Rise: Race The Future Review – Rise and Shine
Rise: Race The Future
Rise: Race The Future is a futuristic racing game entirely developed and published by french developers VD-DEV.
Founded in 1990, VD-DEV developed games for Atari and Infogrames for the Gameboy and Gameboy Colour. Including such titles as V-Rally: Championship Edition, V-Rally 3 and Test Drive Le Mans. So it is fair to say that the studio has some experience when it comes to making racing games.
That being said, Rise: Race The Future is an entirely different beast altogether. There is no back story to go along with this one, however, it’s clear to see that it’s set in the near future. With every machine looking like it just rolled off the pages of some obscure concept art.
The “Engine” behind the game has also been dramatically upgraded since the ’90s, Rise is built upon the Unity engine to great effect.
Each of the machines you get to drive has the ability to go from land-water-land again. The transitions are smooth and in no way jarring. By having the wheels do a crazy Back To The Future style fold inward, the wheels double up as propellers.
This is great for adding depth and variety to each race, as the physics differ greatly from land to water. However, given how sleek and fast each car is, I would’ve liked to see some crazier track designs. Maybe some loops, jumps or anti-gravity sections.
Need For Speed
You start off with just 2 cars at first, but you can unlock a further 8 through Challenge Mode, making an impressive 10 cars in total. All of which look unique in their own right and some outright resembling real cars.
Stats for each car are broken down as follows; Power, Grip, Stability, and Steering.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much in the way of customization for the cars, this one is a straight-up racer. You can change the colour of the car, as well as the decals, which you can unlock more through Challenge Mode.
Other than what I’ve just mentioned, there are some minor tweaks you can make. Firstly you can employ the use of “Auto Break” at low, medium or high sensitivity. This feature essentially applies the breaks for you when you come off the gas, (very handy for beginners)
Another method of customisation and I guess a form of difficulty curve/handicap, comes from choosing your preferred Boost Mode. The default is “Recharge from 78MPH”, “Recharge during drift” and “3 Boost per lap + Charge from start” which all do exactly what they say.
It did take me a little while to settle into the handling, especially the land and water transitions, but stick with it and it gets better as you unlock new vehicles.
In terms of game modes and variety, there isn’t too much here to speak of. Though that’s not to say this is a particularly bad thing. What modes it does have are very enjoyable.
There’s the obligatory Time Attack, Championship (8 in total with varying requirements) and Challenge Mode (8 Seasons in total with 8 challenges per season).
Unfortunately, there is no multiplayer of any description here, whether local or online. I feel this is a huge missed opportunity as most racers do, particularly for the Nintendo Switch, which promotes multiplayer. Here’s hoping it can be patched in later on!
I did run a few championships, though challenge mode took most of my time. Not only is there a large wealth of variety in each challenge, but this is also how you unlock new vehicles, tracks and decal sets.
Each challenge season is made up of 8 challenges, though not all of them need to be completed to progress. Some challenges will earn you “Rise Tokens” others will net you “Reputation.” So long as you meet the minimum required to proceed, you’ll unlock the car and move on to further seasons.
The best bit about challenge mode was the win conditions. In challenge mode it’s not all about chasing the W! It could be anything from “overtake 4 cars”, “finish third or better” or “finish the race before a specified vehicle.”
Despite, as mentioned, there isn’t too much in terms of modes, what it does have is very well designed. Too many times have I come across games that simply do not respect the players time or IRL engagements.
In Rise, I’m pleased to announce this is not the case. See, in most racing games, once you start a championship you are pretty much locked in, stuck with what you’ve chosen. In Rise, however, you are able to change your vehicle/settings in between races. This is very forgiving as some championships can be 9 races long!
Another aspect I liked about challenge mode is that it doesn’t matter if you can’t do it all in one run. Whether you are chasing tokens or reputation, if you complete some of the challenges, but not all, it saves what you have done, meaning you can break the challenges down.
This may sound like a minor thing for most, all too many times have I played challenges on other games, only to fail the entire challenge by missing one thing.
A View To A Thrill
One of the best aspects of Rise by far is the visuals. In a word they are stunning. In fact, very few games have managed to achieve this level of fidelity to date. It’s clear to see where most of the time and care was spent.
From the mirror finish on each hybrid machine to the track detail to the ultra-smooth framerate, with absolutely no slow-down might I add. Even the water effects are on point.
My only gripe in this respect is the lack of environments (4 in total with multiple races in each).
As mentioned earlier, given the futuristic nature of the game, I would’ve liked some wackier track designs, or just some more futuristic environments in general.
Drop The Beat
The sound by far is the weakest part of Rise, for me at least. The music, whilst no terrible, isn’t exactly memorable either. Opting for Rock music of varying different genres, from softer 90’s inspired rock to heavier metal tones. I really felt that Rise could’ve used some licensed music to help elevate it.
Furthermore, I didn’t really feel that this genre of music was befitting of a futuristic title. In this respect, the music felt as grounded as the track design. It almost felt like the team was after futuristic technology without the space-age settings.
Not only that, but I would’ve thought with there being a lot of famous french DJs, one would’ve been enlisted to bring some renowned trance flavour over.
The engines and sound effects weren’t any better either. Some of the vehicles did sound genuinely “beefy” and powerful, others were simply drowned out by the music or SFX.
Speaking of sound effects, these were a washout too. There wasn’t much in the way of “smashing” or “crunching” with each collision. Just the same tapping sound when making contact with a barrier or another car.
The Big Finish
In all, I’ve had a lot of fun with Rise. I personally feel it’s been far too long since a racer has come along that I can really sink my teeth into. Despite there not being a huge variety of game modes, there are still hours of fun to be had here.
I’m unsure how much time exactly I’ve put in, though I did spend an entire weekend playing it, and still haven’t achieved everything. If I had to put a figure on it though, I think most players could easily get 10-15 hours out of it.
I do feel that having no multiplayer is a huge oversight and I really hope that VD-DEV can add this in the future. We’ve seen games launch in the past without any form of online multiplayer, though these games opted for online leaderboards at the very least.
Whether this is down to cost/time-saving reasons, who knows? Rise has no online leaderboards, which again is a huge shame.
Whilst not being the most feature-rich title on the Switch, or indeed the genre, what is presented here is very well made. It also presents great value, coming in at a mere $16.49, it’s hard to quibble at a price point that easily undercuts the competition.
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Reviewed by Micramanic on the Switch, game provided by VD-DEV