Like a car totalled in a high velocity head-on collision, there's no tuning up Ridge Racer Accelerated. This poorly executed game is sadly out of the range of repair with antiquated racing mechanics and limited content.
A proper career has been foregone in favour of three modes: Arcade, Duel, and Survival. A dozen cars vie for the checquered flag in Arcade mode, which is regulated by timed checkpoints. Staying in the race means hitting each checkpoint before the clock runs out.
Duel is much the same, although instead of competing with an entire slate of entries you're racing head-to-head against the computer. Survival mode brings back the full slate with a twist: the racer in last place at the end of each lap is eliminated.
Without a career or campaign, the game lacks structure and therefore provides little motivation to invest time playing. You're not building up your profile or stats, customising cars, or touring international venues and so no lasting connection is forged with the game.
The complete omission of multiplayer - forget online, there's not even local wi-fi or Bluetooth options here - only exacerbates this problem.
Winning any of these events unlocks new cars and courses, though there's not much to earn. Only four tracks are offered, two of which are mirrored versions of the others. Plenty of cars can be unlocked - 18 split evenly between two classes - but without more venues to spin their wheels, the experience feels a bit thin.
An additional six tracks can be purchased for a reasonable $2.99, yet it would have been preferable to include everything in one package for a slightly higher price.
To be fair, Namco is promising additional cars and venues free of charge through the new year. However, we're basing our judgement of the game, as always, on its current state.
Questionable pricing isn't the reason to steer clear of Ridge Racer Accelerated - poor gameplay is all the justification you need.
Races are lacklustre in every regard, from the lack of intensity on the part of AI competitors to the drift mechanics. Computer-controlled racers roll along timidly, practically moving out of the way for you to overtake them. It's literally an exercise in passing cars as you start from last place and speed all the way to first.
What truly kills the experience, though, is the drift mechanic. Ridge Racer Accelerated controls like an arcade game from 1990, not an accelerometer-enabled portable racer in 2009. The game goes way beyond arcade into the realm of the ridiculous with your vehicle hurtling fully sideways down the track when drifting.Both hands on the wheel
Aside from looking wrong, it also just doesn't feel right. The controls aren't tight enough to provide a sense of complete mastery over your car. Since you're forced into using the accelerometer - no alternate touch control scheme is provided in the options menu - it's a matter of coping with the controls.
If you're with a handset running OS 2.2.1, chance are you won't be given the chance to deal with such issues. We were unable to successfully start the game on an iPod touch running 2.2.1 software. All of our time playing was spent on an iPhone 3GS with OS 3.1.2 installed.
Such technical problems add to the litany of missing features and flaws that have Ridge Racer Accelerated grinding to a halt. There are too many missteps to make a tune up reasonable, leaving us to wonder whether this game should be impounded.