Review by Galactus21
"All things considered..."
As you drive through the busy streets of Ridge City, with the wind gushing through your hair and speeds that propel you backwards, racing has always been about the rush. The momentary adrenaline rush rivals any other high that you get. Who can blame them? You're driving on the open street going over a hundred miles, with the scenery being nothing but a blazing blur as you zip by. You're on top of the world. You drive a fast car, with an amazing girl in the passenger seat of your grand prize. Nothing can top that; unless you have a rival that drives a faster car, with a hotter girl. In Ridge Racer V, you take to the streets once again to face your rivals in a battle for the supremacy of the mean streets.
Having played Ridge Racer 6 on the Xbox 360, I felt a sudden urge to catch up on the previous games in the series. It was only logical to work backwards in descending order. Despite 6 being a fairly disappointing game, I felt obliged to give its predecessors a go. While there certainly are things that I liked about the fifth edition more so than the sixth, there were also problems that didn't exist in the sixth that are prevalent in the fifth. It was like a trade off. The things that Ridge Racer 6 corrected from V, it went backwards with some of its mechanics by ignoring some of the success of the past game.
Ridge Racer V certainly bolsters a much stronger A.I. There are definitely no freebies anymore. Playing on normal mode, I thought the A.I did a good job of cutting you off on your passes, and did a good job at the sharp turns to stay in the race. In Ridge Racer 6, it was all but over after the first lap. V keeps things interesting till the end. Like Economics, this was only a short-term tradeoff, as RRV's controls felt rigidly stiff. The 360 counterpart had fluid controls that allowed for easy turns and quick maneuvering. This becomes a problem with V because the controls don't respond that well when you are trying to make the sharp corners.
But it's not fair to compare this to a future incarnation, although I have played said game. Considering the date of the game, there were less competition and the mechanics weren't outdated then. Taking that into account, Ridge Racer V is definitely a solid racing game, with solid fundamentals to keep things interesting. With a good portion of the race tracks offering variety and substance, RRV has key aspects that are essential to any solid racer. It's a shame that the controls were lacking because the potential is there.
Blazing through the interstate at high speeds is an adrenaline rush felt by many.
Given the date of the release, I can understand some of the issues because games improve over time. It's hard to compare the first Mario Bros. game with the most recent. But even with that said, Ridge Racer V's lackluster controls are inexcusable. While it's tolerable for the most part, the instances that the controls give out are enough to stick out like a sore thumb. If Namco opted for the analog sticks as the control mechanism, I believed it would have allowed for the turns to work better.
After buying a 360, playing the many PS2 games after this one, and being a launch game itself, it's a very good looking game with all things considered. With a beautifully crafted world for racers to blaze through, coupled with the nicely detailed cars, it's nothing but a racer's dream. You have a smoking car and slick roads for you to race. These are 2 crucial elements to a street race.
Upon hearing the very first lines, I was reminded of the horrific voiceovers in Ridge Racer 6. Now I know where they got those lines from. If it isn't broken, then don't fix it. But in this case, if it's broken, then it definitely needs to be fixed. The cheesy one-liners are once again problematic. Once again, I rather turn on some preferred music, then listen to this junk. The out of date music doesn't help either. While the tone of music felt right, the particular songs in question offered were definitely not.
All things considered, Ridge Racer V is a fairly solid game. Albeit the substandard controls, it just about does everything better than its future counterpart, when you consider the time difference between the two. This was a launch game and it surprisingly has held up well and for that alone, it should be applauded. Currently there are better racers on the PS2, but if you've played them all, it certainly won't hurt to include this one. It would be a solid addition to any racing fan. The cheap price that you can find it for now certainly helps its cause. Solid, cheap, and fun, what more can you ask for?
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 08/01/06
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