Opinion: Which Ridge Racer was the best?

Ah, Ridge Racer, a classic series that is no longer with us.  A racing series that once upon a time I held very near and dear to my heart. It was always that arcade racer that I could count on to get me through a bad day or just for blowing away some spare time.

I loved just about every game in that series, well except for a handful of them; I’m looking at you Ridge Racer: Unbounded and most definitely you, Ridge Racer: Driftopia. The latter of which has to be hands down the worse Ridge Racer title ever.

It was so damned bad that the game never even left beta, and while it was in Steam Early access it was pulled and unplugged as of August 15th, 2014. It was probably the best for everyone, it was a really poor quality title, something that Bandai Namco should have NEVER allowed to happen. That really saddens me as it seems that Bandai Namco has given up the ghost on a title that helped define several gaming eras on the PlayStation.

There haven’t been any announcements of any future Ridge Racer titles for any platform and maybe it’s for the best as they apparently didn’t love something that used to be considered one of their flagship titles enough to see it through and gave it to Bugbear of all companies. No disrespect to Bugbear on that matter but this is Ridge Racer we’re talking about, this should have been an in-house developed title and worked on by the same teams that made the previous titles. From people that eat, slept, and lived Ridge Racer. At least, that’s how I feel about the subject.


But enough of about the bad, instead let’s mention some of the truly outstanding gems from the once-popular series, such as; Rage Racer, Rave Racer (arcade only), Ridge Racer V and my personal favorite, R4: Ridge Racer Type 4. Those games were the stuff of arcade racing legend in my eye. The music was always great, hell right up until Unbounded and Driftopia.

There has never been a bad Ridge Racer soundtrack if I can recall. The later is also probably why an official soundtrack was never released for either of them, especially since it was typical of Bandai Namco to release an official soundtrack…. eventually.

The controls were perfect, as they had to be as you were racing around the tracks at breakneck speed. And of course the challenges. Sure it was about the racing but fans of the series can also recall those battle races where you had rivals in the form of nearly unbeatable AI drive cars that you loved to race against. Well mostly raged against them but loved it when you beat them.

Take that Devil and Angel! 

I have a lot of fond memories of the Ridge Racer series and I’m sure you do as well. In fact, I’d love to know which titles were some of your favorites. Which Ridge Racer title really got you going? Which one keeps you up at all hours as you screamed around corners, trying to become number one?  My favorite? Easily R4: Ridge Racer Type 4!

And Bandai Namco? Please make this right, please bring this once great series back and do it justice….. and keep it in-house, damn it.