Review by Ap

"Fast, attractive and extremely playable, what more could you ask for?"

I have been a huge fan of the ridge racer series even since I purchased Rage Racer for the psx. I got hooked due to the sheer adrenaline rush it gave me when I made it through the tiny gap between a wall and another car, while drifting round a hairpin bend at 250 kph. Ridge Racer V puts you in more situations like these. While maybe making it slightly easier to pull off, it doesn't take away the buzz.

Graphics: 8
Ok, compared to Rage and R4, the detail isn't as good. But this doesn't mean the game looks dull. Of what there is, its very well presented. There's no pop up whatsoever, and the frame rate is extremely good. This game gives a great feeling of speed, so this could be the reason for, not lack of, but not extreme detail.
The cars look good, the shape of them is a bit square, but they are colourful and varied.

Sound/Music: 7
Sound of the engines is average. But what makes a good engine noise anyway, the noise of a car is the noise of a car. I guess they sound different for more powerful cars etc, but I'm not the kind of person that pays attention to how good the sound of an engine is. Who cares, really.
Musicwise I was a bit disappointed at first, there were no catchy tunes. But after a few hours playing, there were a couple of songs that I loved, then a couple more, until I liked most of them.
There is an announcer in the form of a DJ who tells you the name of the track your about to race, and also when you take a corner particularly well he says one of about 3 comments. Yes it gets repetitive but you don't tire of it because he says it just after you've done a good corner :P

Gameplay: 10
Some might say that driving in this game is too easy compared to the likes of Gran Turismo, due to the fact that you can go through the whole game and master it without ever using the brake button. I say its just extremely playable. For those of you not familiar with the ridge racer series there are 2 ways you can drive, drift or grip. You make your choice by which car you choose to drive.
Grip driving has your tyres pretty much glued to the road on turns where you slow down, but not so that it feels wrong. When you enter a corner and let go of the accelerator, your turning circle increases dramatically. Turning too much has you crashing into the inside corner, the key is knowing when to put your foot back on the gas.
Drift cars are more challenging to drive at first, but once you get the hang of it you'll never go back to grip. Drifting round a corner looks spectacular in the replays, and you'll have a real feeling of satisfaction when you do it perfectly round a hairpin, especially when the announcer goes ''Excellent cornering!''
The structure of the game is split into numerous grand prix's of increasing difficulty. Each one is a collection of 4 races, where you have to finish in the top 4,3,2,1 in teach race respectively. Later grand prix's differ from this where you have to win every race but most follow this suit.
There are other types of races also which you unlock by beating records in time attack mode, driving alot, and as a reward for using hard mode....
The races themselves are thoroughly enjoyable/frustrating due to the intelligent AI, GT3 take note. The cars don't just drive a predetermined path, they try to block you off and so make overtaking a satisfying, and yes also frustrating when the computer gets the better of you :P But this is a good thing.

Replay Value: 10
The ridge racer series are the only games where I find time attack mode really fun. I can play for hours trying to get a perfect lap, and when I do there's still an improvement I can see that will decrease my time further.
Grand Prix mode takes a while to beat, as do the numerous unlockable modes, apart from a certain novelty mode... which you'll probably beat on the first go. Time attack mode will last you aslong as you want it to.

Conclusion 9: This is a really fun enjoyable experience, for veterans of the ridge racer series, and newcomers alike. If you were disappointed by the drop of difficulty from Rage to R4, this puts it up again, and time attack mode is still as enjoyable as ever. My only flaws in this game are the fact that when switching difficulties, you are in effect starting a new game, and while this is ok for replaying grand prix's and such (you shouldn't be able to transfer previously completed grand prix's from easy to hard, just cause you couldn't beat them on hard ), your time attack records don't get transferred either. This is a big flaw if you have put many hours into time attack before deciding you want to move up to the hard difficulty, and you need to do this to complete the game fully (Luckily I switched quite early on because I consider myself an expert at the ridge series :P). Due to this I advise starting the game in hard mode to avoid any frustration.
Other than that this game is near-perfect.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 12/27/02, Updated 12/27/02

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