Ridge Racer 2 - PSP Review
There are only a few franchises that have made successful appearances on all the incarnations bearing the Playstation name (being PS1, PS2 and now PSP). Among those series is one particular arcade-styled racing game that goes by the name of Ridge Racer (or, as it has become known, ďRiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiidge Racer!Ē). If you have owned any Playstation product, then there is a good chance that if you havenít played this, you have at least picked it up and taken a look at the box at some point. Ridge Racer 2 is a sequel (well, it at least has a 2 after its name... more on that soon) to the first PSP Ridge Racer game, and for some reason seems to have missed America. Something doesn't sound right, and we've discovered why!
|Getting some massive air!|
As with all Ridge Racer titles, there is no story behind the racing, and instead the game focuses more on replicating the gameplay of the more expensive arcade systems, though obviously there is no chair, pedals or steering wheel supplied here! To this end, Ridge Racer 2 does a marvelous job. Thereís a lot less focus on driving tactics and much more on drifting around corners and careful timed use of your turbo, which builds up with more drifting. Once again, the PSP's analogue stick provides amazingly responsive control of the cars, and makes driving a pleasure, even if the default control scheme does make gear-shifting a little awkward. Thankfully, there are several control configurations available, allowing you to customize the controls (at least to some extent) to best suit you. Alternatively, you could just drive the cars as automatics Ė itís your choice.
So what exactly has been added into this release to make fans want to drop the first game? Well, as well as almost double the number of tracks (all the old ones plus 10 from a couple of other Ridge Racer games Ė and again, they can be played in reverse), there are a few extra modes added in to get you interested. First off there is a Duel mode, where you are pitted in a one-on-one race against a CPU opponent. There is also a Survival mode, where the last car in each lap is knocked out of the racer, and the last remaining car wins (though with only four cars in each Survival race this doesnít differ to the normal arcade races really). As well as these two new modes, there is the standard Arcade mode, and the main part of the game lies in the World Tour mode.
|Cruising through the tunnel.|
In this World Tour mode, players will play through many tournaments (made up of mostly 2-4 races each) in order to unlock tracks and new cars. There is a lot of content here and itís going to take some seriously large amounts of time to get this game completely finished. And of course, there is multiplayer supported for up to 8 people racing together; via Ad-Hoc only. Thatís right Ė we have been denied an online Ridge Racer yet again.
So that sounds like itís all worth shelling out the full price of a new game for... doesnít it? Not really? Well we canít say we disagree because quite frankly, rather than feeling like a new title, Ridge Racer 2 actually feels more like a re-release of the first version with an expansion built into it. It has the same handful of issues we mentioned for the first game, and while the extra content is worth a bit itself, it does not really justify the full price purchase. Perhaps Namco should have made this a downloadable add-on, or released the game at a budget price (as has been done before in similar circumstances with other games), but instead, you will have to pay the full price to get your hands on this. Donít get me wrong, the actual game is worth the price, but given that you can get the first Ridge Racer (which is now a platinum title) for about $AU40, it seems a little excessive to fork out the $79.99 for a few extras.
|Hitting the nitros, motion blur.|
Casting aside this aspect of the game, there are few things wrong with Ridge Racer 2. Again, the opponent AI is fairly basic, and itís far too easy to pass them. And again, there is no car modifications (save for the ability to change colour), but overall, thereís nothing too wrong there.
|Graphics are often spectacular.|
Looking at the game, itís easy to see that thereís been little improvement graphically since the first Ridge Racer. A little more off-track detail has been added in, and there have been tweaks to a few of the lighting effects, but for the most part, it is identical. It still runs smoother than anything, and it still looks amazing, but itís lost some of its "wow-factor" now that itís not quite as new. Regardless, Ridge Racer 2 is still a beautiful game, and I doubt too many people are going to complain about this release graphically.
One addition we haven't mentioned yet, although small, is the handful of new music tracks added in. These are very limited and your probably won't even really notice them, but they are there. Musically, the game has been very well matched up, with the dance/techno tracks suiting the racing style perfectly. The DJ still needs to be given more than a handful of lines though, and it would be nice if there were a few different voices, just to mix things up every now and then. As far as sound effects go, the cars sound like they always have. This isn't a game that will make you want to plug your PSP into your surround sound system.
|Coming 5th, pretty average.|
Basically what youíre looking at with Ridge Racer 2 is a very poor excuse for a sequel. In actual fact its more like Ridge Racer 1.5 and itís very hard to justify spending the full price on this release when you can get the first game for about half price. That aside, itís definitely a fun game and there little else to complain about Ė it looks great, sound is adequate enough, and the action is fast. Perhaps, if this is your first Ridge Racer game for the PSP, this might be the one to get, but if you already have the first, save your money.
Review By: Michael Hutchesson
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|GRAPHICS||A little more detailed than the first game. Slightly tweaked lighting and effects. Still beautiful.||88%|
|SOUND||A few extra tracks mix things up a little, but for the most part very little added to change things here.||70%|
|GAMEPLAY||Itís a lot of fun, but you canít help but feel like youíve done it all before. Drifting is still great fun though.||76%|
|VALUE||There are over 20 tracks, heaps of cars to unlock, and plenty of tours to play, but it loses points for being so similar to the first Ridge Racer on PSP. Still no car modding and lacking online play.||75%|
|OVERALL||Itís fun, there is some extra content, and it looks great, but itís not really enough to justify the full-sequel price point Ė take an extra 15-20 of this score if you have the first game.||77%|