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Ridge Racer Review

Much like the botched drift that ruins the possibility of a record-setting lap time, Ridge Racer seemed fated for failure. The game’s February release across European territories filled Metacritic with chastising critiques for the Vita title, with many reviewers reprimanding the game for its paltry selection of three courses and five cars and well as a spotty framerate. Namco-Bandai responded with a day-one patch and additional content for early adopters- two perks which have been transferred to U.S. gamers. Tragically, the underwhelming aggregate review score remains, despite the publisher’s best efforts.

As it stands, Ridge Racer is both contentious and competent. Built around the exaggerated cornering mechanic which propelled the 1993 coin-op and subsequent PlayStation title to prominence, the game is the atypical arcade racer which demands the finesse of a stanch simulation. Like every previous franchise iteration, success demands mastery of the drift- a maneuver which places players at the precipice of control, as they slide their way through sharp bends.

Remarkably, the technique remains compelling nearly twenty years later, stipulating a level of precision which contradicts Ridge Racer’s minimal car collision system and non-adaptive AI. Across the game’s trio of default tracks and three downloadable courses (which include Ridge Racer 7’s Old Central, Sunset Heights and Lost Ruins) the title provides plenty of opportunities for meticulous driving, whether players are competing against Wi-Fi opponents, CPU drones, or Near-gathered ghost data. Beyond advancing Ridge Racer’s nitrous boosting system, the franchise really hasn’t evolved, leaving detractors better off piloting Wipeout 2048’s craft.

Likewise, gamers who require a clear-cut racing structure may not appreciate Ridge Racer’s laissez-faire approach. The title’s elegant sliding menu system has options for time trials, as well as the aforementioned competitions against AI, online or local players; however no overarching campaign exists. The closest Ridge Racer comes to inviting long-term dedication is the game’s Planetary League, where four generic coalitions vie for supremacy. Unfortunately, this mode seems underdeveloped- with vague objectives on how individual players can assist their team. With no way of switching allegiance after choosing a team at the game’s commencement and the default league commanding an overwhelming lead, Planet League begs for amendment. Ideally, a contest pitting the efforts of Japanese, European, and U.S. gamers would have made for some stimulating matchups.

One element of Ridge Racer capable of coercing players in the title’s upgrade system. When players first challenge ghosts, these opponents can seem insurmountable, often careening around corners without err. However, subsequent races pay out in-game currency, advancing the capacity of each car. Regretfully, this augmentation also allies to online match-ups, giving more experienced drivers an inequitable advantage. Players accustomed to steady advancement might balk at the title’s petite pay-offs, which force a bit of track grinding. While car choice is largely cosmetic, players can use sliders to adjust the traction and transmission styles of their vehicles. Rear-touch even comes into play, allowing gamers to up- or downshift with the sides of the back panel.

Once the patch is downloaded, Ridge Racer’s sporadic refresh rate transforms into a solid thirty frame-per-second delivery. Although not as sinuous as either recent console iterations or the PSP version, the game is elevated by the Vita’s high-resolution exhibition and stunning lighting. Expectedly, the franchise emblematic graphic flourishes, such as helicopters or fireworks return as does the frantic J-trance soundtrack.

With post-release patch in place, Ridge Racer offers an adequate value; capable of captivating gamers who obsess about shaving milliseconds off of their lap times. For those less fixated on finesse, the package (even with the bundled, supplemental content) can feel a bit like Ridge Racer Prologue than a refined retail release. Hopefully, imminent updates and/or DLC can remedy this sentiment, because barreling around bends during the morning commute has lost little of its momentum.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

45 comments

  1. Zombie Quarterback

    Yes! Another Vita review. haha

  2. Refreshing NukeCola

    I’m only a little surprised that Deagle liked this.

    Didn’t you like the 3DS version, too? Not hatin’, I thought it was really fun too.

  3. How much is this $40?

    For that price they better give a buttload of tracks.

  4. Honest, I could care less about RR, I just wanted to give you shit about the Love Plus Appreciation ads.

    Stay classy, guys!

  5. I bought it on Wednesday, cause it’s Ridge Racer. Ever new Sony system needs RR to survive, right?

    Besides the hassle having to download the new stuff (which went pretty quick) I’m liking the game. It’s not as good as Wipeout, but still fun.

  6. This might be the highest score Ridge Racer for the Vita will ever get. Spend the money Namco-Bandai sends you wisely 😀

  7. Heihachi Mishima

    I have to admit the graphics looks pretty…well “pretty”. I just wish there were more modes.

  8. Good review. So is this better than Asphalt Injection?

  9. I’m surprised to see it get anything in the B’s.

    • I played a bit of it. C+ B- seems about right for it.

      It’s fun like the review said, if you still like RR. If you don’t well it’s probably a D- wait for $10 thing.

    • Damn! Blue is calling Deagle out!!!

      • I know some people are upset that it’s not 60 FPS, that the extra tracks take up space on the memory card, and like I mentioned there’s no campaign.

        But what’s there is fun. I found myself playing the same track over and over trying to reduce my times and get the perfect ghost to upload. That to me deserves a slightly higher than average score.

        Of course, I might be partial to racers. I think some of the review scores that ModNation Racers received were unwarranted. Same with Ridge Racer.

        • My only problem with Ridge Racer Vita is the content (or lack thereof). Namco Bandai blatantly tried to screw over fans of the series by intentionally short-changing them on (rehashed) content. Fans overseas revolted and Namco was forced to cave and include more content for the States. Still, even with the extra car and track DLC, RRVita lags behind other games in the series on content. Ridge Racer Vita comes off as more of a consumer tolerance experiment than an attempt at delivering a quality product.

          • That might be true but most reviewers have nailed the US game unfairly I think. I bought it last week for $25 and don’t feel taken in the least. What’s there is a pretty good game that feels like RR.

    • (grabs some popcorn)

      This should be good!

  10. Good review, Deagle! A few questions:

    Hows the sense of speed?

    Are there different camera options?

    Can you turn of rear touch and still use manual?

  11. Edward Penishands

    So performance wise the game runs fine?

    I’m confused but all of the other reviews I have seen mention framerate problems and how it doesn’t really look that good.

  12. Blue’s got a point. They’re still piece-mealing the game, just giving you extra content. The main game should have been free or low cost not $25 or $30. Then you could buy additional stuff for it. Even with the extra DLC, I’m not buying this.

  13. A B- for this game is freaking crazy. NB deserves a “F” for gouging gamers and you deserve another one for posting this review.

  14. Yeah, every other site is giving this game less than a 5/10. You’re the only one with so high a score.

    • To both of the above “Anonymous” posts.

      Firstly, Don’t be a coward. Sign a name to your words if you stand by them, otherwise don’t leave them behind like some kidna troll.

      Secondly, This is what makes the gaming world exciting and dynamic. People have different criteria by which they find a game acceptable or lame, and different reviewers bring up various points and reasons for why a game gets the score it does. The fact that other sites aren’t rating it as highly is a reason to look at WHY Deagle gave it the score he did, and see which review you agree with more. Deagle should get praise for having a brain and using it to make his own determinations, not ragged on because he didn’t just go with what everyone else in the gaming community is saying.

      At the very least our reviewers play games and write original content, rather than checking what everyone else is saying and regurgitating that. Do you know how many sites do that?

      If you disagree with our reviews, awesome. Tell us why. But don’t just leave hate comments, because all you’re doing is highlighting just how petty and lacking in insight you are. Which is sad. For you.
      Cheers
      -S
      PS>Not intended for anyone who actually leaves thoughtful comments which disagree with ours.

      • Go Samurage. I totally agree.

        But I think here’s the issue. You write good reviews, and you get popular. With popularity two things happen.

        1) People leave comments and interact with the site.

        2) More trolls come.

        The things is when Number 2 happens, sometimes that makes number 1 less likely to happen. Ive seen it with every site. At first it feels like a community of friends. Then it feels like “Who the hell are these mean people?” I think good sites try to balance the two. I don’t have the answers, do I’ll say this: I go like that you guys do.

  15. What a crap review. Ridge Racervis no good and you no it. Even people with your site hate it. You should rewrite and give the game a F. 25 bucks for 6 tracks is bad.

    • Don’t put words in my mouth. I never said I hate the review because I don’t. What I am saying is that I would have been harder on the letter grade because of what RRVita lacks when compared to other games in the series, especially since it was intentionally short-changed on content by Namco Bandai.

      • Wait, did you play it Blue or are you going by what other people have said?

        • Nope, I haven’t touched it. But taking issue with the amount of content provided isn’t something you always need to go hands-on with to form an opinion about. If there’s a 2-D Super Mario game that will only have 10 levels, you can know without playing that it’s not going to be enough.

          • Someone might say apples and oranges.

            Racers and shooting games are different beasts. You try to beat your score or time rather than complete the level.

            Wait, why am I standing up for Ridge Racer? I don’t even like the game. What kind of Jedi Mind Tricks are you doing to me?

      • I think the problem then is that reviews become comparisons to previous games rather than standalone things. I’m not saying there’s no room for that, but remember most gamers probably haven’t played EVERY game in the series. Just saying.

        What are your thoughts T-Gers?

      • See? You’re own people think your review score is too high! Owned. Hahahahaha

      • Are you talking about the European version of the US one? (because they gave us free content)

        I really don’t know what people are complaining about. 6 tracks, 5 cars, online mp, ghosts for $25. Really what do you expect. This isn’t a $40 or $50 game.

  16. “Ridge Racervis no good and you no it”

    I do “no” that if you can’t write a semi-intelligible sentence, your opinion is worthless to me.

  17. I just got my copy in today from Amazon. (Who are great and speedy BTW)

    Downloaded the update which was pretty big. While I was doing that I entered the Gold code (which expires in December, 2012). Tracks and cars were popping up pretty quick, meaning that a lot of the art was probably on the cart.

    Lost 5 straight ghost races, then my cars got powered up. By that time I learned one track well enough to beat the computer ghost. Not much reward 🙁 Still, racing is fun. The tracks are cool. I read one review that said there was no mirror tracks. That’s not true. You can touch on the track and it will flip.

    So far I think it’s pretty good. But considering the 3DS version had way more tracks it’s a little bit of a let down. Knocking the game too much for having 6 tracks seems harsh. I’d give it a B- or C+ on your scale.

  18. Good review, Deagle!

    Saw on the PS Blog that they are giving away another car and some music tracks as free DLC this week. I really hope they continue that. Free is good!

  19. Read most of the reviews of Metacritic. There were almost all bad. I went ahead and bought this anyway. It’s not the greatest game, but it’s not bad at all.

  20. I can see how you say this game isnt bad because it seems to have some good gameplay and features, just lack of content. Seems like it should cost 10$ for the tracks/cars this has and sell DLC packs later, instead of overcharge and give a few free things before trying to sell MOre stuff only to finally overall have half a game for full price.

    I have a VITA and IMO there are actually a good amount of games that suffer this same problem, good/decent games that are overpriced. Examples would be this, dungeon hunter, little deviants, sumioni(feel free to add some). maybe even games like wipeout should not be 40$. I believe the ps3 version of wipeout was cheaper when it came out. I loved the demo but would only want to pay around 25$ for it.

    I think sony is doing great with alot of the 40/50$ games and have some good ones in the future. But they need to work on getting more of the games that are under 20$. Ports from PSN games could be good too. One thing they could do to get more games 20$ and under is to price the overpriced games like this properly.

    People place importance on quality and value see that some games seem to have a Vita inflation going on, basically some games are just a cash in since there is not that much competition yet.

    • And yes I know sony didnt make this game, but Im sure they can somewhat influence the price of games on their system. If they dont it will just make them look bad too. However I think as more games come out it will make publishers/devs compete more for out money.

    • I really don’t want to see any more $50. IMO that’s too much even for a game like Uncharted.

      You make a good point about Wipeout though. It’s like you’re paying extra just for being able to take it with you on the go.