Ridge Racer 3D offers a challenging arcade racing game that doesn’t stray from its long standing formula. It does break out in exciting stereoscopic 3D for this Nintendo 3DS release. As one of the few launch 3DS games offering a first-person perspective, Ridge Racer 3D employs a nice sense of depth on the tracks. Smoke, sparks, tail lights, confetti and helicopters come at you. 3D car models are like virtual Hot Wheels cars, making you wish you could hold one. Connectivity-wise, there is limited StreetPass functionality where players can challenge other Ghost Cars. Multiplayer games are limited to up to four-player local versus races (no online). Ridge Racer 3D offers a fun, addictive arcade drift-racing game. It’s a sparkling showcase 3D game on the Nintendo 3DS.
4.25 out of 5 stars
Ridge Racer 3D review
If there is one game you can count on to debut during a game system launch, its Ridge Racer. The basic ground rules of arcade action drift racing are always present, but the game mainly evolves graphically. It has been an introductory racing game for me on the PlayStation 2, PSP, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and now the Nintendo 3DS. For the Nintendo 3DS release, the graphic power-up is its 3D presentation. Some other unique Nintendo 3DS features are used in Ridge Racer 3D, but the 3D effects is what really makes this edition of Ridge Racer fun. Of course, tight drift controls with the 3DS Circle Pad, plenty of race tracks, and easy to get into gameplay offer a well rounded experience.
For those unfamiliar with the basic rules of Ridge Racer, players compete in winding drift racing challenges through a variety of tracks and gameplay modes. Players will begin in the 8th position and must work their way up to the number one spot throughout three laps. Don’t expect to get near position one, and hold onto it, until at least lap 2 or 3, which leads to frequently tense races. Players can earn nitrous boosts by taking advantage of drifts. Nitrous can be accumulated up to three levels. Entering a leading car’s slipstream gives drivers a boost for a chance at overtaking them. Ridge Racer is simple arcade racing action, making it more accessible to players than simulation racers and ideal for the portable gaming quick-fix.
Gameplay modes included in Ridge Racer 3D are Single Player races and Versus races for up to 4-player local co-op challenges. Single Player includes Grand Prix (series of races progressively unlocked), Quick Tour (where you can set the amount of laps), Standard Race (three lap race versus 7 opponents), One-Make Race (all racers use the same car), Time Attack (race for the best time in 3 laps), and Streetpass Duel (one-on-one race against Duel Ghosts acquired from StreetPass). As players earn more points in races, other vehicles can be unlocked (including some new ones for the series). Cars vary in speed and handling, especially in drifting, so that adds a bit of strategy in choosing the right car for the track.
One of the staples of the Ridge Racer game series is its audio commentary and high-energy techno soundtracks. The audio commentary may be repetitive or an annoyance to some. For me, it’s a signature of the series that I can’t deny, so I let it be. There is an option to adjust the volume on Music, Effects and Voice individually from the main “Options” menu.
Besides the highlight 3D presentation, Ridge Racer 3D offers a few unique 3DS features. Players can assign a Mii, or a picture taken with the 3DS camera, to represent themselves above their car during a race and at the starting line. Multiplayer isn’t the strong point of Ridge Racer 3DS, as only local four-player versus races are supported. Using the 3DS StreetPass feature, racer Ghost Data can be shared and challenged. It’s a good way to see how you rank in races, given you come across other Ridge Racer 3D StreetPass players. Namco Bandai Games has included a simplified one-button drift control mechanic for players not so seasoned in the drift racing controls. It has a slight disadvantage in performance, but will allow for a bit more forgiving cornering controls. If you are already accustomed to Ridge Racer’s drift controls, it is best to leave it on Standard. Transmission can be set to automatic (AT) or manual (MT) as well. There are a few new tracks, such as canyons, but for the most part the tracks are as seen in previous Ridge Racer games. This includes oceanside tracks, caves, highways and even undersea tunnels. There are plenty of tracks (over 100), three challenging Grand Prix campaigns, and more vehicles to unlock using Points earned in races, so there is good gameplay value packed in Ridge Racer 3D.
So this leads to the meat of Ridge Racer 3D: great 3D. Particularly the first-person racing mode. Scuffing cars sends particles and sparks flying. Helicopters swoop overhead and towards you. Confetti or flower pedals flutter towards you during lap completions. You can feel the depth of the track in the screen. These are just some of the 3D effects that provide the wow factor in Ridge Racer 3D. Screenshots shown here don’t do it justice. The viewpoint can easily be shifted back and forth between a third-person behind the car perspective by tapping the “Camera Mode” button. If you want to see the nitrous effects and some of the outer car racing views, you can watch it during the replay upon a race completion. Gameplay can be saved following a race and replayed again (although I can’t confirm that it can be removed from the SD Card and played on a PC). The car models, though not too complex, look nice in the 3D car selection screen. Using the Circle Pad, you can shift around and zoom in on the car. Makes you wish you had a little Ridge Racer Hot Wheel car.
For the seasoned Ridge Racer players, much of what you’ve come to know and expect is intact in Ridge Racer 3D. You’ll have to wait for Ridge Racer Unbounded if you want a bit of a breakaway experience. I’m enjoying Ridge Racer 3D plenty and highly recommend it as one of your Nintendo 3DS launch games to own. Ridge Racer 3D is a nice 3DS showcase game and a fun arcade race gaming fix.
Ridge Racer 3D trailer: