge and Split/Second Velocity have already done a great job refining this specific style of driving game.

Open-plan, intense racing with power-ups, environmental destruction and vigorous demolition derby-style jostling.

It sounds like great fun. But when other games have done it earlier, and better, you wonder what the point is.

The Ridge Racer series is well established but this is a radical shift into this style of racing.

Set in a place called Shatter City, the game features a series of events that combine high-speed racing with what might loosely be termed "automobile smash-em".

Anything about your size or smaller, whether it's made of wood or concrete, can be smashed with your vehicle, with effectively no consequence other than a minor reduction in pace.

Bigger obstacles can be cleared, and shortcuts uncovered, when a power bar is filled.

Your opponents can be "fragged" - thanks, Call of Duty - in similar fashion to takedowns in the Burnout series.

Place first, second or third in events to unlock experience points, which in turn unlock new areas and vehicles.

Unbounded has a much steeper difficulty curve than others of its type. I consider myself a reasonably decent driving gamer, but this one had me struggling to finish on the podium in many of the early events.

I wasn't delighted with the steering or drifting physics, and the overall feel of the racing was just not as polished as previous efforts. Even the range of vehicles seemed a bit limp for a game that has pretensions of being ambitious.

One interesting segment of the game is a level design mode, and the ability to both tinker around with your own ideas and access the hundreds of creations online.

Gaming is an ever-changing beast, and I'm pleased Ridge Racer has gone in a new direction. But maybe it should have happened sooner.



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