Review by Flashman

"Ahhh, the fresh feeling of disappointment"

For a large period of the time before the release of the PS2, my opinion as to my favourite racing game was constantly changing between Gran Turismo 2, and the precursor to this game, R4. I suppose R4 is truly my favourite, as it hasn't been eclipsed by a sequel, whereas Gran Turismo 2 is all but unplayable now. Anyways, my love for R4 caused me to choose Ridge Racer V as the game I would buy at the launch of the PS2. October 26 was to be a great day for me, but when I tried RRV, I thought ''this doesn't feel right at all....OH!, it must be the analogue buttons''. I could not get the buttons to feel a decent pressure, so I switched to digital. This is where my hopes fell apart. The car was nigh impossible to control (I did try all of the available cars) and the game proved itself to be a tedious exercise in braking. RRV is not a bad game, it just stands out due to the exceeding quality of its predecessor. I tried to like this game, but even after mastering the controls, there was little enjoyment to be had.

Graphics: 8/10 --Nice looking game, I quite like the car designs and the overall visual theme. The famed ''jaggies'' make a clear appearance here, but in this case it serves only to sharpen the graphics.

Sound: 7/10 --It sounds like racing, and the noises are at a convincing volume. I don't much like the radio chatter, as the announcer is actually distracting at times. Few of the songs are enjoyable, and the overall feeling from the audio is one of a game desperately trying to sound like an arcade port.

Controls: 5/10 --Most of the game will be spent accelerating too quickly and then desperately braking/drifting to avoid hitting the walls, with a high failure rate. Drifting cars tend to oversteer and spin out. The controls of R4 were also much more intuitive, as the courses gave a sense of when to turn, and the exact pressure to use (People who have played R4 should understand). This setup felt entirely natural, and it is sorely missed in RRV.

Gameplay: 7/10 --A considerable amount of modes such as Grand Prix, Time Attack, Multiplayer and so on keeps RRV diverse enough to hold your interest.

Fun Factor: 6/10 --Too much time spent fighting the controls, and the occasionally irritating sound stop what could've been a joy to play.

Extras: 8/10 --Namco loaded this game with extras like new modes to unlock (Duel) and rewards for persistence (Pac-man race). Adding extras to an essentially bare-bones game adds longevity and is something to be applauded. (Sega take note; Crazy Taxi is far too short).

Overall: 7/10 --It's a decent game saddled with some flaws. Some may overlook these flaws, and if so RRV is an excellent game, but if average at best controls are unacceptable to you, I recommend a rental first.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 05/27/02, Updated 05/27/02

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