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Ridge Racer (2012) Review


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On 03/17/2012 at 09:10 PM by Nick DiMola

Where'd all the content go?
RECOMMENDATION:

Not Recommended

Upon booting Ridge Racer for the first time, I was a little confused and annoyed. After entering the "Gold Pass" included in the box I found myself waiting on a 550MB DLC download, which was subsequently followed by a day one patch. This however, was only a minor frustration; after all, the Gold Pass was unlocking three tracks and a few vehicles, so the benefits were apparent. It wasn’t until I actually got into the game that the true annoyance set in. As it turns out, the content contained within this Gold Pass was just as substantial as the content on the game's cartridge. Yes, that's right, out of the box Ridge Racer on the Vita offers a mere three tracks. Three. THREE!

"Where did all the content go?" I wondered to myself. Apparently someone at Namco thought it would be for the best to just omit it and sell us the game with micro-transactions after release. This seemingly ignores the core issue where nobody is going to be willing to buy the game without any content to speak of.

Even worse, it's devoid of any sort of real single player quest. You can Spot Race or jump into a Time Trial, but neither is a particularly engaging option. AI controlled racers seem to always have the jump on you, forcing you to fight your way to the front over the course of a race. Don't get me wrong, the core racing mechanics are completely intact and are as solid as ever, allowing you to drift around corners effortlessly building up nitro then slipstream to victory. But racing across six tracks gets old pretty damn fast no matter how great the mechanics or the designs of said tracks.

Signing online, you'll be able to partake in races with some better balance. Since the game is able to match you up with racers of equal skill level, you won't often feel as if you're out of your league. As you play through the few tracks available you'll slowly earn credits that can be used to upgrade your vehicles and compete with better racers. This does put a pretty awful skew on the leaderboards, however, as the racers at the top are working with much better equipment than you likely are. You can eventually compete, but you’ll have to be ok with grinding through the same tracks over and over until you reach their level.

Despite my leaderboards complaint, the online experience proved smooth most of the time, though I did encounter some issues getting into races. I'm not sure if this was due to a small player pool or a greater issue with the online matchmaking.

Sadly, I'm not sure there's much more that can be said of Ridge Racer – it's devoid of notable content. After just a few hours I was sick of the tracks available, and it didn't help knowing that I could just boot up my 3DS and take the superior Ridge Racer 3D for a spin. While the core mechanics are solid and the gameplay is as great as ever, you need tracks to race in, especially if the game features an element of RPG progression. Avoid this product; it's an affront to gamers and undeserving of your hard earned cash.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

Comments

Matt McLennan Staff Alumnus

03/18/2012 at 12:38 PM

Say it all with me now everyone:

RIDGE RACER!!

Angelo Grant Staff Writer

03/18/2012 at 05:59 PM

So, if I'm reading this correctly, you pay full price for a game that contains next to nothing, but they expect you to buy a ton of DLC in order to make it a complete package?

Man I didn't even buy this game and that pisses me of!

Nick DiMola Director

03/18/2012 at 08:31 PM

If you can believe it, it's worse than that. There is no DLC right now, so they can't even nickel and dime you. I have no idea what the hell they were thinking with this game. I know what I'm thinking - this should've been delayed.

Esteban Cuevas Staff Alumnus

03/19/2012 at 02:07 PM

Devil's avocado - the first Ridge Racer for the PS1 didn't have much on the disc either.

Nick DiMola Director

03/19/2012 at 02:17 PM

True, but it was a much different time. Games sold on tech back then - that's not true these days. If they wanted to release in this fashion, the core game should've been free and people could augment their experience how they saw fit with DLC (aka, free-to-play model).

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