Review by Dexterbrain

Reviewed: 09/21/05

Hey, someone's right on your tail (I had to say it!!!)

Ridge Racer is now pretty much a tradition on Sony consoles. It launched the PS1 (to great applause), and it launched the PS2 (to not so much applause). On the PSP, I will grant this game great applause. I mean, sure it's unoriginal and all done before, but dammit, if Ridge Racer ever changes, the world around would collapse! Namco have perfected many things about this game. Take the graphics as an example. I have seen quite a few racing games (e.g. Colin Mcrae Rally 2005) on the PSP where the graphics are far from brilliant, but here Namco have not just made the visuals very lush, they even had the audacity to make the thing move at 60fps!!! Who do they think they are doing that with a PSP? (*GEEKY BIT* Although saying this, a friend of mine says that cel shading is used in the game. This is a graphical technique that takes up much less memory, thus making it easier for a processor to process. If this is the case, they have masked it very well, an attribute to the graphics team *GEEKY BIT END*)

It isn't merely a graphical issue though. In terms of content there is plenty for your money, 12 tracks (24 when driven backwards), loads of cars and challenges, all you need for a good drive around without getting bored with the same old thing. The tracks are varied, although saying that if you are old like me (hey I'm only 21!) you will remember several of them. I still maintain that Rage Racer is the best of the Ridge Racer series, so to see two of its tracks on here warms my bitter little heart no end. In fact, you get tracks from most of the RR games, including Rave Racer, the arcade racer with a very fruity pink cabinet! Now you can race those tracks and not hide your face from people you know whilst racing them (hey, some guys just don't like pink). For you youngsters out there, this is an education in classic racing! Most of the cool stuff you will have to unlock my winning races, and there is some really cool stuff here (I won't give it away to you by saying what it is, but if you are into the more crazy of Namco's car ideas you are in for a treat!)

I think some wise man once gave this advice to me:

Every single day of your life, you can rely on these three things:
1. The sun will rise
2. The sun will set
3. RR games will have the same handling mechanics, and never, ever change. Ever.

I may just have imagined that. However, if true, he was very wise, as even on the PSP the handling is the same. On pretty much every RR game the 'drifting' technique (the art of sliding a car around a bend at stupid speeds) was the central mainstay in them, and good job as well. The handling made the game that bit more interesting than other arcade and console games, and on the PSP it is extremely well replicated. However, now there is a new addition that rewards drifting. Yes, at last those wusses that wuss out of drifting and go for the clean type of drive with no flashiness are being discriminated against for being the wusses that they are! For you see, for the first time EVER on RR, there is nitrous! This stuff allows you to go much faster than normal by activating a boost action, and you earn this stuff by doing fast drifts. The faster you go, the more you get! So now not only will you look totally awesome by drifting corners, you will be rewarded for your wrecklessness too! Overall don't think total overhaul here, think tweaking an already great game to make it better.

One thing I have to comment on is the speed of the game. RR has been known to do some insane speeds that require pinpoint driving to get right if you don't want to wreck your car like so many of us have. On the PSP though I just don't feel as though it is as fast as its predecessors. However, seeing how the PSP screen is so small, this may just be a deliberate consideration by the development team to make the game playable. Thought I would bring it up though because I know that there are a lot of speed freaks around!

All in all I will give this game a nine, simply because I'm not one of these people who moan about how unoriginal this game is. This game kept me glued to my PSP from launch to completion, and any game that can do that is worth my money, as well as hopefully yours.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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