THE BUZZ: Compared to many other announced Vita releases, Namco Bandai’s Ridge Racer Vita release was given a surprisingly low retail price. The reason for that price, however, may now be clear.
According to Japanese gaming-focused website Andriasang, as part of a media briefing held by Namco Bandai this week in Japan, Ridge Racer will contain just three courses—Harborline 765, Highland Cliffs, and Southbay Docks, for those familiar with Ridge Racer 6/7—and only five cars. These were the only options presented in the demo version of Ridge Racer that was playable, but it was then confirmed that that small selection of options would also be the case for the final version of the game.
There will, of course, be a way to get more tracks and cars—as DLC. Full details on what will be offered in that manner will be talked about more next month.
One final interesting bit of information came out from the event: Ridge Racer will run at 30fps, and not 60fps as some may have hoped.
EGM’s TAKE: One of Namco Bandai’s statements on the situation with Ridge Racer for Vita was that they want to use the lower price to get as many players as possible into the game and participating in the Planetary League online functions.
While that’s a goal I can certainly appreciate and support, that’s a shockingly low amount of content when compared to all other recent versions of Ridge Racer. The game this release is based on—Ridge Racer 7—was loaded with cars and courses, and the last portable PlayStation outing—Ridge Racer 2 for the PSP—was amazingly deep in content and options.
Ridge Racer‘s three tracks can of course also be raced backward—technically giving you six course options—but the days of Ridge Racer titles having so few selectable courses are long gone, especially when we’re talking about tracks we’re already familiar with from other games. Wanting to get Ridge Racer into the hands of gamers via a lower price, and then encouraging them to purchase a lot of DLC to get a “full game” experience (if speculation is correct) is a practice I’m not sure I like. Other publishers and developers have tried this strategy before with beloved-but-not-blockbuster racing games, and the results were disastrous.
UPDATE: Word has come out that Ridge Racer will be receiving a decent amount of free content via DLC. It’s strange that the game wouldn’t just come with this content in the first place, and the exacts of that content are not yet known. If there is indeed to be free DLC, and it is beefy enough, it will certainly change the preceived value of the game immensely.
What do you think? Has Namco Bandai made a mistake in the plan they’ve decided upon for Ridge Racer Vita?