Reviewed by Jimmy | 11.20.05
Namco's Ridge Racer has come to life since the Ridge Racer V on the PS2 its last console attempt at the wheel in 2000. With an excellent showing on the PSP this year, we now have a full console version of the Ridge Racer in its sixth reinvention.
Ridge Racer 6 is one of the most anticipated Xbox 360 release for Japanese crowd maybe only matched by Tecmo's Dead or Alive 4. Ridge Racer although more popular overseas is still a big ticket here. The PSP version of the game received high praises from the media and public, and is one of the best racers for the handheld. If you have played the PSP version then you will have no trouble getting into the Xbox 360 version.
If you are new to the whole Ridge Racer experience, its pretty bare bones, basic racing game that focuses on high speed arcade racing and leaves customization, stories, and other features out. Ridge Racer is a pure arcade racer, and when so many other games go in the other direction, it's nice to just blast the nitro. One problem with being an arcade styled racing game is that grows old quickly. I had a great time with Ridge Racer, but after a few hours I just wanted to pack it in. It is a definite that Ridge Racer works better in short fazes then long drawn out plays.
Hit the Noz
Although Ridge Racer doesn't have any real world physics there is some strategy in the mix. Ridge Racer is all about using nitro and properly timing drifting. If you don't learn how to drift then you will be at a lost because it absolutely necessary and this will become clear in the first section of the game. It can get interesting when you decided to the nitro, holding off for the last lap, catching up, or if you hit a snag. This is Ridge Racers strong point and it definitely works the nitro/drift as much as possible.
The cars, and tracks in the game are fictitious. Although the tracks are well designed, the cars are pretty boring overall. They don't really resemble any "real" cars, and the design shapes are all very similar. The models overall are good, but it has the high gloss that might even drowned out Project Gorham's new shine. The graphics really pull ahead in the background environments rather then the cars which is odd. You would figure, it's a racing game lets give the cars the most detail.
Overall you have 130 that can be unlocked, but most are just paint variations on the cars. The difference comes in with the drift style of the cars, but other then that it's a pretty large disappointment because this is a car racing game. One more disappointment is the view option which only lets you go in the 3rd person, or the low road view. Again, Ridge Racer could have added in a cockpit view to give the racer more options.
Ridge Racer although lacking in the car diversity ends up having a strong and plentiful single player mode. The World Xplorer is where you will find a multiple amount of races all get into a stylish block setting. How you progress is up to you because you can choose your paths to follow. The whole ordeal looks like a giant honeycomb by connecting the octagons you unlock new cars. Ridge Racer although basic in principle is pretty hard at times and winning and loosing might come down to how well you have the track memorized. The computer AI is pretty unforgiving, so get ready to replay races which bring me to my next nitpick. You always start in last and have to finish first to pass a race, now that is very ambitious, but I think it would of been more rewarding to have different levels of success with top three finishes. If you're not number one you're nothing, which is fine for games with skill, but new players will find this too harsh, and ultimately not worth the effort.
Ridge Racer 6 has a certain level of mojo, but it never gets close to filling the nitrous mojo tank. The overall experience is best in short doses, but again it's all been done before. This Xbox 360 exclusive might have faired better if the PSP version wasn't released this year. I'd have to say the best aspect of Ridge Racer 6 is the unlockable Pac-Man game. Ouch, I think we're running on a flat!
Ridge Racer 6 is the ultimate classic racer, but keeping that classic approach hurts the end product. Ridge Racer is just too basic when compared to the competition. Its fun for the first while, but it grows old quick. Besides the obvious the Xbox 360 edition doesn't have anything on the PSP version. This is a rental at the most, and then you can decide if track memorization is worth the trill of high speed nitro.