Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sony and Namco need to set Vita Ridge Racer free

Anyone following me on Twitter will have seem some plaintive messages recently about starting back up in Ridge Racer. Having long lost my old save in the bad old days of small memory cards and before the handy PS+ cloud storage arrived, it was back to the beginning.

A few spot races, to refresh my twitch memory of the tracks (forward and reverse) and then it was into multiplayer. Or not. The only racers left these days are mostly Japanese guys with max-setting super cars, leaving me in my Fatalia Ford Fiesta in their dust at the back. With no level playing field it was back to the turgid single player for some grinding (in a racing game of all things).


Now up past level 7 and with some boosters acquired, I can stay in the hunt, and there are (all too rarely) a few mid-level racers to compete against. But if you were a complete newcomer to the Vita or Ridge Racer, you'd give up and toss it away before the pain got too much.

My one positive thought during all this was, 'why not give it away free with the new Vita and Vita TV.' The project was a Sony/Namco joint effort, via the Cellius partnership, so I'm sure Sony could wangle a cheap deal, and there's still the DLC to make some money from. That at least throws it open to a bunch of new gamers and once you get into it, despite the bad reviews, there is an addictive multiplayer racer to be enjoyed. Ironically, the latest Ridge Racer is a free-to-play title, as is most of Namco's new output, so how hard can this be to get moving?

Kudos to the Japanese hard core still playing, I should be up among your number if a few weeks of unbalanced racing at this rate. Which also made me notice some sentiment among Japanese Monster Hunter fans who have been 'forced' to buy 3DS to enjoy the latest hunting instalment. Many are saying they'll never buy another game for that system, which puts Capcom's single-format effort (and broken promises) starkly at odds with today's gamers.

These two very different snippets from the gaming cosmos show just how frail the games we cherish (or in some cases, hate) are and can be a) left to rot and b) manipulated horribly  by big business. Just remember that next time you're getting attached to a new release.

2 comments:

  1. After reading this post you're slightly scared me away from giving the VITA version a chance but I believe a solution to get people re-interested in RR Vita is for Sony to port it to the Psn and make it available to PlayStation 3 owners, which should also include cross-play, all at a reasonable price. This in turn would most likely attract new players and lessen the stigma surrounding the title.

    www.thezonegamer.com/

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    1. While you have all the right ideas in reviving Ridge Racer Vita, unfortunately the damage is already done. The poor reviews by many reputable and popular video game websites and the deliberate complete lack of content was the final nail in the coffin.

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