Ridge Racer 5 Review

By: John Doe

Considering I am the king of Ridge Racer, you'd think I'd be all over this game like Richard Simmons at an "All You Can Eat" Buffet, but as it's my job to be straight with you people, I have to tell you, this game is no R4.


After the majesty of R4 (Ridge Racer Type 4) a game I considered to be the best arcade racer on the PSX, Ridge Racer V is like one disappointment after another. Considering RRV was one of the reasons I wanted a PS2 (aside from needing it for my job), I can't tell you how much this bums me out. First of all, the personality of R4 is nowhere to be found in this game. It's been yanked out and tossed on the side of the road somewhere. I really enjoyed the cheesy little drama's that unfolded while you did your best not to disappoint your team in R4. In RRV you pick your team name, player name, and then select car color (Red, White, Blue, Yellow) from a static screen, then choose from either 3 types of Drift cars or 3 types of Grip cars. Then you select the motor, transmission and then it's off to the Grand Prix. No personality whatsoever. When you finally get to the race, you will have only 2 views to choose from (in the car, and behind the car) while you endure DJ Ken and his hissy lisp.

If any of you are familiar with the original Ridge Racer, you will feel an incredible sense of Déjà vu, as basically RRV steals most of the track layouts from that 5-year old game and updates them for this one. What the hell is that? Just like in the original game, the tracks here are based on Ridge City, with some areas opened for this race and then some closed for that race. That's incredibly weak and it really pisses me off that here we are 5 years later and we're going back to this track layout now? That's ridiculous. Where are the incredible environments? The jaw dropping scenery?

The control doesn't even have the tightness that the game excelled at in R4. The drift cars almost 360 (and at times do so) when you try to power slide around corners. The Grip cars are a little better at gripping (hence the term Grip cars) but even they are too touchy for my tastes. The analog control seems a little too tight and you'll find even switching lanes or trying to avoid a curb a little more work than you'd expect out of a flagship title like RRV. As usual, smashing into the rear of an opponent causes him to zoom ahead about 50 feet, which seems to happen a lot in this game as the CPU driving seems more erratic.

Graphically the game is decent, but after popping in R4 and playing in enhanced mode, I'm more impressed with the look of that game then RRV. Namco just didn't take their time with this game. Maybe everyone was working on Tekken Tag, but this game got the short end of the development stick and it really shows. The cars are reflective and shiny, and the environments, though crisp and clean are almost too clinical.

Musically the game is very good, with some great instrumentals. I can still hear tracks from R4 in my head, which may not mean anything to you, but I play a zillion games a year and when I remember something from a game I played a year and a half ago, I tend to find that impressive. The sound effects are decent, if not a little under powered for some vehicles. The screeches as you power slide are done well.

Sure it's a great looking game that will provide you with some entertainment value (albeit short). If I hadn't played any RR games, I'd probably be gushing about this one. However, considering this game is more of a "best of Ridge Racer" than anything really new, I'm having a hard time deciding how to rate it. I'm just really disappointed in it. It's not what I expected, and in my opinion, it is an insult to Ridge Racer fans that love the series. How dare Namco try to pawn off this C+ effort for a launch title on a new system! Rent this one first.






Back To PlayStation 2 Index