The classic mobile jet-ski racer comes to PS4. Here’s our take.
Hydro jet racers are somewhat scarce in the PS4 library, so it’s with excitement that Vector Unit have finally brought their hugely popular mobile hit Riptide GP2 to PS4. Here’s our review.
You pretty much know what you’re getting into once you pick up Riptide GP2. A racer where you take control of a hydro jet and put you skills to the test against other racers. It’s kinda straightforward as far as classic racers go, and benefits from this, as the strengths it focuses on are certainly worth shouting about, despite any real depth to any feature included.
Your task is to get better to unlock challenges and career races. At first it feels very simple and smooth to control, with the worlds most straightforward tutorial ensuring you know how to move, how to turn, how to boost, how to brake and how to do stunts (both analogue sticks in random directions)- That’s it. It’s all beautifully simple in that regard and offer instant pick up and play. Soon enough you’ll be earning plenty of money to upgrade your hydro jet or a brand new one – there are 10 to unlock – as you progress higher. You can also unlock more stunts (25 in total) which allows you to increase your boost and look pretty damn cool before your huge audience. Seriously, there’s a massive crowd, these courses in real life would cost billions to build, surely.
One thing that should be mentioned are the visuals. Now, it’s not huge on detail, but being an import from a classic smartphone game that isn’t to be surprised at so much. What IS impressive is the smoothness of the gameplay. Assumedly huge detail was sacrificed for clean a 1080p 60FPS framerate, which makes the game look really rather nice. I’ve sunk hours into this game and its multiplayer split screen (no online), and I haven’t noticed a single hint of slowdown or framerate issues. Similarly to Vector Unit’s other recent PS4 port, Beach Buggy Racing. This is to be commended amongst AAA developers who continuously get this wrong.
The customisation and upgrade options are also worth shouting about. As you earn money from the events you parktake in, you can upgrade your Hydro jet or buy a new one. If you’re happy to stick with the one you have, there are plenty of upgrades you can bestow upon it in terms of handling, acceleration, boost control and more. Handling is good place to start upgrading. It’s not that it’s bad – far from it – but anything that can make those turns just a little sharper are worth investing in. The faster you can make it around those corners the better your chances of winning the races. Combine this with a boost upgrade and you should be winning races in no time. I started the career and was hitting third and second place quite regularly. It wasn’t until I upgraded the handling and acceleration I started winning races. It’s worth it just to get the later stages unlocked that offer a real challenge.
Early on the AI is pretty tough and you will be beaten a few times over. It’s all about earning that early money which will allow you to upgrade, and is very important in a game like this. Once you’ve applied primary upgrade (the aforementioned handling. And painting it to look badass, obviously), you won’t lose. No, really. So long as you keep the boosts up and use them in the correct places you won’t lose a race and you’ll be unlocking everything in no time at all. That’s how important the upgrades are, and the difficulty level decreases dramatically once you’ve earned enough money.
There is a lack of online mutliplayer, although over Share Play you can play with one other person, which is a PS4 exclusive. Neat-o! The lack of online may bother some, but it’s not a huge deal for me. Instead you have a VR challenge mode where you can race ghosts of your friends, which is a classic racing feature but perhaps in 2015 players are looking for a little more. Should there be an update, online should be top of the list.
There isn’t much left to really do once you’re in career mode, mind. It all depends what you really want out of a racing game and Riptide GP2 is as arcade as they come. There are three types of events, splitscreen, VR and that’s your lot. You’re not getting a huge amount of bang for your buck but at £5 it’s hard to really complain about what is on offer.
Finally the lack of loading times is huge bonus. Like seriously, there are none at all. You select a race, a split second later you’re in it. Lovely. Presumably there isn’t particularly much to load for a game as big as 117.4 MB, but hey, this is still to be commended.
So Riptide GP2 doesn’t have an awful lot in the way of competition on PS4, so for that if you’re after a water racing based fix, you can’t really go wrong for a whole £5. At the same time, there’s not a huge amount to do here, becomes strangely simple once you’ve added some upgrades to your jet and the lack of online play may stifle some but for what it is, a solid competent arcade racer running at 1080 60FPS, Riptide GP2 is an enjoyable racer with nice visuals a thumping soundtrack and some lovely water physics. It’s a console port of a mobile game which works best as a timewaster, more than a racer with any real depth.
Just like the best smartphone games should.
Riptide GP2 – available now on PS4.
Developer: Vector Unit
Publisher: Vector Unit
Disclaimer – In order to complete this review, we were given a review code from the publishers.