Ridge Racer 5
Review of Ridge Racer 5
For anyone that has played any of the Ridge Racer titles before and liked the control, well you are going to be in heaven here - RR5 features the tightest controls of the bunch. Yeah its pure arcade, but it is surely a rush of adrenaline non the less and that my friends is what the Ridge Racer series has always been about.
There are two major types of cars to choose from, Grip and Drift. Grip cars are much more stable around turns as they grip the road better, while Drift cars tend to float around turns and require a whole different style of driving to properly handle them. There is also a decent stock of cars to choose from right from the start of the game, and things just continue to get better from there!
Its worth pointing out that RR5 makes use of the analog buttons. Depending on how hard you press the X will determine the amount of acceleration your provide to the car. Of course for the most part you will end up with the button pinned for maximum speed unless you are some kind of wussy boy, but still it was nice actually being able to see the new analog button feature being tried.
Upon first inspection gamers may be concerned that RR5 only offers one true race mode, that being the Grand Prix. Never fear though, have some patience, rack up a few victories here and whole new gameplay modes will be unlocked for you to enjoy. In typical Namco fashion, the more you race the more there is to discover. The other racing modes in the game include Time Attack, Duel and Free Run.
Easily the most striking aspect of Ridge Racer V is the graphics. The display is incredibly crisp and locks in at an impressive 60fps. The car models are obviously made up of gobs of polygons as they look rock solid. Hell, we even get fully modeled wheels (you can actually see the brake pads glows red as they heat up). Hows that for detail! The cars will also spit out sparks from the back as their undercarriages bottom out on the road.
The backgrounds are also highly detailed with realistic looking trees (even the leaves are modeled in 3D), street lights, traffic, roads, etc. Everything is animated quite nicely with little touches like the famous RR helicopter, airplanes zooming overhead (obviously landing at the airport Oval track), seagulls flying by…you get the picture. Oh, and the replay modes are to die for…yummy. The game is truly a graphical showcase.
Now for the bad part…and what keeps RR5 from being the hands down best looking arcade racer ever created. The display is not anti-aliased nor properly synced. The result is a rather stair-stepped display (jaggies) combined with some shimmering. For the player, this is mostly a non-issue as you are generally focused on keeping you car under control but the person watching will surely notice these minor flaws. Also, there is some nice reflection mapping on the cars but it is not done in real time. Finally there is the dreadful two-player mode. It looks like you are racing through the streets of London…the fog is just horrible. And even though the draw distance has been reduced significantly by the fog, there is still pop-up!! Still, in single player mode the game in motion is a marvel to behold…its just not perfect.
The soundtrack in RR5 is the typical Namco arcade Techno rock themes with some fast moving tunes that fit in okay with the game. You can also select which tune you want prior to each race or let the game choose the default.
Sound effects are pretty sweet with some nice car rumbles and other stuff like being able to actually hear the air effects when you get too close to a wall or guard rail. I love subtle stuff like that.
OUR PLEDGE: We promise that we have fully played 'Ridge Racer 5' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
This review was written by Tom Rooney © Absolute PlayStation
Click here to view our 27 Ridge Racer 5 in-game screenshot slideshow
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