- Street Date:
- March 13th, 2012
- Reviewed by:
- Daniel Hirshleifer
- Review Date:1
- March 25th, 2012
- Game Release Year:
- PS Vita
- Namco Bandai Games
- ESRB Rating:
- E10+ (Everyone 10 and older)
Often franchise games have some kind of subtitle so you can differentiate between different entries in the series. The latest Ridge Racer is so cheap that it doesn't even offer this, but let me suggest one: "The Joke's On You." I know some developers believe that if they rush a game to market to capitalize on the limited selection of a new console in its launch window that they will end up making money because people are desperate for content. They might even be right in their cynical way. But the new Ridge Racer is so devoid of anything that you would ask for in a video game that I think it might technically be considered a demo.
The Game Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
You might think I'm exaggerating for dramatic effect. That, in fact, Ridge Racer on the PS Vita is actually a disappointing launch title that's got me bent out of shape. Well, dear reader, let me tell you that Ridge Racer comes jam packed five whole cars and three, yes count them, three tracks to choose from. That's it! Let me remind you that this is a thirty dollar game we're talking about here.
Oh, but wait, there's this card in the box with a downloadable code. Redeem that and you get another three tracks and five more cars as DLC, but given that this is available on day one, it begs the question of why exactly these cars and tracks couldn't have been included without the hassle of downloading them from the PSN Store. The answer, of course, is that this is the latest salvo in the war that publishers are waging on used games. Want this game used (and for what's on offer here, you'll want to spend as little as possible on it)? Well, you're going to have to pay extra to get half of all the available content. Gee, Namco, that's really generous of you. And buying it new is no better, because the game isn't worth $5, let alone the outrageous $30 they're asking for.
They add insult to injury when you actually get your hands on all the content, only to discover how slapdash and thoughtless Ridge Racer actually is. Ten cars sounds like a reasonable amount for a portable racing game, but they handle pretty much exactly the same, so you're really getting one car with ten designs. And the six tracks are all recycled from Ridge Racer 7. That's right, the six tracks aren't even new.
And, to top it all off, there's pretty much no single player in the game. At all. Well, okay, that's not true. There are races that you can do by yourself, but they're in a vacuum. When you first start the game, you're presented with a choice of joining one of four factions. Once you do, your racing stats contribute to that faction's worldwide scores, but there's no story of any kind. You get no rewards for being in the top scoring faction, no bonus, nothing. There's nothing to even signify what each faction stands for outside of a randomly chosen icon.
So what does that leave you with? Well, you can race by yourself or against a ghost car if you want to play single player. Again, there's no story mode, no sense of forward momentum, and you can only play on the very limited number of tracks, which gets boring quickly. You can choose to play against other players online, which still uses the same tracks, and isn't much better. In fact, it's often worse, because as you play more, you level up, which allows you to upgrade your car, but in this case the system is so lopsided that is it impossible to win against a player of a higher level unless they intentionally throw the race. Again, the faction element plays no part in these races. There are no rivalries, nothing to make you want to play the game.
To be fair, the game's sliding mechanics work just like they ought to. As you speed around each track, easing up on the throttle and twisting the left analog stick will send you into a drift, some of which can be impressively long. Once you've mastered this, though, you've mastered the game, and with so little content to explore, you can do everything there is to do in under an hour.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
Developer Cellius didn't even bother to make Ridge Racer look pretty. It's not the ugliest game I've ever seen, but it is definitely the ugliest game I've seen on the Vita. There's nothing about the visuals in Ridge Racer that make it stand out at all. Given that the new Uncharted, which released before this game, is the most visually impressive portable game I've ever seen, it's clear that the reason Ridge Racer looks so terrible is sheer laziness, not any limitations of the Vita's hardware.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
Ridge Racer has some decent tunes to listen to as you race. At certain points, you can even use the rear touchpad to warp the sound. This is, sadly, the most interesting feature in all of the game.
There's not enough content in Ridge Racer to even discuss the replay factor. Who wants to race on the same bland tracks for hours on end? I'd rather watch paint dry.
Ridge Racer isn't a video game; it's an insult to gamers everywhere. Its content is so limited that you can blast through all of it in under an hour, even if you bought it new and downloaded the additional cars and tracks. If you didn't buy it new (and who could blame you), you miss out on 50% of all the available content unless you shell out more dough. Ridge Racer is nothing more than a bald-faced cash grab. I say vote with your wallet and show Namco they can't get away with what amounts to outright thievery.
- 1Q HD
- Online Versus
- Additional cars and tracks offered via downloadable code included in box.
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