Ridge Racer 3D

Reviewed by Kyle Bell, Posted on 2011-05-19


Developer: Namco Bandai Publisher: Namco Bandai
Release Date: March 27, 2011 Available On: 3DS

The Nintendo 3DS launch lineup has proven to be decidedly weak. No single “killer app” has appeared on the system to date. The closest to must-have content, although certainly only to the extent that you need to buy something for your new handheld, would be Super Street Fighter IV 3D, Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars, and Ridge Racer 3D.

The Ridge Racer series has always been a popular system launch title dating back to PS1. The original Nintendo DS had a disastrous attempt with Ridge Racer DS, but the PSP launched with a successful Ridge Racer of its own. Now that the industry has moved into 3D gaming, it only makes sense to have a strong racing game like Ridge Racer at the helm. It certainly does a much better job than a game such as Ubisoft’s Asphalt 3D.

The main part of Ridge Racer 3D is the single-player Grand Prix mode. Here you have sets of four races of which you compete against seven other computer players. You start off in eighth place behind all of the racers and have to catch up to the racers who get a decent head start on you. The first place car is usually about 10-15 seconds ahead. Races end in three laps, so you do not have time to pace your advance.

Each course is relatively large, lasting about a minute and a half a lap. Unlike a NASCAR-type racing game, Ridge Racer features a lot of twists and turns. Some of them can get quite sharp, too. You will steadily improve time on these courses as you gain experience, faster cars and upgrades. Ultimately, though, it comes down to technique. If you do not master turns, then you will not last long in Ridge Racer.

A big part of Ridge Racer has always been the drifting. Drifting is pretty simple to do and can actually even be done on straightaways. Nitrous is gained by drifting along corners, but you are only awarded nitrous in large amounts when you drift around a turn at high speeds and at a decent angle. Therein lies the challenge of maintaining speed while at the same time gently sweeping around a turn. Once you get used to it, it becomes as easy as pie, but a lot of variation in sensitivity between vehicles makes it a challenge.

As far as presentation goes, Ridge Racer 3D is one of the better looking launching titles. Rose pedals and confetti land on your windshield. The graphics are comparable to a PSP title, but a huge improvement from Nintendo DS racing games. However, pretty poor textures and jagged edges, especially on the cars, detract from the experience.

In a field of racing games almost all to itself, Ridge Racer 3D stands more as a symbol of what potential there is for the future than what we presently have. Make no mistake about it, Ridge Racer 3D is a solid and fun game to play. However, the lack of online play or any variety in game modes means that you are essentially doing the same thing over and over again on different tracks. This might have been the norm a decade ago, but racing games today are expected to offer up multiple modes. That said, fans of the series and racing in general have a lot to be excited about here.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 7.5
Gameplay: 8.5
Creativity: 7.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 8.5
Final: 8.2 out of 10
Written by Kyle Bell Write a User Review

Reviewed by Kyle Bell