The game also features a Full Motion Video opening, that shows series mascot Reiko Nagase.
The core aspect of the entire Ridge Racer series is drift racing, that is traditional lap racing against opponents with the added twist of intentionally oversteering and sliding the car through sharp corners and turns, known as "drifting", which earns the player several bonuses during a race. In most respects Ridge Racer 2 can be considered more of an update than a true sequel to the original PSP title - it shares the same game play engine, user interface and game design as the previous title, and includes almost all of the elements, cars, and tracks of its predecessor.
Featuring three times as much game play time as its predecessor however, the differences lie in the addition of a total of 42 new racing tracks (of which 21 are unique tracks, with a reversed sequence counting as a separate track), while 18 are taken from previous titles in the Ridge Racer series. Two tracks are from the original Ridge Racer, three tracks are from Ridge Racer Revolution, four tracks are from Rave Racer, eight tracks are from R4: Ridge Racer Type 4, and four tracks are from Rage Racer. Every track from every Playstation Ridge Racer game released is included as part of this package. Numerous new game play modes are included to supplement the originals of the previous title such as: Arcade, Duel and Survival modes. As with the previous title, the Wireless Battle mode is still included, which supports up to 8 player multiplayer over the PSP's ad-hoc, Wi-Fi network capability (see PSP Wireless Networking for further information).
The game also features a total of 62 fictional cars (referred to as "machines" throughout the game) from seven fictional manufacturers (Kamata, Age, Danver, Gnade, Assoluto, Himmel, and Soldat) that are staple throughout the Ridge Racer series. The full complement of cars is available to the player after completing four tours (consisting of 16 races each) of increasing difficulty levels (Basic, Pro, EX and Max) and several various mini-games. In addition to newer cars, Ridge Racer 2 features "prizes" that are unlocked after the completion of a tour, such as opening movies of previous Ridge Racer titles and E3 demo presentations.
The eight Special Class cars from Ridge Racer (PSP) have been modified for this release and categorised into two, tiered categories. Special Class 1 denotes cars embodying more traditional supercar designs and appearances, while Special Class 2 is made up of radical or novelty designs that boast the highest top speeds attainable in the game. Specifically, the 'Kamata Angelus' (Special Class 1) is now a more traditional supercar design, similar in appearance to the Angel car from Ridge Racer Revolution, and no longer powered by jet engines. The 'Soldat Crinale' (Special Class 1) appears similar to its previous incarnation; while the Pac-Man car (Special Class 2) now resembles a miniature aircraft in design (with Pac-Man himself depicted as piloting it), and is no longer powered by propellers. The New Rally-X car has been removed entirely and replaced by the 'Danver DigDug Hijack' (Special Class 1); a large, super-charged Pickup truck. The 'Yamasa Raggio' (Special Class 2), which appeared in the 2006 Tokyo Auto Salon as a variant of the Honda NSX, is unique to Ridge Racer 2 and also appears in a "prize" movie that is unlocked after completion of the game's "EX tour". The three other special class cars from the previous title are still present: the Age Angelus Kid (Special Class 2), Age Crinale Kid (Special Class 2), and the Terrazi Drangonsaber Wild Gang (Special Class 1).
Notable also is the "nitrous boost" system from the previous game, which works in the same manner as before. The player has a Nitrous Gauge made up of three nitrous tanks, which at the start of a race are either completely depleted or only partially full. As the player drifts through the corners (especially at very high Slip angles) during the race, their nitrous gauge fills up. When the player fills up one of the three nitrous tanks, it can be activated to achieve a temporary speed boost. The nitrous tanks cannot be recharged while any tank is in use though, but the residual speed increase when the nitrous boost expires can be used just before entering corners to recharge the player's nitrous tanks at a faster rate than normal.