So, I signed up to try the Ridge Racer Driftopia
beta and got a Steam key the other day. This is a f2p racing game made by Bugbear (FlatOut and RR: Unbounded) and Namco.
Right off the bat, this is essentially the same core game as Unbounded, heavily based around drifting and smashing through scenery to build up boost. There is a global leaderboard and you're supposed to be competing against players in your same rating or something, but it basically just plays like you're racing against AI.
You start with a few level 1 cars, and level them up by doing well in races. Each race you select your car and optional boost card. The better you do in the race (including taking out opponents) the more random cards you get at the end. Some give you repair tokens, boost cards, or even potentially free cars. You can also buy new cars and things in the store, but only with real money. There doesn't seem to be any in-game currency to earn, it's either random dice roll or real money.
The real payment model of this seems heavily based on making you pay to repair your car. Any car you crash that you don't pay to repair is lost forever, including all experience progress you have made with it. Yeah.
Sure, it's only the equivalent of 5 to 20 cents to repair your starter cars, but as you level up that becomes even more. This seems like a predatory payment model based on making you invest time in your cars and keep paying to not lose them, and frankly makes me kind of sick. Based on how much money mobile games make with this kind of payment method they may be successful here, but they certainly won't get any of my money.
Bottom line: judging from the beta, avoid this game entirely and just buy a cheap copy of Ridge Racer: Unbounded if you really feeling the itch to drift and crash though some walls. And then hope Bugbear's next car game
is something much better.