|Dev: Namco Bandai|
|Pub: Namco Bandai|
|Release: March 27, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: N/A||Mild Suggestive Themes|
The game is a little too lenient at first, perhaps—I didn't even break a sweat or encounter any resistance in the beginner's courses. It's only when you start reaching the higher tiered races that the game comes into its own. Suddenly you can't half-ass a turn, let alone a race. The AI, which is as annoyingly rubberbanding as always, gets much more aggressive. You have to bring you're A-game to every track, learning its curves and contours inside and out. If you don't, you're probably not going to make the qualifying position. Nitrous, which was introduced to the series back on the 360 in Ridge Racer 6, helps matters, as you can choose how you fill your meter (executing drifts, "perfect charges," or a combination of the two). If you're neck-and-neck and jockeying for first in the final seconds of a race, this can make or break matters, though oddly I was rarely aware of rival cars using nitrous themselves. With a fairly lengthy grand prix and its given graphical style, Ridge Racer 3D feels closest to Ridge Racer 4. Tracks have the same 32-bit grit and feel to them that R4 did back on the PS One (sorry fans, 3D has a old-schoolish aesthetic that's more utilitarian than flash) and while there aren't as many cars to unlock, the races themselves feel fairly similar, with a smattering of familiar courses and new takes on classic tracks. (There's even a couple songs from R4 on the soundtrack, I believe.)
When you need to take a break from the grand prix, 3D has some other racing options well suited for portable play. You can choose a quick tour, which automatically customizes a four-race event based on length and course type preferences. You can also just race on a single track of your choosing or against opponents using the same car as you, in addition to your standard time trial and local multiplayer. 3DS specific features are a nice touch too: by activating Street Pass 3D you will download other players' ghosts on particularly tracks that you can race against.
And then there's the 3D itself. There's nothing revolutionary about Ridge Racer 3D's 3DS-specific effects, but they work well, and, thankfully the spatial relationship between the foreground and background is actually noticeable. Other than that, 3D is mostly fluff, but it's still fun: leaves are liable to fly "into" your windshield and water splashes on the camera, and you can expect Namco's trademark flourishes that were a cool visual bonuses back in the day (a certain helicopter that would fly overhead on one of the city courses comes to mind) to return in full-force, really capitalizing on the 3D. Ridge Racer 3D may not exactly be revolutionary, but if you're looking for a solid racer at launch, this is the way to go.
CCC Freelance Writer