In Ridge Racer V the player is a racing driver taking part in events across Ridge City in a variety of fictional cars. The focus is on accessible and fun driving rather than simulating how a car behaves in the real world; as such the player is encouraged to powerslide around most corners by tapping the brake when entering the turn. Racing on RRV is divided into different race formats. The primary mode is Grand Prix, a series of structured championships completion of which rewards the player with new cars. Other modes include Time Attack, a long distance endurance race called the 99 Trial and free runs on any of the unlocked tracks. Two players can also take part in a split-screen race against one another. A special race is unlocked after the player fulfills certain requirements: it features the arcade game characters Pac-Man in a roadster and Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde on scooters. Winning this race unlocks the special characters for use in other game modes. Boss cars can be won by defeating the bosses in the game's Duel mode after fulfilling certain requirements. After all 4 bosses are defeated in Duel mode, Battle Royal mode is unlocked, allow the player to choose any boss cars and challenge all 4 bosses in a race (including ones the player have selected).
Ridge Racer V: Arcade Battle, the arcade port of Ridge Racer V, first appeared in 2001 for the Namco System 246 arcade platform. The arcade version has some features such as Duel, Free Run and Pac-Man GP removed. It is the last Ridge Racer for arcade platform until the Pachislot Ridge Racer, which was a pachislot game released seven years later. The Ridge Racer arcade games were replaced by Mario Kart Arcade GP and Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune series.