Nobody would dare launch a new console without a Ridge Racer game in the launch day line up, which probably explains why Ridge Racer 3DS is present and correct alongside the other games to grace Nintendo’s new handheld on day one. Generally any new Ridge Racer game doesn’t wander too far from the proven formula, and apart from the 3D effects this one is no exception.
Let’s get this straight, if you are a big fan of Ridge Racer then you will love this game, the sense of speed and the feeling of ice-skating around the race track is the same as it’s always been, therefore you won’t be disappointed if you were expecting noting less.
Ridge Racer’s gameplay is certainly generous in its nature. The single player mode provides players with plenty to get their teeth into. The main mode, Grand Prix tour, allows racers to compete in a large series of events, with each win unlocking new cars and nitrous kits as an award or to be purchased. Also within the single player mode is the chance to set up a Quick Tour, Standard Race and a One Make Race, which basically sees you compete against seven other races, all using the same car. Tack on the Time Attack mode too and you can see that there is plenty here to keep you busy, especially if you are a big fan of the series.
On the main menu you also have access to a garage; here you can modify your acquired cars, changing the nitrous type and also the body of your car. The body isn’t exactly customisable by the user, instead you choose from a variety of pre-set skins; however you do have the option of many different colours for your car, allowing for a real sense of uniqueness.
The racing in single player is the usual joyous manner of sliding around the track at high speeds, as if your car had ice skates on and the tracks where made of ice. At first this isn’t too challenging, however as the various car categories unlock you begin to feel the sweat forming on your brow as you try desperately to get into first place. Given the sense of speed is a bit crazy in the first place, activating your nitrous boost is just adding to the madness, one smack of the button and your car is halfway around the track, while your eyes are left behind. It’s incredible stuff or to put it another way, it’s Ridge Racer.
There are some other pretty neat features outside of the single player racing, such as the multiplayer versus mode, although this is performed through local play rather than online. Namco has also managed to include an awesome StreetPass Dual mode; this allows you to race against another player’s data acquired by activating the systems Streetpass mode. Obviously with the machine being fairly new we have been unable to test this feature out, but rest assured we will be loitering about the street waiting for someone with a brand new 3DS and a copy of Ridge Racer to pass us by.
The tracks included in the game should bring back plenty of nostalgia, with Seaside Route 765 and the Midtown Parkway Downtown Rave City making an appearance in glorious 3D. I have to admit that as soon as I loaded up my first race I recognised every bend which greeted me, although I seem to notice that every time I play a new Ridge Racer game. To be fair there are a dozen or so new tracks to be had within the game, however everything still have that familiar feeling to it.
So what of the 3D effect? Well, Namco certainly seem to have gone all out with this feature. Ridge Racer 3D really comes alive when you slide up the 3D option to full. The cars practically pop out the screen and as you start the race you will find yourself wiping the ticker tape away from your eyes. Surprisingly the frame-rate seems to stay pretty steady throughout, even in 3D mode, and although it does drop when the speedier cars arrive, it’s not by much.
Personally, like in other 3D games I tried, I found myself sliding the 3D effect down to around halfway, as the fast paced action was just a little too much for my eyes, however even with the 3D toned down the game still managed to leave a lasting impression on me.
There are a few other options within the menu which are worth mentioning. First up is the AV Player which allows you to listen to the music of your choice while watching back any of your saved replays. The other option is the ability to look back on your past records, these include any races you have taken part in on any of the courses available, and also your time attack records, which should provide enough motivation for you to go out and beat your best time – go on, you know you can do it!
Ridge Racer 3DS really is a fantastic looking game, as you would expect the cars are well detailed and Nintendo’s machine seems to handle it perfectly. The environments in which the action takes place are also a joy to behold, even if they are a bit of a fast paced blur most of the time.
As I mentioned earlier, if you love Ridge Racer then this latest title will certainly not disappoint you, it’s the Ridge Racer you know and love, albeit packed in a lovely 3D shell. Of course Ridge Racer 3D won’t be for everyone, there are those out there who prefer the slower paced arcade style of Mario Kart for example, personally though I can’t wait to get on the train and find some fellow Ridge Racer to use the Streetpass feature with, I just hope my 3DS doesn’t get a speeding ticket on its journey.
Order your copy of Ridge Racer 3D here.