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Ridge Racer Vita

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#1 SPE

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 12:15 AM

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Like with Wipeout 2048, this game is deserving of its own thread, instead of being hidden away in the general Vita thread.

What's that? You'd heard that Ridge Racer Vita was awful? That's not surprising, considering its critical pounding. A woeful 43% on Metacritic and the lowest scoring Vita game yet.

But hey! I've got good news (and a bit of bad news). The core game is wonderful and is a top tier entry into the Ridge series, But with caveats.

Good bits:

Handling. It handles beautifully. Despite running at 30fps, it retains the pin sharp controls of the better games in the series.

Graphics. The graphics vary a bit from course to course, but when Ridge is pretty, it's a very handsome game. The boost effect is the best yet, and the lurching sense of speed when you fire of nitrous boosts is stomach churning. I still winch when I fire off triple nitrous boosts. A subtle depth of field effect is applied to the background. Despite my own concerns around it, 30fps isn't an issue at all, and apart from a skipped frame here and there when things get hectic, is rock solid. All this made all the more beautiful by DAT SCREEN.

Music. The game contains a few new music track, but Namco are steadily releasing a metric ton of free music DLC containing the better music tracks from the prior games.

Online. The online integration is very well handled. I've not had any connectivity issues playing online races or downloading ghosts to time trial against. No input lag while racing, but opponent cars can ping about the track.

UI. Pure sex.

The bad bits:

Content. The much criticised content model of Ridge is a very valid concern. On buying the game, you get 5 cars (plus 2 secret ones) and 3 courses. If you buy the game before the end of March, you get the Gold Pass included for free. This grants you an additional 5 cars and 3 courses and some special music packs. Without the Gold Pass, each bit of the DLC is available to buy individually. There around around 60 music tracks as free DLC. Next month, the remaining cars and courses will be available, along with a 'Silver Pass' that gives you all of it.

So what does the game cost? Buy it now and get the Gold Pass to give you 10 (+2) cars, 6 tracks and 70+ music tracks. Next month, the Silver Pass will cost $7.49/€6.99, with gives you the rest of the content. If you buy the game before the end of March, the full cost of the game when including the Silver Pass is still under the prices of other Vita games.

Courses. In the way that Ridge Racers and Ridge Racers 2 were a best of for Ridge, Revolution, Rave, Rage and R4, the Vita game has cherry picked the best tracks from RR6, RR7 and RR 3D. Six tracks are available now (for US players, I think it's only 4 for UK ones), with the remaining three tracks due next month. I don't see this as a bad thing, as the tracks available are all great and the two new ones from the 3DS game will look great when Vita-ised.

Structure and balance. The core idea behind RR Vita is you race on and offline in single races and time trials. There is no standard single player campaign. Races give you money and VP points. The VP total gets added to your chosen team (there are four to choose from when you first start the game). This might sound like a terrible idea and very limited, but it just means you're racing for the fun of it, rather than being drip fed races to compete it. It's perfect for quick races, but I've still have a few long sessions with it holding my attention utterly.

Money is drip fed slowly, netting you just over 100 per race. The money is spent on upgrades, with cost 400 to unlock an upgrade point. But the upgrades are hidden in an expansive grid, with most of the points having nothing behind them. So getting all of the upgrades will be a long grind. (But grinding has never been this fun!) You get cash injections of 1000 when you randomly (and frequently) become your team's VIP for the day, which helps with the unlocking.

Now, the biggest issue. Every few races, your level upgrades. This increases the stats of all of your cars. The set levels of previous Ridge games are gone. This negatively impacts time trials and online racing, as people at a high level will have faster cars with better upgrades, and the times you set in TT will be beaten when you have increased in level and got a faster car. Once you hit Level 7, your car stats are maxed out, but you will still have a long was to go to unlock all the upgrades. The Level cap is currently 16.

You can try to race against people at the same level, but it's not guaranteed. and you might get opponents a level or two above you. One you get up to about Level 10 (after about 3 hours play), you should have unlocked all the best upgrades and be able to hold your own against any opponent. Skills permitting, of course.

So, should I buy it?

If you like Ridge Racer: Fuck yeah, you should. Ridge is now my go-to Vita game, and despite its clear flaws, it's up there as one of my favourite in the series. As long as you are aware of what you're getting, this baby is GOLD.

More info:

Japanese website, detailing all the course, cars and DLC schedule:
http://rr.namco-ch.n..._psvita/concept

UK Website:
http://www.uk.namcob...e-racer/ps-vita
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#2 Wools

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 09:38 AM

I’m so disappointed that Namco have gone this route with Ridge Racer Vita.

The game is clearly capable and would have had the same effect on me as when I saw Ridge Racer running on a PSP back in 2005. But their insistence on removing all content and including it as paid for DLC harms the game and god along knows why they decided to go down this route.

I’m seriously considering a Vita but would hope this is re-released later down the line with all the content on stick rather than needing to pay for it.

Despite its content issues, it does look beautiful. :wub:
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#3 ColinMac

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 09:52 AM

But it's so cheap - and includes the first wave of content free. And even when you have to buy another DLC pass its going to be a fiver or so - so the game is still a bargain compaired to the £40 mark most of the other titles are at.

I've dropped something like 17 hours of racing so far on 4 tracks. It's well worth the £15 if you ask me...
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#4 SPE

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 11:41 AM

Yeah, absolutely. When you read a lot of the review that slate the game, they're adding up all the individual DLC as claiming the full game costs $60+. Where as the reality is, I paid US$25 and got the gold pass free, and the silver pass next month will cost me $7.49. So for $32.49, I get the full game, which is a lot cheaper than the other full Vita games I've bought.
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#5 strider

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 02:36 PM

This has probably been one of the toughest games our mag has ever reviewed. On the one hand there is bugger all content. On the other the racing is sublime and the multiplayer is surprisingly robust. You've got the argument that if the tracks are really good you'll have no trouble constantly re-racing them, just like on the original Ridge Racer PlayStation conversion, but its hard to justify to readers when they could download both of the equally good PSP games for the same price. It also didn't help that magazines (that I know of) weren't aware of the gold pass content, making the game look already flimsier than it actually is.

While I've not had it religiously in my Vita, it's obvious that the core gameplay mechanics are ace. It's the business model I find disappointing. Maybe it should have been a tenner from the get go or something...
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#6 bm

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 03:16 PM

So how many courses in total will we be getting? I have a Gold Pass, and wasn't expecting to have to buy a silver pass - but it seems like I will, right?

That said, it cost me eight quid (with code) so I am very happy with it so far. A brilliant commute game.
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#7 watusi

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 04:13 PM

hmm. so if you DL This from PSN do you get the gold pass free also?
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#8 Sumire

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 04:57 PM

Yeah you do up until tomorrow I think.
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#9 SPE

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 08:41 PM

So how many courses in total will we be getting? I have a Gold Pass, and wasn't expecting to have to buy a silver pass - but it seems like I will, right?


Nine courses announced so far.

http://rr.namco-ch.n..._psvita/course/
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#10 Dimahoo

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 08:52 PM

My mate showed me this game the other day and the way you buy seems so bloody complicated. Its a travesty the way Namco have handled this.
And theres no new courses (and if there are, you won't get many) - a few cars.
Can't fault the gameplay but everything else!?.
Sure if your mates play the Vita them i'm sure is ace but the SP mode is a shambles IMO and 3 tracks is just crazy.

That Metacritic score will hopefully reflect against Namco and they won't do it again.
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#11 spatular

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 09:30 PM

One you get up to about Level 10 (after about 3 hours play)


am i doing something horrifically wrong? i've played ~3 hours and am level 2 :(
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#12 SPE

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 10:23 PM

am i doing something horrifically wrong? i've played ~3 hours and am level 2 :(


Have you mostly being doing offline time trails? I don't think that mode increases your level. If you;ve been doing on and offline spot races and are still level 2, then I don't know what the fuck you've done. Unless you're not winning the races, I suppose.

Dimahoo - the worst thing about the content structure is you have to download every single item from the store. And this is not a quick process. You can't bulk select items from the Vita's clunky store UI, so have to go into each one. The stupid thing is the Gold Pass should include all the content in one single download.
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#13 boxoctosis

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 10:29 PM

It's an interesting one. We're used to structure and obvious progression whereas this game just suggests we go and play it, and progression is much more loose.


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#14 SPE

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 10:48 PM

It's interesting in that the structure of RRVita is the opposite to Wipeout 2048. With Wipeout, once I'd rinsed the campaign, as the game doesn't offer spot races or the Race Box from WipeoutHD, I rarely go back to it. I won't have this issue with Ridge, as there is nothing to 'complete'. Just play for fun. If you want structured goals, you can always chase down the Trophies.

It's a pure mental block thing. Some people aren't able to see past the lack of campaign. GT PSP was equally criticised for not having one, but again, I clocked up a ton of hours just doing spot races and time trials.
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#15 spatular

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 10:55 PM

Have you mostly being doing offline time trails? I don't think that mode increases your level. If you;ve been doing on and offline spot races and are still level 2, then I don't know what the fuck you've done. Unless you're not winning the races, I suppose.


yeah i'm not sure, at first i did do a few offline timetrials yeah, but then realised that wasn't a good plan, done a few online races but only won one (it's hard to win when everyone else has faster cars), mostly doing timetrials against downloaded ghosts and the default ghosts - maybe the default ghosts, even though they're in the "world race" section, don't count for leveling up?
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#16 Dimahoo

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 10:59 PM

I just feel they should have established a solid SP mode for a first game (on a new machine)

The previous game (and RR7) could be had cheaper and contain far more tracks and content - 3 tracks in this day and age (regardless of the free gold/silver pass) is terrible.
Also whilst you can say you got it cheaper i just feel your average joe wouldn't really understand that or the pass system. Its presently around the £20 mark and does not really have a large user base. I'd argue you need to establish this before adding downloadable content (esp. to this extent).
People just wanted an good arcade racing game with a good SP mode (well i would have if the tracks were new).

Now they've had to go and buy bloody Asphalt racing 12 or whatever it is.
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#17 SPE

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 11:10 PM

Ridge should have been Freemium. Then Namco could have offered the game with limited content, the rest as DLC and everyone used to the iOS IAP model would have been fine with it.
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#18 Dimahoo

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 11:36 PM

Yeah, that would have made more sense.

The sad thing is that - as you say the core game is as solid as it always has been yet its got a ton of negative press.
In fact its the first time i've seen a game where such negative press has been given over everything but the gameplay.
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#19 cassidy

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 07:38 AM

Well I've done 4hrs and im level 10. just do offline spot races and ghost battles till your about level7. then do online battles. Although I do have trouble joining lobbies so tend to host. I'm happy to host and lose a few battles if you want this weekend if you want to grind?
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#20 spatular

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 11:07 AM

Well I've done 4hrs and im level 10. just do offline spot races and ghost battles till your about level7. then do online battles. Although I do have trouble joining lobbies so tend to host. I'm happy to host and lose a few battles if you want this weekend if you want to grind?


if this is aimed at me -thanks for the offer! but yeah i'll try and do it properly, i'll do some offline spot races see if that helps :)

also I think my car is getting faster despite not leveling up.
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#21 cassidy

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 01:24 PM

if this is aimed at me -thanks for the offer! but yeah i'll try and do it properly, i'll do some offline spot races see if that helps :)

also I think my car is getting faster despite not leveling up.


It was aimed at you. If you take your time looking at the ghost battles posted. Some nice people at l16, set ghosts that are very slow and easy to beat. Which nets you lots of vp. When you beat it. Just retry the battle for easy levels. I jumped from 7-10 in one train journey yesterday.
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#22 Sumire

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 02:39 PM

Just bought this, it is actually pretty good. I've added a few of you :) ..not played much yet but hopefully be on a fair bit soon :)
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#23 Strafe

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 04:43 PM

Attention Circlite Racing
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#24 Gotters

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 03:40 PM

Tempted by the free gold pass I dropped for this last night, no point going on about it being quite bare bones, thats been established

How many tracks should i have after getting the 2 in the store, gold pass says you get 3, has the 3rd not been released yet ?
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#25 Quexex

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 05:15 PM

Tempted by the free gold pass I dropped for this last night, no point going on about it being quite bare bones, thats been established

How many tracks should i have after getting the 2 in the store, gold pass says you get 3, has the 3rd not been released yet ?


No the third track and final set of cars ( 2 iirc) should come next week. Personally I've found the drip feeding of content a little slow but at least it forces you to actually learn the tracks as opposed to just going sightseeing.

That and the anticipation around the release of the devils gift via online only play have made the game even more compelling.


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#26 Gotters

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 05:22 PM

Thanks, at least I know I am all up straight then.

Menus are lovely in this.
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#27 spatular

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 12:37 AM

just do offline spot races


Yeah this worked a treat, not many races later and Ive already gone up a few levels :)
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#28 boxoctosis

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 10:15 PM

Been playing a lot of this today - now up to level 8 and well into the upgrading tree grind thing.

It really comes alive online though - had to put the Vita into the DMZ to get it to join a lobby - but once you find a decent lobby it super-tense, super-fast and close racing. And even better with the SFX low and the music volume up.

I think this is a real hidden gem amongst the Vita launch stuff - people have overlooked it because of the wacky structure, but I think it's brilliantly done.

:wub:
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#29 strider

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 11:59 PM

I've just turned into a devil. Gives you a new mode called dual race.
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#30 SPE

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 12:27 AM

Yep. Beat the devil car on all three original tracks to unlock it. Then beat the angel car on the same tracks to unlock that. Once you've beaten both secret cars, you can turn off devil mode.

If you race online while you have the devil mode enabled against someone who doesn't have it, you send them them the devil gift too.
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