In the realm of racing games, competition is tough. However quality control in that said same category is lacking in my mind and is lacking. There are too many racing game out there, and most of them suck or were great once, but then began to suck. Like it is with all the countless titles released under the banner of the NFS series, just to name one racing series.
For me NFS SE R&T Edition, NFS 2 (SE), NFS 3, NFS High Stakes, Underground 1+2, Most Wanted and Carbon were brilliant untill Undercover "happened".Then it just started to slip and fall down this downward spiral, resulting in one terrible release after the other.
Regardless, it can be difficult as a developer to keep your head above water. This is mostly because of consumers, demanding products to be better than before, while still urging developers to remain almost conservatively true and loyal to the previous released titles. I can understand that from the consumers and dev POW, being a gamer myself with a most of my free time spent from an early age to present day, in front of my PC (and consoles alike), playing computer games and will continue to do that as long as it is possible.
I have not played any of the previous Ridge Racer games, so I knew little about them. Nor did I play any of the Burnout games, before I tapped in to the vain of Burnout Paradise. Some say, to quote Jeremy Clarkson, that this game is NOTHING like the previous games, and I would not know, nor do I care.
So what about the game?
This game is quite good, very cliched, but good. Cliched because of the story. The setting is some random tech-noir-Sci-Fi near future city from what I understand, with some rebels racing to really stick it to "The Man" and fighting the power....by racing and destroying the city they want to change....Yeah okay. But nevermind the story. Nobody plays a racing game for the story. You play it for the racing dammit.
The story is Mirrors Edge meets P.O.D (and no not the band alright!!!) meets Watchdogs I guess.
As you might already know, this is an arcade racer. Keep in mind, that this is not a racing simulator.
One less great thing about the game is the sense of speed. I have to agree with Total Biscuit, in that the sense of speed is lacking and is quite poor. The speedometer might say 200+ kph, but it feels more like you are doing less than 150 kph at most times and some of the cars accellerate slow as hell.
This might be a minor thing for some, but I am a racing game fan and that matters to me. However, as you progress in the game, the cars become faster and this means that the sense of speed becomes better.
Aestically the game is graphically impressive, especially at levels that play in the night time in the city. The soundtrack is decent with typical cheap-bad taste-generic-mediocre-up tempo tween Dubstep soundtrack like Skrillex. The soundtrack nevertheless fits the game quite well. The engine sounds are rather cheap though. They do not sound very authentic.
Gameplay is straight forward, no nonsense racing, where it is mostly about getting there first and in one piece. You can smash through certain areas of the map Michael Bay style, with loads of explosions and lighting effects
You also have stunt races, frag races (Yes, this game uses the term frag!!) and race where you race a semi-truck, with the objectives of destroying and crashing police cars, chasing you.
The cars feel very heavy and sometimes even clunky. No open world here. You pick a race from one of the unlocked locations and proceed until you have gained enough XP to let the game progress and unlock new cars, districts and levels.
The game is not easy, but it's far from being as difficult as some would have you to believe. Stop crying, there is NO BATHROOM, you little girlie men. If you have trouble progressing or win races, just keep on replaying the level you have trouble with and practice. It's that simple.
One tip I have is to save your boost. Not for fragging opponents, because that does little really. Save it for when the game prompts you for smashing through certain areas of the level you racing. This gives you the maximum amount of XP. These destructible set pieces act sometimes as shortcuts too, allowing for an easy overtaking and win.
There are better arcade racing games out there, like Burnout Paradise, Split/Second Velocity (hella good game btw...just awesome) or Flatout Ultimate Carnage (also a little arcade racer gem a la Destruction Derby meets NASCAR with more redneck destruction action) e.g. and all of the above surpass and overshadow Ridge Racer by several car lengths (pun intended).
I still recommend this game. It does the job well, but nothing more than that. Do not buy this game unless it is on sale. The current asking price is not worth it. No game on Steam is worth to buy at full price if you ask me.
I give it 7/10.