Ridge Racer 7

26 09 2011

Released for: Playstation 3
Some info:
1) Wikipedia
2) Official Site (Japanese)

This is probably one of the first few PS3 titles I managed to get to try, on someone else’s console that is. Only tried the earlier maps then and it felt quite fun and responsive. Chanced upon it at a rather low price not too long ago, probably partly due to its age so I thought I’ll just hoot for the fun of it. Lol.

There are quite a number of races before you actually complete the ‘main’ races, and along with it comes increasing difficulty of the AI, more difficult maps (at least some really require familiarity to win) and of course, more cars (and upgrades). To be honest, this is my first Ridge Racer game, and there must be some features and characteristics that older fans would be familiar, but as a newcomer I didn’t find it that hard to pick up. As mentioned earlier the difficulty of the game increases as you progress into later races and so on, so there will be opportunities to learn about the game, the ‘physics’, the feel and how certain settings affect the way you drive your car.

For the most part, progressing and unlocking newer races is not that hard, neither is earning points for various manufacturers to unlock new upgrades and cars. I didn’t need to refer to any guide (I’m assuming there are) and yet I was able to complete most of the game, though granted I will have to ‘grind’ a bit in order to gain all the points needed to max out my relationships with the manufacturers. But that’s if you really want to unlock every single thing in the game. According to the game I am about 90% done with it, mostly left with the grinding to be done as well as a series of Extreme races which well, kind of extreme. Many of those require mastery of the vehicle you decide to pit against the (smarter) AI, choosing the right upgrades based on the race conditions and most importantly know the map very well. Those races are not so lenient with those mistakes I make. Lol, perhaps I am not all that talented in racing games.

Graphics wise, it is quite well done. Despite it being one of the older games released under this console, I think the developers have already made pretty good use of the resources made available. Sound effects are mostly quite fine as well, though I think it perhaps could have been a tad more exciting sounding. And since I got the game so late that PSN actually offers some free add-ons to the game such as events which previously required payment if I am not mistaken. I guess getting a game late does have some ‘merits’ too. Heh.

Overall, I find that it is a pretty good game. Does not need to be a genius or an old timer to be able to progress pretty smoothly in this game though I still required a few retries to get to where I am right now. Lol, I mean, some maps really require some knowledge and practice in order to react ‘fast enough’. For the price I got for this game, I think it is pretty worth the money. =)


Gran Turismo 5 Prologue

6 11 2010

Released on: Playstation 3 (exclusive)

Some info:
1) Wikipedia
2) Official Asian Site (English/Traditional Chinese)

Once again, I am a little slow when it comes to covering PS3 games due to my late “starting time” as well as not having that much time to actually indulge in periods of gaming. Anyway, GT5 is around the corner (like finally), so I thought it might be a good time to release a short write up on the game that was meant to keep fans busy while they waited for the full version of the game.

Indeed, this game is not as big as the upcoming big brother, with much fewer tracks and cars. With that said, it does not mean that it is easy to unlock everything, or complete everything. At least that is the case for me, someone who touched this franchise for the very first time even though I have heard of its reputation for a long time. Unlocking a new category of events requires the player to get at least top 3 in every event of the previous category (or level), and it’s not easy to do so despite not choosing the Professional simulation. I’m not sure if it’s due to me not being used to ‘driving’ using a gamepad (can’t afford a good wheel anyway =P) or it is due to the fact that I’m using Auto. In most games in this genre, it’s only natural to expect that the way to reach a high level of competency is to be able to master manual driving and play with all the gears when necessary while driving on the track/course.

While the difficulty can be quite a challenge to those less inclined towards driving, it’s still fun trying to get used to the track and thinking of ways to improve the line of driving thereby improving the running time. The realistic physics modelling is also something that needs to be considered while trying to improve your gameplay. However, unlocking cars can be quite a tedious task because of the amount of credits needed to buy a new car, especially those of the higher category/class. It’s going to be quite a chore for those who are not really that into the game but rather looking for casual racing gaming.

Considering how the upcoming GT5 looks, it makes this Prologue title look like a little baby in terms of content, but I feel that it is still quite good for whatever it offers in-game. Since the title is pretty old by the time I got my hands on it, it was at a pretty affordable price so I feel that it’s quite worth it. Not sure how the initial pricing went, but the upcoming full game doesn’t look affordable at all, though if one considers the amount of content in it, it’s actually not so bad. I don’t think anyone will be getting this title once the full game releases (soon, hopefully), but all I can say is that this game provided a nice preview to the next big thing in this genre, albeit the content is a little lacking as compared to other racing titles.

Super Street Fighter IV

2 10 2010

Released on: Playstation 3, XBox 360, Arcade (to be “delivered”), Nintendo 3DS

Some info:
1) Wiki
2) Official Japanese Site
3) Official English Site

Well, the “expansion” pack of the popular SF4 game, but it’s not an expansion technically speaking, since it is a separate game with lots of tweaks and balances made to the existing characters. The expansion sense would be the additional characters that comes with this version, all unlocked and ready to use, without the need to play through many times just to get the full roster out.

There are many balances made in this version and some things do not work as they did back in the vanilla edition. But I suppose the most notable addition apart from the new characters would be the 2nd Ultra move that every character has this time around, which you must choose after selecting your character. However, it seems that for the original cast, most of their original Ultra moves are still the preferred choice. Apart from that, there was also a patch back in June which fixed a few things like the Fei Long infinite and added a new feature that is the Tournament mode. Not too bad I guess, since these patched contents are free to download.

Of course, playing against the CPU isn’t much fun after a while since it is not that hard to win once you get the hang of the character you are using. One thing I notice about online play is that matching players in the same region doesn’t seem to work very well as it often lacks in suitable results when clearly there are locals online playing. Even directly inviting into the game room can cause problem in setting up a stable connection. And it’s not like either party has connectivity issues with the PS3. Probably the netcode isn’t working all that well here.

The achievements (trophies) for this game isn’t easy to get and I must say it is not one that I would recommend an average player to attempt to platinum. It’ll take far too long, even with boosting for the online trophies since there are components which will really require some real skill in execution, and the high level trials for all characters would just be one of them.

The biggest ‘controversy’ over this game is probably the pricing of it, since it’s pretty much at a full game price while many people consider this as an expansion set of sorts. Oh well, since I didn’t get the vanilla version for the console, I didn’t feel the pinch that much as the PC version was much more affordable, probably due to practical reasons. At least the costumes bought in the vanilla version can be carried over if the regions match, which is a slight bonus for those who have that to care about.

Due to recent developments of news/rumours surrounding the arcade version of this game, some things that I say here may be a little lacking or outdated since I won’t be bothered to edit it when I decide to publish this =P Anyway, overall I think this game is much more balanced although there are still inclinations towards certain groups of characters. At least it is more varied now, and less upsetting with crazy cheapo comebacks =X Definitely worth getting if you’re a fan of this title, though if you’re a fan you probably already gotten it. Lol.

p.s. and here’s my 2nd PS3 game-related post! When will the next be… and what will it be!