Ridge Racer 6 REVIEW

Ridge Racer 6 Review (Xbox 360)

The Ridge Racer series has been a part of a few major console releases. Ridge Racer was in the Playstation's launch lineup and now, it's in the Xbox 360 launch lineup. For the most part, I’ve always enjoyed the Ridge Racer series. The Playstation version was one of the games that lead me to purchasing the system. Will Ridge Racer 6 do the same for the Xbox 360? Let’s see.

First and foremost, Ridge Racer 6 is an arcade racer. This is not an entirely realistic game -cars cannot be damaged and there are no collision animations. You can crash into walls and other cars, and the only effect that it will have on the race is that your car will slow down slightly. If you are expecting this to be a "sim" racer like Forza Motorsport or even a "half-sim" like Project Gotham Racing 3 (PGR3), then you will be disappointed. If you have realistic expectations and are just looking for an arcade racer, you'll see that this game offers a few fun features.

Graphically, Ridge Racer 6 looks good, but pales in comparison to the other racing titles currently offered on the Xbox 360. Before playing PGR3 or seeing Need For Speed: Most Wanted in action, I was impressed with the cars and the backgrounds found in this game. But when comparing the games, it’s easy to see that the cars and backgrounds aren’t as detailed as they are in other games. I don’t want it to seem as if the graphics are subpar - they're not. I’m just saying that the graphics in this game don’t jump out at you and scream "next-gen" like the other available games. The sound is comprised of various techno sounds and a DJ shouting statements like, "He’s using nitrous!" Basically, there isn’t much to it. The great thing about the Xbox 360, however, is that you can always use your Ipod, the music saved to your hard drive, or streamed off of your home network as background music.

Ridge Racer 6 isn’t your typical racer. First, there are no real cars in this game. Actually the game doesn’t even refer to cars as cars; they are called "machines". Second, the machines drift when you drive into a curve. This is an extremely important part of the game, because your ability to drift not only will affect how you perform in a race, but will cause your nitrous meter to increase. Nitrous can be helpful when racing but unlike in other games, it will only give you a short boost and you have to be smart about when to use it. Use it too early, and you'll find yourself out of luck when the CPU blasts past you on the last lap. One thing that I loved is that the CPU picks different and varied times to use it's nitrous. You will see some cars using nitrous early in the first lap, and some won’t even use it until the end of the race.

The main mode in Ridge Racer 6 is the World Xplorer mode. This mode allows you to choose between a number of races through the Ridge Racer Universe. You decide your own path by winning races and advancing to the next round. There is one catch - and it is an extremely frustrating one - you have to finish in first place in order to advance to the next race. If you couple that with having to start in 14th place during every race, you may find yourself repeating the same race over and over again just to advance. It took me fourteen times before I finished the first race in first place. What angered me the most was that I finished second and third a number of times and lost one race by less than a second. Some may find this challenge enjoyable, but I just found it extremely frustrating.

World Xplorer mode is the biggest mode, but it’s not the only available race mode. Ridge Racer 6 also features Single Race, Global Time Attack, Multi Battle and Online Battle Modes. Global Time Attack is an Xbox Live time-based mode. There are no other cars on the course during this mode and your only goal is to finish the three laps in the fastest time possible. What makes this different then other best-time modes in most games is that after you race, your time is placed on an Xbox Live leaderboard and you are able see how your time compares to other drivers across the globe. You can then download race data of other users and race a "ghost" of their best time. Not only does this mode show you how well you stand up to the top racers, but you can actually see how well the top racers drive and use their techniques to help you improve.

Online Battle is also a very enjoyable mode. It's pretty similar to the online mode in most games in that you have an option for ranked and unranked races. In the ranked mode, you must finish the race, no matter how poorly you are racing or what place you are in. The lobby is very easy to navigate and it seems rather easy to set up races amongst friends. During a race, the game is virtually lag-free and it’s hard to tell the difference between an online and an offline portion of the game. This part of Ridge Racer 6 really shines.

In the end, Ridge Racer 6 is a solid title. If you expect this game to be anything like the other Xbox 360 racing games on the market, you'll be disappointed, but if you take the game on it's own merits - as a fun arcade racer - you'll have a ball.

Ridge Racer 6 Score
out of 10