I’ll be the first to admit that my racing skills need some improvement. I spent the first couple laps bouncing off walls and rubbing into the sides of my fellow competitors. In nearly every instance, I came dead last. Then, I began to get into my groove, and started to rack up the wins. Rise: Race The Future shines in its simplicity. At its core, the game is fairly polished. Unfortunately, for the more discerning gamer, its uncomplicated nature will leave more to be desired.
Rise: Race The Future is a visual feast first and foremost. When playing on ultra graphics, it’s almost difficult to focus on the race because of the scenic beauty. As you drive through mud, it splatters on your car’s surface. When you plow through a puddle of water, droplets appear on the screen. All of the cars are beautifully designed. From a purely aesthetic standpoint, Rise: Race The Future is a complete win.
If you look too closely; however, you’ll notice that the fundamental level design is generally not in keeping with the standard set by the astonishing graphics. There are far too many levels whose potential enjoyment is marred by tightly woven corners and turns that bring the race to a complete crawl. Conversely, other levels are far too simplistic and defined mostly by huge straightaways where the racer with the most boost always took the lead. After about two dozen different tracks, there are no tunnels, jumps, underwater courses, or anything innovative. The offerings are fairly standard.
Worse than that, the starting cars stats are absolutely abysmal. The entire race I feel like I am fighting for control. Nearly every corner I take, no matter how carefully, leaves me spinning out of control. Luckily, the AI seems to be either unaware or ultra conservative with their boost, so that in most straightaways, I am able to almost reach the pack again. But that’s the general pattern that most races fall into. I rocket through the straight parts of the course, and carefully tip-toe my way around the corners.
Plus, fairly quickly, I start to realize that there is little to no rubberbanding in this game. For those unfamiliar with the term, rubberbanding will adjust the AIs difficulty so that the race always feels competitive. If you crash, most racing games will adjust the AI so that the opponents begin to drive worse in front of you, giving you a chance to catch up. On the other hand, if you’re doing too well, the AI will increase the ability of your opponents so that they begin to creep up on you. This is a fairly standard mechanic that first began in games like F-Zero and Mario Kart. When it’s absent from a game, the complications become immediately apparent. You can’t catch-up once you’re down, and you can’t lose once you’re ahead.
That’s the issue here. Rise: Race The Future is simultaneously both extremely polished and not well thought out. You never experience glitches or bugs, and the controls, while occasionally difficult, are tight and responsive the majority of the time. But then you are confronted with the awkward level design and outdated AI, and you’re back at square one. If VD-Dev could delve back into the core of their game, and fix the underlying problems afflicting Rise: Race The Future, they could craft the game into an endlessly playable, simplistic racer that would appease most fans. As it stands, the game is plagued by basic problems that will leave most players seeking alternatives.