As the number of gamers increase, gamers on the whole are looking for increasingly different qualities in their games. Even with a small selection of racing games to choose from, the 3DS has done a good job releasing a variety of games, each with specific strengths. So dismiss your ideas of “the general racer” instilled by years of abuse from the Gran Turismo franchise, and be happy that the 3DS probably has what you’re looking for.
For your convenience, I’ve identified five games’ greatest assets in terms of playability:
Graphics: Ridge Racer 3D
At some point, the developers decided that they had enough with this whole “video game thing”, and decided to make Fast and the Furious a playable experience. Seriously, Google this game and browse some of the images. Sitting down to play this game shows a person what is possible with the 3DS’s graphics, and makes a gamer excited for future titles.
In terms of gameplay, RR 3D does nothing that the Ridge Racer games hasn’t done before. Customizeable cars, duel modes, different drifts, and different racing modes continue a gameplay fans will be familiar with. Familiar, maybe, but overall this game is probably the most solid racer currently available for the 3DS.
Multiplayer: Mario Kart 7
Mario Kart has followed a formula that has become something of a tradition. You pick familiar characters from the Mario universe, crazy items that disrupt the entire match throw the track into chaos, and the physics vaguely resemble real life as your cart jumps a ramp and flies off a glowing, rainbow track into the abyss.
And boy is it fun.
Mario Kart 7 delivers the way the Wii and N64 versions did (don’t get me started on Double Dash), giving free hours of awesome to anyone who has friends with 3DS’s.
The high variability with the number of items, carts, and tracks means each game is decidedly different, making multiplayer endlessly addictive.
Difficulty: F1 2011
Named F1 after Formula 1, the famous Grand Prix racing series, this game features graphics that are relatively standard to the 3DS. What stands out from the 2010 version of this game are the implementation of additional racing physics. This doesn’t seem to have made the game more difficult, rather increase the complexity of the game.
DRS, or drag reduction system, is an engineering method to reduce air resistance against the car. KERS, or kinetic energy recovery system, is a type of engine that stores a percentage of energy that would be converted to friction, and saves it to help the car accelerate when the gas pedal is pressed again. What makes this game interesting that the KERS was added into the 2011 F1 racing series, after skipping a year.
What this all means is that depending on the car you pick, these additional layers of additional driving means greater gameplay depth. Unfortunately, to new players, these added mechanisms make the controls feel foreign and difficult.
To further complicate the game, the computers’ AI have been ramped to a point where the game difficulty is very high. Being able to stomp the computer means being able to trounce your friends in multiplayer. If you’re looking for a challenge, this is definitely the game for you.
RPG Fans: Chocobo Racing 3D
The RPG fanbase is huge. This game is for dedicated Final Fantasy players like Super Smash Brothers was for Nintendo fans. The controls are average, the graphics are under average, but the easter eggs, inside jokes, and chocobos are plentiful.
Most Entertaining Failure: Asphalt 3D: Nitro Racing
Bear with me for this one.
Have you ever played a game because of the bugs and glitches? Anyone familiar with the phrase “You’re Winner!” will understand.
This is the only game I’ve ever played where tire marks are made in mid-air, above my tires, instead of on the road. This is one of the few games proud to allow me to drift through other vehicles. If our generation was older and had seats on the Supreme Court, Asphalt 3D would be rendered unconstitutional.
But, through this haze of failed expectations comes a neat surprise: hours of fantastic multiplayer! The competition quickly changes from trying to win to trying to break the game, and hilarity will ensue. I very seriously enjoyed playing this game, for all the wrong reasons. Don’t say I didn’t tell you so, but buy this only for laughs. Preferably from a garage sale or Craigslist.