Instead, there are online objectives. At the start of the game, you're asked to pledge your allegiance to one of four teams. Each team is given a global ranking that is based on the number of players it has and the races those players have won. You're also given a daily objective, which should give you a compelling reason to race. Sadly, it fails miserably. All of the objectives, no matter how they're worded, simply boil down to "race against a player from this team and win." That's it. There's absolutely zero variety on offer; no missions where you have to use boost, no time trials, no overtaking challenges.
Score chasers will no doubt appreciate the online leaderboards and ranking systems, but there isn't much reward for climbing the ranks, aside from a hefty speed boost at the easily attainable rank two. Likewise, the CR points you're awarded after each race let you buy upgrades for your car, but they also top out early, with an updated nitrous pack being the most thrilling on offer. Many of the upgrades are rather useless "tips," which merely list some of the upcoming upgrades--hardly the biggest incentive for competing.
Ridge Racer's one saving grace is the racing itself, which sticks to the spectacularly unrealistic, drift-based handling of the series. There's no problem hammering the accelerator during straight sections and shallow corners, but if you hit a sharper turn, you have to initiate a drift by easing off the accelerator, turning into the corner, and accelerating again. Applying subtle nudges to the steering guides the drift, ensuring your car is facing in the right direction at the end. There's a fine art to the drift; steer too much and you spin out; don't steer enough and you careen into the sides. It's an addictive system that constantly keeps you on your toes during a race. Drifting also charges your nitrous, which gives you a temporary speed boost, adding a layer of strategy to races.
Even a hefty dose of motion blur can't disguise Ridge Racer's mundane visuals.
It's racing you've seen before, though, numerous times on numerous consoles, and little has been done to change the formula. Coupled with the scandalous lack of content and compelling incentives to keep playing, Ridge Racer feels more like a cheap cash-in than a fully thought-out product. There isn't even a single new track for longtime fans to enjoy. If it were a cheap download, then it might be worth a punt, but even at its slightly "cut-down" price, it's a complete and utter rip-off. If you really, really, really need a Ridge Racer fix on the go, then it might be worth your time. For everyone else, there are better and more complete racing games in the Vita's launch lineup.