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Ridge Racer 6 review

New console! New Ridge! Squint a bit and it'll all be fine

It must be great to live in the Ridge Racer universe. The streets are so clean. The sun is always shining and you can drive out of the city and be in the mountains in about, ohh, 20 seconds.

If it wasn't for the fact that crossing the road is impossible due to 200mph-plus race cars storming by, we'd have moved in years ago.

Welcome to the sixth in the famous Ridge Racer series (not counting the handheld spin-offs). The future has never looked so bold 'n' beautiful.

And that famous Ridge Racer handling system is intact, too. Forget any notion of 'driving simulation' and get down and dirty with sideways spins and drifts, where the only way to make a turn is to lose control of your car and grapple with opposite lock as you aim for the apex.

360 does Ridge Racer 6 effortlessly. But there's a nagging doubt that the game could deliver so much more than it actually puts on the screen.

It's exactly the same to play as Ridge Racer 5 and Ridge Racer on PSP. The squeaky clean looks are initially impressive, but you'll soon see chinks in its paintwork. Details look unfinished, some tracks are visibly better than others, while others still are better designed and more fun to race.

Flocks of birds and bursts of fireworks feel like hastily added levels of extra depth to take your eye off the flat, featureless world around you. Compared to Project Gotham's realism, Ridge 6 is like driving around in the cartoon world of Shrek or Finding Nemo.

Sure, it's a superb-looking videogame, but one that fails to take the series to the proper 'next level' that the new machine allows.

Don't let the failure of Ridge Racer make you doubt 360's power (one glance at Project Gotham is enough to set this fact straight). It's more an indication that the best games (ie, those with significantly longer development times) are yet to come.

More Info

GenreRacing
DescriptionThis isn't an alternative to the sim-tastic Project Gotham 3, but rather an arcade-style speed demon that should share the same shelf.
PlatformXbox 360
US censor ratingEveryone
UK censor rating3+
Alternative namesRidge Racer VI
Release date22 November 2005 (US), 20 January 2006 (UK)