Monday, June 9, 2014

Ridge Racer 3D Grand Prix Mode Complete

I got that ever so sweet 100% completion earlier, with about ten and a half hours of total play time.

However, the main draw of any racing game is the fact that you can fire it up and race some cars whenever you want, so naturally my next step will be purchasing all the stuff I skipped in Grand Prix mode.

It's going to take a lot of points, so I'll probably still be playing the game for a while yet.  I've decided the order in which I'll be purchasing stuff, at least for the near future.  Basically, there are the cars I used, and the cars that the game just flat-out gave me a Type-S of when I was going through its category.  For the cars I used, I'll be purchasing the nitrous options as well as any upgraded versions that I skipped.  This will most notably be the Type-R versions because you unlock the ability to purchase both Type-R and Type-Z at the same time, and the Type-Z is better.  For the cars that the game just flat-out gave me, I'll purchase their nitrous options and upgraded versions as well.

Once all that has been purchased, I'll just go through on a car by car basis purchasing everything.  This is so I won't forget that I haven't purchased some stuff for a specific car.  The nitrous options are per-car for whatever reason, so that's really the primary reason why I'm being methodical about it.  I could see the nitrous options being per-category and it not affecting the game's difficulty very much, to be honest.  Though I stuck with Nitrous B for the vast majority of Grand Prix mode, except when I first started out and was using Standard, and once I got to the special cars, which can only use Standard.

To follow up my review, and after having watched TotalBiscuit's video about the video game framerate non-debate, I would like to mention that there are some very noticeable framerate drops in some tracks, often related to using nitrous and/or scraping the wall or another car.  The reflections on the windows of the cars are also fairly low resolution and don't move fluidly at all.

Also, towards the end of Grand Prix mode, the AI can get quite frustrating.  It can be incredibly hard to break slipstream at times.  Also, it seems to just find extra speed out of nowhere on occasion.  I've passed someone only to hear their engine rev much, much higher and see them rocket past me way too many times to be able to attribute it to the AI using the slipstream.  It will also rocket past you on a single nitrous while you've got a double nitrous in use.  The best way to combat this is to build up nitrous and primarily use double nitrous just as you jump out from the slipstream.

The Expert level races also have an entirely new race type that doesn't exist anywhere else: Elimination.  Here, the car that's in last place will get eliminated at the end of each lap.  The AI goes full annoyance here with the random bursts of speed, and will actively move to block you whenever it possibly can.  Luckily, you can get it down to a science.  Build nitrous over the course of the lap, but save it for the final stretch.  Use the aforementioned "double nitrous just as you jump out from the slipstream" strategy to overtake them just before the end of the lap.  It's the best use for nitrous that I've found in Elimination races, because if you nitrous past someone elsewhere in the lap, they'll just get a random burst of speed and pass you.

When you unlock the Pac-Man special vehicle, which looks like something out of F-Zero, you also unlock an entirely underwhelming Pac-Man music disc.  Really, Namco?  Where's the classic track with all the sounds from your various arcade games?  That's what we'd rather have...

Reading through the GameFAQs message boards for Ridge Racer 3D, I noticed a few people that were confused about having completed Grand Prix mode, yet didn't have 100% completion.  As it turns out, you need to win every single race in Grand Prix mode to get 100% completion.  I indeed have 100% completion, since I was making sure I crossed the finish line in 1st long before I ever saw the threads about how the game tracks completion.  Even if you complete Grand Prix mode and don't have 100% completion, it should be trivial to go back, buy a fast car, and get whatever race wins you need.  Also, if you skipped races where the path branched, you'll need to go back and complete the events you skipped.  Besides, you have to win everything in the Expert level races anyway, so if you can win there, you can win anywhere else.

Despite everything I've mentioned, it's still a good game and well worth your money if you want some portable racing action.

As far as car recommendations go:
  • Category 4: Kamata Fiera Type-S, upgrade to Type-Z when available.  Optionally switch over to the Lucky & Wild Wisdom Type-Z.
  • Category 3: Kamata RC410 Type-S, upgrade to Type-Z when available.
  • Category 2: Kamata RC410 Type-EX.
  • Category 1: Kamata RC410 Type-S, upgrade to Type-Z when available
  • Expert: Follow recommendations for the category 2, 3, and 4 races.  For Category 1, use the Kamata RC410 Type-EX until you beat the Angel duel.  Use the Kamata ANGL Concept for the rest of Grand Prix mode.

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