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Mighty Darknut

Ridge Racers Psp

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Review Ridge Racers PSP

Big words from Sony about their attempt to enter the arena of the handheld market, the PSP. The device has been released in Japan, as is on of it’s most important games of the PSP, Ridge Racers. Time to see of Sony has got more then just big words and if Ridge Racers is a good indication of the possibilities of the PSP. In Europe we have to wait a couple more months, so I took a look at the Japanese version, but luckily, language doesn’t matter that much with a racegame.

Ridge Racers PSP is the 9th game from a big well known arcade racer series. Once started in the arcades, via the PlayStation the series found it’s way to the consoles andRidge Racers PSP is the newest acquisition. Fans of realistic racegames like Gran Turismo can skip this game. Ridge Racers is an arcade racer to the max and anyone that expects even the smallest bit of realism will be disappointed. As an arcade racer though the game is up to the challenge, though sometimes it overdoes it.

But let’s start with the beginning. There are four gamemodes: World Tour, Single Race, Time Attack and WiFi. In the World Tour you drive races along 24 different tracks and doing that you win cups and off course, new cars. In contradiction to your average racegame, in Ridge Racers your goal isn’t to win a race from a standing start, but the goal is much more catching and overtaking your opponents. You start as last one in the race, while the opponents race in front of you with different time gaps and to advance you need to reach a previous set position before the end to the race. With the World Tour, they didn’t forgot that you are playing this game on a portable machine, because you can customize the time limit from 5 minutes to an hour. Met 3 lap races, on average a race is between 5 and 10 minutes, the game is quite flexible. Good thing, for the WiFi mode it is possible to drive a normal race against eachother. WiFi is the wireless transmitter and receiver inside the PSP. With this you can have a wireless link this game with 7 other PSP’s and race each other. Linking with other players goes quite smooth and although it takes some time to load, it plays very well against eachother.

Steady on track or oversteer

No single racegame is good without good gameplay and as expected, Ridge Racers delivers what you expect from the game. Like any arcaderacer it is all about fast racing around beautiful tracks and a lot of drifting. This has been done quite well in the game. The tracks are beautiful, very fast and offer enough possibilities to overtake your opponents without too much of a hold up. The racing is also delivering. Because the tracks are quite fast you can put the pedal to the metal and drift as much as your heart can take. The drifting goes very fast and very smooth. If you release the throttle in a corner for just a second, the car already starts drifting. This quick reaction also has a big disadvantage because it will happen more then once that the car will completely lose all control and will tail in all directions. Something that didn’t have to happen and a fault that appears too often to ignore. Nevertheless, even with this issue the game drives good, like an arcade racer as you may expect from Ridge Racers.

RSI

A game without good controls isn’t that good and this is literally a painful problem. This isn’t so much caused by Ridge Racers, but by the PSP. Yes, the machine looks good, but it isn’t quite ergonomic. The height / width relation of the machine isn’t quite fantastic which cause you to get physical troubles holding the PSP after playing half an hour, be it with the D-pad or with the (not analogue) stick. If you choose to use the D-pad or the control stick is more a matter of feeling. The stick feels a bit strange in the beginning –though it is more of a round D-pad then a stick you are used to- but once you get used to the stick it plays ok. For the gameplay it doesn’t matter which method you choose, because both the stick and the pad work and react the same way.

Graphics

The graphics, although there isn’t any material to compare it to, it looks very good for a handheld. If this is the quality of all PSP games we will get, it will all be fine regarding that area. Though of course it is displayed on a small screen, the graphics can certainly match up to the PlayStation 2 games from the beginning of that console. The tracks and it’s surroundings all look very good and are filled with details and the cars don’t look to shabby either. In the race sometimes the cars’ graphics will scramble a bit, but it doesn’t bother you that much, that often. In the replays it all looks very smooth, which is even more impressive for a handheld.

Which is a bit of a chore, and in a racegame a big loss, is the feeling of high speed. The tracks are quite fast, which is of course very important for an arcade racer, but game doesn’t give you the sense of speed. You don’t notice if you drive 130 or 200 miles an hour, you only see the speedometer. You also notice it when using a boost, while you are noticeably faster then your opponents, but you just don’t get that sense. With the faster games later on in the game the problem decreases a little bit, but it is an issue throughout the whole game.

Born to be wild

The soundtrack of the game is satisfying. The beat during the races is fast, sweeping and works good for an arcade racer. You can choose your backgroundsong before the race, but what you have chosen isn’t always very clear and unfortunately you can’t change this during the race. The game doesn’t rely on the sound effects though. The engine sounds aren’t fantastic and collisions also sound a but dull. An extra reason to put the soundtrack a little bit louder.

Long distance

No, there are no long distance races. The game at the other hand lasts for a while. Not that 24 tracks is so shocking, but it will take you some time to finish the game. There are enough cars to unlock and as with all arcade racers the Time Attack also stays interesting for quite while. The wireless battle mode is much fun, but you won’t find yourself playing it that often because it is such an expensive machine and the game doesn’t an have online mode.

The PSP

The big question with such a first game of a new console is off course, how is the PSP? Like mentioned before, the ergonomics of the PSP aren’t quite what it should be. You nee to hold your hands in such a cramped position that it isn’t comfortable playing for more then half an hour and this sacrifice of playability for looks is a missed opportunity. The battery remains a strange issue. With Ridge Racers the game will last for about 5 and a half hours and for an average trip this is enough. The disadvantage though, is that you always need to take your battery charger with you on longer journeys and after each time you game you need to recharge the battery. The machine itself is seems strong and is good looking. It is quite steady to hold but also has it’s disadvantages. The start- and select buttons at the bottom of the screen are almost impossible to press during the game, which is a pity and the PSP isn’t as strong as it looks either. The screen is very sensitive to scratches and you better not drop it. Outside of these, and the many errors heard from Japan, the buttons work good and except for the bottom buttons, you can all use them very well and play smoothly. The screen is big and clear which also plays quite nice. Last thing I need to say about the PSP is that the stick is a missed change. The stick, which also only has four directions, is so small that it is little more then a moveable D-pad. It doesn’t add anything to the gameplay and doesn’t work like an analogue stick you are used on the console controller. The stick does it’s job and is interesting to play with, but because of the small size it doesn’t add anything to the D-pad.

Conclusion

Ridge Racers for the PSP is a very good arcade racer and everyone that likes arcade racing, high speeds and drifting, will have much fun with a very nice game. It is a real shame that the cars are a bit too nervous now and then and the sound effects aren’t that good either. The biggest issue is the lack of the sense of speed. Especially for a racegame this is an essential which you may never miss. The graphics and the good soundtrack make up for a lot and the most important: the game is just good fun.

A first game for a new console is of course something special, but of course it needs to be interesting enough to actually sell the console. That seems to be a problem a bit with Ridge Racers and definitely with the PSP. Yes, for a handheld it certainly adds something, but are you going to spend 200 pounds to play a game on the road that in each area can be better played on a console? Ridge Racers is, for quality sakes, unfortunately not the system seller Sony would have liked, but it is a good choice for when there will be a PSP system seller. How it will work when everything is released will only be learned by time, but for now Ridge Racers PSP isn’t a system seller because of it’s quality.

Score:

- Graphics: 16/20

- Sound: 14/20

- Gameplay: 41/50

- Last ability: 8/10

79/100

Positive:

- Very good graphics for a handheld

- Fast adrenaline rushing soundtrack

- Good arcaderacer gameplay

- Fast tracks

- Good working WiFi multiplayer

Negative:

- The game hardly gives you a sense of speed

- The cars are a bit tricky now and then

- Dull sound effects

- If you play the game for longer then half an hour it will give you RSI

-----------------------

Martijn Müller

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Score:

- Graphics: 16/20

- Sound: 14/20

- Gameplay: 41/50

- Last ability: 8/10

79/100

That's quite a sensible weighting.

Incidentally, there's a 'Reviews' folder. You may be aware of this.

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Thanks for the compliment.

About the weighing, I had to make a, for my feeling, awkward choice. Yes the graphics are great, but the lack of sense of speed made it difficult to rate and make it believeable. Anyways, this is my addition to that then :P

Well I was first looking for that, but couldn't find it :D:(:D

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That's quite a sensible weighting.

Incidentally, there's a 'Reviews' folder. You may be aware of this.

Damn you Jim. And so politely done too, good on you.

That was a well written review MD. Just wait for the hatemail from Boyatsea if you get more than a page out of this subject...

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About the weighing, I had to make a, for my feeling, awkward choice. Yes the graphics are great, but the lack of sense of speed made it difficult to rate and make it believeable.

Ah right, interesting.

I was actually referring to the fact that you'd chosen to mark graphics and sound out of 20, gameplay out of 50 and lastability out of 10. But it doesn't matter.

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I don't like your attempt to be some kind of Edge reviewer. ie - you seem to be being over picky, to create a reaction.

And most of your closing comments are ludicrous!

EDIT: My brain keeps telling me to say you are talking A LOAD OF BOLLOCKS.( Did I just say that out loud? :D )

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My brain keeps telling me to say you are talking A LOAD OF BOLLOCKS.

Strangely, the same happens when reading most of your posts.

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Strangely, the same happens when reading most of your posts.

Oh, come on Jack :D

stop being a tosser.

I still think it's an over picky review.

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Oh, come on Jack :D

stop being a tosser.

I still think it's an over picky review.

What? It's quite a sensible review, other than being a bit long.

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Quite literally picked at random but:

"The wireless battle mode is much fun, but you won’t find yourself playing it that often because it is such an expensive machine and the game doesn’t an have online mode."

WTFF

Anyway, I was expecting a much more damning review. But all the PSP criticisms made up for it I guess.

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expensive machine => not many people have it

no online mode => can't play it with people who do have PSPs but don't live near

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Oh, come on Jack  :D

stop being a tosser.

I think it's your 'bollocks' comment making you look like a tosser.

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What? It's quite a sensible review
Big words from Sony about their attempt to enter the arena of the handheld market, the PSP

Does it irritate you Sony have invented a marvellous machine?

the car will completely lose all control and will tail in all directions. Something that didn’t have to happen and a fault that appears too often to ignore

Translates as " I'm crap at this game "

A game without good controls isn’t that good and this is literally a painful problem. This isn’t so much caused by Ridge Racers, but by the PSP

I don't have this problem. Do you?

In the race sometimes the cars’ graphics will scramble a bit, but it doesn’t bother you that much

He must have a faulty PSP?

doesn’t give you the sense of speed. You don’t notice if you drive 130 or 200 miles an hour, you only see the speedometer. You also notice it when using a boost

I completely disagree with this part of the review.

The engine sounds aren’t fantastic and collisions also sound a but dull. An extra reason to put the soundtrack a little bit louder.

PICKY PICKY PICKY

No, there are no long distance races

It's Ridge Racer, not GT4. Besides, some of the three lappers are long enough!

The PSP

The big question with such a first game of a new console is off course, how is the PSP? Like mentioned before, the ergonomics of the PSP aren’t quite what it should be. You nee to hold your hands in such a cramped position that it isn’t comfortable playing for more then half an hour and this sacrifice of playability for looks is a missed opportunity. The battery remains a strange issue. With Ridge Racers the game will last for about 5 and a half hours and for an average trip this is enough. The disadvantage though, is that you always need to take your battery charger with you on longer journeys and after each time you game you need to recharge the battery. The machine itself is seems strong and is good looking. It is quite steady to hold but also has it’s disadvantages. The start- and select buttons at the bottom of the screen are almost impossible to press during the game, which is a pity and the PSP isn’t as strong as it looks either. The screen is very sensitive to scratches ......BLAH BLAH BLAH  button rant button rant..

Nope. The design of the machine is something to be proud of. You sound quite ungrateful to be fair.

The biggest issue is the lack of the sense of speed

Really? no way mate. It's one of the fastest handheld games i've ever seen.

Ridge Racers is, for quality sakes, unfortunately not the system seller Sony would have liked

This is where I start thinking about saying you were talking "Bollocks"

Positive:

- Fast tracks

Negative:

- The game hardly gives you a sense of speed

etc...etc..etc..

I think I might stick him in a Delorean and leave him where the Game and Watch first came out.

mario1-gw.jpg

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where do you get that from?

I'm just trying to explain his reasoning by filling in the gaps we're expected to assume. I don't necessarily agree with it.

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Bloody hell The Goat Keeper. Make sure you never go near the Edge review threads.

You arent going to find a review you 100% agree with so picking out stuff as being not sensible just because you dont agree with it is a bit stupid, no?

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Bloody hell The Goat Keeper. Make sure you never go near the Edge review threads.

You arent going to find a review you 100% agree with so picking out stuff as being not sensible just because you dont agree with it is a bit stupid, no?

Okay I'm stupid then :D

How come I can both enjoy and play Ridge Racers with none of the highlighted problems in the review?

oh, if the game was Pants I'd be one of the first on here declaring the fact.

But this is excellent, and wouldn't look out of place on the PS2 itself. Wipes the floor with the recent R: Racing Evolution in fact.

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the car will completely lose all control and will tail in all directions. Something that didn’t have to happen and a fault that appears too often to ignore

Translates as " I'm crap at this game "

Funny, when Ridge Racer DS came out and the terrible Eurogamer review mentioned this, you jumped on the game and said it was shit.

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Funny, when Ridge Racer DS came out and the terrible Eurogamer review mentioned this, you jumped on the game and said it was shit.

Not just the one point raised. The whole package actually. Visuals Controls etc.

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good review, i agreed with most points made.

by 'last ability' i assume you mean longevity ?

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I'd have to agree with The Goat Keeper on this one, but mainly due to the moronic image that Mighty Darknut has portrayed upon himself. The fact that his homepage has "hyrule" at the beginning of the address gives leverage to the opinion that he's a "with us or against us" fanboy-type person.

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I'd have to agree with The Goat Keeper on this one, but mainly due to the moronic image that Mighty Darknut has portrayed upon himself. The fact that his homepage has "hyrule" at the beginning of the address gives leverage to the opinion that he's a "with us or against us" fanboy-type person.

.::: Well that is a problem, but I find the problems he has with the PSP rather more 'unfitting'. Having played Ridge Racers on several occassions now, it's pretty damn obvious that the hardware isn't a problem for the game in any way. Likewise I don't get the lack of sense of speed. The only problem I experienced was actually knowing all tracks already, making the game far too easy, which was already easy to start with.

Actually hardware to software problems seems to have been secluded to the position of the d-pad and analogue stick. Perform a 'hadouken' or similar fast downward-move in a fighting game and you're bound to hit the top part of the stick. The d-pad also lies too deep, giving you less feeling over your moves on such occasions.

But Ridge Racers having any faults due to hardware design? The only thing you actually can get quite nit-picky about, is that it remixes a lot of it's own heritage. But that rather adds to the game than it substracts.

Although written ok, it seems to be written with a very large reservation against the PSP. Any next review written, might just get the same comments about the PSP sprinkled on top, to gain the same result.

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If this was a dishonest review, which would be very sad to start with, then why do several PLAYSTATION sites reviews mention more or less the same problems?

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.::: That's an entirely different problem which lies much more at the heart of gaming journalism (or lack thereof and the subsequent enforcing of NGJ).

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