Ridge Racer 7

Saturday 23 September 2006
Ever since the original PlayStation - and as recently as PSP - Ridge Racer has always been a solid Sony favourite. So it's little surprise that there's another one on deck - and it's not a big shock that the game hasn't evolved greatly from the arcade-style racing we've come to know and love (those of us who are fans) or ignore (those who crave the fine-tuned perfection of Gran Turismo or the mod-obsessed diversions of Need For Speed).

So that's the short of it: Ridge Racer 7 is the same as it ever was, but more so. The graphics take advantage of PS3, with the glitzy cities and the lush forestry springing to life in a way that the oh-so-mediocre-looking Ridge Racer 6 totally failed to achieve on Xbox 360. In addition, a new customization mode features and allows you to change up your cars extensively by swapping parts in and out - promising an exhaustive 375,000 different possible combinations.

But the core of the game is identical to what it's always been: high-speed, slick racing with ultra-precise control. If you've ever played one of the games before you'll be familiar with the rush that they give you - taking a bend perfectly is a simple but hugely satisfying pleasure. From our playtime so far, we expect exactly the same sort of enjoyment from the new edition and while it has a fresh coat of next-gen paint and plenty of options designed to make great bullet points on the back of the box, it's another evolution of the formula.

Above: We're expecting some wild 'concept cars' - like the Pac-Man car - to make it in as well

One promise we're excited about but haven't yet experienced is the always-on network mode that delivers real-time updates to your game whether or not you're playing online matches or not, as long as you're connected. The specifics are awfully vague right now, but its ideas like this that reminds us that this is, in fact, the next generation.

As it stands now, we're thrilled to see Ridge Racer staying true to its roots on PS3. The series has always been a hell of a lot of fun and, right now, PS3 needs some reliable hits we can enjoy. Ridge Racer 7 might deliver mostly cosmetic changes, but we're certainly ready to roll - and slide - again with Namco's ever enjoyable racer.