Giant Bomb Review

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Ridge Racer 3D Review

3
  • 3DS

Ridge Racer 3D adds a couple of new features to the same tracks, cars, and ideas that have been driving the series since 2005, if not earlier.


 A lot of the textures and logos on the cars look a little grimy.
Ridge Racer 3D continues the long-running trend of ensuring that a game in Namco's long-running driving series is present at the launch of any viable gaming platform. The launch of the PSP added nitrous oxide boosts to the series, something that has carried forward into the Ridge games released in its wake. Now, on the Nintendo 3DS, the developers have added a new "one-button drift" feature that could open up the series to players who might not have been able to figure out Ridge Racer's arcane and specific drifting techniques. That's kind of a neat idea, but between its 1990s design aesthetic and its reused assets, Ridge Racer 3D is a game that only dedicated fans of the series are likely to appreciate.

The primary way to progress through Ridge Racer 3D is its Grand Prix mode, which presents you with a collection of events, each with its own set of races. It's pretty standard, and as you work your way through, you'll unlock new cars and advance into new categories, which gives you a faster class of cars to choose from. There are a lot of events in the Grand Prix mode, but it isn't supported by enough tracks to make working your way through the events interesting. By the second or third event, the game is already throwing tracks that you've already raced on into the mix. In fact, the game opens with the track from the very first Ridge Racer game, an inclusion that you'll either take as terrific nostalgia or a sign that the game is way too derivative, since this isn't the first time that the franchise has relied on old tracks in new games. The races go up to eight cars in all, which is a lower number than the series has handled in the past, even on portable platforms.

In addition to the Grand Prix, you can set up single races, time attacks, and other one-off events, though most of these don't give you any points, which is the currency you'll use to unlock additional cars and nitrous upgrades. Considering how many times you'll be repeating the same tracks in the standard Grand Prix, setting up even more races on those same tracks without getting anything for it seems like a waste of time unless you're really into setting lap times or if you're lucky enough to be near other Ridge Racer 3D players so you can exchange lap times and ghost data via the built-in StreetPass feature on the 3DS.

 Hey! A snowman!
By default, the control in Ridge Racer 3D hasn't changed a bit. The cars break down into different drift types, each of which impacts how dramatically a car will behave when you willfully lose traction to slide around turns. The dynamic drift type typically comes with the highest top speeds, making it worthwhile to learn how to carefully nudge the car around turns. It still doesn't feel anything like driving a real car, but that's hardly the point. If the default drift system is too much for you to wrap your head around, there's a new "one-button drift" option that makes the game even easier. In this mode, your car won't lose traction unless you hold down the drift button, and as soon as you left off the button, your car magically regains traction. So it almost becomes a "hard turn" button that lets you take sharper corners than you can by using the standard steering controls. A quick tap is usually all it takes to whip around a corner with little loss of speed.

The new drift button sort of takes the skill out of playing Ridge Racer, but I don't know that it makes the concepts behind Ridge Racer's driving model any easier to understand. If you haven't already experienced the series, but have been playing a lot of other driving games over the years, I imagine that the game will feel like it was designed by folks who have never driven an actual car. But if you can eradicate any desire for realism from your head, taking the corners in a Ridge Racer game is still pretty entertaining, if only to see how hard you can push cars into the turn and still come out unscathed. Let's call it an acquired taste that's only become tougher to acquire as the driving genre has grown in popularity and diversity over the past 16 years.

The 3D effect in Ridge Racer 3D can be a bit extreme. I had no trouble playing it in the first-person view, but when you play from the default behind-the-car perspective, I found that the car sticks out a bit too much, making it hard to focus on the turns ahead. I solved this problem by turning the 3D down to around the halfway mark, but this is more of a personal taste thing, so you'll probably have a different experience. The game's frame rate isn't as smooth as it has been in past Ridge Racer releases, but it's stable and conveys a decent sense of speed.

If playing a new Ridge Racer game at the launch of every platform has become part of your routine, Ridge Racer 3D fills a security blanket-like role of letting you know that Namco is still making Ridge Racer games the same way its been making them since nitrous was added back at the launch of the PSP. But if you expect forward movement and new ideas from sequels, it's hard not to look at Ridge Racer 3D as a stubborn relic from a bygone era. Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
50 Comments
Posted by cbehiel14@hotmail.com

hey

Posted by Example1013

One-word answers typically don't get the quest, from what I've seen.

Posted by TheKing

It's Ridge Racer. Rrrrriiiiiiddddddgggggeeeeee Rrrrrraaaaaacccccceeeerrrrrrr!

Posted by Legend

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiidge Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaacer!

Posted by wrathofconn

Get it, guys? DRIVING the series?

Posted by Th3_James

Race that Ridge!

Posted by Grissefar

It's Ridge Racer. 
 
...
 
Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiidge Racer!

Posted by wrathofconn
@example1013 said:
" One-word answers typically don't get the quest, from what I've seen. "
As long as the word isn't 'first', they usually do. I copied and pasted a whole sentence though, so I can't exactly confirm this. If anything, it just wouldn't work on a review.
Posted by Video_Game_King

* turns on music* I see signs of the poor thinking that captures many a gamer. Et tu, Gerstmann? Must you, too, fall victim to the insidious thought that sameness is to be reviled?

Posted by Example1013
@wrathofconn said:
" @example1013 said:
" One-word answers typically don't get the quest, from what I've seen. "
As long as the word isn't 'first', they usually do. I copied and pasted a whole sentence though, so I can't exactly confirm this. If anything, it just wouldn't work on a review. "
I know someone had posted a one-word reply on an article (that wasn't first), and I posted something actually relevant (and a full sentence) as a 2nd reply, and I got the quest. So I'm not exactly sure if one-word answers really work anymore.
Posted by SomeJerk

Trying out a demo unit I learned that I'll have to stick to RR1, RR2, RRR and the negCon for the kind of Ridge Racer I want :|

Posted by LordAndrew

Riiiiiiidge Racer!
 
Oh look, a review.

Posted by Leafhopper

Can't say im surprised.

Posted by JJOR64

LIES THIS GAME IS 5 OUT OF 5!!!!!!!!
 
Is it weird that this is the game I'm most looking foward to playing on my 3DS tomorrow?

Posted by Enigma777

  

   
Couldn't help myself...
Posted by CashBailey

3D is fucking garbage.
 
Please, no reviews promoting this bullkhit.

Edited by Hot_Karl

In stills, this game looks pretty terrible, but I'm assuming it runs fairly well in motion.  
It seems like this & SSFIV (and maybe Rayman or Pilotwings) are the only true winners of the 3DS launch. Then again, Nintendo having crappy launch titles for their system is nothing new these days.

Posted by familyphotoshoot

In all honesty, this review could have been like six words long. 
 
"It's Ridge Racer. Also there's 3D."

Posted by CashBailey
@familyphotoshoot said:
" In all honesty, this review could have been like six words long.  "It's Ridge Racer. Also there's 3D." "
Yep.
 
3D is shite.
Posted by President_Barackbar

This seems like the perfect example of why people feel Japanese game design is lagging behind these days.

Posted by Brackynews

Think I'd better finish RR6 and RR7 first. Right after playing R4 again, because it's still the best.
If you liked slot cars as a kid, you will probably like the RR franchise.

Posted by MysteriousBob

I still don't get why people are going crazy over this system when they're yet to even announce a good game for it that isn't just a lazy port.

Posted by 234r2we232

it's hard not to look at Mortal Kombat as a stubborn relic from a bygone era.    

Fixed it for you :)
Edited by shenstra

In my memories of Ridge Racer (the N64 one in particular), the game already had one-button drifting, activated by any button. Always be drifting! 
 
If I were to buy a 3DS now, I'd probably buy Ridge Racer to go with it (along with Pilotwings and Street Fighter), but once the system starts getting a bigger, better game library this game will hopefully become irrelevant rather quickly.

Posted by 1p

Jeff, please don't stop loving Ridge Racer. We need you.

Posted by bakonon

The RSS title of this and other reviews is just coming through as "Review of" with no game title. What did you do, Ray?

Posted by AxleBro
@CashBailey:  the 3D isnt the bad part, working 3D is a nice little add-on, its the games you should hate, i mean if you hate 3D so much turn it off
Posted by RobertOrri

The two Ridge Racer games on the PSP were pretty good timewasters (I even bought the 360 launch one, which was decent), but it really is a shame how the series has failed to evolve for so long, instead taking cautious baby steps for each iteration.
 
Here's hoping that Bugbear can revamp the concept enough for their upcoming Ridge Racer game.

Posted by Godlyawesomeguy

So uh......hi. I just came here to say "RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIDGE RACER!". *clears throat* Thank you.

Posted by SumDeus
@Godlyawesomeguy said:
" So uh......hi. I just came here to say "RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIDGE RACER!". *clears throat* Thank you. "
I purposely clicked the comments on this review to see how long it would take to see RIIIIIDGEEEE RACER! You were the first comment. Congrats.
Posted by Kontrapunkt

I miss when Namco was on form, sort of upsets me to realize that yes, Namco has released a title which for some is the equivalent of a stuffed animal you used to go on adventures with, something to reminisce about as you look back unto lost days.

Posted by budgietheii

My what a jaded bunch a lot of you commenters are.
Been playing this since the European midnight launch, yes it's more Ridge Racer but as a demonstration of the 3D effect it's perfect.  Seeing the road roll away into the distance is glorious, I won't play it with the 3D turned off now (like Jeff I prefer it without the car floating in front though).
Don't let the recent glut of gimmicky 3D use put you off, when used naturally it's a fantastic effect, because the 3DS doesn't 'throw' very well it's mostly avoiding the gimmicky stuff in your face tricks.

Posted by Willy105
So what if you are new to the Ridge Racer series? Would that make it a new experience to them?
 
@MysteriousBob said:
" I still don't get why people are going crazy over this system when they're yet to even announce a good game for it that isn't just a lazy port. "
It's simple: because that hasn't been the case at all. Even since it's reveal at launch, the big games were Kid Icarus, Kingdom Hearts, Layton vs Ace Attorney, Time Travelers, Megaman Legends 3, Resident Evil Revelations, Paper Mario 3, Mario Kart, and a whole bunch of others people would know about. 
 
@CashBailey said:
" 3D is fucking garbage.  Please, no reviews promoting this bullkhit. "
Other people like 3D, and they want to know about it. No reason for Giantbomb to ignore it.
Posted by StriderNo9

So only Jeff does reviews now?

Posted by MysteriousBob
@Willy105 said:
" So what if you are new to the Ridge Racer series? Would that make it a new experience to them?
 
@MysteriousBob said:
" I still don't get why people are going crazy over this system when they're yet to even announce a good game for it that isn't just a lazy port. "
It's simple: because that hasn't been the case at all. Even since it's reveal at launch, the big games were Kid Icarus, Kingdom Hearts, Layton vs Ace Attorney, Time Travelers, Megaman Legends 3, Resident Evil Revelations, Paper Mario 3, Mario Kart, and a whole bunch of others people would know about. 
 
@CashBailey said:
" 3D is fucking garbage.  Please, no reviews promoting this bullkhit. "
Other people like 3D, and they want to know about it. No reason for Giantbomb to ignore it. "
I'm not wasting my time with you. 
Fuck you, fuck the 3DS, and fuck your Nintendo fanboy shit.
Posted by nick_verissimo

So, the verdict still seems to be, don't get a 3DS...yet.

Posted by Skald

It's a launch title, yo.

Posted by Kjellm87
@MysteriousBob said:

" @Willy105 said:

" So what if you are new to the Ridge Racer series? Would that make it a new experience to them?
 
@MysteriousBob said:
" I still don't get why people are going crazy over this system when they're yet to even announce a good game for it that isn't just a lazy port. "
It's simple: because that hasn't been the case at all. Even since it's reveal at launch, the big games were Kid Icarus, Kingdom Hearts, Layton vs Ace Attorney, Time Travelers, Megaman Legends 3, Resident Evil Revelations, Paper Mario 3, Mario Kart, and a whole bunch of others people would know about. 
 
@CashBailey said:
" 3D is fucking garbage.  Please, no reviews promoting this bullkhit. "
Other people like 3D, and they want to know about it. No reason for Giantbomb to ignore it. "
I'm not wasting my time with you. Fuck you, fuck the 3DS, and fuck your Nintendo fanboy shit. "
 So what was up with that comment?
As far I can see his counter argument have good points, people may never played Ridge Racer before (I'm one of them),
games he listed are annonced and E3 haven't even been yet, (we know for sure a new Mario will turn up)
people may be interested in the 3D and even if the 3D not impress you can turn it off and the 3DS would still be a improved DS in every way. 
Yeah, seems like a ok argument to me.
Posted by chickdigger802

Is there a reason why this looks way worse than the 5+ year old psp title? 
 
That game still looks pretty good today. This looks about the same as ridge racer ds...

Posted by Chokomofo
@StriderNo9 said:
" So only Jeff does reviews now? "
I think he's the only one putting in time with the 3DS, "professionally." I could be wrong though.
Posted by Willy105
@Kjellm87 said:
" @MysteriousBob said:

" I'm not wasting my time with you. Fuck you, fuck the 3DS, and fuck your Nintendo fanboy shit. "

 So what was up with that comment? As far I can see his counter argument have good points, people may never played Ridge Racer before (I'm one of them), games he listed are annonced and E3 haven't even been yet, (we know for sure a new Mario will turn up) people may be interested in the 3D and even if the 3D not impress you can turn it off and the 3DS would still be a improved DS in every way.  Yeah, seems like a ok argument to me. "
It's fine. You can't fix stupid.  
 
@chickdigger802 said:
" Is there a reason why this looks way worse than the 5+ year old psp title?   That game still looks pretty good today. This looks about the same as ridge racer ds... "
In 2D mode, it looks pretty bad (although not as bad as it does on PSP, and miles better than the DS game). However, in 3D mode, you see all the depth and details in the environment and the cars that would be obscured when it's hidden behind just one pixel. That, and the spamming of stuff flying at you.
Posted by Jensonb

I probably can't get my 3DS until May, but I'm really hoping they have a better racing game out for it by then than this or Asphalt 3D.  As a fan of proper racing games, I find the Ridge Racer driving model perverse. And Asphat 3D just looks fairly lazily done.

Edited by WinterSnowblind
@MysteriousBob:  I don't think pointing out that there have been a massive list of games that are being newly developed for the system makes someone a fanboy. 
 
I'll be the first to admit that the launch line up is trash, with the two best games available as better versions on other systems..  But I do think the games that are coming and the future possibilities, easily make it worth it. 
 
I'll be very surprised if Monster Hunter Freedom 3 isn't announced next week, for example. 
Edit:  Capcom's "big announcement" is actually next month.  My mistake.
Posted by chickdigger802
@Willy105:  psp version looked bad? I remember the game had pretty impressive car models at the time. I still think they look better than most portable game car models except for like Real Racing 2 and GT. 
 
The car models for this version looks pretty meh.
Posted by budgietheii

Oh, and I'm not at any point disagreeing with Jeff's review score.  He has to review it as a game, with that review standing for life of the system.
It is a half (3/4s) arsed version of the same game, but as a demonstration of the 3D effect at launch its great.

Posted by sixpin

I wouldn't call the launch line-up a complete loss. Most of the titles are rushed and feel lazily done (Ridge Racer, Asphalt, and Pilotwings being the biggest examples). Ghost Recon is the best new title I've played so far and   Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition is a good port if you are enough of a Street Fighter fan to want a portable version.

Posted by ZRLeigh

I played this at a 3DS preview event last month and thought it was ok. It's not good enough for me to get a 3DS though.

Posted by RaidenMitsuru

I'm having the most fun with this game. I haven't played a Ridge Racer game since 06 when RR7 came out for ps3, so this is nice for me.

Posted by Winsord

Snowman doesn't equal instant 5/5? This reviewing system is bogus!

Posted by Devil240Z

Yup its a Ridge Racer game. Also the only 3DS game I have.