Jan 7, 2015Six years after the release of its underwhelming predecessor, six months before Kaz Hirai unjustly left the series' reputation in tatters forever and six years prior to the franchise dying a painful death at the hands of Bugbear Entertainment, there was Ridge Racer 6. Namco's Xbox 360 launch title was my welcome to the current generation of HD-enabled consoles. It was the game thatSix years after the release of its underwhelming predecessor, six months before Kaz Hirai unjustly left the series' reputation in tatters forever and six years prior to the franchise dying a painful death at the hands of Bugbear Entertainment, there was Ridge Racer 6. Namco's Xbox 360 launch title was my welcome to the current generation of HD-enabled consoles. It was the game that convinced me that online multiplayer was something I should care about. It was the first non-RPG I lost hundreds of hours to. And my god, it was, and remains, just the most perfect racing game ever created.
The key to victory in RR6 is fairly straightforward. Firstly, you must learn the mechanics of drifting, something that should pose no problem to anyone who has played a previous game in the series to a reasonable degree. Next, become familiar with the nitrous/boost system and the concept of "ultimate charge" - the means by which you maximise your nitrous gauge recovery via drifting at the precise correct moment during the conclusion of a boost. Lastly, thoroughly study each circuit through practice and apply the knowledge of nitrous and ultimate charge to each one, determining the optimum points to boost in order that you make the most of your temporary speed increase and your opportunity to recharge nitrous.
Using this as a base, the game's complexity blossoms massively due to the differences in approach required on each track depending on the speed class and/or car/drift type you're playing as. Some of the special cars later on in the game have their own totally unique ways of handling and charging nitrous, and mastering some of these deserves the greatest respect. This is to say nothing of the thirteen other cars you must carve your way through in order to get to the front of the field in most of the races. While their AI might seem, with a little observation, to be quite limited and predictable (they tend to cluster together in packs of three or four, jostling with each other for position as you struggle to barge past), this is the nature of the game and is to be accepted. The randomness of each race is perhaps diminished to some degree by this setup but it's totally intentional, a challenge laid out before you with a clear objective and a method of attaining your goal. Ridge Racer has never claimed to be an accurate representation of real-world street racing. At its heart it's a videogame you can either win or lose at, and that's why I love it.
Everything that's crucial to success is present and correct in Ridge Racer 6. A large selection of fantastically-designed and memorable circuits which are a delight to learn and conquer. Sublime handling and depth - try bouncing off the wall on the left-hand side of the apex of the first jump in Rave City Riverfront, just after unleashing your nitrous, in order to minimise time flying through the air, which is less effective than the acceleration gained from staying in contact with the road surface during a boost. An inspired main singleplayer mode, laid out as a 2D "web" with races which feature higher class cars further to the right on the x-axis and races with more challenging AI higher on the y-axis, containing secret routes galore to discover. An immaculately-judged difficulty curve, which culminates in some potentially infuriating but, with the right strategy, perfectly winnable duel races. A hugely-enjoyable online mode which had me hooked for months; there were no circuits that got ignored, everything ended up in rotation because there are no weak links in the track lineup. The ability to upload ghosts and time trial replays. A stunning soundtrack which, at its peak, almost matched anything in Ridge Racer Type 4's electrojazz repertoire. Oh, and the original Pac-Man arcade game is featured as an unlockable. Not bad at all for a minigame.
The PS3 follow-up, released a year or so later, was in many ways a kind of "Ridge Racer 6.5". It contained all the circuits from the sixth game in addition to a few new ones and, although these were by no means poor, it was obvious that they were the ones left on the cutting room floor when 6's selection was being finalised. Ridge Racer 7 also introduced a couple of features which didn't enhance the experience, and if anything, detracted from it. Chief among these was the addition of customisation in terms of engine parts, tyres, boost kits, etc. This just got in the way of the action and served no justifiable purpose. There was also the ability to slipstream, which I didn't feel added much, and indeed just disturbed the delicate boost, charge, boost, charge ethos of the gameplay. RR7 also didn't quite have the style, and certainly not the soundtrack, that the sixth game had.
I spent six years striving to get the "win a race on every combination of class and circuit with no collisions" achievement (300 races without bashing into a wall or an AI car), and when I managed it I felt like a total hero. And Reiko was pleased.… Expand
Aug 13, 2011This game came out right around the time the series was making its turning point into what it is today. I would argue for the worst but that hasn't stopped me from enjoying entries in the later half of the franchise's life.
The problem with this game, is that it just FEELS rushed. And indeed, if you play the Playstation 3 version (Ridge Racer 7) you will see that the tracks feel muchThis game came out right around the time the series was making its turning point into what it is today. I would argue for the worst but that hasn't stopped me from enjoying entries in the later half of the franchise's life.
The problem with this game, is that it just FEELS rushed. And indeed, if you play the Playstation 3 version (Ridge Racer 7) you will see that the tracks feel much more lively. One instance that sticks out to me in particular is in Ridge Racer 6 when you are driving down a bland tunnel. Nothing spectacular, just brown walls. But in Ridge Racer 7 there are lights and all kinds of neat effects around you. Even without this knowledge though, the game feels hastily put together, the bare bones interface, the lack of any... thing really. You have intro and ending movies, and menus to select races, and that is about the extent of it. Also, the movies do not have the personality or originality of past cutscenes in the series, even the attraction mode on the arcade cabinets is better.
Another complaint I have is the blatantly cheating artificial intelligence opponents in the hidden races. Giving your opponents infinite nitrous is not fair in the least. Eventually I was able to 100% the entire â… Expand