OutRun2 Xbox Review

May 31, 2010 by Chris Wigham  
Filed under Retro Content, Retro Reviews, Xbox

OutRun2 has been dubbed the beautiful journey for good reason, as it’s a paradise that probably appears in many people’s daydreams. Searing through exotic locations in a gleaming car and one which many would hesitate to touch in fear of damaging the paintwork, never mind driving it at unlawful speeds. A woman relaxing at your side and the ever-changing locations being speedily left behind as you throw your precious motor into a bend and into a sublime and sexy slide, stop fantasising and welcome OutRun2 into your life.

In 1986 OutRun took arcade racing to another level, since then there’s been various extensions to the original, but never once was it surpassed and the first “proper” sequel has only just arrived now, ported to the Xbox courtesy of Sumo Digital in a job well done. The company has clearly been beavering away at lengthening the lifespan of what basically could have been a thrilling but short-lived racer, hence the welcome additions of the Mission and Xbox Live modes.

Despite being considerably and expectedly modernised OutRun2 is clearly one that will appeal to many fans of the original game and Sega know that. This isn’t just a sequel it’s a monumental tribute to the original, it plays exactly the same and even has the fantastic soundtrack, which was as memorable as the game itself.

The delights of the blue skies and the blazing sun are your introduction to the beautiful journey. Beginning in the paradise of Palm Beach and moving on to various scenic routes, we’re not that convinced that the Industrial Complex is that picturesque though. Like the original game your speedy journey constantly reaches an arc in the road with each path taking you off on to different routes, eventually finishing in one of five different locations. We love the array of routes, which are cosmetically striking as well as often challenging. The OutRun mode is over a little too soon for our liking but the fantastic and frantic Heart Attack mode does add tremendous lasting appeal to the arcade mode. Here you must fulfil various tasks set by your passenger riding lady and earn yourself points and ratings based on how well you fair, it’s excellent stuff and beating scores set by yourself or others is part of the OutRun2 obsession.

As good as the arcade mode is, Sega may have been pushing their luck to even think about retailing the game at £40. But the beavers have been at work resulting in a crucial and exclusive mode for the home version to convince us that it’s worth the full retail price. Arguably the crux of the game, this new mission mode sets you with the task of completing 101 challenges. The missions are varied, ranging from driving through or over cones, drifting around corners and taking photos, passing cars and more. It’s a mode that the home version was depending on and it dutifully does its job, we do think that the difficulty level rises a little too steeply a little too early on though. This mode is also where you receive cards -most of which are totally pointless and will only appeal to true Ferrari aficionados- which sometime unlock cars, new tracks from past Sega racers and additions to the superb soundtrack. It’s truly an excellent package.

The journey wouldn’t be so beautiful if your exotic motors handled like golf buggies, but thankfully OutRun2 is a glorious ride. Drifting around corners makes Ridge Racer’s power slides look pedestrian in comparison. Basically you throw your car into a bend and then you need only depress your finger slightly off the accelerator to glide into and sometimes out of a chicane. It may sound rather aggressive but somehow the game manages to do it with a lovely subtleness. Slipping on black ice this isn’t, you always feel in complete control and any wall bashing is down to your own lack of concentrated control.

OutRun2 is sorely lacking of any split screen options, at least there’s the option of the head-to-head party mode though, which borrows tasks from the gargantuan mission mode. The Xbox Live play is disappointing in the fact that many races are laggy which makes races difficult, it’s far away from the buttery smooth racing of Burnout 3 as experienced online. To be fair it is possible to have trouble free sessions running smoothly, but this is all too rare.

OutRun2 and Burnout 3 are worlds apart, whilst Burnout 3 may pip Sega’s fan-pleasing thoroughbred arcade racer at the post, they both are still very different games. We have to applaud Sumo Digital at what is a fantastic achievement in both the smooth conversion as well as the game-saving additions. The Mission mode may become difficult rather quickly and the Live play is disappointing, but this is arcade racing and beautiful journeying at its utmost finest.

8/10

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