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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 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 (Ridge Racer 6 for Xbox 360 owners with small improvements in 7) provides new features, new gameplay, and still maintain its core gameplay of the series.

Ridge State Grand Prix

Ridge Racer 7 is based off an island 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, and some restrictions ones such as no nitrous. And finally, there are 14 Ridge State Grand Prix to race and win; 13 to beat, 1 for overall championship. By winning, you gain fame, money, and manufacturer points. This opens you 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 and name specific to the event you’re doing. The more unique types though are the Duel and Quad Battle modes where you race against a rival machine, or 3 rival machines. Aside from solo play, you can race against a friend in Arcade Mode. It’s too bad 2 players is the most it’ll handle because having 4 players would be insanely tense, but I think many would agree that being a spectator can be quite thrilling. 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 which will put your skills to the test.

Ridge Racer 7 is the first game to feature machanical customisations. Racers can tune up the engine for higher maximum speeds, tighten their tires and suspension for better drifting, and alter NOS modes to give you a new racing experience. But 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 the challenge. As anyone knows, turning will reduce some speed, and going uphill will decrease acceleration. Coming 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. As simple as turning, letting go of accelerator, then punching it when you start skidding, 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. Because drifting is so easy and automated, thus one of their popular slogans ‘drive sideways’, every now and again, purely from poor handling, you get to see your car drift backwards; fun. However, though simple, for those a little more technical, there is the challenge in 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. Luckily, 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.

Nitrous

Nitrous car

Nitrous in use

Drifting will play a big deal in the game not just in going around hairpin corners, but also charging your nitrous. NOS 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 will know what I mean when they boost ahead of you as soon as you finish your turn in awe because you couldn’t rack up the extra NOS to use.

You can save up your NOS also for a double or triple NOS shot for longer and more powerful boosts. But, whether you’re using it before a turn to rack more boost, or during a turn to keep your speed up and allow you a quicker corner exit is up to you as straight runs aren’t as slow as they used to be thanks to the new feature of Slipstreaming.

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 finally, 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 find how essential slipstreaming can be and how it can quickly turn the tide of the battle. Where you may think you’re in the lead, don’t be surprised to suddenly see someone come past you without the need of NOS because you weren’t paying attention to your own zone. Your slipstreaming skills will also be put to the metal during UFRA Single Events where NOS may be restricted. This builds another level of intensity as you try to gain whatever lead and speed you can to catch up to first which isn’t an easy task.

And there you have it, Ridge Racer to its core; speed, drift, NOS, with the addition of slipstreaming. With 22 race tracks and reverse feature totaling 44 races, what more can you say other than its beautiful graphics and heart throbbing sound tracks.

Graphically speaking, Ridge Racer 7 is beautiful. Most of the game uses high polygon counts and resolution with fairly crisp detailed textures. The environments are beautifully detailed with foliage, gravel, buildings and smooth roads with textures giving the world colour, depth, and life. Although this being said, both parts can use a few more touch ups as some parts of the environment aren’t decorated proportionally, and some textures tend to lack. This was probably done as shortcuts 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 insane speeds all work very well. If the game had a few touch ups and smoothing, you would almost say it looks very realistic, and clean. While the game does run buttery 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. You will however enjoy a smooth game every other time.

Music

Music on the other hand is more of a hit and miss depending on the kind of music or beats you like. There are probably only a handful of tracks that I like from the list while others like a whole set more. But nonetheless, the beats are great, bass is strong, and the music is fitting for this high speed series. What’s also fun is when you use triple NOS or go off from a big jump, music drowns out, and whether realistic or not, it adds a bit more flavor to the sound and the game.

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.

Multiplayer

  • Global Time Attack - time trial mode is where the player race around the track as fast they can, to get the fastest record.
  • Standard Race - you can have a standard race 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 racing mode for two players on the same screen. This is not an online mode.

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