Summary: Bugbear Entertainment knows a thing or two about cars crashing into one another. As the studio behind the FlatOut franchise, they've shown they can create a driving game that melds crazy excitement with solid handling. Ridge Racer is a series best known for slick arcade racing rather than over-the-top crashes, making Bugbear seem like an odd developer choice.
Excerpt: From the creators of Flatout comes a completely new take on the stagnant Ridge Racer formula – one that blends a bit of the former’s stunts with Split/Seconds’ real-time track destruction for shortcuts and danger, and manages to both play unlike any Ridge Racer before while still keeping the drifty feel of the series alive. The team at Bugbear has worked what some would consider to be a miracle given the “been there, done that” feel of the past few Ridge Racers.
Excerpt: It’s tough to argue that Ridge Racer isn’t in the middle of a slow, possibly permanent slide into irrelevance. It's having a hard time finding its footing in a genre dominated by realistic sims like Gran Turismo and Forza, and where even the most arcade-y new games enjoy some combination of sophisticated physics, detailed damage modeling, and wanton carnage.
Pros: Solid, crunchy driving physics, AI that’s actually fun to race, The instant, no-load restarts
Cons: Other games do it all better, No one’s playing online, The multiplayer menu crashing
Excerpt: Despite some early concerns, Namco's decision to bestow one of its most prized titles - Riiiiidge Racer - upon FlatOut creator Bugbear was a good idea. If nothing else, the Finnish studio has attempted to whip the ailing racing franchise back into relevancy with a new-found focus on vehicular action and manic destruction. The realisation of that ideal, however, is decidedly wonky, though at least it's more ambitious than the execrable mess of Ridge Racer on the Vita.
Excerpt: I was recently burned by one of my favorite racing franchises when Ridge Racer for the PlayStation Vita turned out to be a shallow mess and an embarrassing low point for the series. Luckily, there was another new Ridge Racer release I could turn to, this time for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 - Ridge Racer Unbounded .
Summary: Ridge Racer Unbounded is a surprisingly good racing game. Besides some remixes of older Ridge Racer songs Unbounded has almost nothing to do with the other games in the franchise. Ridge Racer Unbounded is a solid arcade racing game, with a great drifting mechanic. While the futuristic art style reminiscent of Deus Ex looks great with an orange and black tint, the track selection leaves something to be desired since every race takes place in an urban environment.
Excerpt: Ridge Racer Unbounded is a sizeable departure from previous Ridge Racer games, and almost seems like a spin-off of the series because the signature drifting gameplay is not included. The dominant mechanic this time is city destruction, and while this can be fun for a while it didn’t keep my interest for nearly as long as Ridge Racer 7 did.
Excerpt: Beyond just racing to the finish line, you can ram into rivals - doing so with your power boost activated (and charged by drafting, jumps, and drifting) takes them out instantly ala Burnout, otherwise, you have to wittle their health bars down to nothing. There's also a surprisingly fluid stunt mode here that allows you to fly up ramps, DRIVE ON THE SIDES OF BUILDINGS, and do flips while trying to grab Ridge Racer logo tokens to increase your points, get more boost, and...