PS Vita Review – Ridge Racer Vita

By: Louis Edwards

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Ridge Racer has drifted onto the PlayStation Vita store. Should you take it for a spin, or wait for a few more laps of DLC before you pick it up?

Read our review to find out.

 

The Ridge Racer series has always been about all-out arcade racing, with high speed drifting, slip streaming, and taking on gamers from all over the world. Ridge Racer Vita continues this trend, but with a few game play changes that takes some of the originality away.

Let me begin by saying that the amount of content provided with this title is very limited. Its original release in Japan saw only 3 tracks and 5 cars to choose from. The North American release got with it some free downloads to add 2 more tracks and, as of  3/21/2012, 4 more cars. Still, 9 cars and 5 tracks aren’t much. There will be 1 more car and 1 more track releasing on the 27th, so DLC is slowly being added. See Namco’s RR DLC page for more.

A big change that affects game play is how you decide which drift style you want to use. This used to be decided by which car you chose to drive. Now it is adjusted in the settings, and all cars can now be used with whatever style you want. No more Dynamic drifting using just the EO. You can now use a slider to select which style you want to use, so all cars feel very much the same.

Unfortunately One Size Fits All

For those of you that played Ridge Racer 7 on the PS3, all of the tracks for RR Vita should look very familiar. The tracks are ported straight from it, and look pretty damn good on the handheld. The cows at Highland Cliffs are still grazing and the scenic parking lot is readily awaiting (complete with a trophy for finding it) on Harborline 765.

Driving the cars stays true to the arcade roots of the RR series. If you’re looking for a racing sim, look elsewhere. If you remember your NoS points from RR7, you’ll be leaving the AI in your tire smoke in no time. Drifting through corners only requires letting off of the accelerator for a split second, then counter steering in order to control your drift.

As you progress through the races, you’ll earn credits which can then be used to purchase upgrades for your cars. This is a blanket upgrade system, so purchasing and installing anything on one car automatically gets installed on every car in your garage. The upgrade system is fairly complex, and allows you to have 3 upgrades installed at one time. You can give each car its own paint scheme, so at least there is a way to make the cars look different.

The RR series has always been a little light on the story front, but RR Vita takes light to a new level. The only thing vaguely resembling a story is the new team system. Team Vision will have you selecting one of four teams, and then you are given a different task every day. Your task might be taking out anyone from one of the other teams, or joining forces with other teams and ganging up on a specified team.

Your racing options include all AI racing, where it’s you against 7 other drivers. Ghost Battle where it’s you against either the AI’s best time, or you can download the fastest times online. You can play Ad-hoc, head to head, with someone near you. Lastly there’s the online world racing. Online racing is where you’ll probably spend most of your time, and how you find racers is up to you. You can host your own lobby, search for other racers near your same skill level, or search through all available rooms. Starting out, you’ll probably want to stick with other racers near your skill level.

Ridge Racer Vita stays true to its Ridge Racer roots, but taking away a car’s individuality was a step in the wrong direction. When the Fatalita drives and handles the same as the EO, that’s a problem. Why even have different cars if they all handle and drive the same? Lack of content, and the loss if that individuality, makes this game a hard sell.

Sorry Namco, but we think gamers should wait for a price drop and more DLC before picking up this game.

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