The first time you play Ridge Racer Unbounded it feels strange. Mixing the feel of western racers with the Ridge Racer is unusual. Car handling feels normal until you hit the drift button and then you're in Ridge Racer territory, with extremes drifts that defy logic. Add to this the destruction of the environment and other drivers, and you've got a very different Ridge Racer.
Each track is filled with destructible scenery - you build up your power by drifting, then can activate it to accelerate through tankers and buildings in explosive style. The power button can be used to take down other racers too, much like in Burnout. All of the destruction can make for very busy tracks, and it will take a while to optimize your routes. This can make early play-throughs tough, but once a track ‘clicks’, Ridge Racer Unbounded becomes an adrenalin-filled ballet of high speed destruction.
Ridge Racer Unbounded looks great, with neon-filled environments and fantastically shiny vehicles, with the trademark light trails appearing when activating power mode. Occasionally crashing through buildings can look untidy, but overall this is a very impressive looking racing title. Ridge Racer Unbounded can get really busy, and to help you concentrate, the display is really intelligent. There’s nothing complex to take your eyes away from the action, and important information is beautifully displayed on the track as you race. It’s both stylish and functional, which is the perfect combination.
There’s no doubt that arcade racers have taken a hit in recent years, with racing in general polarizing between cute karting and precision realism. Ridge Racer Unbounded hopes to succeed where Split Second failed, but its learning curve may put some players off.