Riptide GP: Renegade Review – Xbox One/PC
+ Excellent track design
+ Dynamic wave physics
+ Large library of stunts
+ Aggressive AI
- Some random difficulty spikes
Nothing gets me more nervous than a mobile game getting ported to console, so imagine my complete surprise when Riptide GP: Renegade not only turned out to be good; it’s actually one of my favorite casual stunt-racing games of recent memory. Blending elements of the Nintendo classic, Wave Race 64 with the look, feel, and presentation style of Hydro Thunder Hurricane (now an Xbox 360 backwards compatible game), Renegade takes a somewhat disposable tablet racing game and crafts it into an addictive and surprisingly challenging stunt-racer that will continually test your skills both in its lengthy single-player career mode as well as 4-player split-screen and online racing for up to 8 players.
Riptide GP: Renegade even throws in a story, told with disposable (and skippable) story panels between the races about a racer kicked out of the league and trying to make a comeback. It’s a nice distraction from the minimal load screens, but once you’ve read the panels you’ll be mashing the skip button on future races. The game uses the 3-star reward system and requires you to earn at least one star on the previous race before allowing you to advance. It’s pretty standard mobile design fare, but that is where all similarities end.
Featuring some amazing graphics, original environments, cool special effects, and a thumping soundtrack; Riptide GP: Renegade could easily sit on the same shelf as any AAA racing game, which makes the $10 price tag seem criminally low. I had ten bucks worth of fun on my first sitting, and that was before I even ventured online or coerced my friends to play in some rousing 4-player couch racing. The slick visuals stream by at a smooth 60fps on both Xbox and PC (one purchase gets you both copies) and your progress migrates between PC and console.
The core racing game is pretty standard featuring some fantastic wave physics that create a dynamic racing surface that will test your reflexes while a robust trick library will test your memory as you unlock a dizzying array of stunts that require an increasingly complicated set of stick moves that quickly start to resemble Mortal Kombat fatality button combos. The trick is knowing when you have enough air to actually do some of the more impressive stunts, because the better the stunt the more turbo boost you’ll earn, and that extra burst of speed is often the decider between a podium finish or hitting the retry button. On events that require high trick scores, you’ll need to mix up the stunts and avoid any duplications.
Riptide GP: Renegade even works in a bit of statistical role-playing, giving you the freedom to spend your earnings and your skill points on passive race abilities, new unlockable stunts, and hydrojet upgrades to boost your speed, acceleration, and handling, keeping you competitive in later race events. There is a nice selection of riders as well as futuristic watercraft that have the cool ability to transform in mid-race from a wave rider to an air glider.
I played the game on both Xbox One and the PC and was surprised to find the games were virtually identical in both looks and performance. The PC may have offered slightly faster load times, but I ended up spending most of my play time on the Xbox One, mostly because my Elite controller offered some great racing input. The game is native 1080p, so any 4K output is purely an artificial boost in resolution.
For anyone who has been longing to relive those glory days of Wave Race 64 or those looking for a next-gen version of Hydro Thunder then look no further than Riptide GP: Renegade. For only $10 you are going to get an insanely addictive racing game that will challenge you on multiple levels, both as a single-player leaderboard chaser, a career completionist, and a multiplayer wave riding prodigy.