Ridge Racer is a classic racing series by Namco, and it incorporates an arcade racing feel with a Gran Turismo feel. It has great driving looks and cars that look realistic, while incorporating that arcade feel when driving.
Ridge Racer was a great racing game when it launched with the PSP in North America, and I still enjoy taking it out to play. Ridge Racer is probably my favorite racing game on the PSP next to Burnout. While Burnout came out later, and it had more of an arcade extreme feel to it. Ridge Racer has a more racing feel to it, while keeping some of those arcade ideas. What I mean with the arcade ideas, is the realism of the game. Sometimes your car heads toward a sharp turn at 100mph, yet it turns with ease. And the cars resemble real cars, but have fake made up names. But the realism comes in with the driving, and some of the physics. The cars react well like they would in real life, and the driving has no “hitches” like rockets or giant crashes. I think Namco was looking for more of a realistic game, but the arcade feel to it makes it really fun.
The game can be played in tour mode (career mode) single race, time attack, or ad-hoc multiplayer (8 players max). The tour mode is simple and requires no knowledge of the game. You just have to complete different sets of races (usually about 3 races in a set), and at the end of every race, you usually unlock a course or a car. While games like these sometimes fail because there is almost no point to the game, it is ok for this game, because it was designed to be an arcade racer.
The controls are very simple, and they are what you would expect from a standard PS2 or PS3 racing button layout. X is accelerate, ⁬ is brake, and R is nitrous. You also have your view change button but it is rarely touched. So, even if you are a hard-core PS2/PS3 racer or a causal gamer/ the controls are guaranteed fool-proof.
Drifting is a huge part of Ridge Racer. When you go around turns, the car automatically starts drifting, and you can gain nitrous this way. It makes the game more fun and cool looking. It is sometimes hard to keep the drift steady, but it is a cool way to add a little fun to the game.
It is foolproof and fun, it gets progressively harder, but it starts out simple enough for the average person/gamer to figure out. There is a simple goal and it is progressive through the game. Even though this was designed as an arcade styled game, I’m sure Namco could have stuck something in there that would brighten up the game a little bit. While the gameplay may be a little dry, it will keep you busy for awhile, and I rate the gameplay an 8.4/10
The graphics were top of the line compared to others when it launched, and I do give it credit for that. In some situations, it can compete with other PSP games. This game wasn’t meant for graphics though, but the cut-scenes and intro are truly outstanding if you want to look for some sweet graphics. Back when this game was launched, I would have given this games graphics an extremely high score, but now they are average, so I give it a 9.0/10. I know Namco couldn’t do anything about the graphics after the release, but compared to PSP games now, its average-excellent.
The ability to choose your song before a race (not from your memory stick though) was a cool idea, and the overall engine sounds and other things like that are great. Not to mention that mysterious guy who is always telling you, “You can pass him!” or “Hey! Watch where you are driving!” The sound is great, but I think they could have offered other types of music in the game besides techno/disco music. The music is great for racing though. Overall I give the sound a 9.5/10, even though I’ll never listen to techno.
This was a great game which I rented from blockbuster shortly after I got my PSP back in 2005. I liked it so much that I decided to go back recently and rent it again. I have almost completed the game, and it is very enjoyable. Ridge Racer is a great game, but you should rent it first. This is one of those games that some people will like and some people will not like. Overall, I give the game an 8.7/10.