For some reason, the Ridge Racer series gets overlooked when highlighting the joys of arcade racing titles. Sure, the franchise arguably peaked with Ridge Racer 4, but there are few games that have gleefully exaggerated certain driving mechanics to such impressive effect. Now the series is back – with added 3D!
Perhaps in an attempt to win back favour to the racing series, Ridge Racer 3D has been included in the launch titles for Nintendo’s latest handheld. And it’s not a bad one, either. It, as usual, encourages you to drive as fast as you possibly can around its slick courses and circuits, and is restrictive about how much it’ll punish you for hitting something, or sliding off the road. It also spends the first part of the game having you go through the Ridge Racer motions, belting around tracks from previous games.
But it gradually grows, and it’s clear what Ridge Racer is selling. Frantic speed, crossed with 3D. And here is an instance where the 3D actually benefits a game. Too often tagged on as an unwelcome gimmick, there’s real care about here about the way it has been deployed. Where Namco has applied its three-dimensional magic wand here, the results are worth talking about.
Keeping you busy
As for the game itself, it’s the open grand prix mode that’s going to be keeping you busy, and that in itself could and should justify the asking price of the game. There’s still an awful lot of recycling going on here, though, with the emphasis clearly on getting the performance right, and making a good stab at the 3D. Nowhere on the priority list did someone think to add “come up with lots of new ideas and tracks”.
Still, Ridge Racer 3D does its job. It’s certainly fun to play, and it makes use of the 3DS’s wireless support, allowing you to pick up other players’ performance. But while there’s some boldness in terms of presentation, there’s little evidence of ambition in the main game itself. For a £40 asking price, you do have a right to expect just a little but more.
Company: Namco Bandai
- Frantic racing; genuinely impressive use of 3D.
- The price tag.
An expensive 3D retread of earlier Ridge Racer goodness. It's good fun, and the 3D works - but it's a bit pricey for what it is.