If thereâs one thing that the Xbox 360 already has in (relative) abundance, itâs racing games. So, which one to get? The answer, it turns out, is easy. If youâre a fan of in-depth car details, responsive and (somewhat) realistic handling, and all the fanciest cars on the planet that are as accurately rendered as they can beâŚthen go and buy Project Gotham Racing 3.
If, on the other hand, youâre after the kind of racer that treats braking as an unnecessary hindrance and considers physics to be something that occurs only in laboratories, then say hello to Ridge Racer 6.
The latest in a long line of arcade racers, Ridge Racer 6 is the first to appear exclusively (for now) on a non-Sony machine. Itâs certainly not a revolutionary addition to the series â rather, it builds on the same gameplay formulas that have made the series so successful; so, if you're a long time fan, youâll know what to expect.
Upon starting up, youâre greeted with the usual array of options present in just about every racing game on the planet. The âworld xplorerâ mode is the gameâs career mode, and it does a fine job of conveying how much racing youâll need to do. In all, there are well over a hundred races to complete. Many of these will obviously use the same tracks, but with a different car or slightly changed rules. While it can get repetitious, itâs certainly no worse than any other racing game.
The gameplay, it has to be said, is pretty absurd. You can screech around corners and immediately straighten up again without putting your finger anywhere near the break button. Performing stunts like these will help fill up your nitrous bar, which can be used up to provide a temporary speed boost. If, like me, youâre used to the fine controls and delicate precision of a more âseriousâ racing game, youâre in for a bit of a shock.
Once you get over that, though, youâll find the game can be a lot of fun, especially if you play online â racing against other human players is always going to be more satisfying than racing against the computer. The multiplayer races support up to 14 players, making for some extremely chaotic and intense driving.
The graphics are obviously a huge step up from the last Ridge Racer, and they stack up reasonably well against the other 360 titles around. The visuals certainly arenât the best of the pack, but theyâre certainly not terrible. I wish the same could be said of the announcer â seriously, his nitrous comments alone could be enough to tip someone over the edge. Other than that, the sounds do an adequate â if uninspired â job.
Whether or not this game is for you depends on what youâre looking for in a racer. There are several to choose from, and Iâd personally lean towards something like Project Gotham Racing 3. However, if youâre after something with a lot of thrills and simple, addictive gameplay, then give Ridge Racer 6 a go. Like any decent racing game, it has the potential to get you hooked on unlocking cars for some time to come.