Ridge Racer launched onto the Vita with just three tracks, barely much in the way of music and just a smattering of cars. A few months later and it’s much better stocked, my copy is now rocking nine tracks (plus reverse) and more cars than I’ll ever need – I haven’t really bothered downloading any music even though it’s included in the DLC packs.
DLC packs? Yes, Ridge Racer has two content packs, dubbed Gold and Silver. Each one of them opens up three tracks (hence the total above) and some cars and music, all of which are also available separately, although it makes much more sense to buy the two bundles rather than individual purchases.
Getting to this stage of feeling like the game is approaching completeness wasn’t an easy task, though. Firstly I borrowed Peter’s Japanese import and played it to death. We then got sent a review voucher – from which our 5/10 review was written – from Namco, before I opted to purchase the game myself when the Store finally opened on the Vita itself.[drop2]My understanding was that in doing so I unlocked the Gold DLC pass, which, after logging in and out a couple of times, appeared to happen – the Gold pass became free on the Store, I downloaded it, and then again after toggling in and out of the app, the Store finally decided to grant me free access to – wait for it – one new track.
You see, the DLC was staggered, with tracks rolling in every couple of weeks. This was never really explained in the game’s description, the DLC pass’s description or that of the first track, I only knew this from reading about it online.
So, over the month or so, I dutifully checked the Store (the best way was by simply searching for ‘Ridge Racer’) and downloaded stuff that looked new – the track count finally increased to six and I had a few new cars. Then came the news that a Silver pass was coming, which contained more tracks and more cars, but would cost additional money (the Gold pass is now just over a fiver, too, the deal with getting it free expired a while back).
I don’t mind paying the money, and seeing as the tracks were £1.99 each, the bundle for £3.49 seemed like a good alternative. However, it’s a complete mess on the Store.
The description for the Silver Pass doesn’t make any mention of the tracks you’ll get included – leaving it up to the user to do their own (rather fruitless) web search. “Get your hands on the following downloadable contents” it begins, typo included. And then proceeds to just say: “3 machines, 3 course, 2 new songs, 1 medley song” and “check your current contents to avoid double purchasing.”
Double purchasing what, exactly, it doesn’t say what’s included?
Even the new tracks is just as bad – inside each bit of DLC in the Store none of the three mention the fact that they’re included in the Silver Pass, and Oceanfront Cruise Way says “add a new course to your game with Lost Ruins from RIDGE RACER 7”. Lost Ruins, if you didn’t know, was included in the Gold pass, and certainly isn’t Oceanfront Cruise Way.[drop]So, for the sake of assisting any potential buyers, the Gold Pass contains: Old Central, Sunset Heights and Lost Ruins, and the Silver Pass contains: Oceanfront Cruise Way, Silver Mountain Skyway and Redstone Thunder Road. See? Simple.
The naming of each bit of DLC is also really scrappy – some have RIDGE RACER with a trademark symbol, some don’t, some say COURSE: then the name, some don’t. It looks really unprofessional, and absolutely doesn’t need to be this way.
The music packs are just as bad, some have an odd space before them, some have colons, some don’t, and it’s the same with the cars, sorry, machines. Ten minutes would fix all this up and then at least people would have some idea what was new and what wasn’t.
Part of this even feels a little bit cheap and disingenuous – there’s little chance this is done entirely on purpose but it’s entirely possible that someone might buy the tracks and then the Pass, not really knowing what’s inside it until it’s too late and the money’s already been spent. Who writes these descriptions anyway? Namco, SCEE?
This all might not bother you, and chances are you’re not fussed about Ridge Racer anyway, but I am – I love the series and actually really like the Vita version, especially now the DLC has started to flow and the game feels much more complete. But these oddities are a pain, they’re not helpful to the buyer and chances are, are actually putting people off.
Fix your Store, guys.