The Ridge Racer franchise has an odd knack for coinciding with platform launches. From the PS1 classic to the most recent Ridge Racer 7, capitalizing on the enthusiasm inherent with new hardware seems to be the series' bread and butter. It's clear why Namco chooses this strategy: it manages to obfuscate the franchise's lack of innovation with the technological advance each generational leap brings.
It's hard to be swayed by the novelty of a handheld Ridge Racer game. The 3DS title looks not unlike the PSP games before it, but this time, it's in 3D -- and it seems that's all Namco has to offer for this update. The fact sheet says "players will be able to experience a level of intimacy with the on-screen races like never before" thanks to the 3D visuals, but doesn't every game on this platform offer that?
A PR person claimed to be impressed with my performance on the demo track, a line I'm sure he's used a dozen times before. My only polite response could be "it's Ridge Racer." If you've played one, you've probably played them all. But Ridge Racer 3D's lack of online play and customization options make it seem like a backwards step from Ridge Racer 7. And here's another mark for unoriginality -- for the umpteenth time, Namco is intent on reusing "favorite courses from the past."