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Ridge Racer 6

Ridge Racer

I wanted to enjoy Ridge Racer 6.

But God, the game is so boring.

Nothing happens in Ridge Racer 6.

I mean that.

I wanted to enjoy Ridge Racer 6. I loved the PSP version.

But nothing happens in Ridge Racer 6. One of my buddies played it with me and dubbed it “Coma Racer 6.” And that’s sad, but true.
Now, Ridge Racer 6 seems like a really pretty game at first glance, but it isn’t. You need to open your eyes away from your Xbox 360 lineup when you look at the screenshots for this game and compare it to some Xbox screenshots. Yeah, Ridge Racer 6 has some shiny looking cars, but there’s nothing going on in the environments. There’s actually a lot more going on in the environments of games like Need for Speed Most Wanted on last-generation Xbox, and even more going on in the 360 version of Most Wanted. Maybe that’s my most major problem with the game: the environments are boring as hell — plain static environments with no weather effects or anything. You’ll get some lens flares and like I said, the cars are shiny and reflective, but there’s no damage modeling or anything. The game box brags that there are a lot of tracks, but most of the tracks are just mirror images of previous tracks, so the actual tracks are even less exciting to race on because you’ll have to race on the same ones over and over again.

It may have decent motion blur effects…

But I’m not just a graphics whore, no matter how much of a graphics whore that last paragraph might have made me out to be. The actual racing is boring too. You see, Ridge Racer 6 is another one of those “finish first because second is last” type of racers. So you have to get in first every single race or else you have to do it again. Yeah, I understand a lot of racers operate like this, but it’s annoying. A lot of games when you’re racing in a series of races allow you to place in second or third, just as long as you score enough points to claim victory in the end. I’d like to see the game adopt this sort of system.

Then again, I plowed through Ridge Racer 6. I only had to repeat a few races here and there and only because I messed up along the way, the victim of my own cataclysmic stupidity. I’m not really sure if the game was really easy because I had spent a lot of time with previous games in the series or if I was trying hard to avoid having to repeat a race. I absolutely didn’t want to repeat any race. It was probably a combination of both of them.

…but apart from that…

Your opponents, much like the environments you race through, are also limp and lifeless. They might occasionally bump you, but by the second lap they’ll be so far behind that unless you totally mess up you won’t see them again unless you’re lapping a straggling opponent. They might challenge your dominance from time to time by unleashing all of their nitrous at you, but overtaking them isn’t tricky. They don’t pull a lot of maneuvers to block you from passing them. They don’t take a lot of risks either. In many cases, they’ll drive in a straight line through turns instead of making a pass on the inside like any intelligent human would. Granted, this makes progressing through the hundred races in the career mode a lot simpler, but it makes it even more boring. To make matters worse, the great people at Namco decided to mark this next-generation entry into their coveted franchise with one of the worst voice-actors I have ever experience. I shit you not. Even my little sisters, my little sisters who never play video games and rarely pay attention to me playing games commented that the actor had limited talent and was “stupid.” This over-the-top gentleman seems way to excited to be in the game and tries way too hard to sound pumped. He just comes off as fake and awful. He repeats the same stupid lines over and over again (“Someone let off some NITROUS!!!!” and “GIGGIDY-GIGGIDY-GO!!!!” stand out) in an obnoxious voice. I hate that man.

And dear reader, you might think that playing Ridge Racer 6’s multiplayer modes might help make up for the inept AI. You’re wrong. While your friends are hopefully a little smarter than the AI in this game, the races against your friends are even more boring than against the computer. You see, when playing on a single Xbox 360 against your buddies, the game does not inject computer controlled opponents. Mario Kart on the Nintendo DS does, but Ridge Racer 6 on the most advance console ever created does not. So, instead of a dozen cars on the track, there are just two moving through the plain, static environments, overlooking beautiful mountains and vistas off in the distance that are probably a lot more fun to explore than any of the courses you’ll ever race on.

…it’s a bit dull.

In the end, Ridge Racer 6 isn’t a broken game in any sense, it’s just boring and I don’t care to play it. It’s technically sound with no bugs or errors that I can think of and there are a lot of races to race through and cars to race with, but when I played the game I just sat there wanting it to be different than it was. It’s a very vanilla racing game. Racing games have evolved and while I understand the position Ridge Racer 6 hopes to carve out for itself (that of a genuine arcade-racer without frills), that just doesn’t work when far superior racing games like the latest additions in the Need for Speed franchise and the Gran Turismo franchises are on the shelf next to it at the same price-point. I think that Ridge Racer 6 should have been delayed from launch and a little work should have been put into making this game more interesting. After countless games, it’s time for the Ridge Racer series to grow. I hope the developers make some changes in Ridge Racer 7.

5 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in February 2003.

Gentle persuasion

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