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Ridge Racer 2 PSP

Published by Namco Bandai
Developed by Namco Bandai
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £34.99

Ridge Racer 2, an introduction.

Ridge Racer was one of my personal favourites out of the titles that were available for the launch of the PSP here in the UK. It may not have been the best racer available for the console launch (that was probably Wipeout Pure) but the rather addictive brand of arcade racing that the Ridge Racer series offers has always appealed to me and it’s fair to say that Namco did a great job with the series’ first appearance on the PSP. Here we have the sequel, Ridge Racer 2. Let’s see if it can build on the success of last year’s game.

What’s the game about?

As you probably already know, Ridge Racer is all about power-slides. Races are driven at a breakneck pace and to be successful you’ll need to power-slide around the corners at the fastest possible speeds. To aid you in your quest for speed you can fill your nitrous canisters by power-sliding and when they are filled you simply press the R button to temporary propel you to greater speeds.  In fact the brake is hardly used, at least in the conventional sense. Ridge Racer 2 offers a World Tour mode, and Arcade mode, a Duel mode, a Survival mode, a Time Attack mode and a Wireless Battle mode.

What’s good about the game?

Ridge Racer was enjoyable as it offered pure high speed fun without any complications. The races were exhilarating and the same can be said for Ridge Racer 2. The World Tour mode, which is practically the same as last time, is made up of tours and these tours are made up of a collection of races. It all starts off very easy and comfortable but by the time you get to the later tours it starts to get tricky and the AI begins to sharpen up. The World Tour mode, as we’ve already mentioned is hardly any different except there are some circuits that have been included from previous Ridge Racer games. Arcade mode is your typical 3-lap race that requires you to make it to specific checkpoints before your allotted time runs out. Failure to do so results in game over. Duel is a one-on-one race over three laps. Survival mode pits you against three opponents over a three lap race with the person in last place being disqualified after each lap. Time Attack mode is the usual racing against the clock and attempting to set the quickest times.

What’s bad about the game?

Those expecting Ridge Racer 2 to be anything wildly different from the first Ridge Racer to appear on the PSP will be disappointed. In fact it’s not very different at all. Of course it would have been great if the Wireless Battle mode had supported online play but sadly it doesn’t and you can only play over an ad-hoc connection meaning the chances of most gamers enjoying the multiplayer game are slim. There’s only the World Tour mode that really offers any kind of long term challenge. The other modes simply offer one-off races and it’s not going to keep many coming back for more.

How does it look?

Graphically the game offers no improvements on the first PSP Ridge Racer. The frame rate is once again exceptional and the sensation of speed you get from the game has to be the most impressive of any game to appear on a handheld console. The loading times aren’t too bad either although once again they are just the same as in last year’s game. What’s also the same is the blurring that you’ll notice on your opponents’ cars. This is probably due to the low response time of the PSP’s screen but it’s a shame that nothing has been done to lessen the effect.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

Ridge Racer 2 is exactly the same as last year’s Ridge Racer in terms of how deaf gamer friendly it is. The annoying race announcer once again returns and is unsubtitled. As before he’ll tell you when the nitro boost is ready to use so it’s a shame the voice isn’t subtitled but it’s not necessary as you can learn this information from looking at the left side of the screen. The speech that’s spoken when you select modes and choices on the game menus is once again not subtitled. However none of these omissions are problematic.

Final thoughts.

So Ridge Racer 2 is just as enjoyable as last year’s game. In fact it’s practically identical to last year’s with few exceptions. The problem is that the game is going to cost around £34.99 whereas last year’s game is now a Platinum title meaning it costs £15 less. Sure you now have a multiplayer mode and some extra, basic single-player modes but the multiplayer mode does not support online play and there is hardly any longevity with the new single-player modes. Those who purchased Ridge Racer and don’t mind a very similar experience will probably be happy with Ridge Racer 2 but those who haven’t yet purchased the game might be better saving some money and purchasing the Platinum version of Ridge Racer.

Overall Game Rating: 7.5/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

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Ridge Racer 2 is a great arcade racing experience that's a little too similar to last year's Ridge Racer for our liking. If you're a Ridge Racer nut you'll be pleased with it but those expecting worthwhile differences will be disappointed.