This is the first time anyone has gotten their eyes or hands on Ridge Racer Unbounded and the first thing you have to do is forget everything you knew about the old Ridge Racer titles. Ridge Racer Unbounded looks to take the brand in an entirely different direction, good or bad, get ready.
We had the opportunity to take one of the Ridge Racer machines out onto a track and see what exactly those differences were and I enjoyed them. First off the cars now take damage, which plays into how you race around tracks and also gives you the ability to take out rival cars. Car damage also means that your machine may not make it to the end of the race because of excessive damage taken from racers or the environment.
You can boost and drift through the race as usual but a brand new feature is the ability to destroy certain areas, buildings, objects, etc. with your machine and create shortcuts. Ridge Racer Unbounded looks to mix Split Second with Burnout and splash in some of its own style. At the end of the race certain stats are tracked like your position, Frags (how many cars you took out), drift totals and how much collateral damage you caused.
Another big change to the franchise is the addition of a City Creator mode where you can create and share your own race tracks. So as you play more races you will be given more items, buildings, etc. to unlock and use in the Creator mode. One thing that has not changed is the fact that machines cannot be upgraded so if you want a faster machine you need to unlock it and take it to the track.
One thing I did not enjoy was the inability to shift the camera perspective. You are locked into the third person driving perspective and cannot shift to anything else which took me a bit out of the experience but that is more of a personal preference than anything. I will give any subpar graphics a pass since this was a pre-beta build and honestly it looked pretty good and played very well.
This is the first Ridge Racer title to not launch with a console so this is also quite a statement of what they think they can do with this one. No hard date has been announced but we did confirm that Ridge Racer Unbounded can be expected in the first half of 2012. Look for more of this title drifting onto your PS3, Xbox 360 and PC soon.