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Ridge Racer Unbounded: Taking the series in the right direction?

Build it then smash it to pieces...

Usually, the optimum racing line in a driving game isn't the one that goes through the big concrete column.

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And that's why our first instinct upon seeing the ugly piece of architecture is to try and drive around it. But in Unbounded, if you're not leaving a trail of rubble on the tarmac, you won't be leaving many racers behind you either, because new developers Bugbear Entertainment have taken the "drive dangerously" gimmick of the Burnout series - and some of the more thrilling Need For Speeds - to its ludicrously destructive conclusion.

In Unbounded, the surest way to top up your boost-powering nitrous meter - aside from smashing into other drivers - is to tear up the track itself: carving up concrete, flinging yourself through walls, annihilating any bollards standing in your way. It's physical, jolting, and thrilling. And after years of carefully avoiding collisions in racing games, it's freeing too.

There's more to Unbounded than simply tearing tracks to pieces though - you can also make them, in one of the most accessible level editors we've ever seen. It's racing Lego, essentially, allowing you to slap together pre-made bits of track to make your own courses.

It takes us a mere two minutes to make our very own course - a series of wicked turns through construction sites and past the occasional Chinese restaurant. In fact, making a level almost seems too simple, which is why the finished game will offer an advanced editor for the kind of obsessive tinkerer who likes to make fully functioning bread slicers in LittleBigPlanet.

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But the simplicity of the basic editor does mean that Unbounded's servers will swiftly fill with up with amateur cities to tear through. And considering the fresh, destructive approach to racing Bugbear's bringing to Ridge Racer, we may well need all the tracks we can find. craig owens

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