Ridge Racer 3D

It’s been a while since I played a Ridge Racer game, see I’ve never really been very good at drifting and that’s pretty much the point of ‘Ridge Racing’. That said it is possible that I just wasn’t trying hard enough. From the very start  it is obvious that Ridge Racer 3D is very much true to its roots and although the controls and handling are much like other games in the series I found them much easier to cope with this time. I initially tried the ‘One Button Drift’ control option but couldn’t get to grips with how it worked, only managing a few pathetic, stuttering skids into the race barriers. While drifting well rewards you by filling your nitrous meter, pathetic drifts only award you with scornful comments from the race announcer. I switched back to standard drifting and to my surprise I was carving round corners with reasonable grace after a few races. This led to nitrous and a chance at actually winning races.

Getting a drift spot on is very rewarding as it looks and feels just awesome. My next discovery was to swap out my nitrous type. The standard mode consists of three bars that, once full, are usable individually, in pairs, or all at once for a massive and sustained speed boost. I found that these bars were never full when I needed them or lasted too long causing me to lose control. This all became much more fun once I unlocked ‘Flex Nitrous’ for my chosen car. In this mode a single bar fills when you drift and can be used as and when you need it for as long as you hold the boost button; this gave me so much more control of the car that the game suddenly clicked and I really started enjoying myself. While your perfect setup will probably be different to mine it’s good to know that the options are here to play about with.

So we’ve established that Ridge Racer 3D is a Ridge Racer game, but there is another clue in the title. It’s a subject we need to address with all games gracing this new platform. The 3D seems to be very well handled, it didn’t tire my eyes and once I’d found my ideal 3D slider setting at about two thirds up I left it there for all my time playing the game. It seems odd to say as it might seem obvious but the game does look better with the 3D on; there are some nice touches such as helicopters flying over the track and into the screen, neon tunnels that can be quite stunning and a very cool speed trail effect from your car’s rear lights that comes out of the screen towards you.

When picking your car there are a multitude of visual options to play with and they can all be seen on the rendered preview of your car that you can zoom and spin your way around. These models are uniformly pleasant to look at but some look considerably better than others once on the track. It’s a matter of trial and error when it comes to making your car look good; I found darker colours generally look better and avoided metallic paints that seems to reflect the surrounding colours of the track too much for my liking.

There are a few different options when it comes to race modes, the main being various grades of Grand Prix. You work your way through multiple heats of four races on a branching path unlocking cars and earning credits towards upgrades. The difficulty is well paced and faster car classes become unlocked at reasonable intervals. I particularly liked the fact that your progress saves after each race so quitting out mid heat will not lose you any ground, a godsend for portable gaming and an example that should be followed by other developers.

Another nice addition is Quick Tour mode that will generate you a set of races based on how much time you have to play. This can be set between three and thirty minutes so you can always find time to fully finish a tour, be it on your thirty  minute lunch break or a quick ten minute toilet break (one minute for business, nine for racing, obviously). You could even play a local wifi match with a friend in the next stall. He’ll need a copy of the game as there is no support for download play unfortunately. A single track/car download play mode would have been nice. Another glaring omission is any kind of online multiplayer; there are some StreetPass modes that will swap ghost and ranking data but this is hardly worth leaving your 3DS on for.







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