Ridge Racer Unbounded Review

Image for Ridge Racer Unbounded

Out of bounds


After nearly 20 years of sumptuous graphics, sexy rides and sliding around impossible bends, Ridge Racer has rightly become one of the best-loved speedsters in console history. But while Unbounded makes the bold move to update the series’ classic action for a modern audience hungry for the ballistics of Burnout or Split/Second: Velocity, the developers may have lost sight of what made Namco’s legendary racer a perennial delight.

The core racing action – which still focuses on drifting around sprawling turns – now sees players filling a power meter as they slide, which can be used to smash through buildings, unleash speed boosts, or force other players off the road. But while this mechanic adds a delicious sense of anarchy to the action, the inter-car takedowns aren’t as punchy or thrilling as they are in the Burnout series; and while smashing through a hotel foyer can create a shortcut to help you edge ahead of the pack, the fact that rivals travelling in your wake can also use the sneaky route you’ve created rather undermines the fun of demolishing the game’s architecture.

The vehicles feel flimsy and lack the muscle of the macho cars in a game like Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit, and the tough rival AI will send your into a controller-smashing frenzy during the early races. While credit is due for the attempt to evolve the franchise by embracing the carnage-fuelled racing that serves so many modern racers well, the result is a game that, while decent, is a lap behind its competitive set.