Ridge Racer Vita, And Why Three Tracks Isn’t So Bad

We all scoffed.  A game that’s retailing at around £20 with just three tracks and five cars – hardly the best value for money, is it?  A title with that much content would normally sit at the cheapest price bracket on iOS and come with 69p DLC purchases to bulk it up a bit – not entirely unlike the recent iPhone Ridge Racer, then.  But did we miss the point?

[drop2]After spending a good couple of weeks with Ridge Racer Vita, and generally for longer than pretty much every other game on the platform (with the current exception of WipEout 2048) I’m here to say that despite the shortcomings in actual content, the game’s not that bad at all, and opinion floating around the ‘net appears to be slightly off mark: Ridge Racer isn’t like earlier games, and because of that the track count doesn’t matter nearly as much.

Let me explain: this latest title doesn’t have a branching, linear career mode to battle through.  It doesn’t have one at all, in fact.  If you think back to how Gran Turismo worked on PSP, with the dip-in, dip-out mechanics of the Arcade Mode, Ridge Racer isn’t that far off.  Except that now everything you do is tied to your team (which you choose when you start the game) and counts towards a grand, global tally.

I’ve read the feedback the game has been getting since its Japanese launch, and I can understand some of the frustrations, but Cellius’ attempt to take the game into a different direction works well with my addictive, compulsive nature.  Because everything you do counts, whether it’s towards your own RPG-esque level or the greater good of your worldwide team, I feel like I’m actually contributing to something.

I normally fire up the game, do a quick single player race, then jump into the online time trials, download a ghost I know I’ll never beat and then run a few online races with the same sort of super-friendly Ridge players I’ve been competing against since the PS3.  I like it, because it’s perfectly designed for mobile play, even if it does really need a web connection to maximise the benefits.

[drop]There’s also a fairly robust upgrade structure, which lets you trade in credits won from races for a grid-based system of tweaks and boosts that you can fit into three slots on your car, which can also be modified slightly in terms of colour schemes.  There’s the obvious nitro adapters which will give you the best speed, but I’ve seen some cars with all kinds of options fitted, depending on the track we’re on.

And whilst visually it’s a bit shaky – the graphics are generally pretty good, but the frame rate hardly keeps to its 30fps level (with some killer slowdown in places) and it’s a little bit lifeless – the UI is great, big chunky buttons to press on the main screen and cute little arrows elsewhere.  The music’s fine too, your usual Ridge Racer fare and plenty of gritty engine sounds.

So whilst it’s not your regular Ridge Racer experience, it’s one that I actually quite like.  I’m not ignorant to think that everyone else will, but it’s a somewhat brave attempt at something a bit different and if they can patch up some of the graphics for the European release I’ll probably end up buying it again when the Vita launches here.  Hopefully I’ll see you on the track.

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21 Comments

  1. Will probably wait to here what DLC Cellius has in the pipeline for this, and more importantly, how big it will be and how much it will cost.

    To me RRV sounds a lot like Asphalt Adrenaline which was a blast but there are only so many “short bursts” of dip in/dip out gameplay before it becomes stale overall.

    • I have it on pre order at shopto for £15 not bad really.

  2. I fail to see how the elements you’ve outlined in any way negate the patheticness of having only 3 tracks and 5 cars. I absolutely will not buy a game for £20 that is so limited on content. Having said that, I do like the sound of the persistent online team mode thing, endwar and mag both had similar online components and in my opinion it is an underused mechanic. Imagine cod or battlefield where your efforts actually count towards something larger that’s going on!

    • I think nofi is trying to describe how it’s not just about the courses but about the team, the driver, the car. The entire experience. Either that or I’m drunk at 11am… again. :-)

      • Drinking in the morning? You’ll be asleep by 2pm.

      • You say it like it’s a bad thing…

  3. There really are a lot of racing games out at launch, wipeout, ridge racer, motorstorm, modnation and F1. Don’t think I can justify more than 1, even if I could ridge revert would most likely be bottom of the list. That’s more to do with how good the other racers look.

    • Same, and going on the so far poor gameplay videos of F1, I think I’ll stick to Wipeout.

    • Only really F1.. there which looks horrid which is a shame, many of the racers look quite strong meaning tough choices really at launch.

  4. Damn it TSA! You are making this “Which games to get for Vita?” decision very difficult. I had completely passed over Ridge Racer but that does sound like something that would hook me.

    • Same here, I totally dismissed RR as it seemed like a rip-off but know… well I’ll think I’ll wait until after UK launch to see what the opinions of more folk are before deciding.

  5. Theres just no way i could consider this game based on its lack of content, i love the idea of worldwide rankings dont get me wrong, i do the same thing on Trackmania but thats just not enough to justify a £20 outlay, especially with the wealth of older PSP/PS1 titles you could get for the same price.

  6. Uhuu Ridge Racer is fine, have liked all the games I’ve played but having it to be so limited would be damaging not many will buy it surely?

    I’d love to be more like the price of a PSN game I guess… but £20 would be a bit too much needs to be lower.

  7. but they could have all that other stuff, the upgrades, the team thing and that, and still have more than three tracks.

    either they took out tracks they’d designed or they just didn’t bother creating them, either way the buyer gets shortchanged.

    • I agree with you.
      Great that it is enjoyable but still can’t justify the fact that it’s hardly a full games worth of content.

  8. I’m only ever interested in the campaign mode of a racing game, if at all. Ridge Racer not only lacks in content, the only game mode I’d consider playing is absent, too. I can understand why they left out a campaign mode, though. Having a campaign that consists of 12 tracks tops (3 regular tracks, 3 reverse, 3 mirrored ,3 mirrored reverse) would make it too obvious how pathetic the lack of content actually is. I call this a case of greedy lazyness. Release the game with almost no content and then cash in on DLC.

    • That’s pretty much what I was thinking.

  9. No matter how fun it is having such a pitiful amount of tracks really is ridiculous. No way I’d pay anything near what they’re asking.

  10. It’s nice that you’ve found some value in it but i felt ripped off by the number of tracks in Dirt 3 – and that had almost twice as many tracks… well maybe a bit more than that ;) but still…i couldn’t justify parting with cash for this.

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