Mid-week F.A.P: Ridge Racer™ Unbounded

Ridge Racer Unbounded 02

Shaun pointed out that his weekly Saturday Spotlight is meant to be the same thing as the mid-week F.A.P. The thing is, I came up with this sweet acronym and am unwilling to relinquish it (sure, until he gets bored in a couple of months’ time – Ed).

This week I’m offering up Bugbear’s re-imagining of its racing franchise Flatout as an interpretation of Namco’s racing franchise Ridge Racer.

Developers can put a lot of things in their games to try and get me to come back to them: compelling story lines, engaging controls, etc. But the only thing that is guaranteed to work is displaying some numbers that go up.

It is why I was so infatuated with Achievements, a system that encompassed all my games and gave them all numbers that went up and sat happily next to a little checklist, begging to be ticked off.

Ridge Racer Unbounded has lots of numbers that go up.

There are the obvious ones like the Km/MPH counter that increases as you accelerate and offers immediate gratification of seeing the speed stretch out the scenery to the vanishing point. If you go really fast you get awarded with a per-race number of points; if you drift then you will get more of these points. The same’s true of boosting for extended periods, destroying opponents, exploding landmarks across the track or finishing in the top three. These race scores tie in to an overall score that helps the overall number of races you can compete in go up.

Ridge Racer Unbounded

Skill is thus rewarded but simply competing also allows for another separate number, assigned to experience, to also go up. Even if you do terribly it’ll allow you to unlock new cars. Each car has stats, yet more numbers, and these go up as you get closer to the top of the roster.

In one freak twist, as you come first in races a number goes down. This one unlocks more events with more races.

I could talk about the sense of speed, the drift-heavy racing, the AI that makes you part of a race rather than victim of a 7-man vendetta… but at the end of the day it is all about those numbers going up.