Riptide GP 2 – Xbox One Review

Posted on January 24, 2015 by Alan Walsh

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Riptide GP 2 is Vector Unit’s first Xbox One game developed through the ID@Xbox program. Some may already be familiar with the game as it’s also available on Windows RT/8.1 and Windows Phone devices, but if not, there’s a good chance you are aware of their 2010 hit boat/jet racing game on Xbox 360 and Windows PC called ‘Hydro Thunder Hurricane‘ which was one of the best Xbox Live Arcade games released to date. This time, Vector Unit are back with another boat racing game on Xbox One but costing only €4.99/$4.99/£3.99! That pricing is very tempting for a game that offers a the full thousand Gamerscore, even before knowing what the game is about. Hydro-jet racing was never more affordable on the big screen. However, Riptide GP 2 feels much more than a simple $5 game, this feels like a complete (local) jet-racing experience. Let’s take a deeper look.

The main menu features three main selections; Career, VR Challenge and Split Screen. Options to view Vector Unit news, upgrade/paint or buy new hydro jets (what the boats are called) in the garage, view help, change settings and your profile card are also on the menu. I do believe the boat upgrades/purchases option is a bit too hidden in the top right corner as it only displays your current hydro jet name and doesn’t give any indication that it’s clickable. I do believe that moving it to where the main three selections would make access to this feature much easier. The ‘Paint Shop’ within the ‘Garage’ allows you to paint your hydro jet and rider’s outfit using an up/down colour slider with three columns used to select specific colours for different areas of the hydro jet. It also allows you to change your riders gender and choose a random selection of colours for your hydro jet and rider.

The game’s Career mode features nine series ranging from “Beginners Luck” all the way to the “All-Star Cup”. Each series requires to have earned a certain amount of stars in previous series to unlock it and a total of 150 stars are required to unlock the final series. The amount of stars you earn are based on how well you do in each of the races or hot laps. From what I’ve unlocked, there seems to be five events in each series, each having three stars to unlock available. However, earning stars isn’t that easy as races feel unnecessarily difficult and times required by hot laps aren’t the easiest to achieve. I find upgrading your hydro jet or buying better ones seems to be the key to success. The game has an in-game currency to pay for upgrades and new hydro jets, however, they aren’t too cheap meaning some grinding may be needed at times but thankfully not a whole amount. Upgrades include improvements made to acceleration, top speed, handling and your boost. I could definitely find myself being more competitive in races when I had my hydro jet upgraded. Boost in game really improves your speed for a short period of time and you get some automatically at the start. It’s activated by holding ‘A’ but once it’s gone, the only way to get an additional boost if by performing these skills/stunts when jumping off ramps. These can be tricky to accomplish and I often find myself hitting the ground in the middle of one meaning I have to “respawn” causing me to add a few seconds in my lap time and fall behind in the race. The amount of boost you get per jump also seems to be very little and no boost is added by just racing, there is also no boost advancements on the track which I think would be a good system to use.

Another type of event in the Career mode is ‘Elimination’ where every 15 seconds, the person in last place is removed from the race. It’s a fun mode, but again difficult to earn a star you must place in the top three. The amount of stars you earn in a race go by one for finishing third place, two for finishing second and all three for finishing first. It’s a fair rewards system as you also get in-game currency for each race meaning if you can’t get the stars on your first go, you can upgrade and try again. This is where it can feel like grinding because you have to play, get new upgrades, replay in order to progress in the game and earn more stars.

VR Challenges are another mode in the game where you compete with your friend’s ghost rivals to beat their times in various races. There’s a total of 13 VR Challenges and if your friends haven’t played on a certain course then you’re given the opportunity to set a time for them to beat. This is the only online functionality in the game as there is no online multiplayer component in the game. Split-screen is present for local multiplayer though which allows you to race with up to five others on one Xbox One taking almost full advantage of the amount of controllers the console can support at a time (which is a total of eight). However, no online multiplayer is a loss as I could see this becoming a really fun game to play with your mates and it’s a game a lot of people could easily pick up due to how affordable it is.

All in all, Riptide GP 2 is a great game for the price. The game features fantastic visuals for a game that only requires 181.1MB of storage! However, I always enjoy using the right stick in games to look around me at the scenery like in racing games, however, this game doesn’t include that function. The lack of multiplayer and the grinding feeling does mean you may get bored after an hour or so of gameplay, but it is a fun game to come back to every so often. If you’re into Achievement hunting, the price is great at just $5 as it will give you hours of gameplay trying to get those Achievements! With this being a more casual game, the addition of Kinect controls, for controlling the hydro jets, would be an added bonus and would make the game much more interesting in my opinion. I hope to see this game updated in the future as it has so much potential seeing as it’s the only game of its kind on the Xbox One. It’s no Hydro Thunder, but it’s definitely worth giving a go for the price and that’s why I’m going to give Riptide GP 2 on Xbox One a 7/10.


You can download Riptide GP 2 for Xbox One and Windows by clicking on the relevant links below:


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