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R: Racing Evolution Package Art
GENRE
Racing
DEVELOPER
Namco
PUBLISHER
Namco
NUMBER OF PLAYERS
1-2
CONNECTIVITY
no
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R: Racing Evolution

In a nutshell, the Ridge Racer franchise is easily one of the most popular racing franchises in the hands of both critics and gamers alike. After the success of Ridge Racer V during the PS2 launch, but a lukewarm reception from critics, Namco was ready to debut the sixth title in the franchise for every system available, even the GameCube.

R: Racing Evolution certainly isn't the best in the series. Quite frankly, it probably isn't even the best racing title on the GameCube. In fact, it's just about the most average racing title to come around in this generation. That's saying a lot since Ridge Racer V certainly wasn't a groundbreaking title in its own right. The same can easily be said about R: Racing Evolution.

visuals

If it weren't for the impressive car models and the lead character that is by all means easy on the eyes, you could certainly say that the visual offerings in R: Racing Evolution are reminiscent of a first generation PS2 title. The tracks and environments are bland and completely boring with absolutely no shred of life and it's definition of diversity seems to be reversing existing tracks rather than offering brand new areas. Thankfully, the car models are extremely good looking, even if they feature no more than polygons than Sony's Gran Turismo 3. The particle effects during rally cross events are less than spectacular and really don't feature anything as exciting as what was found in the classic Rally Cross titles on the PSX. The CG rendered cut scenes that are revealed through the story mode are probably the best visual feature in this game, especially with the standard Ridge Racer hottie. There's obviously nothing to complain about there unless you're not into that sort of thing or don't enjoy gratuitous shower scenes.

audio

There's not much to offer up in this department in R: Racing Evolution. The sound effects are just like any other racing game and the music is extremely tacky electronica, which doesn't even fit in with the pace of this sort of racing. Ever hear really bad English dubbed J-Pop? It's sort of like that, only worse.

If you want to get into voice acting, let's not. We'll just say that a racing game with a story is fine so long as the story is told well. If a Middle School drama department could drive race cars, this is what their Fall play would sound like. There you have it. It may be an over-exaggeration, but that's what it feels like after the third or fourth monotone monologue.

gameplay

R: Racing Evolution serves up some fairly loose play mechanics and even throws in a few new things, but all together, it feels unpolished and uninspired by today's racing game standards. The controls are a little on the flimsy side with a few different schemes available. The auto-brake function works well, but can definitely be frustrating at times. Thankfully it can be turned off for the expert drivers out there. It feels as if it's the little-arcade-racer-that-could-be-a-simulation if it just tried hard enough to climb the mountain. Well, folks, it's a sad ending for the little racer that could. Without full customization options, and steering that feels like controlling a micro machine with your thumb and forefinger, this is a kiddie version of Gran Turismo 3. This could be a good thing, though, as many people find themselves frustrated with GT3's micro management system. If you happen to be one of those gamers, you'd certainly be interested in this title. Simply put, this is GT-Lite and anyone looking for anything else will be sorely disappointed.

multiplayer

Just like any other racing title with a brain, there's multiplayer here. Don't get too excited, though, since it's just like any other multiplayer racing game. Want some split screen racing? Here ya go. Have fun for a couple hours.

overall

If you're looking for a game that'll offer dozens upon dozens of hours of realistic racing and modifications, this definitely may not be your type of racer. If you're looking for something that'll keep your heart pumping and controls that are tight with lightning quick response, this certainly isn't for you. If you're looking for a racing game, Namco's got what you need right here. With such a non-diversified level of gameplay, this title fits into a tight niche of games that are really only for those people who need racing games in their lives. It certainly isn't GT3, but it is much, much better than Capcom's recent Auto Modellista. You've got to look at the brighter side of things, after all.

final score 7.0/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Austin Starr
Staff Profile | Email
"If life's not beautiful without the pain / well I'd just rather never ever even see beauty again"


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