Ridge Racer 2 is an exercise in completism doomed, for reasons of presentation and price, to be considered one of opportunistic laziness as well. Apology and insult combined, it's keen to fill the holes in the Ridge Racer greatest hits anthology, but never justifies the number in its name.
Fractional improvements include eight new tracks (playable as mirrored and reversed variants), three new play modes and some minor gloss for its lighting system. All of which will be appreciated solely by the Ridge Racer faithful, almost all of whom will be upgrading rather than purchasing afresh.
To the layperson, potentially unconcerned with the significance of Ridge Racer: Type 4, this is the exact same game that launched with PSP. What was unbroken there remains unfixed, the sterilised interface still among gaming's best, the three drift systems still exploring series tradition without breaking it, the nitrous gauge still offering incentive to slide without throwing the game off-balance.
Nothing controversial there, which is more than can be said for the lack of anticipated infrastructure support. Leaving play limited to local area networks, Namco has essentially shrugged off an arguable raison d'etre.
But truth be told, online shortcomings don't define Ridge Racer 2 any more than the series has been defined by multiplayer generally. Its real opponents have always been the numbers, ticking away beneath the rear-view mirror, separating you and the AI pacemaker, or counting the seconds to a track record. Moreover, something that PSP continues to enhance is the sense of personal connection between Ridge City and its guests.
The newly integrated Type 4 tracks represent the series at its most sensual, and its trackside choreography at its most indulgent. Passing jetliners invite you to chase them into hairpin drifts; an airship basks beneath sunbeams; balloon fiestas warm above the city lights; fireworks applaud victory. All at PSP resolution. All for you.
Sceptics will be justified, because Ridge's complete failure to reward veterans by recognising their saves, or even mixing up its career structure, is a corner that should never have been cut. But for a repeat performance, it's a stubbornly hot ticket.