With the developers of Flatout at the helm we always expected this Ridge Racer reboot to be something special. While the single player mode isn’t quite as lovely as we’d hoped – it’s a Ridge Racer game in name alone and thus lacking in identity because of it – the track building tools give it an unprecedented amount of hidden depth.
Usually when a game features the ability to make your own content I’ll have a quick fiddle for ten minutes or so (or at least until any achievements related to creating custom content unlock) and then never bother with it again. Unbounded’s city builder is such a joy to use that the number of hours I’ve spent on it easily goes into double figures.
It’s so intuitive that not even a tutorial is included. The basic editor is the first port of call and involves little more than placing tiles of track onto a grid. These tiles are segments of track from the main game, complete with roadside details and often things to smash into. The only rule here is that a track must loop from start to finish. Which is common sense, really.
The advanced editor is viewed from first person and lets you place items wherever you fancy. There’s ramps, loop-the-loops, explosive petrol tankers, barriers and just about everything else you’d expect. The only problem ever encountered here, aside the slightly hyperactive camera, is that if you place a ramp and it isn’t quite touching the road surface you’ll wreck your vehicle as soon it you touch it. Because of the camera and the ability to tilt objects without realising it, it’s quite hard to sometimes see if they are sitting flush.
Now here’s what has been keeping me hooked – achievements can be unlocked while testing tracks. This was first discovered while simply building a track covered with ramps and the achievement for catching a certain amount of air time rather surprisingly unlocked. My mind suddenly started swimming with track ideas to unlock some of the other achievements. A track full of drag strips and power-ups that fill the boost gauge bagged me the one for fragging (Unbounded’s term for ‘takedowns’) ten rivals in a race, and eventually 200 in total. A short looping track took minutes to build but was enough to unlock the ones for fragging another racer on the finishing line, and after a few attempts also the one for finishing a race in the top three without causing any damage.
Race types can also be altered. A long straight road filled with petrol tankers and a lorry as a chosen vehicle helped to unlock the achievement for fragging 200 police cars in next to no time at all. And the achievement for destroying my vehicle 100 times? That one came naturally.
Before uploading a city for others to try you have to complete an event against the AI just to prove that it isn’t impossible to finish. We approve of this.
Not only do achievements unlock while track testing but XP is still awarded too. The ability to add some of the best vehicles in the game to your garage while messing around city building doesn’t say too much about the game’s structure, but there you go.
For achievement hunters and those who enjoy exploiting a game to its full potential Ridge Racer Unbounded is worthy of consideration. We wish there were more games like this out there which give you the keys to the city and let your imagination run riot.