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I have been a fan of the Ridge Racer series for as long as I can remember so the news that a new Ridge Racer title was being released as a launch title for the PS Vista was certainly of great interest to me. The series of racing games has a loyal following of fans and has become a big money spinner for Namco and this version is another solid entry in the series.
One of the main criticism I have seen levelled at the game over recent incarnations is the fact that it doesn't change a great deal from entry to entry. Even I as the biggest Ridge Racer fan will admit that is indeed the case but that is not a bad thing, why fix something that's not broken? This version on the Vista is the Ridge Racer we know and love.
In case you have never played the series before, basically Ridge Racer is an Arcade racing title with a focus on boosting and cornering with slides. Its fast, furious and hard to truly master. If you want a realistic racing title then do not seek out this, but if you like pure Arcade racing then this could be the title for you!!!
The game has transferred well to Sony news Vista consoles. Graphically it looks stunning in the palm of my hand and from all the vista games I have so far this is by far the best graphically. It runs at a good frame rate with no sense of slowdown, it never dips and you get a real sense of speed. I was actually taken aback the first time I played this with how good it looks in the palm of your hand.
The handling is spot on as well, as I have said there is no need to fix something that isn't broken so you know what to expect here, classic Ridge Racer gameplay. The way in which thre cars handle is smooth, responsive and the controls feel natural and fit well with the way the Vista is set out.
The major complaint I feel people, although not me, will have with this game is that the disc is very much the base version....all you get is 3 tracks and 5 cars. This means that at first there is not much variety but you can download more and more to build up the game and namco have pledged to support it with a lot of content. However this is no good if a) you don't have internet or b) you spend money too easy as your bills will no doubt increase! Some like this idea, some don't but it all depends on how you approach the game.
Either way, whatever the content issues the core gameplay is indeed marvellous and even though Ridge Racer is not for everyone there is definitely something to be enjoyed here with good arcade racing.
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