The Ridge Racer series has always been one of the premier franchises in terms of arcade racers over the last decade and a half, but seemed to have slowed down in recent years, possibly due to rising creativity and innovation with competitors.
However, Ridge Racer has returned with a new look and feel for their latest iteration, Unbounded – but have Namco taken the right turn with their beloved racing series?
Mixing it up from the traditional enclosed arcade style of previous Ridge Racer games, Unbounded attempts to break the mould of the franchise by adding in a track editor and emphasising crashing and taking out opponents within the gameplay.
Ridge Racer: Unbounded is currently scoring a 65% and 75% on GameRankings for the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions respectively, while the Xbox 360 carries a Metascore of 71 out of 100 on Metacritic.
Generally, reviewers seem to like Ridge Racer: Unbounded, comparing it to that of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, Burnout and Split/Second, all competent racing titles.
“Unbounded excels at: balls-to-the wall, explosive action. Truth be told, it’s Ridge Racer by name only and a massive departure from previous games in the series. But there’s so much to like here, so much joy to be had fragging your opponents, so much creativity to be poured into the track creator, and so much stupid satisfaction to be had from blowing stuff up that you’d be doing yourself a great disservice to dismiss Unbounded just because it doesn’t handle like you’re used to, or because Reiko isn’t there to mentally undress during loading screens.” Read the full review.
Edge Online 9/10
“The action-racing genre has delivered numerous treats this generation, but not one of them has been as rewarding and relentlessly entertaining, nor as feature-packed, as this. This isRidge Racer unbounded from the shackles of its heritage, rebuilt from the ground up into one of the most subversive, sublime street-racing games ever made.” Read the full review.
So does Ridge Racer Unbounded do anything right? Well, yes. The formula has been stripped back to some success, with controls as minimal as necessary, and there is a pervading sense that underneath it all there is a thrilling racer just waiting to bolt from the starting line. But it’s confused, showing a huge lack of confidence in its reinvention to be much of anything, not representing enough of its inspirations or its lineage. Read the full review.
That said, some critics found Unbounded to be too unambitious in order to compete with current alternative racing titles already on the market.
Official Playstation Magazine UK 7/10
“Ridge Racer Unbounded is a good, solid racer, but not a great one. Its main problem is that it undeniably compares unfavourably with its closest competitors (it’s secondary problem is its grating soundtrack, but I’ll charitably let it off the standard -2 dubstep modifier). With a less inhibited approach to level design and slightly more refined handling its success would be less qualified.” Read the full review.
And then there was plain ugly….
Official Xbox Magazine UK 4/10
“The problem is that such a brilliant editor just makes you wish it resided in a better racing game. But it doesn’t. It resides in Ridge Racer Unbounded – a title that invites unfavourable comparisons with Burnout and, in spite of the high-profile name, is somehow less characterful and entertaining than Bugbear’s own FlatOut series. Sadly, in spite of the wealth of content that’ll be created by players attempting to squeeze some entertainment from this forgettable racer, it’s simply not worth buying the game to see it.” Read the full review.
So Ridge Racer: Unbounded seems to scratched an itch with some critics, while others shunned its attempt to fill a gap that’s currently book-ended by the likes of the NFS and Burnout series.Forum discussion