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Hindsight : Ridge Racer 7

Cart: Ridge Racer 7
Cab: PS3
Coin: Namco Bandai Games

Chilli con carne and cauliflower cheese; doesn’t sound particularly appetising, does it? It’s actually bloody marvellous but whilst you’re still repulsed at the thought of it: go and look in the mirror.

That’s the exact same face that I get presented with every time I try and explain the appeal of Ridge Racer to the uninitiated.

The birth of the PS3 wouldn’t have been a proper Sony launch unless it came with a Ridge Racer game. As if ashamed by their traitorous defection to the dark-side with RR6 being an Xbox 360 exclusive, Namco duly produced RR7 in record-time for the subsequent PS3 launch. That said, it wasn’t really a new game was it, Namco? It’s just RR6 with a bit of spit and polish, isn’t it?

Despite RR7 being possibly the weakest argument ever for applying a different number to the end of a game, it still has a great deal to offer as a title in its own right. There are a few new and extremely good tracks; the inclusion of slipstreaming makes races even closer than before and online play is as engaging and hotly-contested as ever. It’s arguably a little bit easier than its predecessor thanks to various trinkets that can be purchased for your cars, which to be honest was a bit of a let-down given that I consider myself to be a battle-hardened Ridge Racer. Yet flying around the super-smooth tracks, awash with lush visuals and hypnotic trance music, is still as utterly addictive as before and in the fastest cars the experience will leave you feeling completely spaced-out and other-worldly.

As with all RR games, it’s a slow-burner that takes too long to get going but I could describe many of my closest friends in the same manner, so I’m certainly not going to hold it against a game. And to those more nostalgic Voxelites out there: it remains the last true-blood entry in the home-console series with 2012’s Unbounded being one of those strange East-meets-West developed hybrids that lacks the purist wonder and conviction of either camp.

Ridge Racer has never really been everyone’s cup-of-tea. A visceral arcade experience loosely based upon the experience of driving; it has more in common with your memories of pushing toy cars around the carpet than it does the harsh realities of the real-world beasts that it models itself upon.

But that’s what makes it so amazing.

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  1. To be honest, there are so few racing games these days that just want to race, without making things open world or whatever, that I would love a new, loaded with shit hot graphics, Ridge Racer for PS4.

  2. Sometimes I think it’s better to think of Ridge Racer as a futuristic racer with car shaped craft, so unlike real driving are the physics.
    The PSP games are brilliant, and really capture the fun of the series. If low on new content as always.
    What I wouldn’t give though for a proper relaunch with tonnes of new tracks and cars, a proper AI and physics system (still light and slidey). Something like what would happen in Criterion did Ridge Racer…
    That said, I still think R:Racing was much underrated. I really enjoyed playing that game.

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