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Review

Ridge Racer Vita Review (PS Vita)

Drifting into first.

Namco’s business model might be sound – sell the game off cheap and add in DLC along the way – but it’s unproven, and, in a game like Ridge Racer, feels a little disingenuous. Not least of all because the initial bundle – three tracks and five cars – is nothing but frugal for the £20 entry price, even if that does also entitle you to the first few batches of DLC if you buy the game early.


The game looks decent enough, especially after the last patch which fixes the framerate.
That said, there’s a certain charm to how this latest Ridge is composed and constructed.  Rather than the usual career mode that Namco put out in their flagship racer, this Vita version sees you dip in and out of online races, time trials and single events at leisure, racking up points for your chosen team (from four) and thus contributing to a greater, global tally.

It feels a little like Gran Turismo PSP’s Arcade Mode, ultimately a little limited but fun enough for the casual player, with the promise of an RPG-esque leveling system providing the hook for the hardcore.  Indeed, credits also add to the attraction, allowing for purchases of additional components and customisation for your cars – filling all three such slots with enhancements can make a big difference to your times.

But even with the presence of downloadable content (the first of which launches today with the game) Ridge Racer never really feels like it’s going to deliver a complete package.  The menu system, swish and sophisticated as it is (and it’s lovely to play around with) appears built for bundles to be clipped on and extended, with tracks and cars browsed by swiping rather than displayed in any kind of garage.

But away from the fact that Ridge Racer here is a skeletal, bare bones package, there’s some familiar features that will hopefully entice fans of the series.  The handling, for example, is exemplary, developers Cellius truly getting to grips (or the lack of) with how these cars should drift and flick through every corner, but there’s a neat slider for fine tuning any personal niggles should you find a car too sticky or otherwise.


Core imagery is present, with the menu providing a very 'Ridge' look and feel.
Also, whilst the tracks presented on day one are old, they’re good ones, and a patch issued yesterday locks the previously scatty framerate at a solid thirty, providing a much needed smoothness to a game that, in its credit, actually looks pretty good.  It’s a shame the thing doesn’t clip around at sixty, but this is a title that has evidently been rushed out for launch and thus hopefully the next iteration will have the time it needs to cook a little more.

There’s nothing particularly wrong with Ridge Racer – it’s priced low and that’s clearly advantageous – but there’s also nothing especially new or smart aside from the global score thing, which nicely pits teams against each other in the menus but doesn’t really carry this through onto the tarmac.  I wouldn’t necessarily be too concerned about the track and car count, but I would have liked to have seen a more substantial single player.

Pros:

  • Same great Ridge handling model
  • Cheap entry point
  • Nice ‘world’ idea

Cons:

  • Limited content
  • Lack of a meaty single player mode

Ridge Racer Vita caters for that ‘having a Ridge Racer game at launch’ thing that Sony seem adamant that they’re sticking to, but it doesn’t tick all the boxes it needed to.  I’ve put a lot of hours into this game since December, which surely counts for something, but ultimately – aside from leveling up and chipping in for my squad – it’s hard to see what I’ve really achieved.

And that, probably, is the crux.

Score: 5/10

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10 Comments
  1. Crazy_Del
    Member
    Since: Jul 2009

    = ( I might wait fr a price drop

    Comment posted on 22/02/2012 at 09:10.
    • cam the man
      Member
      Since: May 2009

      That’s exactly what I’m doing.

      Comment posted on 22/02/2012 at 12:12.
  2. job
    Member
    Since: Jun 2010

    bought it last night and i can’t wait, l love rr

    Comment posted on 22/02/2012 at 09:30.
  3. Origami Killer
    Member
    Since: May 2010

    the two games I was looking forward to getting didnt get the best of reviews, this and little deviants :/ Still I love a bit of ridge racer, hopefully can find it for £15ish soon :)

    Comment posted on 22/02/2012 at 10:25.
    • skibadee
      Member
      Since: Oct 2009

      got it for that today.

      Comment posted on 22/02/2012 at 10:57.
      • Origami Killer
        Member
        Since: May 2010

        where to?

        Comment posted on 22/02/2012 at 17:02.
      • skibadee
        Member
        Since: Oct 2009

        Shopto mate.

        Comment posted on 22/02/2012 at 18:14.
      • Origami Killer
        Member
        Since: May 2010

        thanks, having a look now :)

        Comment posted on 22/02/2012 at 18:55.
  4. TheDemocrodile
    Member
    Since: May 2010

    am i alone in feeling that Ridge Racer has become utterly irrelevant these days? ive dipped into pretty much all of them and it seems to me that they suffer from the same disease that the majority of japanese franchise games suffer from:
    They Never Change.

    Just like Final Fantasy, Yakuza and GT it feels exactly the same as it ever did, barely any new ideas plus it just feels like an incremental update on the older titles, i just dont understand the mentality of the devlopers, how on earth are they going to reverse the increasingly obvious trend that that the Japanese gaming industry is turning stagnant year on year?

    Comment posted on 22/02/2012 at 13:03.
  5. tonycawley
    Pint! Pint!
    Since: Feb 2009

    So glad this didn’t get the best of scores, I’m not buying a game with 5 cars and 3 tracks and frankly I find it a joke they even released it like that. Clearly their plan is to sell extra cars and tracks as dlc but that should never mean you get a stupidly small amount in the main game. Really hoping this game totally bombs so nobody tries to copy their business model.

    Comment posted on 22/02/2012 at 18:53.

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