Ridge Racer 3D review With Ridge Racer 3D, Namco has the opportunity to wipe the slate clean and provide the first true Ridge Racer experience on a Nintendo system. Does it manage this? Does it ever.
Ridge Racer 3D is basically a best-of game, in which popular cars, tracks and music from past Ridge Racer titles are mashed together. Among the heaps of content on offer, long-time Ridge Racer fans will recognise the Seaside Route 765 course from the original game, Surfside Resort from Ridge Racer 6 and Shadow Caves from Ridge Racer 7. There are also some new tracks.
Use of the 3D effect in Ridge Racer 3D puts it among the most impressive 3DS launch titles, especially when you play with the in-car viewpoint. The road zips under you at a great pace, distant bends are easy to judge as you approach them, and there are some neat visual touches as you race, such as leaves and confetti sticking to your windscreen for a while before being blown off, or water splashing up as you drive through it.
That said, there's still one main niggle regarding the game's visuals, and that's the lack of detail in the cars themselves. When you choose your vehicle from the car selection screen, you're presented with a beautifully detailed car that you can customise but when the race starts it doesn't look that great. Again, switching to the much better in-car view removes this issue.
Thankfully, the courses themselves are of a much higher standard. The impressively detailed tracks bend and swoop out into the distance as you race through, over and under a wide variety of scenic delights.
You Can Handle It
Ridge Racer handles perfectly, too. Anyone who's played anything from Ridge Racer Type 4 onwards will know all about the series' ridiculous powerslides, and they're here in full force. As with the best Ridge Racer games, there's never any need to touch the brake button. It's all about letting off the accelerator and slamming it on again, as you swing round each corner.
Powersliding feels undeniably cool every time you do it and Ridge Racer 3D knows it, so that's why the whole game is built around encouraging you to powerslide on every single corner. The higher your speed as you go into each slide, the more you'll charge up your nitrous meter, which allows you to apply speed boosts on straights.
Grand Prix is the game's main single-player mode. As you finish each Grand Prix, you'll unlock new cars and reverse stages for the game's 15 tracks. You'll also earn points for each win, which can then be used to buy the cars you've unlocked as well as purchasing upgrades for them.
There are a lot of events in Grand Prix mode, and finishing all of these in each difficulty level is going to take you somewhere between 12 and 15 hours, providing a good lifespan for an arcade racer's Career mode. The difficulty curve is also more or less spot on here - things start to get difficult near the end of the Beginner Grand Prix, and new car speed classes are introduced just as you're starting to feel that things could do with a bit of livening up.
Only For Locals
Unfortunately there's a complete lack of online functionality in this game. Your only options are to play locally with up to three other friends (so long as they've all got their own copies of the game, that is), or to set up StreetPass and hope someone with a Ridge Racer 3D save walks past you, at which point you'll trade ghost data with them and get to race against their previous best time. Still, as far as the single-player experience goes, Ridge Racer 3D is one of the best racing games we've ever played on a handheld. Dodgy car models and lack of online play aside, it's one of the most impressive launch games.
Ridge Racer 3D is one of the best 3DS games.