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Review: Riptide GP: Renegade for Switch

Riptide GP: Renegade (Vector Unit, $9.99) is out now for the Nintendo Switch, among other consoles. This game upgrade to Riptide GP 2 comes just a few years after Riptide GP and Riptide GP 2 for mobile devices. This game follows the trend of water racing like Wave Race, Hydro Thunder (also by Vector Unit), Splashdown and Jet Moto. Does it hold a candle to these well-established games? Or does it spin wildly out of control? Let’s take a look at this game in depth and find out!

First of all, I have a game description for you:

‘Riptide GP®: Renegade drops players into a futuristic world of illicit hydro jet racing, where armored riders kick out death-defying stunts over massive waterfalls, outrun cops, and boost at breakneck speeds across surging waves.  With a deep career mode and both split-screen and online multiplayer, Riptide GP: Renegade is the first game in the popular racing series designed especially for modern consoles.’

And a list of the game’s features:

NEXT GEN WATER RACING

Vector Unit’s first game since Hydro Thunder Hurricane to be designed from the ground up for modern consoles, RGP:R sets the bar for dynamic water racing, with breathtaking dynamic water physics, splash-tastic spray effects, and more!

THRILL-RIDE ENVIRONMENTS

Dodge police boats and drones while you blast through vast interactive race environments packed with interactive elements, secret shortcuts, and animated obstacles.  Blast across floating factory platforms, brave hurricane-strength waves, and infiltrate a military base in the midst of battle. Every race track is packed with interactive set pieces, dynamic obstacles, and secret shortcuts.

DEEP CAREER MODE

Battle your way through a variety of race types and boss fights to reach the top of the underground hydro jet racing circuit. Earn XP and cash to upgrade and customize your hydro jet, unlock new stunts, and increase your rider’s performance. 

ONLINE AND SPLIT SCREEN MULTIPLAYER

Compete online against the best players around the world – or against your pals in split screen local multiplayer matches (with a mix of human and AI racers). Play with up to 8 players online, or couch co-op with up to 6 players depending on your platform. On mobile, go head-to-head with players on different mobile platforms!

FUTURISTIC CUSTOMIZABLE VEHICLES

Collect and upgrade a garage full of blistering fast hydro jets that transform while you ride them. Win money to upgrade and customize the stats, colors, decals and numbers.

STATE OF THE ART WATER RACING – Riptide GP: Renegade brings dynamic water racing to a new level of excitement with breathtaking water physics, splash-tastic spray effects, and more! Every race is different because the surface you race on is always changing.

LOCALIZATIONS

Available in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Russian, and Brazilian Portuguese.’

As well as a gnarly trailer for you:

Audio & Soundtrack:

The soundtrack is a fun, fast-paced joy ride, just like the game is. The music seems to be in tune with what’s happening in the game. If you fall behind a few places in the race, you may still hear the music, but it doesn’t bombard you with music. When you get back in the top three, and then in first place, it seems like the music is pumping at its loudest. I swear I’m not crazy, I’m sure that it does this. Maybe it’s like being in your car and trying to read a sign or find an address and you have to turn the music down to really concentrate. But when you know where you’re going, you can leave the music on at full blast. Nevertheless, the music is different on different menus, which I feel that every game desperately needs. This is something that Nintendo does a lot and I love it.

The audio is so great in this game. You’ll find yourself going through industrial tunnels with sounds of machinery and alarms. Or zooming through a forest with thunderous trees tumbling down around you. Lightning and heavy hitting chop as you tear through a stormy sunset. This game has sound effects that I simply did not expect to hear in a racing game. They seemed to think outside the box when thinking up tracks and the elements within them.

Of course, there are standard sound effects like the cops’ sirens or an engine tearing up the waves on a high throttle. This game has it all in terms of audio and it’s balanced out so well too. I’m trying to think of another racing game where you can hear sirens, techno, thunder, and water slapping all simultaneously. I tried to find something wrong with the audio and soundtrack in this game and I really couldn’t. Though, I guess I loved the music to the point that I suppose I wish there were more songs? But that’s about all I could muster in terms of shortcomings. 9/10

Visuals:

The visuals in this game look as good as one could expect. You can tell that they have definitely come from a mobile iteration of the game. But you can also tell that they maximized what they can do on the Switch as well. Before I got the game, I’d seen other reviews state that the handheld gameplay was choppier and had dropped framerates. Where I can state that the docked mode looks better because it’s on a giant 1080p HDTV,both modes operate as they should. There is no one mode that operates at a higher framerate, and if there is, it’s not a big enough difference that you can tell on the go. In fact, I’ve beaten so much of this game and I’ve done it almost exclusively on the go.

I think the water looks surprisingly great, I was very much expecting the water to look much worse. I thought that the colors of the racers uniforms and jetskis popped so nicely, especially in levels that had darker, stormy settings. Which brings me also to the fact that there were different levels in different settings. They could’ve opted out to create a game that was always bright and sunny, but they added chop and wind and so much more due to the elements.

The graphics are better than what I thought they would be, hands down. I believe that had they made this game from scratch, it would have been able to look better. But honestly, I’m okay with end of XBOX 360 life cycle type graphics. I think that’s the sweet spot for the Switch to pull off higher frame rates without compromising quality. This also helps keep battery times better than say playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Personally, I think that this game was a necessity for the Switch to have in the first year. For instance, this title shows that you can have large scale buildings or forestry with great draw distance while moving at high speeds.  9/10

Gameplay:

This game is comprised of three separate difficulties in the single player campaign story. Each difficulty level features 31 races in all. There is a loose storyline surrounding the game. Without giving too much away, you’re apparently a hot head that won’t let a threat of losing keep you from risking jail time. Eventually, you get caught and spend 2 years in the slammer. The game starts with you having been released from the big house and you have to raise your way through the ranks again. You’ll slowly but surely earn money and level up, each helping you deck out your jetski, learn new moves, and improve your stats.

If you’re someone who is like me, you can save all of your money for pimping out improvements to your jetski so that you can race better. But eventually, in every difficulty, you will hit points where your jetski is maxed out. I would recommend maxing our you jetski before buying novelty decorative items that do nothing to help your racer. As you level higher and higher, you’ll unlock points for earning the newer moves for doing tricks in the air. The more complicated the trick, the more boost you earn in your race. You can also unlock other items with that point system such as drafting, starting boost, and boost extensions.

In a nutshell, this game is very deep and well worth a play through. I started playing it one day and before I knew it, three hours had passed. I was flabbergasted at how much value was in the game for only $9.99. The racing feels great and plays just how you think a water racing game should play. It’s touted as a new age Waverace, but it isn’t. I would say it’s a thing of its own and I love it for what it is. I can’t imagine people thinking that it could replace Waverace, I think Nintendo should have a new Waverace out. What I do think here is that it’s a solid game that would hold you over until a Waverace game came out. And if one never did come out, you wouldn’t miss it because this game can hold its own.

I may be biased, I love arcade racers like this. I think that having realistic racing simulators on the Nintendo Switch would not bode well. But this game along with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe are clearly going to be paving the way for other arcade racers on the console. They both hit the nail on the head in terms of what we should be able to expect out of a racing game. It’s not a perfect game by any means, I think the story mode could be dropped altogether. But I suppose it’s there to keep younger people’s interest in the game between races. It could also stand to have a custom track mode, I think the Switch’s touch screen could be used so well for that (especially because the game doesn’t use it at all)! 8/10

Replay-ability & Longevity:

This game has 31 levels (as mentioned before) comprised of racing against others, slalom, and one on one racing in the single-player mode. And that’s per difficulty as well. This game has so much jam-packed into it that I’m still flabbergasted that I’ve played so much of the game already and still haven’t beaten it! I’m more of a completionist when it comes to racing games though. So I’ll beat the game on every difficulty from easiest to hardest, working my way up. I just find it more enjoyable that way. I’m not that way with adventure games, rhythm games, RPG’s, or shooters. I just stick with a nice medium difficulty with most other genres. But I digress, that’s the way that I would suggest you play this game. You’ll find that even though you start off light, your machine requires upgrades and such so it slowly gets better as you progress. This makes the difficulty always seem just challenging enough, even on the easier difficulties.

Of course, there is multiplayer online to make the game stretch even further. This can be played undocked with a solid wifi connection, but I would recommend docking it. And obviously the same holds true for split screen multiplayer. I think all in all this game has so much jammed into it, that you’ll find that if you play it all, you’ll love it all. The replay-ability is quite high with both the online and offline multiplayer. But I would play all of the single-player content first as it will keep you busy for quite some time. I would love it if they released DLC content as I would buy it and play this game even more! 8/10

If you’re looking to get this game, click here!

If you need to buy $10 of eShop money to cover the cost of the game, click here.

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