Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Riptide GP 2 Review (XONE)

Vector Unit’s Riptide GP 2 will bring fond memories of Wave Race and Hydro Thunder flooding back almost immediately.  Too bad this game isn’t as good as they were, though.  Riptide GP 2 plays fairly well and you can’t complain much about the $7 price tag, but the slow grind of progression and obvious mobile roots make it a tough sell.  See our full review for more.

Game Details

  • Publisher: Vector Unit
  • Developer: Vector Unit
  • ESRB Rating: “E” for Everyone
  • Genre: Racing
  • Pros: Solid gameplay; great soundtrack; 6-player local multi; price       
  • Cons: Very slow progression; brutal A.I.; only looks OK
  • MSRP: $7

Riptide GP 2 is a jet ski-based racing game where you tear around closed water courses similar to the Wave Race series or Hydro Thunder.  Modes include a solo career mode as well as an asynchronous multiplayer “VR Challenge” mode where you compete with friends for leaderboard times.  There is also up to 6-player local splitscreen multiplayer, but no standard online multiplayer.

The career mode progression can only be described as slow and grindy, unfortunately.  Each event awards you up to 3 stars, and you need to accumulate X# of stars to progress to the next series of events.  It is set up so that you pretty much need to win every event in order to make progress.  That is easier said than done, though, because the A.I. is absolutely brutal and extremely difficult.  At least, it is difficult until you earn enough cash to upgrade your machine, at which point you blow past everyone and win easily.  Earning that much cash requires you to grind away at events over and over again getting 3rd place or worse until you can upgrade, win, and move on, though, which gets old pretty fast.  

It is a shame the career progression is such a grind because the actual gameplay itself is pretty solid.  Controls are limited to simply gas, brake, and steering – it was a mobile game, after all – but they work well.  You can also perform tricks while in the air, either off of jumps or just from big waves, which gives you boost you can use during the race.  The wave physics deserve praise as they are really well done.  No doubt about it, the racing is fun here, and feeling the immediate difference in how the game plays after you buy upgrades is pretty darn satisfying.  If only it wasn’t such a grind to get there. 

Visually, Riptide GP 2’s mobile roots shine through a little too darkly.  It looks OK, but definitely won’t impress anyone.  The water does look pretty decent, though.  The sound is slightly better with a pretty awesome soundtrack.

Overall, Riptide GP 2 won’t blow anyone away, but for $7 it is a pretty decent little racing game.  It’s also the only water-based racer on Xbox One, which definitely counts for something.  If you’re desperate to do some wave racing on Xbox One, and can learn to enjoy the grind through career, Riptide GP 2 is worth a look.  If all that sounds frustrating and tedious, though, move along with no regrets.

Disclosure: Review code was provided by publisher.