Ridge Racer V is a game enjoyable by many people, but I believe that it is most enjoyable by Ridge Racer fans.
First of all, to start this review off, I initially HATED this game. I couldn't do any free run tries to get a feel for my car. When you start the game, it is just Gran Prix at the beginning, and that made me mad, but I continued. I liked Free Run because it allowed me to figure out how to drive well with the car I had selected and master the tracks. It was a good time waster as well, and that too was a positive to the game, just allowing me to waste my time playing around in the same track. Anyways, the whole thing of limited retries and lack of free run initially made me put it away and tell everyone to avoid it. I don't know how many months I had put it away for, but it has been a while since I put it away. I took it out one time and played it, and I had a lot of fun again.
Graphically, for the PS2 (especially since this is an early game), this game looks beautiful. Yeah, the HW is underpowered compared to the competition, but this game is impressive. If the game is programmed correctly, it will play well, but that's something to talk about at another time. Since this is a different platform, Namco reprogrammed the engine for the game and it is very nice. This is a launch PS2 game (released in '99, or at least copyrighted then) that looks gorgeous graphically.
Some of the textures look like they were shared with the previous games, though, so it isn't perfect, but it is very detailed. This game, while not 16:9 or 480p, (it's a launch game) runs at 60 fps, and is very smooth and constant 60. It reminds me of Ridge Racer HSV, which was bundled with RR Type 4, and is Ridge Racer running at 60 fps, and that is something I will cover some other time. Over all, this is a beautiful game.
In the sound department, we don't have too much that I found memorable. The sound effects are spot on, and now, we have a spectator that isn't too cheesy and isn't saying "you're too slow" when I fall behind by one spot. The music, while it is synth stuff, isn't too much that is memorable. I know of a few songs that I enjoy, and those are LOLO 1010, Fogbound, Paris and Burnout. They are all techno tunes, so they might not be enjoyable by everyone exactly, but they can be enjoyable by people, but it's more likely that you'll enjoy it if you like EDM. I enjoyed a few tunes, and the announcer isn't bad, a little cheesy at times, but that was the same with the first Ridge Racer and even Revolution. Overall, the music I would say is good, but for others it can be a mixed bag. Fortunately, here you CAN turn the announcer down, and he doesn't announce everything that you do correctly or incorrectly.
Subtlety isn't my strongest suit.
The game controls beautifully. I have noticed that with some of the tracks you have to drift more than in the original game, but that's not a bad thing, especially when you can pull the drift off correctly. It can really pay off and if you drift for long enough, you can even drive backwards for a little bit, and it can be kind of entertaining. I found it fun at least. It's the little things that count for me.
I thought that the game just controls well, and not to mention, it also works with not only the Analog(ue) controller, but the JogCon, NegCon, Pressure Sensitive button (Dualshock 2), and Digital Control. If you have either the JogCon or NegCon, this is one of the few games on the ps2 that actually supports them. To sum up the controls, they are really good for a game of this age and that came out this early on the Playstaion 2.
I think that overall, this game just shows that launch games can be really good. They don't have to be perfect, but they can really good. They don't have to be a rushed game that is then a buggy mess that you then have to fix afterwards. It can be something that takes time and effort and something that overall will pay off better in the end. This is something that modern game devs can take note of, since this is even a third party company that did this, even though Namco was still in Sony's little contract at the time, which made them essentially a second party developer for SCEI. Not SCEI, but Developed and Published by Namco. SCEI used a second party developer, Sugar & Rockets to a launch game, and that's a topic for another review, but that will be a little while...