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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Racing

 

Publisher

Namco

 

Developer

Namco

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

Q1 2000

 

 

- Nice course design

- Lighting effects, heat distortion, and other subtle graphical touches

- Realistic sound effects

 

 

- Not enough variation in racing vistas

- Polar computer AI: either too stupid or very cheap

- Grating soundtrack

- Irritating announcer

 

 

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Review: Burnout 2: Point of Impact (Playstation 2)

 

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Ridge Racer V

Score: 7/10

 

There’s always been a special charm deep in the Ridge Racer games. The cars handle a little different and the track designs have consistently been some of the best in gaming. After seeing the gaming marvel that was R4 on the Playstation, the mere thought of Ridge Racer V was enough to get racing fans salivating. Unfortunately it’s not nearly the game one could hope for. It may be on a next generation system but the game feels far more like an upgrade than it does a sequel, embracing many of the facets of past installments without really giving us anything new to help stand out.

 

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This installment plays very much like the early Ridge Racers with slightly stiffer handling and a lot of variations of tracks all in the city this time out. The fact that you’re constantly having to go on different routes through Ridge City really hurts the game, as the lack of differing locales brings a sense of redundancy to the game lickitty-split. Not even being able to race during the day, evening, and night can help this aspect. The design of the tracks, though, isn’t half-bad. There are some fiendish S-turns littered throughout the courses to keep racers on their toes. Unfortunately the challenge of the game comes more from negotiating these tracks than taking out the computer-controlled competition, who are either dumb as a post or incredibly cheap bastards. More often than not you can pass these cars if you pick your moment, but sometimes they’ll try and run you off of the road just to stay ahead. This is even more annoying when lapping a car because they’ll still ram you instead of graciously letting you pass, like in a real race.

Even looking at the graphics doesn’t instill any sense of awestruck wonder. While the visuals are nice, they just don’t have that zest that people were expecting from a super-powered next generation console. Worse still, the "jaggies" that plagued the Japanese version of the game are still present in this version. The car designs are very nice, albeit they’re fictional cars, but they’re still interesting to look at. The thing that does say "Next Gen" in the game (in a hushed whisper into my bad ear) are the little things in the game, like lighting effects and heat distortion. They’re both done very well here, adding a subtle sparkle to the game.

 

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Where the game takes a serious nosedive is its audio. The soundtrack this time around is nowhere near as good as the one in R4. This time around we get some very uninspired techno and guitar driven tunes that get very grating on the ears. The worst thing though is the outrageously bad voice acting of the announcer (who sounds suspiciously like Leonardo from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon). This guy is horrible, saying corny phrases all the time and generally breaking racers’ concentration with his 

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idiotic drivel. The only good thing about the game’s audio is the sound effects, which do a good job of emulating the sounds of the cars, changing appropriately when going through tunnels and whatnot.

Ridge Racer V is a disappointing addition to the series. Its decent, but not dazzling visuals, irritating sound, general lack of challenge and shortness all add up to a slightly above mediocre gaming experience. Hardcore fans of the series may get a kick out of it, but everyone else would be better off waiting for something better to come along.

- Mr. Nash

(January 12, 2001)

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