Ridge Racer Review (PS Vita)
A slew of racing games are now out for the PlayStation Vita. With good games like Wipeout 2048 (our review) and F1 2011 (our review), and below average games like Modnation Racers: Roadtrip (our review) and Asphalt: Injection (our review), not all of the Vita racing titles are necessarily worth your time. Does Ridge Racer, which has now launched on almost every platform, deserve your time, attention and hard earned money?
Drifting has always been a staple for the Ridge Racer franchise, and the Vita iteration is no different. Besides the drifting, nothing about the gameplay is unique when compared to other racing titles on the platform. Other than drifting mechanic, it's actually a pretty standard racing title. The A.I., for the most part, is easy to defeat and there is little to no rubberbanding. The downside to the A.I. is they occasionally get in your way when trying to drift in and out of corners.
Completing races in the different modes will earn you credits to help upgrade your car and after leveling up you can do interviews, but none of this is new or exciting. Upgrading your car will help you gain nitro faster and help your top speed, but it's not really something you need to do; catching up to the A.I. is easy enough.
With only a handful of tracks and cars in the game, there really is a lot of content missing. And with the tracks and cars that are here, most of them are recycled from past Ridge Racer games. Even with day-one, free DLC it still feels like Ridge Racer for the Vita is half of a game. That's a real shame, because the underlining gameplay is appeasing.
No career mode or challenge mode to speak of here. Ghost battle, spot races and time attack are your three offline options. The only mode worthy of your time are the spot races, as that's the only mode you race against other A.I. opponents. Ghost battle is just you trying to beat a time of a ghost car and the ability to download ghosts from other racers is cool, but spot races is still where the game shines. Without a career mode and a sever absence of cars and tracks, the offline can get pretty mundane fast.
With the single-player of Ridge Racer being one of the worst out of all the Vita racing games, the multiplayer is the best part of the game. With both online and local head-to-head races, the most fun you'll have will be with friends and random players, not the always-in-your-way A.I. The multiplayer is straight up head-to-head races, and although it's more fun than the barebones single-player, good luck finding rooms with more than two or three people.
With no career mode whatsoever, and with the severe lack of cars and tracks, Ridge Racer for the Vita is lacking a lot. And that's a real shame because the gameplay is somewhat fun to play. Still, we just can't out of the goodness of our hearts, recommend Ridge Racer to anyone right now. When all of the DLC comes out, then it might be plausible. For now, hang on to your money for Wipeout or a future PlayStation Vita game.
Learning Curve: The main driving mechanics will be recognizable to many, but the drifting can be challenging at first. However, after a few races, it gets easier and easier to perform drift moves.
Control Scheme: Three different control schemes, with only a few minor changes between them (switching from "X" to "RT" for acceleration).
Visuals: Car models look immensely better than the ones seen in Asphalt: Injection and each environment is unique enough that they stand out. The main menu is also one of the best out of almost every Vita game on the market.
Audio: Electronic and techno is the music mostly used throughout the game. None of the songs are terrible, but with most of them having only one sentence worth of lyrics, they can get annoying pretty fast. It doesn't beat the music heard in Wipeout 2048, but it's definitely the second best racing soundtrack on the Vita.
Customization: You can add a new paint color to your car and upgrade it, but other than that, not much customization.
Value: For $29.99 ($24.99 digital), Ridge Racer has a steep price for as few cars and tracks that are in the game. Yes, the gameplay is enjoyable at times, but there is no excuse for what's missing not here.
Score: 3.0 (Subpar)