"This is the essence of the whole Ridge Racer series, distilled into one game for portable play."
That's what the developers say about Ridge Racer PSP. Our initial reaction is "Thank Christ they haven't made it like that God-awful R: Racing Evolution with the daft bint showing her paps off at every available opportunity and not even getting close to a powerslide."
This is old-school Ridge. 24 courses are included with Seaside Route 765, Crimsonrock Pass and Greenpeak Highlands among the classically created arcade tracks, and the handling model has been tweaked and tuned to powerslide perfection.
There is one new addition. As you powerslide (and you will. A lot) you build nitrous that you can then inject into your engine for a porky burst of eyeball-melting acceleration. Wheee!
Eight players can race against each other, with or without handicaps, and there's a extensive World Tour Mode for lonely single players to demolish, unlocking unlockables along the way.
And best of all, it looks astonishing. This could be it: PSP's finest racing title until GT4 Mobile turns up. At any rate it's going to be a fine return to form for the world's slidiest racing series. Here's the official word from the devs...
We've seen Ridge Racer V on PS2, can you tell us what is different about this game?
The PSP version features a selection of popular courses from previous installments throughout the Ridge Racer series. All graphical effects, sound and features have been improved and refined to offer a brand new experience. There is also a wide range of soundtracks available from throughout the series, and cars can be upgraded.
So it's not just a port?
No, this is the essence of the whole Ridge Racer series, distilled into one game for portable play, with all new features added.
What new elements have you introduced to the game?
The main single addition is the Nitrous system: Nitrous is stored up when the player drifts around corners and can be triggered at the correct time. WiFi play between players is the next important feature brand-new to the series. This means the drift, previously a great feature, now takes on a whole new relevance, and becomes an integral part of your racing strategy.
Is this created by the same team that worked on the previous games?
Tell us more about the WiFi elements in the game.
Up to 8 players can play using the Wi-fi feature. Using a selectable handicap system, players can compete seriously (no auto-catch up!), or just play for laughs.
Are you going to include any downloadables that can be used to enhance the title at a later date?
There will not be any downloadable features in this title.
As a developer what is the most exciting element of working on software for PSP?
We were very impressed with the graphical and sound capabilities of the hardware, and tried our best to use these to the fullest extent possible. We think players will be very surprised as to the extent of the smoothness and polish of what we have been able to achieve. For example effects such as lighting on the road surface, animated scenery, environment mapping, light trails and motion blur have all been included.
What features does the game have that take into consideration the fact that the PSP is portable?
In World Tour mode, the player is able to create a custom tour with preset time limits (5 min. to 60 min.) and the different car classes. Races are relatively short, just 3 laps, and the handling of the game is suited to instant pick-up and play.