Of the two racing titles that launched with the 3DS, Ridge Racer 3D is an exceptionally solid choice. Players should know going in that they’re getting a strong, basic offering in a series that’s been synonymous with console launches for the last several generations.
You’ll be privy to a few modes that, essentially, provide variety in terms of the amount of races and the skill and speed of your opponents. There are no whacky kart modes, no crazy destruction features and no zany power-ups. This is a straight forward, no frills racer. You’ll have Grand Prix, Standard Race, Time Attack, Quick Tour, StreetPass Duel (using race results from StreetPass, by literally walking by other players with their 3DSs) and Versus. The versus mode is restricted to local play.
The shear simplicity of Ridge Racer 3D is almost a double-edged sword. On one hand, there’s not much that gets in the way of this racer. And, unlike Madden for the 3DS, there is a healthy heap of racing modes to choose from. So you’re stepping into an experience that feels tried and true: the Ridge Racer you expected.
However, the simplicity becomes problematic when you begin wanting more from the game. You’ll likely start to feel like the gameplay is almost too straightforward. Despite the fact that there are a bunch of tracks, a slew of cars and awesome (read as “annoying”) Japanese-style encouragement voice-overs, you’ll probably start to feel like your actions are getting a little too repetitive. And that hurts in a racing game.
The saving grace in terms of walking the line of too much simplicity is the unlocking system. It’s far from in-depth, but it does give you a reason to boot up and drive beyond simply booting up and driving. You’ll earn points to unlock cars and tracks. As with the rest of Ridge Racer 3D, this notion feels formulaic.
Still, as launch titles go, Ridge Racer 3D is far from bad. It nicely demos the 3D of the 3DS while staying away from being too convoluted or too weak. If you pick this game up, know that you’re picking up an entry that prides itself on the basics of the genre. Don’t go in expecting a revolution and you’ll wind up just fine on the other side.