With The FREE DLC it's better than all the advance reviews give it credit for.
Already we have a Free DLC pack to help with the small amount of content included on the 'cartridge'. So we're only up to 5 tracks and 5 cars now. It's still just looks and feels better than either of the other racing games I demo'd. Several music tracks were included in the DLC as well. I didn't care much about having the new music, but it did confirm my suspicions that this game just wasn't ready at the scheduled release.
New cars, tracks, music, online matchmaking, improved graphics, and frame rate... all included in a Free DLC on the day of release.
All of the reviews I've seen so far were done in advance of the release day patches, and therefore are excluding that this game was still under construction. I don't have enough information to justify or mock them for not having it ready. But I will say that with the version I purchased the value has gone up since Gamespot or IGN reviewed Ridge Racer Vita. I think with some more DLC support we'll all agree it's a decent racer. And certainly it's a solid release window title now that it's been appropriately updated.
For better or for worse we have to accept that software companies will regularly begin relying on the time between the production of the physical discs and the store release date. Many games have updates waiting online from the moment you unpack them. Inlcuding triple A titles such as Battlefield 3, Saints Row 3, and my Modern Warfare 3 wouldn't connect online the first several days until a fix was posted. It is quite possible just the way of the future.
The only concern here is that patches like this one 288mb will eventually fill up a smaller memory card. So in that one respect it does detract from the value of this game. But if it was content intended for the original release well then the space was going to be taken up either way.
All-in-all, a solid little racer that while light on content, is solid for casual to mid-dedicated racers. The core gamer racing title just isn't here yet. If you want a racing game now this one should keep you busy just until something more immersive does get released.