The Riptide GP series has been a mainstay on mobile platforms for a number of years now, but Renegade is the first in the series to be built specifically for consoles as well. After the success of the Riptide GP 2 port, how does the third game in the series handle?
Renegade finally finds itself releasing on the Xbox One after appearing last summer on the PS4, Steam and handhelds, but it’s the same game on offer. Nothing has been added nor taken away. This is both good and bad however as Renegade only features nine tracks at launch. The tracks have all been expertly designed and are as diverse as you could hope for, including a range of effects such as a thunderstorm, naval battle and a theme park, but when you compare this to Riptide GP 2 that had 14 tracks from the start then no matter how interactive the tracks on Renegade are, repetition sets in. Even with game modes such as Elimination, Freestyle, Race and, new to the series but perhaps the best mode, Slalom, nine tracks spread out over 118 events in the career mode doesn’t quite feel enough. And one track, Grindhouse, comes around more frequently than the rest.
Not all 188 events need to be completed to fully complete the career; many of these are considered ‘side-missions’ that attempt to give the characters in the story a bit of backstory. Yes, Riptide GP Renegade does include a story that isn’t just one rider’s journey to the top of their sport. There is a bit more to it than that as your rider has developed a bitter rivalry with another competitor who gets your rider sent to prison for two years. After release your guy swears revenge, but first needs to assemble a crew of other riders to be able to take down your rival. It isn’t much, but it gives more reason to doing what you are doing as opposed to the standard ‘win one championship to be able to enter the next’ that has been apparent in previous entries. Humour is added to help distinguish between the characters and with a certain dancing duo you meet on your journey, it works very well and on a few occasions did make me smile.
Keeping with the humour, Renegade has included an Easter egg in each level, but a literal Easter egg in this case. Some are easier to spot than others but all require careful planning to reach. You will know when you have found one though because the screen fills up with a picture of a giant cartoon chicken head. It is best to attempt to get these when not in a race because the chicken head can put even the most focused of players off.
On top of the Easter eggs, inputting the code UUDDLRLR on the title screen unlocks big head mode, another comical feature, but again, the heads can be rather off putting at times.
Local co-op returns in Renegade again with up to six players on the one console, but there are an extra couple of additions this time around. One major inclusion is that this is one of the first third-party games to include Xbox Play Anywhere, meaning you can play on both Xbox One and Windows 10 with synced up game progress. The Windows 10 version also allows four player local co-op and allows cross platform online multiplayer. Online is a first for console versions of the Riptide series too.
The previous game in the series was a straight port from mobile, and it certainly looked like one. Renegade, being designed specifically for consoles looks a lot better. The water effects are impressive, especially when hitting some of the bigger waves, and all this is presented at 60 frames per second, even in split screen. That in itself is certainly a step up for the series.
Being an underground and illegal type of racing, sometimes you will bring unwanted attention from the police and they are a massive nuisance. They will chase you down and bump into you which will hinder your progress in the race and cause quite a few quick restarts. What makes these infuriating though is that they happily ignore every other competitor and single you out regardless of your position in the race. Be prepared to rage quit when you hear the sirens.
The game offers the chance to upgrade your hydrojets for the hard earned money you earn from winning races and this becomes a necessity in later levels, as there is a challenging difficulty curve on Normal or Hard. You can also customise the way your hydrojet looks, and certain deeds completed will unlock special decals to show off your achievements.
As with the previous entry, the achievements aren’t too difficult if you want the full 1000G, with most unlocked by the time you reach the final race against the main protagonist. There are certain tracks that have specific achievements related to them, but you can go into Challenge mode and unlock these if you didn’t earn them in Career. The most difficult achievement will probably be getting 1st place in each event, but the difficulty will lie in the boredom of racing round the same tracks rather than worrying about the difficulty.
As I’ve mentioned throughout this review, my biggest gripe with Renegade is simply the lack of tracks, but the rest of the game, as expected, is very good. The Riptide series always felt too big for its mobile roots, and Renegade may be the jewel in its crown. The story adds a new depth to it and shows that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Everything has been improved upon from the previous entry on the Xbox and it has remained a decent price. If this is a series you have yet to get into, Riptide GP Renegade is easily the best place to start.