The gameplay in Ridge Racer 7
is fun, but is, for the most part, identical to Ridge Racer 6
on the Xbox 360, with the (thankful) exclusion of the over-the-top announcer's voice. For those who aren't familiar with the Ridge Racer
series, Ridge Racer 7
is a racing game with a very Arcade
feel to it. This is not the racing game for those who prefer simulator-level realism or tweakers who want to upgrade and tweak the performance of the cars. Ridge Racer 7
is the kind of racing game where you jump into a car and race with your throttle wide open. Taking a corner too recklessly will throw you into a spin, but unlike in most other racing games (and reality, for that matter), you're likely to spin around for a few revolutions and then continue on your merry way... even around a corner. This is not realistic, but it is
There are several modes in Ridge Racer 7. The main "Career" type mode is the Ridge State Grand Prix. This is a challenging Multi-Race style event where you'll earn points from each consecutive race, based on your placement. Surprisingly, Ridge Racer 7 allows you to retry each race if you don't like your results. Often, games that feature Grand Prix style events will only give you the option to continue or to restart the entire event. Based on the difficulty of these races, I think this helps to reduce frustration a bit.
If you're not ready to take a shot at the Ridge State Grand Prix, you may want to practice a bit in the Arcade mode. This mode offers single race gameplay using any available Arcade vehicles. This is essentially the Quick Race mode in Ridge Racer 7, allowing you to jump in and race quickly.
There are a few different types of online and online-enhanced events. The most self-explanatory is the Online Battle. Online Battle pits you against opponents from around the world in races with up to 14 players. You can play for stakes if you desire, but you also gain Online Battle Points (OBP) while playing in this online mode. OBP is a stat that is tracked and ranked. The "Online-Enhanced" modes include Global Time Attack and UFRA Special Events. The Global Time Attack is a timed race, where it's just your skills against the clock, with an online twist. Times are recorded and ranked online. Thus, it's you against the clock until the race is over, then its your time against the world. Cheeky. The UFRA Special Events item was built into Ridge Racer 7 as a "hook" to allow for adding additional content later. These UFRA Special Events will be made available for download via the PlayStation Store in your PS3 browser. As of this posting, however, no content has been made available, making UFRA Special Events a neat idea, but not taken into consideration in this review.
Ridge Racer 7 does offer some modification possibilities for those who need to be able to tweak their machines. The tweaking opportunities in Ridge Racer 7 are nowhere near as detailed as in some other games, such as Need For Speed: Carbon, however. One of the more interesting options for modification, however, is the type of Nitrous you have equipped on your machine. The available choices are Basic, Standard, Flex, Quad, Long, Reverse Charge, High Nitrous and Auto. Each has their own pros and cons, of course. This may not be useful in many other racing games, but is a nice feature in a game that depends so heavily on nitrous as a gameplay device.
As for racing in Ridge Racer 7 in general, the control is solid, and it's a joy to race around in such beautifully detailed environments. If you're looking for a nice looking racer for your system, minus the need to heavily modify the cars and without the details and over-the-top precision found in some racing "simulation" games, Ridge Racer 7 is a nice addition to your collection.