Friday, October 31, 2014

Ridge Racer Slipstream, v 2.2.0 is a racing fan's dream!

Hello friends, I just wanted to make sure that those of you that are into racing games and have a mobile device know that Ridge Racer Slipstream is still one of the best purchases you could ever get. The developers at Invictus released this gem for Namco-Bandai last year and have been pushing patches and updates for it every few months. The most recent update, version 2.2.0 from a few months back was a superb expansion.

Players were rewarded with two new tracks, the Surfside Resort and Seacrest District. The addition of these tracks gave players a total of 12 unique courses on which to race on. These tracks could be raced in the reverse direction as well making it a possible 24 different tracks to compete on.

The two tracks originally debuted in Ridge Racer 6 for the Xbox 360. The new courses complimented the library of previous locations very well. They provided audiences with unique visuals that gave players a sense that they were indeed competing around the world.

Invictus has been working feverishly to make an already beautiful racing series truly shine on smart phones and other mobile devices. The textures are rich, lighting realistic and attention to detail astonishing. At no point does Ridge Racer Slipstream ever feel like a "watered down" version of the iconic racing series. Signs, stickers, sponsor logos and ads that only the most die-hard Namco fans could get were sprinkled liberally throughout the game. But it was far more than two courses that made version 2.2.0 stand out to audiences. The update included four of the most popular cars from franchise history.

Each car that was selected to appear in the latest build of Slipstream meant something to long-time fans. These were not random cars from the franchise but were actually based on the title cars from the most popular releases. The Kamata SYNCI for example debuted in Ridge Racer for the PSVita. This car was one of the best designed rides in the series, at least by my standards. It was a very futuristic-looking racing car with just enough details to ground it in reality. The technology behind the car was part of the canon that Namco would fold into the Ace Combat and UGSF titles. The PSVita version of Ridge Racer stirred controversy among the community because it only came with a few tracks and cars and the rest had to be purchased as downloadable content. Paying nothing extra for the SYNCI in Slipstream was a reward for the most patient fans.

Kamata actually had a second car featured in the update. The RC410 could be considered one of the best drift-type cars in the franchise. It was the cover car for Ridge Racer 7, the Playstation 3 release of the game. The amount of work that went into recreating all of the cars for smart devices could not be overstated. The developers at Invictus did a superb job at recreating the look, but even more important, the handling of the RC410. The car would just slide around corners effortlessly. Each of the cars played distinctly. Like the full-blown console versions of the game this offered fans of either grip or drift type racing to find the machine that worked best for them.

The bright orange muscle car, the Lucky & Wild Evolver was the featured ride on Ridge Racer 3D. This was the Nintendo 3DS exclusive version of the game. Lucky & Wild was representative of USA muscle car manufacturers like Dodge and Chevrolet. The Evolver was a fantastic beast, reminiscent of the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro. It was possibly the coolest muscle car in the series. That was of course with the exception of the Lucky & Wild Wisdom. I could only hope that Invictus was not finished inserting the cream of the crop into the game. Thankfully I had the SYNCI and Evolver, two of my personal favorites, to carry me through the game.

The fourth car introduced in Slipstream v 2.2.0 was the Soldat Rauna. This European supercar was featured in Ridge Racer 2 on the Sony PSP. It was a perfect balance of drift and acceleration that few cars could match. It would become the most powerful of the four new "Extreme" class cars.

Sony and Namco had worked hand-in-hand on arcade to console adaptations during the rise of the original Playstation. The company would have a version of Ridge Racer available at the launch of each new system, including the PSP. As the handheld Playstation evolved so too did the Ridge Racer series. The sequel for the PSP was one of the better efforts from the publisher. Sadly Namco scaled back production and had no new Ridge Racer announced for the release of the Playstation 4. Thankfully Slipstream remained and managed to capture the magic of the series onto a portable format. With an installed / downloaded base of over 300K units it was also one of Namco's most successful mobile titles. Hopefully Invictus would continue to release expansions for the game well into 2015.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Catching up with the summer crowd!

Hello friends, sorry for the long time between updates. Things have been insanely busy over here. Lot's of work and lots of projects. I did want to give you a glimpse as to what I had been up to since my last blog post. I had been asked to design a mural for the local YMCA Infant and Toddler Center.

It was great fun coming up with an idea that would remind kids to be happy and playful all of the time. Thanks to the volunteers for helping paint it together, especially when we sketched it out on a 100+ degree day!

There was a formal dedication during the parent and teacher night and I was asked to sign it. The kids gathered around as I put my name on the mural. It was an honor!

I have been busying myself writing some new posts. First off there will be a new primer for the Agents of Shield that I am working on. The previous one was at but the new one will be on a Disney site called Mice Chat. I don't know when the series will go up but it should help people get caught up with the television show as well as the other projects that Marvel is putting together in film and gaming.

Speaking of big companies and major announcements... most of you know that I am a HUGE fan of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. A walk-around version of the character appeared at Disney's California Adventure. I was there on opening day along with other die-hard Oswald fans, like animator Tara Billinger. She's the one with red hair in the picture. Expect to see lots more news about Oswald on this blog in the upcoming weeks.

I am also putting together some random art projects in 3D. They will have a decidedly Disney theme and should provide a unique challenge to help keep my art skills up.

Last but not least I do have another Street Fighter blog series in the works. This will probably be my history to end all histories in fighting games. I hope you stick around for that! Until the new content arrives I ask that you be patient and keep visiting.