Review by Kami37
"Graphics are simply amazing, but it's still a disappointment."
This game is simply a marvel of the PS2 processing power. The idea is simple: A New Beginning, as flashes up in the intro CG. Many of the first Ridge Racer courses appear again, just revamped and with additional ''eye-candy'' graphics that made R4 the game it was.
On to a category-by-category rating, and then conclusion at the end.
This is where RRV fails. I'll admit, the game does have a higher learning curve than any other Ridge Racer game, but that's not saying a lot. I was very disappointed to find that RRV starts heading to the GT2-style skid plate on turns. It's more accurate, yet it doesn't wind up near GT2 enough to make a realistic racer. You can still hold the brake and accelerator down at the same time going into a turn, while you'll skid out if the turn is too tight. I mean, either keep it arcade style or go all the way to simulation style. Setting it halfway in between only serves to reduce the racing feel of the game. Finally, I gotta admit that the cars don't move like they did in R4. I haven't unlocked a whole lot of cars yet (just got to 99 laps race) but at this point ''I'm just not feeling the track'', so to speak. It just doesn't feel like I'm racing a fast car as it did with the past Ridge Racer games.
. . . What has been made more realistic, however, is the car-to-car collision and car-to-wall collision aspect of the game. If you glance off a wall you'll skid accordingly. If the right rear side of your car hits a wall, you'll oversteer while your heading turns to the right. This is one aspect of the game that has been vastly improved over past episodes in the series.
No ridge racer game has ever failed in the graphics category, and RRV is no exception. The game is, without a doubt, beautiful. The walls and road stay seamlessly perfect throughout the game - none of that horribly annoying ''clipping'' effect. Some of the effects that are present, such as streaming sunlight, will take your breath away. Though the game at a glance does look just like R4, when you play (especially with a faster car) the appearance of RRV truly comes out. Everything is that much clearer, that much brighter, and the contrast and brilliance of colors is amazing. I feel like R4 was on a videotape and RRV is in full, brilliant, and vivrant movie-theater film.
I enjoyed the R4 music so much I imported the Direct Audio soundtrack, and it is still the CD that spends the most time in my player. If you liked the R4 soundtrack, then it's safe to say you won't like this one. The way I feel about the RRV soundtrack compared to R4 reminds me of the way I felt about the Ridge Racer Revolution soundtrack compared to the original. A lot of ''rock'' themes have been added, and well... they kinda suck, even from a rock perspective. I truly loved the techno-jazz/trip-hop style of Rage and R4, so I'm very disappointed these haven't resurfaced. The acoustic polyphony that made R4 music famous, and did nothing less than induce pleasure for me, hasn't returrned.
I haven't even read the FAQ for the game yet, so I don't know how the unlocking system with cars works, and I really don't want to make a final stand on how replayable the game is at this point. Nevertheless RRV is a game I can play over and over again because of the great graphical elements. Besides, getting first place in every race is a bit harder than in R4 or any of the past Ridge Racer games, and this is something that makes RRV at least a little more challenging.
Well, there we have it. I have to be honest, though: the 8 that I gave the game overall was not based directly on any of the scores in the four categories I graded above. It's my overall sense of what the game is that makes the overall score. In the end, this game was disappointing because it just wasn't that fun to play. I didn't feel as good playing this game as R4, regardless of how good the graphics may have been in this version. But it's still worth the $60 I chipped out to get it with my system from Japan, and I'm sure I will enjoy playing for some time.
Have fun Ridge Racer fans. - Alex Lee, 03/23/00
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 03/23/00, Updated 03/23/00
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