The premise of the game is identical to the previous variants of the Tokyo Xtreme Racer series: the player cruises the highways of Japan at night, while challenging opponents to impromptu battles.
Rolling up behind another "racer" and flashing your high beams at him is a call to race. When the race begins, each vehicle has a health meter which slowly drains if your opponent is ahead of you or if you collide with walls, rails, or other vehicles. The race is over when one vehicle's health meter runs out no matter how long (time & distance) the race lasts. The race could also end prematurely if the player and the AI racer(s) drive in separate directions when the highway splits. This results in a draw.
In the beginning of the game, the player will start with a small variety of "slow" cars. As the player races other rivals in the game, they can unlock the type of car being driven at the time to be used in standard cruise modes. This type of reward system guarantees vehicular diversity to the player. There are over 80 cars from 15 different manufacturers, which include Japanese, American, and European cars. It is advisable to start the game with a vehicle that is more powerful; these vehicles have the greatest potential for use in the later, more difficult parts of the game, and it is entirely possible to clear the entire game using only one's starting car. The cars have a wide variety of tuning options, including body kits, engines, drive-train systems, rims, lighting, paint, and even a custom paint shop that can be utilized to create special designs. The player can own up to 5 personalized cars at a given time, which contain components that are all how the user wants them to be.
The player will race against race gangs that have their own attitude and requirements, and compete against wanderers that do not belong to any individual group. These wanderers all have specific requirements to meet before they will race you, such as a certain day of the week. Weather conditions, modifications, and even which car the player is driving are all other examples of requirements. In the end there are a total of 600 rivals within a 2-stage story mode. The cities shown in the game include the capital Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka, with the most complex being Tokyo. The capital includes the inner city, the Wangan expressway, and Yokohama.