A PlayStation launch wouldn’t be complete without a new Ridge Racer game, and thankfully Namco has kept the Tradition going. Ridge Racer is actually a kind of compilation that gathers tracks from the history of the series (meaning that the Japanese name Ridge Racers was much more appropriate) and pushes them into the stylish new handheld. So this is a real Ridge Racer game, not another attempt to tackle the Gran Turismos of the world; a real Arcade racing game and a game that can’t be surpassed by any other PSP starter title.
If you haven’t had a chance to play previous games in the series, you might feel a little underrated. Playing the game as a traditional runner would be like eating soup with chopsticks: just wrong. The key to success – and your enjoyment – lies in Powersliding. Activated by a simple release of the throttle, then a rotation combined with the reinstallation of the throttle, Powersliding is easy to remove, but difficult to master. Almost everyone will be able to slide horizontally around a sharp turn, but riding at high speed and controlling the exit requires practice.
The only real difference here from the previous games in the series is the introduction of nitrous oxide. Powersliding will fill your Nitro meter and eventually fill one of the three Boosts. These Boosts can be used at any time, but it is usually best to make the most of the speed on a long straight. Your opponents will also use Boosts to win, but overall they don’t action much and jostle with you as much as AI drivers in games like Forza. Once you master Powersliding, you will have little difficulty crossing the World Tour, although subsequent races are quite difficult. The game can be saved after each race, so it’s perfect for a quick race from time to time; there’s no need to sit through an entire Lap if you don’t have time for it.
In addition to the World Tour mode, you have Time strike, Single Race and multiplayer. WiFi multiplayer works great, but as with almost all multiplayer PSP games available, each player needs their own copy of the game. We did some four-player games and it was as exciting as you’d expect. Race against real opponents is much more difficult and a real test of your skills. Up to eight players are supported, but since there is no online play in the game, it is very unlikely that you will come across enough players to test it.