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Ridge Racer (PSP)

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7 Reviews

Genre: Racing / Driving, Rating: E - (Everyone), Manufacturer: Namco

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    7 Reviews
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      03.02.2010 16:44

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      The Emperor's New Clothes

      Ridge Racer is a fun PSP racing game that awakens a certain nostalgia for anyone who has played the original games on the PS1 and PS2. There's a lot of positives here - a great soundtrack, impressive visuals, and a whole ton of tracks, but it feels more like a quickly thrown together anthology than a new game outright, and feels dated as a result.

      Visually, this is an immense looking game; it's extremely good looking and possibly the best looking PSP game, making mince meat of the Burnout games for sure (even though they do look good). The vehicular lighting effects are particularly impressive, and given the sheer level of detail on screen at any one time, it's amazing that the frame rate remains steady at 60 FPS. Aurally, it's also superb, and impressively includes the soundtracks from all the previous games, while introducing some more. The car sounds are also very meaty and realistic sounding.

      Ridge Racer's gameplay feels a bit stuck in the past, though; the physics in particular are rather ropey, and there's no getting around how dated that seems given the incredible physics of the Burnout and Gran Turismo games. The only new addition is the now-ubiquitous Drift feature, where you can power slide around parts of the course to shave seconds off of your race time, but this isn't enough when it's quite lazily designed (not really allowing you to properly drift by yourself), and the maps are mostly just recycled tracks from the previous games.

      This could have been an amazing game, but settles for being just "good" instead. If you've played the other games, there's not much more here except some improved visuals, and given how advanced racers are getting, this game feels incredibly antiquated and outdated.

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      09.01.2010 12:53
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      Overall a good racing game in the series

      Ridge Racer on the PSP really shows off the system's capabilities to a great extent and Sony have released a good version of this game that is fun and enjoyable to play. There are so many racing games out there it can be confusing which ones to try and which not, but this one is right up there as one of the best.

      I found this to be very smooth when racing and it really makes you feel like you're burning down the tracks at top speed when you unlock some of the faster cars. The environments look fantastic that you can race in and the definition of the roads is high quality with sharp graphics. There is even different light reflections on the surface of the tracks that make it seem even more realistic.

      When you are in a race and you collide with other cars it slows you down but doesn't destroy your car as in some race games. There are powerslides in the game that you can use to get around sharp corners etc. You can store up three boosts to unleash extra speed. The other cars in the race however don't actually do too much to block you or stop you passing and tend to keep to their own race lines which is a little disappointing in the game. I was hoping there would be more intelligence from the computer but there wasn't. It makes things a bit easier but there are further challenges to be had in the form more difficulty and speed as you progress through the world tour.

      In regards to controls it's relatively simple and you can use the analog disc or the directional pad. You have gas, brake and nitro buttons, plus there is the option to switch between two different view perspectives: first-person or third-person.

      There are various modes you can try. You can either just get into a one-off race or take part in the world tour mode which I prefer. With this mode there is more challenge and interest as you enter a series of races that get more and more difficult as you go along. You can save after each race which is handy as this breaks things up rather than having to sit there for too long in one go. If you win a series then you get the chance to unlock new faster cars and other tracks which keeps the replay potential high. If you can connect with someone else with the game then playing multi-player is more fun as a real person offers better competition that hte computer generated cars and drivers.

      If you are a fan of these sort of games then I would recommend this one for the PSP as it's all action and if you can get over the fact that the computer cars don't off too much of a challenge, there is plenty of other stuff to get your teeth into. Overall it's pretty impressive.

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      14.08.2009 13:59
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      Ridge Racer revitalised as a near-perfect handheld experience

      Playing Ridge Racer really rams home just how far handheld gaming has come in such a short time. As a technical showpiece for the PSP, it's a hugely impressive launch title and more importantly, feels completely at home on a portable. It makes for an exhilarating arcade racing experience, rekindling memories of a golden era when Namco's flagship racer was at the forefront of console gaming.

      Rather than an out and out new instalment, Ridge Racer consists mostly of elements featured in previous instalments of the franchise. It has two tracks from each of the four original PlayStation incarnations as well as the arcade-only Rave Racer, plus two new ones adapted from this game. So, if you've been counting that's a dozen racetracks, plus a dozen more thanks to the as-ever amply used reverse courses. Almost without exception the tracks are excellent, and though most were devised in the nineties, visually Namco have done a stellar job of revamping them, to the point where they're not all that far short of PS2 standards.

      Whilst fellow early PSP racer WipEout Pure struggled a little bit without effective analogue control, Ridge Racer suffers no such setbacks and works brilliantly with the D-Pad. After all, most of the series early console outings were developed specifically with this method of control in mind. It's perfectly balanced with a beautifully receptive feel to the powerslides, making it one of a select bunch of racers that plays better from the bumper camera. This gives you an incredible impression of the speed it travels at, whilst you'll also get a more precise feel of how much your car is oversteering during slides, thus making them easier to correct than the outboard view.

      In-game the courses are extremely attractive, though you won't necessarily notice the painstaking detail that's gone into them due largely to the incredible velocity you'll be travelling at which, particularly in the special speed class, is a sight to behold. You'll barely have time to blink, yet the game never suffers at any time from a lagging frame-rate. It's much sharper than the PSOne games, the cars are more solid, and the lighting effects markedly improved - in particular the lovely beams of sunlight cast on the road surface during the rural courses.

      The tracks themselves offer countless highlights, both aesthetic and gameplay related. Downtown Rave City, new to this edition, draws together all that's so dynamic about the RR universe. Rounding the first corner leads you to the sight of a wondrous but seemingly distant, neon-streaked city skyline, but as you launch off a jump that seems to last forever, you find yourself cascading towards such buildings just a few seconds later. This is followed by the kind of speedy, winding tunnels that have for so long been synonymous with the series and once you're through these you're treated to a gorgeous Ferris wheel lit up against the night sky. Such is the level of detail that even the reverse course has distinctive features in its own right; racing the same track from the opposite direction reveals a palace accompanied by an impressive fireworks display. Another area where Namco never fail to impress is in its presentation and here is no different; the clinical, white menu screens are superbly stylish and along with the glowing head-up display, it's first-class travel all the way.

      Although the nitrous system is the only attempt to tamper with the seemingly-evergreen simplicity of the Ridge Racer formula, it's a good one. Basically, powersliding at speed fills your nitrous bars, which can then be used with a tap of the 'R' shoulder button to deliver a short but blistering turn of pace. It's more tactical than you'd think, as finding a stretch of straight road is particularly important to implementing it successfully and if you can maintain your extra velocity through some high-speed slides, you can quickly refill your nitrous.

      Considering how many sources the circuits have been drawn from, it's commendable how well they all fit together. You still get the satisfaction of bombing along the original Ridge Racer's seaside roads and Rage Racer's intensely steep urban climbs, but whereas the former used to seem garishly bright and the latter harsh and gritty, the visual facelift has meant they fit alongside in perfect accord, whilst retaining much of what made them distinctive to begin with. As if all this wasn't nostalgic enough, there's also a healthy selection of classic Ridge Racer background music to play during the races, as well as remixes and new tunes, a good majority of which sound fine on the PSP's speakers.

      Of course, such effective mimicry of the Ridge Racer blueprint means the odd small flaw inevitably still lingers. Though you'll face eleven other cars in the standard race format, the A.I. is as dull as ever. Starting at the back of the field, you must make your way to the front within the three laps, in effect making your race against the clock the true priority. Particularly in the harder races, you'll come to view the first five or six cars not so much as competitors, but mobile targets that must be avoided so as not to lose precious time, as the clumsy (though at least marginally improved) collisions can be very costly. Ridge Racer is undoubtedly best in high-speed situations and across the majority of the courses, the difficulty level has been pitched at a competitive but fair level. However, the Greenpeak Highlands and Silvercreek Dam tracks threaten to unbalance things with hyper-competitive A.I. and an extremely difficult set of narrow twists and turns which, it's fair to say, don't play to the games strong suits, as it becomes difficult to stop your car from sliding uncontrollably. With a good deal of perseverance you'll pull through, but chances are if you are going to get stuck on any of the races, it will be these two.

      A long-standing criticism of the Ridge Racer series in general has been its games lack of longevity; after all, in the past you could generally count yourself lucky if you had more than three tracks to race on. The PSP edition however has a meaty stack of tournaments for the player to tackle, most commonly consisting of three to four races and thus making it ideal for quick sessions. The Basic, Pro and EX tours offer up a hefty thirty-nine tournaments between them spread across seven speed classes, and success in the various events leads to new cars, tracks and archive video footage from the older games being uncovered. As well as the fifty-plus ordinary cars available, you can also acquire versions of the insanely speedy Angel, Devil and PacMan cars by beating them in some tricky but enjoyable head-to-head challenges. There's a huge amount of longevity for new comers and a good few weeks worth of play for old hands too. Completing all thirty-nine tournaments will reveal the elite Max tour; it had potential to produce a spectacular finale but is spoiled somewhat by the A.I.'s suspiciously frequent use of nitrous along with the blatant handicapping you experience when you overtake, only to find your opponents belting back past to you or jamming themselves into the side of your car.

      This doesn't spoil what is a truly excellent racing game. After years in the wilderness, it's great to see Ridge Racer back near its best and it clearly revels in portable form, losing none of style, speed or flare. It's visually stunning, fantastic to play and will keep you hooked far longer than its home-console racing equivalents, and as such, is a must-have for any PSP owner.

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        26.06.2009 13:36
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        A Great Game

        When i first bought this game i was expecting quite a lot from it, i had played some of the earlier ones when i was younger and i am really glad to say that this one definately did not dissappoint.

        Basically the aim of the game is to get around a track as quickly as you possibly can, sounds pretty straight foward doesn't it. Here is the twist, in Ridge Racer the only way you can get around the track is by drifting every corner. Right now you are probably thinking exactly the same thing as i thought when i first bought this game, that would be pretty much impossible, but you are wrong, it is actually really easy.

        The graphics, the graphics on this game are actually quite good, the cars and the track are illustrated it high detail. The only dissappointment with the graphics of this game is that no matter how much you crash and shunt your car it doesnt get damaged what so ever.

        The storyline, i love career mode in this game as it seems to be almost never ending, it took me ages and ages to complete it.

        The driving experience, this is also a great upside to this game, it is really fun and you are constantly getting better at drifting with every race, also it is really addictive so you will never get bored.

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        26.05.2008 18:56

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        A Great little racer that people of all ages will love.

        The racing game that started them all on the PSX is back and this time in handheld form. The funny thing about Ridge Racer is that back when it came out it was a revolution in racing games, it looked amazing and played better than anything that had been before it, but strangley enough only had a couple of cars and a few tracks to play.

        All that has changed now however as you are presented with a decent array of motor racers to pick from and a few nice tracks too not to mention the ability to unlock some tracks and cars too the more you get into the game.

        The graphics are excellent and a good reflection of how great a PSP game can look, great colouring and the detail around the trakcs is impressive.

        Gameplay is fine, a little tough to get used to at first for a racing game especially the braking system but once mastered this is a fun game to be playing.

        The music in the background whilst you play is really good, it's always upbeat and fits in really well with the high tempo racing on the screen.

        Although this maybe isn't as fast or addictive as Burnout there definitley is a place for Ridge Racer in your PSP pile, a fun racer that looks great and passes travel time well.

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        18.05.2008 17:17
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        Nice smooth easy to play racing game for the PSP

        Ridge Racer is a long running car racing game which I first played on the original Playstation. I've acquired this game, which was released three years ago now, for the PSP and it's well worth picking up if you're a fan of the genre.

        The style of play is very standard for this type of game, you can play a single race, do time trials to beat your own score or compete in the world series around different tracks and with different cars.

        On the positive side, the game controls are very easy to use and you can get straight into the game playing. I only ever use automatic control cars, so the controls are simply the directional arrows plus the X button. If you slide well around corners you can though pick up nitrous which makes you go faster for a short period.

        I'm not very good, nor very patient, at this type of game, so I'm still stuck on the basic courses, although only one win away from the next level! There are though tens and tens of races to go through, and reading from a games site, the top levels are so hard that even the programmers have only ever won at that level twice. Not that I'll ever get that far! It does mean though that there is a difficulty setting which is suitable for everyone.

        On the negative side, it is all a bit samey after a while. There aren't that many tracks, I haven't unlocked them all yet, but there appears to be 8, and sometimes the direction is reversed, bringing a total of 16 different tracks. The moves are similar and so with each race being about 6 minutes, sometimes it does get a bit repetitive.

        You generally start on the track at the back, twelfth out of twelve cars. The other cars don't seem to be very well programmed to respond to your actions. They rarely block you, just might speed up with their own nitrous when you get near. So it sometimes doesn't feel like much of a race in the traditional sense.

        I haven't played in two-player mode yet, but this wireless facility is available to play others users, and I imagine that this would be a really good way to play, as you would be playing someone where you could compete directly against, rather than the rather dull computer programmed cars.

        The scenery around the tracks is pleasant and interesting enough, certainly diversionary enough to be of interest the first few times you play each lap. After a while though I just kept my eyes on the track as I went through the ever increasingly harder levels.

        As you progress through those levels, more cars are unlocked, more tracks and even a sub-game is unlocked if you progress far enough. These additions certainly do add to the game, and increase your interest in just trying to get a bit further.

        If you want, there is an option to play a game for a set amount of time, say, 6 minutes, or 10 minutes, and the PSP works out a route for you. I quite enjoy this, it's definitely one of those games which you can pick up for a few minutes to have a quick game in between doing something else.

        So overall, a good enjoyable game. The car movement is smooth, there isn't too much loading time between races, so the game is very rarely frustrating. I'll certainly keep plodding away at the game for a few more times, just dreaming that I could reach the higher levels!

        Definitely worth picking up as the game is available at reasonable prices on-line at the moment.

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          13.03.2008 22:02
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          Fantastic Fun

          I'm a big fan of racing games and this one definately holds a top ten spot. The ever popular Ridge Racer series has not lost its touch when it comes to its production for the PSP- the gameplay still holds up after all these years and is extremely addictive. It's simplicity but attention to detail make it a great game and extremely playable - no complex multibutton commands to master.
          It's a game that has a series of levels within levels so completion is lengthy and I think means more value for money. However, the actual levels are very similar and may become tedious after a while - there's only 6 locations (Seaside Route 765, Sunset Drive, Union Hill District, Crimson Rock Pass, Midtown Expressway & Greenpeak Highlands) and though the track is modified for different races, I would prefer more.

          You're given 3 cars to chose from to start with but there's 9 in all which are won/unlocked through the various stages. You get to chose the colour and whether to drive automatic or manual but that's the excitement there.
          On starting the game you've to enter your driver profile (basically a name) and each part of the progress you make is then automatically saved onto the memory stick - a feature that suits me well since you don't have to remember to save before turning off the psp (or when the battery goes flat, again).
          You then enter the main menu whereupon you can chose World Tours Mode, Single Race Mode, Time Attack Mode, Wireless Battle Mode, Save/Load and Options. In World Tours Mode, at first you're only able to select the Basic Tour but more are unlocked as you progress. It's highly addictive as you must complete previous levels to progress.
          I cannot comment on the Wi-fi capabilities as I've not used them.

          The controls are very easy (especially if you use automatic) - accelerate, brake, nitrous, and either directional buttons or analogue stick. The nitrous button is an added boost to the gameplay- simply store it up by drifting throughout and use it to boost your performance whilst racing - best to use overtaking. Driving into other cars or the scenery really slows you down and the former are given a nudge making it harder to catch up with them.
          The graphics are superb, especially for the psp - not the easiest machine to see! though occasionally, it becomes very dark and difficult to tell where the track goes but practice makes perfect... The sound effects are average, there's annoying American voice over who says nothing of importance and the music is equally irritating so I merely play with sound off but there is the option to modify the audio yourself.


          Price New: £15ish or £3.00ish ebay
          Developer: Namco
          Connectivity: Wi-fi
          Offline Modes: Competitive
          Release Date: Sep 2005
          No. of players: 1-8
          Age: 3+

          I think this game will be around for years and I'll probably go back to it - the graphics are good enough to keep it going for a long time. Great game!

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