Upon the release of the PSP in both the United States and Australia there was one true standout game that showed what the system was possibly capable of in the future and that was Ridge Racer. Sony and the franchise have had a very successful history and upon the PS3 release, Ridge Racer was once again available. Namco in the meantime have also been working on a sequel to their smash hit Ridge Racer title on PSP, although calling it a sequel is a bit of a farce as it is really more of a directors cut version of the original game rather than a completely new title, and ultimately it is this fact which hurts the game the most.
For those who haven't played Ridge Racer before, the series prides itself on fast racing with insane slides and twisting and winding tracks and this has worked to sales of over a million for Namco across many platforms. It is the pick up and play mechanics of the series which makes it such a success. It is entirely possible to win the first race you take part in with RR as the controls are that intuitive. For the PSP title the second time around Namco hasn't tried to reinvent the wheel and basically the main game consists of progressing through various tours available in the game which gives you access to better and more powerful cars.
There are also a few other game modes to take part in but the odds are these won't last you all that long. In the arcade mode you basically have a one off race on tracks which have been unlocked and while there is multiplayer, Namco has still relied on people using the ad hoc mode to find each other rather than setup an online infrastructure which considering the size of the franchise and the company Namco, is really a very arrogant attitude to have.
So basically this has remained the same the second time around but how much has changed elsewhere? The answer is not much. Even the main menu only calls it Ridge Racer (maybe Namco knows something?) A few new tracks and cars make the cut but for the first few hours those who have the original title will be wondering if Namco copied the wrong build of the game to the disc as it mimics the original game right down to track selection and cars on offer. While this is not entirely a bad thing as RR1 PSP was a top game, it makes it hard to recommend a game which is selling at full retail PSP price unless you haven't got the original game but even then the platinum version for half price may offer better value.
The game itself is still absolutely brilliant to play. Sixty frames per second is the order of the day and Ridge Racer probably still remains the most impressive PSP game on the system, even over a year after its release. There are also three difficulty levels which offer some level of replay value but you really can discount the lowest as the game becomes ridiculously easy to finish.
Graphically the game still is one of the best around. While the game does not feature real world tracks or cars, this has allowed Namco the freedom to build the game they wanted to without restrictions. It's a pure arcade racer and cars do not damage and the action is fast. The frame rate doesn't bat an eyelid even with many cars on screen and it really makes the game what it is. The soundtrack has been taken from the original game and features both disco and techno beats plus an annoying commentator gives a few updates on each race.
Ridge Racer 2 is a game that probably should have been as a directors cut with the platinum price attached. Namco has not done enough to justify a sequel, especially at the higher price. With the game being Ridge Racer we have no doubt it will go platinum so if you own the original game it's best to wait it out, and if not, pick up Ridge Racer platinum. You get 90% of what is in this title for half the price, it's a no brainer.
If you have the original RR for the PSP, RR2 is a: