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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

"Ridge Racer 6" Xbox 360 game review

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"Ridge Racer 6" Xbox 360 game review

"Repetitive arcade-quality racing in widescreen and not much else.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usXbox 360 was designed to offer developers new opportunities to push games in new directions, both creatively and technologically. As we’ve come to expect from Namco’s long running racing series, Ridge Racer 6 does little to take advantage of the Xbox 360’s power, instead relying on a tired formula of simplistic arcade racing, overdone drifting and enough CPU nitrous to drive the sanest of gamers insane. Its presence alongside Project Gotham Racing 3 and Need For Speed Most Wanted in the Xbox 360 launch lineup sticks out like a Hyundai cruising with a Ferrari and Aston Martin.

Namco sets the tone for straight up arcade racing by offering a quick round of Pac-Man of all things before the main title menu appears. After chomping on some ghosts the logical next step is to enter single player World Xplorer mode. Here a daunting map of hexagons (six sided figure, get it?) representing different races must be finished in first place to win new cars and other prizes. Second place or worse requires retrying three laps ranging anywhere from under a minute to pushing 3 or 4 minutes each. The earlier races are beaten without breaking a sweat but naturally they grow progressively difficult as new car classes are unlocked and the A.I. commits fewer and fewer mistakes.

Although there are 30 different tracks available, each one seems to pop up over and over while progressing through the map. It's not uncommon to race the same track twice during one leg of races. To avoid complete duplication, sometimes a track is raced backwards or at night versus day. This lame attempt to spice up variance doesn't hide the painful truth.

Map repetitiveness wouldn’t be as big an issue if driving were at least interesting but alas, this is the same old Ridge Racer we’ve seen before with only minor upgrades. Nitrous is collected via drifting and can be stored for up for 3 boosts at a time. It doesn’t take long to figure out having a nitrous or two available for the final sprint is a good idea to ensure victory. Drifting is as obnoxiously easy and unreal as it ever was making sliding around each turn a chore and not a challenge. The higher-class cars with more dynamic drifting require more concentration but are easily mastered after one or two laps around a track. I’ve always found this unrealistic “driving on ice” effect fun for a few races and the same holds true here. Once that fun elapses and completing races becomes a burden there’s little incentive to want to become a seasoned World Xplorer." [more]

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