Ridge Racer 3D review Ridge Racer 3D review

We love
Great use of the 3D effect and the addictive arcade gameplay
We hate
Lack of online play and the average visuals
A solid racer but online play would have made it near-perfect
Launch Price
4 Pages

Ridge Racer 3D

Ridge Racer 3D is the latest in a long line of rubber-burning arcade speed-fests, and brings together classic circuits to create what is effectively a “greatest hits” compilation. But does rehashing old tracks make for a compelling handheld racer? Buckle up as we find out in our definitive Ridge Racer 3D review for Nintendo 3DS.

Note: We originally published this review last week, but due to our server switchover, it got lost in the ether – so, we’re publishing it again.

Pedal to the metal

Namco’s Ridge Racer series has a tradition of providing killer launch titles for various formats. The very first game effectively sold the 32-bit PlayStation, while Ridge Racers was arguably the PlayStation Portable’s killer app. Namco has fuelled up its latest instalment to coincide with the release of the Nintendo 3DS, and the game serves as an impressive demonstration of the machine’s 3D effect.

Buy Ridge Racer 3D now

The sense of distance is striking when you’re racing around the various circuits. Buildings on the horizon look like they’re far away, while closer objects – such as the shiny cars of your rival racers – loom up out of the screen. The 3D effect is more extreme than in Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, so it might take a little bit of getting used to.

One element of Ridge Racer 3D that doesn’t require any introduction is the gameplay. Rather than take the ultra-realistic approach of Gran Turismo 5, Namco has stuck with the tried-and-tested arcade action. The cars in Ridge Racer 3D slide around corners as if on rails, and the ridiculous spins you can perform are deliberately exaggerated to make the experience more exhilarating and enjoyable.

Track Ready

If you’re a long-time fan of the franchise, then the selection of tracks featured in Ridge Racer 3D might delight and disappoint, as courses are recycled from previous instalments with gay abandon. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – after all, Ridge Racer 3D has over 15 years of games to pick from, and the selection is pretty solid.

Rather more disappointing is the complete absence of online multiplayer – you’ll have to be content with four-player local races instead. A StreetPass mode which allows you to download ghost lap data from other players is welcome, but after kicking arse in Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition’s blissfully lag-free online mode, we can’t help but hanker for the same here.

It’s also worth mentioning that 3D effect aside, Ridge Racer 3D is a rather primitive-looking title. The car models aren’t especially detailed and there’s nothing here that would cause the PSP to break into a sweat. The 3DS hardware may be lagging behind the forthcoming Sony NGP, but we’d be willing to bet it’s capable of much better graphics than what you see here.

The Verdict

Before this review turns into an unmitigated grumble-fest, it’s worth stating that Ridge Racer 3D is great fun despite its faults. The effortlessly entertaining power-slide gameplay has been transferred faithfully to Nintendo’s new handheld, and the Grand Prix mode – which sees you unlocking cars and circuits over the course of many hours – will keep you glued to the Nintendo 3DS’ autostereoscopic display.

We’d have preferred a little more of an evolution, with better graphics, online play and additional modes, but as a first attempt Ridge Racer 3D is certainly no failure. And we’re sure that the inevitable sequel will rectify at least some of those issues.

  • http://twitter.com/st0rmbr1nger MrG

    Not very 3D, the 3DS, from all the people I know that have played with one. Utterly disappointing is the usual comment. Stll, it’s nintendo, so it will sell, they can generate hype over nothing.

    • Anonymous

      I have one MrG, and I can tell you the 3D effect varies drastically from game to game. It works great on Street Fighter 4, at least for short bursts.

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