When i looked at the DVD-ROM case, I was unsure what to think. These shiny, half real cars looked enticing enough. The name Ridge Racer eludes to a more cheesy game rather then one who's intend it to give the racer a realistic driving/racing experience. When installing Ridge Racer, I needed to create a steam account (I know some will be surprised that in all my years of gaming, i have never used steam) before installing this game, though for most that's not a problem.
Finally! the moment i had been waiting for, I'm ready to race. At that moment a thought stuck me saying, "Wait!" "You thing you can race and be in first place without reading the default controls?!?" Happily that delay lasted little over a minute, spending enough time to crack open my case snatching out the Manuel and memorize all default controls. I was ready. Enter key tapped and with a burst of speed, tore off the starting line in last place. My first reaction to the was "This sucks." "The graphics are decent, The world looks nice enough but the cars and handling." "Sheeeesh!" The cars look fairly similar to Split Second in the way as to toggle one's memory about cars seen in real life. I found game-play to be a lot more intense on the first race, requiring a good skill set in-order to beat the 11 other opponents. Rarely must i start an introduction race more then twice. Ridge Racer required 6 restarts before i managed first and barely at that.
Some games tend to make an unpleasing first impressions as Ridge Racer did. Most games have this addictive attraction that will draw many a gamer back, even though one might not think highly of the game. Enough of this, time to talk about the game hopefully informing and pleasing our speed & Destruction addicts.
RR (Ridge Racer) has 5 race types to offer. First of these, the Domination Race in which 11 opponents are pitted against you, doing anything they can to win. As you Drift, Tailgate, catch air or just shove the others around, you will build up points charging a nitro meter. Once this meter is full, a few more entertaining things appear. A perfect example... Gas trucks are sitting on the sides of the road just waiting for you to run through them when using nitro. Beware when your nitro runs out, a collision with a gas truck will end with not the anticipated BOOOM rather the sickening crunch of metal and a few more seconds behind the lead car. This very same nitro boost allows the destruction of other specific building. Nitro will be a one time, full tank use. Easily replenish-able when tracks allow for many drifts and big air. Another and my favorite use for the nitro is something called fragging. When coming up fast or trying to overtake another racer, Fragging is a good way to knock them out for a few seconds. Before hitting the opponent, tap the nitro and run straight into them, wrecking them with a sometimes cool sometimes highly annoying, Slow Motion camera. Low and behold this talk of Fragging is the perfect lead into the next type of race. (Drum-roll please) the Frag Attack! Frag Attack is by far the most destructive race RR has to offer. This race will set number of vehicles that must be totaled to gain 1, 2 and 3 stars. Since the idea of this race is to rake up a fairly large frag count, the nitro refill is very quick.
Shindo Racing. Sound odd? Thats what i thought at first. This method of racing relies on driving skills instead of blowing stuff up. The cars that race you are much stronger an are almost impossible to destroy. Nitro is only a boost, yet still necessary (unless someone exhibits incredible driving skills). Only 7 others compete in this race to make things a tiny bit easier.
Drift Attack. The clock is ticking down... and up. That has a simple explanation. The longer a single drift is, after a targeted length is reached, will add seconds to the timer giving more time to drift.
Lastly we have the Time Attack. Here you race on a stunt course trying not to crash while maintaining a fast pace. Oh boy thats a hard task. Tokens have been placed on the track that momentarily pause the clock while giving points toward a nitro boost. If you don't have nitro here, you got about .5% chance of winning.
Game-play is tough all over needing a focused mind. Once accustomed to the handling of a certain car or find a car that suits the way you play, I'm sure some enjoyment will be found here. One major benefit is in the arrows that point the directing of travel. These arrows display what lap you are on, the distance to the next car in front (or behind if in lead), the time you have left for a race, how many frags kills and drift points collected. Some only appear for their respective race modes. Cars also have their respective classes. The Street, Race, Super, Special, Shindo race and Shindo drift are the 6 classes of cars to unlock as progression is made in RR. Numerous things from gas stations to brick walls to cars driving straight at you, can be run through having almost no effect on driving speed or handling. Honestly though, if every time you hit a light pole, brick wall or vehicles etc. The frustration level felt would double or triple with on going inabilities to beat an event. One last lovely feature. You can create a master piece all own with track editor and let the world of RR race on it. Start building with few different types of straight and turn blocks and receive many more as your XP/level increases. This one area i will leave alone. I wish for the gamer to have something interesting to find out instead of spilling all the beens.
Graphics are excellent as far as sharpness is concerned. How ever, items such as was mentioned earlier have this wall paper look most noticeable when viewing trees. RR seems well optimized for PC as I've seen no frame lag anywhere, no matter how intense the world gets.
So in the end, RR is better then i anticipated. I know i will get bored of this game, hopefully not before i have completed it. Why don't you take RR for a test drive?
Finale note. All reactions thoughts and facts come from 4 hours combined game-play.