"A Decent Purchase with Several Flaws"

Ridge Racer has been a semi-popular series throughout the history of gaming. It is, ironically, a racing game involving high speed drifts, speedy chases, and great graphics. However, with this came several horrible flaws that brought the score down.

Graphics:

The graphics are, to say the least, brilliant for a handheld. Although the cars have several jagged edges, the graphics as a whole are pretty brilliant. When the computer activates its nitrous, you see blue exhaust coming from the car. The smoke isn't quite "realistic", but hey, like I said, this is a handheld we're talking about here. Even compared to a Dreamcast game, Ridge Racer might have the advantage. Namco truly did all they could to make the most of the PSP's capabilities, and they did so successfully. Score: 9/10

Sound/Music:

There are many songs to choose from (and yes, you can choose) before the race. Most are techno, some with a little twist of... something added to them. However the music as a whole is quite good. The sound is a little bit different. When the engine revs it sounds nice and all, but the skidding noises are slightly odd sounding (especially on the weird surfaces). Although overall the sound isn't all that bad. Most of the time you're too busy getting lost in the tunes anyways. Score: 8/10

Gameplay:

This is a doozy. The game offers many modes -- Time Trial, World Tour, Single Race, Multiplayer, et cetera -- each with it's own "sub modes" per se. You definitely have a wide array of modes to choose from, although all of them are (obviously) racing. Ridge Racer has plenty of courses (I'd say about 20-25) and plenty of cars (maybe around 50 or 60), which ensures that variety will ensue. However, let's dive into the more technical aspects.

So you're going around a corner, you start to skid, you're in the inner lane and the computer is on the very outer lane. There are two things that have equal chance of happening: 1) Your car moves to the outside and bumps into them, giving them a huge boost and slowing you down, or; 2) They come down to the inside, you hit them, they get boosted and you slow down. You see, there's simply no way to avoid hitting the computer. Another annoyance is when your car (or the game... or the computer... I don't know who) decides to simply not turn. You just run right into the wall, and you're pressing left to get back onto the track, yet the car still runs into the wall. It also seems that the AI controlled cars can go faster than your car, even if you have nitrous going. And then that leaves you in the dust on new levels when they use nitrous. Although I will say this, through all of that, I still play the game. Regardless, serious flaws that absolutely make you mad should have been fixed by stage two. Score: 5/10

Replayability:

There isn't a whole lot to say here other than it's pretty fun to play even if you've beaten most of the tours. I will say that it sucks going to a slow class again once you have a fast one, but that still leaves you with one class to race with. Score: 8/10

Controls:

The controls are decent. However, going back to what I said in Gameplay, sometimes the car decides to "not turn" for whatever reason. This makes you think either: a) God hates you, or b) The PSP is broken. At any rate, the controls besides this flaw are manageable, with a slight learning curve. Score: 8/10

Summary:

Ridge Racer is an above average game brought down only by several horribly, excruciatingly annoying flaws. Although the gameplay is weak, Ridge Racer has set the standard for racing games to come (on the PSP) with strong graphics, sound, and replayability. Final score: 6/10


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 04/11/05


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