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Ridge Racer 7
Ridge Racer 7 Cover
Developer(s) Namco
Publisher(s) Namco Bandai

Sony (co-publish)

Designer(s) Isao Nakamura
Engine RR6 Engine (enhanced)
Native resolution 1080p
Platform(s) PlayStation 3
Release date(s) JP November 11, 2006NA November 16, 2006EU March 23, 2007
Genre(s) Racing game
Mode(s) Single-player, Multiplayer, Online
Rating(s) ESRB: E OFLC: G PEGI: 3+
Media Blu-ray Disc
Input methods Gamepad and Racing wheel

Ridge Racer 7 is the latest console main-series installment of the Ridge Racer series, which is a series of fictional race cars. Only released on Playstation 3, the game has around 40 cars, many which return from the previous incarnations of Ridge Racer 6, Ridge Racer (PSP), and Ridge Racer 2 (PSP). The game was first revealed at 2006 E3. Ridge Racer 7 also has Full Motion Videos, just like the previous titles, starring Reiko Nagase.

Overview

Continuing the Ridge Racer series onto the PlayStation 3, Ridge Racer 7 provides new features, new gameplay, and still maintains its core gameplay of the series.

Ridge State Grand Prix

Ridge Racer 7 is set on a group of islands called Ridge State, where the player compete in the Ridge State Grand Prix. The player begins with manufacturer trials which allow them to begin relationships with different manufacturers. By beating them, the player will have access to their products, such as vehicles, upgrades, and touch-ups.

You then have UFRA Single Events where you take on racing challenges, some with no restrictions. On the contrary, some evens have very strict restrictions.

Finally, there are 14 Ridge State Grand Prix events to race and win; 13 to beat, 1 final for the overall championship.

By winning, you gain fame, money, and manufacturer points. This opens up to more challenges and more trust from manufacturers when using their cars, giving access to more vehicles and equipment.

Modes

Although there are different race types, it all boils down to winning the specific event you are participating in. However, there are several modes. There is the standard Race mode, putting up up against 11 other racers. The more unique types are the Duel and Quad Battle modes where you race against one rival machine, or 3 rival machines.

Aside from solo play, you can race against a friend in Arcade Mode.

Time Attack is also available for anyone wanting to race themselves, and you can put it all on the line in Online Battle.

When you have completed everything, hop online to the PlayStation Store and grab yourself some UFRA Special Events. These events boast a much higher difficulty level, and will put even the ultimate driver to the test.

Ridge Racer 7 is the first game to feature mechanical customizations. Racers can tune up the engine for higher maximum speeds and better acceleration, upgrade their tires and suspension for easier drifting, and alter Nitrous modes to give you a new racing experience. All this adds up back to its arcade action and speed.

Although things may start off slow in the Grand Prix, you will notice the difference in speed between the Class 4 cars in the beginning to the Class 1 cars which you thankfully get early in. Speed is crucial in Ridge Racer and keeping your speed is a large part of the challenge. Turning will reduce some speed, and going uphill will decrease acceleration. Going downhill will allow you to accelerate quicker and reach higher speeds. What’s important though is bumping into the walls and other players. Though hitting into the wall will bounce you off, it will dramatically reduce your speed depending on how you hit it. If you’re also going into it on a bad angle, you will receive multiple bumps which can be very deadly during a close race. When running into your opponent behind, your speeds will switch allowing them to suddenly gain a gap in front of you while you have to build up your speed again. However, use this to your advantage by timing your lane changes can prove very effective in keeping your lead, and gaining that extra momentum.

Drifting + Controls

Aside from soaring through the race tracks at 300+ km/h, drifting could never have felt any faster and simpler, than it is in Ridge Racer. It can be summarized as simple as turning, letting go of accelerator, then punching it when you start skidding and your car will automatically follow along the road without problems most of the time. Even during small bends, without drifting, your car will automatically skid itself around the corner, reducing the complexity of the game and providing racers pure high speed fun. It is a system which is easy to get into, but difficult to master.

However, for those a little more technical, there is a challenge to the drifting. When you begin the drift, how you drift, and how you finish the drift makes all the difference in gaining a lead, maintaining a lead, and losing a lead. Racers have 3 drift types at their disposal, allowing them to play in a more comfortable manner. The mild mechanics provide more control, but less speed. The standard mechanics is probably a better choice for people as it gives you good speed and control is more manageable. Dynamic are for experts who know their stuff; sensitive control due to intense speeds. This creates a change in strategy as you learn the tracks and find what would be the most suitable maneuver at each turn. Some cars may fit better for different courses.

Nitrous

Nitrous car

Nitrous in use in a Kamata RC410

Drifting will play a big role in the game, not just in going around hairpin corners, but also charging your nitrous. Nitrous is charged up through fast, sharp drifts and can only be charged when nitrous isn’t in use during the drift. The faster you drift, the quicker the charge. So aside from learning the routes, you need to learn the best time to use NOS so that you can enter and turn and drift just as it finishes, allowing you to make use of the extra speed you gained during the boost and utilise "Ultimate Charge". This becomes another critical play as using it too early or late can put you to a disadvantage against more prepared racers.

You can also save your NOS for a double or triple shot for longer and more powerful boosts. However, keep in mind the speed loss from not using NOS on a straight can be countered by slipstreaming an opponent. This creates a debate between using NOS in corners to plow through faster, or on the straights to run away from opponents.

Slipstreaming is when you tail behind someone and use them as a shield against wind resistance, allowing you to accelerate faster, achieve a higher maximum speed, and eventually overtake the opponent. Depending on how the opponents utilise their NOS, you may have the chance to slip behind them and build up your speed and keep up with most of their boost, allowing you to catch up to them again once their NOS runs out. As you race, you will quickly find out how essential slipstreaming can be and how it can quickly turn the tide of the battle. Your slipstreaming skills will also be put to the test during UFRA Single Events where NOS may be restricted.

Graphically speaking, Ridge Racer 7 is beautiful. Most of the game models uses high polygon counts and the game runs at a 1080p HD resolution with fairly detailed textures. The environments are beautifully detailed with foliage, gravel, buildings and smooth roads with textures giving the world colour, depth, and life. That having been said, both parts could use a few more touch ups as some parts of the environment are not decorated proportionally and some textures tend to lack. This was probably done as a shortcut to keep the game running at a smooth 60 fps, and is generally only noticeable during replay when you have the game view your race at various angles. Otherwise, special effects such as lighting, reflections, particles, leaves kicking off the ground, or glass shattering in the alleyway when you blaze through it at speed all work very well.

While the game does run very smooth, there will be times of frame drops both during the race and during replay. This usually involves a group of vehicles together, skidding, or possibly using NOS, and a large background view being loaded, it can cause a slight lack of responsiveness in controls as you have to adjust to the lag for the split moment.

Music

Music is a hit or miss depending on the kind of music or beats you like. The songs are high-energy, the bass is strong, and the music is fitting for the high-adrenaline racing.

Glitches

One very infamous glitch with the game is when you save after winning RSGP 13 and 14. You will lose the rights to compete in the Dragon Saber, Assoluto, and Drauga Manufactuer's Trials. However, this has been patched.

Gameplay

Ridge Racer 7 has four single player modes, and seven multiplayer modes, which use the Playstation Network.

Racing modes

Single Player

  • Ridge State Grand Prix - Basic Grand Prix mode, sanctioned by the UFRA.
  • Manufacturer's Trials - UFRA-sanctioned event where player can unlock cars and/or parts.
  • UFRA Single Event- UFRA-sanctioned non-tournament events.
  • Extreme Battle - Non-sanctioned races with added difficulty and slightly different regulations. These races are often illegal and sometimes pose no restrictions at all. This is also where you can race against and unlock the Special Machines.

Multiplayer

  • Global Time Attack - Time trial mode is where the player races around the track as fast they can to get the fastest lap times.
  • Standard Race - A Standard race mode over the internet with up to 14 players.
  • Pair Time Attack - Similar to Global Time Attack, but instead combines the times of two racers working in tandem to achieve fast lap times.
  • Team Battle - Players are split into red and blue teams (other colors are featured, such as yellow, green and pink), with a points system used to decide which team wins after a race.
  • Pair Battle - Players are split into teams of two to race, and the winning team is that with the smallest total race time.
  • UFRA Special Event - A set of 25 extra events, downloaded for free from the PlayStation Store, which boast a much higher difficulty than any event in the Ridge State Grand Prix mode. The choice of cars is often preset or massively narrowed down.
  • Multi Race - A split-screen offline racing mode for two players.