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Rise: Race The Future

Platform(s): Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, WiiU, Xbox One
Genre: Racing
Developer: VD-DEV
Release Date: July 22, 2019

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Switch Review - 'Rise: Race The Future'

by Cody Medellin on Jan. 20, 2020 @ 12:00 a.m. PST

Rise: Race The Future is a racing game set in a near future where a new kind of wheel technology will let you race on all type of terrains and especially on water.

For a while, the Switch had less than a handful of arcade racing titles. If you didn't want something futuristic or another kart racer, you had the duo of Gear Club Unlimited titles, and that was that. In 2019, we received a glut of arcade-style racing, ranging from licensed fare to more recognized franchises. Then there's Rise: Race the Future, a title that's probably going to be the most obscure of the lot.

For the most part, Rise is a standard arcade racer where you choose a car, race around a track for a few laps, and hope to make it ahead of the pack by the end. You can learn how to drift, and the mechanics are different enough that you have to re-learn how to initiate it here. You can still get by on basic acceleration and braking fundamentals, and it's generally fine to hold down the gas during turns. You get to race on some pavement, but the track will be loose dirt most of the time. The gimmick is that you'll also be racing on water, but don't expect the physics to suddenly transform the game into Hydro Thunder. Instead, you'll feel that the car is lighter than normal, and there's a slightly increased chance of drifting further than expected when turning.

It's easy to come to grips with the lighter handling of cars. Even with the lightest vehicles in the pack, you won't feel like the slightest touch will send the car spinning into oblivion. The game demands that you try to complete runs as cleanly as possible. Rubbing against a barricade isn't detrimental, but hitting flush against a barricade or rock wall usually results in coming in at the back of the pack, since it's almost impossible to return to an acceptable speed after a crash when the AI racers are driving at top speeds.


Rise sports three modes, with Time Trial being rather self-explanatory. The Campaign is laid out like a grand prix race, where you compete in circuits and your placement in each track translates into points for your overall score. Unlike other racing games, the circuits are quite long, sometimes going for nine tracks or more before you can move on to the next circuit. Going through the circuits is a more forgiving affair compared to other racing games, as you can always restart on the track you messed up in rather than replaying all of the races in that circuit. Completing any of these races also unlocks more tracks for use in Time Trial.

Track unlocking highlights one of the drawbacks facing the game. While you unlock plenty of tracks, you're doing so in four distinct environments: deserts, jungles, rainforest, and snow. The eight tracks in each environment mean that you aren't seeing the same parts of every locale in every race, but it seems to blend together after a while. Even though the tracks are well designed, the lack of variety in backgrounds makes all of the unlocks feel underwhelming after a while.

While the Campaign is straightforward, the Challenge mode is more exciting. Here, you'll get access to a bunch of tracks, but the objective isn't always to finish first. Some tracks task you with having a best last lap, while others ask you to finish ahead of a certain car or get to a certain place without being overtaken. Some even ask you to finish first without the aid of a turbo boost. Gaining enough points from one set of challenges opens up another, more difficult set and new cars for your garage.

Again, the amount of unlockables makes the game feel light in the content department. There are eight sets of Challenges in total, and with one car being unlocked per set, that's a grand total of 10 cars in your garage when it is all said and done. There's also a limited amount of decal designs and colors that players can place on the cars. Each car handles differently, and many people who play arcade racers don't necessarily use more than a handful of cars for all of the events, but when you see other similar racers offer up substantially more vehicles, this limited selection can feel lackluster.

 


Perhaps the most notable thing about Rise isn't a mode or a feature but an omission. Namely, the game sports no multiplayer whatsoever. Online play makes sense since communities for racing games tend to favor the most popular stuff, while ignoring lesser-known titles. However, considering the nature of the Switch, an attempt at two-player split-screen would have been welcome. Even leaderboards would've been a decent compromise, so seeing no online functionality whatsoever makes the endeavor feel like a missed opportunity.

The presentation is fine in some areas and serviceable in others. Graphically, the title looks impressive in docked mode. Even with the frame rate locked to 30fps instead of the more desired 60fps, the gameplay is smooth, and the animations look nice with a good amount of on-screen effects. The dust on the lens when facing the sun and the water droplets seen when skidding through the water look particularly beautiful. The game begins to look muddier when you're playing in portable mode, but it still works fine on the go. On the audio front, the effects are good, but the music is decent at best. The generic instrumental rock means you aren't going to turn it up for any reason, and you certainly won't remember any of it when you turn off the game.

Even if you were to look at this title without comparing it to other arcade racers, Rise: Race the Future would simply be fine. The track designs are good, and the Challenge mode offers up something in lieu of multiplayer. However, with a limited selection of tracks and cars when compared to other games, Rise feels rather limited in terms of what the player can do before boredom sets in. Ultimately, the game does well as a quick snack, but it's doesn't need to be a permanent part of one's racing library.

Score: 6.5/10

 



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