Ridge Racer: Unbounded was, to me, a very fun, yet repetitive racing experience.
(Be prepared to read a VERY descriptive review. TL;DR is at the bottom.)
The game's introduction is very simple, and explains to the player how Shatter Bay came to be, only to turn into a urban playground for the Unbounded. As a beginner, the player is convinced by the hashiriya master to join the Unbounded, and seeks higher recognition by moving up the ranks.
Now, if you've played any of the Ridge Racer titles preceding this one, you'll find that this particular title mostly leaves any traditional aspect of the older games in the dust. However, do note that Unbounded was produced alongside major game developer Bugbear Entertainment, the same folks behind the Flatout series and, most recently, Next Car Game: Wreckfest. Bugbear's role in developing Unbounded was one of the major factors in producing this game.
The single-player mode is very simple. The player has to race through the districts within Shatter Bay and dominate every one of them. These districts very in location and theme, from the lower parts to the docks to even the city center. Now, each district has a set of challenges that get tougher and tougher as the player moves from district to district. These events are filtered out into specific types, from the standard Domination Race to my personal favorite, Drift Attack. Unbounded also adds a ranking system to game, where you unlock more & more features by gaining EXP and moving yourself up higher on the list. Now, from my playthrough of Unbounded, I found that these challenges often felt a little repetitive, considering that they all take place within their respective districts and can only offer so much in terms of visuals.
Gameplay is where Bugbear's changes come into light. The physics system is completely different compared to traditional Ridge Racer titles, with drifting through corners feeling more realistic instead of the old-fashioned "go through a turn drifting at 300 km/h" approach. However, from my playthough experience, the physics of Unbounded are easy to adjust to, with a slight learning curve. There's new gameplay mechanics implemented into Unbounded, the most notable being Frags and Targets. Frags are the Unbounded equivalent of Burnout's Takedowns, where you can smash into another opponent in order to temporarily render them out of play. An awards system is also present, which gives awards to objectives you achieve as you're racing, such as hitting a particular Target or getting multiple Frags. Targets, however, pretty much lead me to my next point.
The game now introduces a destructive environment, where almost everything can be smashed into. DICE ain't got anything on the amount of buildings and coffee shops you'll be smashing through, as the amount of destruction the player will be causing to the city can put a smile on his/her face. And yes, there's explosions too.
Michael Bay-approved explosions.
Aside from the carnage, there's a game mode that I'd like to recall: Shindo racing. This is pretty much the standard racing game mode, where there's no frags and no driving into buildings. Instead, you race against other Shindo class opponents around the city, with the winner being the first across the line. The game also features Time Attack, where you race against the clock in order to beat the timer.
One of the game's bigger selling points is the track editor. This allows users to build up their own personal cities for other players to violently smash through. Track pieces are unlocked as the player progresses through the single-player and multi-player. However, I found that making a city isn't exactly the best time-investing thing to do, but the option will be there should I choose to do so.
This game often goes on sale, and when it does, it's very cheap. I picked up Unbounded with all the DLCs for less than $4 during the Steam Winter Sale of 2014. The game made up the $3.74 I paid for it quite well, providing a solid single-player experience with the added addition of multiplayer (which, admittedly, I haven't gotten to yet).
TL;DR: Ridge Racer Unbounded is a game that I'd recommend as a means of trying new things. The revamped gameplay plus the added ability to create your own personal city to tear through offers a very entertaining experience for the racer fanatic. The single-player is a pretty decent experience, but it allows you to understand how the game works, so that you can begin dominating other players online.