Ridge Racer

I've seriously been considering wrapping duct tape around my head, because every time I sit down and play Namco's Ridge Racers for the PSP my jaw hits the floor. It's been a huge problem but I just can't help it. The game is just so !@#$%^& gorgeous I lose all self control, but its visuals aren't the only reason why I'm so giddy about Namco's latest. This high-octane arcade racer is one heck of a trip, a virtual speed demon that's extremely addictive and, come launch day, one of the must-have PSP titles.

Ridge Racers is essentially one big tasty stew that contains the best from the entire Ridge Racer universe. There are tracks and music from Ridge Racer, Rage Racer, Rave Racer, Ridge Racer Revolution, and Ridge Racer V, so if you're a fan you'll be in for a treat. It's also sweet because the PSP's insane processing power and 16:9 screen elevates the game to a high point that games like Ridge Racer DS can never reach. Simply put, the game is beautiful.

Featuring graphics comparable to Ridge Racer V on the PS2, the game sings on the portable hardware, and the wide screen gives you an excellent view of the road. I seriously had to pinch myself when I first booted up the classic track Seaside Route 765. It's just amazing, and boy is this game fast! At first things are kind of slow because you initially have access to the lower end cars, but once you start unlocking vehicles such as the Sheonite Bisonte type-S you'll feel the wind tickling your hair.

Everything clicks so fabulously that it's more of an experience than a game, and this is made possible by the excellent controls. The PSP lets you steer with either the d-pad or analog disc and both work great. While there is a slight learning curve, the analog control works remarkably well. In fact, I'm going to say that this is the best controlling Ridge Racer game yet.