Review by Larcen Tyler
"Take the controls in for a tune-up and you've got a game worthy of the name Ridge Racer!"
When I first got my PlayStation, I was introduced to the simple but effective concept of racing through Ridge City thanks to a game called Ridge Racer. Later we got Ridge Racer Revolution, Rage Racer, and then R4: Ridge Racer Type 4 (nope, Ridge Racer 64 doesn't count as part of the series!) Then came the PlayStation 2, and since Namco used the original as a premise for debuting a home version of Ridge Racer, it would only seem fitting that the fifth game in the series should be placed on Sony's newest system! Despite a few control problems here and there, the fifth outing definitely shows that Namco's flagship racing game of the nineties definitely hasn't run out of gas yet!
The game runs at an extremely smooth 60 frames per second, and you'll see tidbits like sparks flying when metal makes contact with metal, dust kicks up when driving on the side of the road. You'll never see one bit of slowdown while you're on the road with this game, not even when there's a load of cars on the track or lots of buildings in the scenery.
The disc jockey of Ridge City provides commentary on the race as well as little tidbits on what's going on in Ridge City during that time. While it sounds realistic at first, after awhile it gets extremely repetitive and becomes annoying. While it's nice to have a variety of techno-style songs to choose for your racing background music, it's too bad there's no ability to pop open the CD drive and play your own CD.
The Dual Shock 2's analog buttons give the game a more realistic feel by pressing the buttons as lightly or as hard as you wish to accelerate. Unfortunately, when you're going extremely fast, when you attempt to turn, odds are you'll either end up slamming into the wall or overcompensating and ending up in a powerslide! Thankfully, with some practice, this becomes easier to avoid, but beginners may be turned off by this.
Being able to choose the name of your racing team and driver as well as the color of your car are nice for customization fans. As you win more races, you earn extra cars and engines as well as new tracks. And, of course, there are a few little 'unique' tidbits that you'll be able to unlock that you won't find in any other racing game!
If only the controls had been tuned up before the release, Ridge Racer V would have been the best racing game there was for PS2! Despite the flaws, though, you can't go wrong with Namco's flagship racing game that still goes strong after all this time!
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 01/08/02, Updated 01/08/02
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