Ridge Racer 7 - hands-on

Ridge Racer has always been there, ever since the original PlayStation, and as recently as the PSP. 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 glitz and style 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 the 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 on the Xbox 360. So too did the developers add in a new customization mode that allows you to change up your cars extensively by swapping parts in and out - promising 375,000 different possible combinations, which we have a hard time imagining anyone will really, truly care about.

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 know that rush that they give you; taking a bend perfectly is a simple but very satisfying pleasure. From our playtime so far, we expect exactly the same sort of enjoyment from the new edition. Though it has a fresh coat of next-gen paint and plenty of options designed to make great bullet points on the back of the case, it's another evolution of the formula.

One promise we're excited about but haven't yet seen in person is the always-on network mode that delivers realtime 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 it's ideas like this that remind 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 the PS3; the series has always been a hell of a lot of fun. We say: screw revolutions right now. The PS3 needs reliable hits we can enjoy. While Ridge Racer 7 might feature only changes that are too cosmetic, we're ready to roll again all the same.