The phrase 'Arcade Racer' gets tagged to any racing game that's not a simulation these days. I tend to save it for special occasions. I save it for those games that feel like a truly unique experience; those that have you grinning from ear to ear during a full race.
Ridge Racer 3D
is an Arcade Racer and a bloody good one at that.
Fans of Namco’s classic series will know what to expect to some extent. Ridge Racer 3D
offers a culmination of elements from the previous games in its series. There's not much here that the Ridge Racer
hardcore wouldn't have seen before, but not many would object to seeing again.
What they won’t expect is a portable version of their beloved racer that rivals any of its home console-based brothers. They will also be surprised by how much the 3D effects will improve the game. Sure, Ridge Racer 7
featured the same feature, but unless you're some sort of gazzilionaire, you wouldn't have had the chance to see it.
The Third Dimension
Ridge Racer 3D
looks utterly stunning in 3D. It's subtle in the main part but more effective for it. You're not looking at a three dimensional box car floating just in front of a layered environment. It's more like looking at a fully formed – if slightly low-res – world through a window.
As I started to focus on the road in front of me, I forgot all about the visual spectacle for a moment. While concentrating on the racing itself, everything looks natural and just as I forget what console you're even playing the damn game on you enter a tunnel and you're instantly reminded once more.
As the walls stream out of the edges of the 3D screen, my peripheral vision kicked in and the importance of 3D gaming hit me. Some will argue that it's purely cosmetic, this proves that it can be immersive.
The majority of your playing time will be within the game's Grand Prix mode; a progressive selection of races with branching paths offering multiple routes to a final group. There's a lot of content to get through and my only complaint is that it'll take a while to become challenging.
With the little knowledge I have in the series, I was rarely challenged for poll position during the first half of Grand Prix mode, so I can only imagine how much of a breeze it will be for fans. I used the time to experiment with the game physics and improve my cornering.
Oh, the cornering. I love the bloody cornering. Ridge Racer
is based around a drifting mechanic that goes against every conceivable idea of the laws of physics that you can fit into your massive brain. I was a fan of Burnout’s
drifting. As unrealistic as it is, it still seems very possible, something that Ridge Racer
doesn't even attempt to do. At times your car will glide along at a 90 degree angle to the road without dropping in speed.
It's not for everyone but I found hurtling round a corner without the thought of hitting the brakes both thrilling and satisfying. Corners aren't something to fear, they are something to master, making races extremely enjoyable from start to finish.