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The latest instalment in the long running series from Namco Bandai, Ridge Racer Unbounded takes their racing game into a new direction and it's a good thing that they did. But did they take an absolute U-Turn?

Gameplay
While racing in Shatter Bay, you need to know a few key elements in order to claim top spot. First up is the power bar; when the bar is full you can utilise it to either destroy your opponents cars A.K.A 'fragging', destroy parts of the environment to try and gain the lead or use it as a speed boost to get ahead of your rivals. Secondly the art of drifting is a necessity as this builds up your power bar and is a staple for some of the types of races.
Makes drifting look really cool!
There are nine areas of Shatter Bay to dominate, each having seven races for you to compete in. The more you place in the top three of races, the more points you get for levelling up. Ridge Racer Unbounded still gives delivers the same type of arcade style driving game that it’s come to be known for. The main type of race you will be playing is Domination where you obliterate your opponents in order to take 1st place. Other races that you'll be playing are: Shindo Racing, Drift Attack, Time Attack and Frag Attack. These races give the game a bit of variety so you don't get bored. There is also a track editor for you to have fun with and as you complete races you are rewarded with more parts to use for your own racetracks.

Although there are a few things that hinder the overall experience. When I accidentally tap an opponent’s car from behind when they're using their power bar, I instantly get fragged. This has happened a great amount of times and always leaves me trailing at the back; accidentally hitting opponent cares from the sides seem acceptable but the back of the car!? Seems a bit cheap. The opponents also can't see environmental shortcuts until I have destroyed them, which makes me wonder if they just take advantage and wait for me to use my power bar then use the shortcut later.

Online Gameplay
The online aspect of Ridge Racer Unbounded seems a bit minimalistic compared to its offline counterpart as you'll only able to play domination races against other players. But this is where user generated content shines as you are able to upload your own tracks and cities for other people to play on. However I feel that online won't keep me entertained as much as offline because the variety of races offline is greater.

Graphics
Ridge Racer Unbounded looks impressive graphically to say the least; Cars look appealing to eye and environments in the game are stunning. Environments look nice but are a bit repetitive as you'll see some track parts in other racetracks.
destroy, Destroy, DESTROY!
Crashing into the environments and destroying them is also a nice feature but does confuse you in what and what can't be destroyed. The lighting of Shatter Bay makes both the cars and environment look better to drive in. Overall the graphics side of Ridge Racer Unbounded is great and one of the better things in the game.

Design
Ridge Racer Unbounded takes place in the fictional world of Shatter Bay where racing has gone underground. Your job is to 'dominate' Shatter Bay for yourself by destroying the competition in races across the city. Unbounded has got a levelling system where you level up as you race in different areas of the city. As you level up you unlock more cars at your disposal. This game is not a breeze and will take some time to complete and is progressively difficult, which is a good thing as it keeps me playing. However once you've dominated shatter bay it's hard to see what else is there to make you want to carry on playing
Slick looking cars.

Final Verdict
Ridge Racer Unbounded proves to be a good change from what has been offered from the previous games in the series and with the new power bar to frag opponents and destroy environments as well as the graphics giving the game a great style. But the lack of online options, some AI hindrances and repetitive environments may break the overall enjoyment from the game.

Gameplay = 8/10
Graphics = 9/ 10
Design = 7.5/10

Final We Know Gamers Score = 8.2/10
Had a chance to play the game? Tell us what you thought in the comments section below!
Ridge Racer Unbounded Review

Reviewed by Rheyval
on Apr 09 2012

Rating: 8.2/10

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