Review by Hydroxyl
"A New Beginning. Control your Desire. Push it to the Limit."
The original Ridge Racer carried the Playstation launch years ago with it's state of the art graphics and blistering, fast-paced, arcade racing action. A few sequels later, Ridge Racer V attempted to do the same for the Playstation 2 launch. Mixing some good graphics, a rockin' soundtrack, and the same great Ridge Racer gameplay that fans of the series have learned to love, Ridge Racer V was without a doubt the best racing game you could get for the PS2 at launch, and it's still the best racing game you can get for the system today.
Ridge Racer V contains all the common modes found in most racing games like Grand Prix, Duel, Time Attack, Free Run, and more. But what sets this game apart from the rest of the pack is the amazingly fun racing action, and the absolutely perfect controls. Once you get used to the turning, I'm sure you'll find that not only does RRV control better than any other racing game on the market, it's also the most fun. The races are always full of competitive action, and there is always the perfect balance of fairness and difficulty to make each race equally exciting. Some may complain that the game's tracks aren't varied enough, but I really don't see it as a problem. Each track is an extention of the last, since all the races are held in the same city. The reason this works better than more tracks in different places of the country is because the track design is so creative and perfect on each track that it really doesn't matter. You'll have fun on each track, regardless of the setting.
RRV received much hype in the videogame world. As a premier PS2 title, there were alot of graphical expectations of RRV. While the game does manage to impress with good car models, outstanding track track design, and a fully-polygonal chick in the opening movie who looks likes she's from a CG scene straight out of the Final Fantasy series, the graphics are not without their flaws. The game suffers from clipping problems and pop-up. While these problems aren't really that bad in one-player mode, 2 player mode is a whole other story. The draw-in distance gets cuts in half, and the clipping is more severe. To top it all off, only an in the car view is available in 2 player mode. The graphical downgrade that appears when player with 2 players is just awful and really hurts the game.
The soundtracks found throughout the Ridge Racer series are often top-notch, and RRV is no exception. The game features various artists such as the Boom Boom Satellites and others. Alot of the songs are really good, and fit perfectly with the game. However, some songs aren't so good. A few of them are actually un-listenable to me. Fortunately though, you get the option in each race to put on whatever song you want, so it isn't so much of a problem. All in all, there are definitely more good songs than bad.
The sound effects are great. The cars sound realistic, and there are alot of extra neat sound effects like the echo heard while driving through a tunnel. The announcer, who has come under much scrutiny from others, I actually liked alot. He wasn't nearly as annoying as announcers found in most other racing games, and I feel he added alot of personality to the game.
Overall, I'd say that if you're in the market for a PS2 racing game, Ridge Racer V is your best bet. Despite it's flaws, it's still one of the most fun racers on the market, even if it's 2 player mode is stinky. If you're a fan of the Ridge Racer series, or arcade racers in general, this is the game for you.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 05/09/02, Updated 05/09/02
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