OutRun Online Arcade Xbox 360 Review

May 29, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox 360, Xbox

I don’t drive myself, although if I did I would probably never look at a corner in the same way again after playing OutRun2. I’d be checking my mirrors for the boys in blue and then putting my car into a well controlled drift, powering around each corner and not once touching the brakes. Then again, it’s probably harder than it looks and would probably ruin my tyres, so when I desire such thrills I should probably just stick with my gaming inspiration.

OutRun Online Arcade is SEGA’s third attempt at bringing their famous Ferrari branded arcade racer to the home, although this time around they have wisely chosen digital distribution (it’s available to download from Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Store), something which will hopefully render the game a much bigger success than it has been previously. SEGA’s arcade racer sequel certainly deserves to be a commercial hit.

For 800 Microsoft Points (or £7.99 for the PS3), OutRun Online Arcade obviously isn’t as fully featured as it was on the Xbox with the home port of OutRun2, and the later multi-console release of OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast (which was basically OutRun2 and its SP upgrade combined). There’s no mission mode, and those who have played Coast 2 Coast will remember that all the stages were brought together, sadly, only the 15 SP stages have been included here.

It’s certainly been stripped back to its bones then, although at least we are still treated to online play, the visuals have been spruced up to look nice on our HD displays, and as mentioned above, it’s also very sensibly priced. So, options are few and include the earlier mentioned online mode for up to six players, the OutRun mode, the Heart Attack mode and Time Attack, everything is there from the start with absolutely nothing to unlock, so there’s no need to waste any time attempting to find something that just isn’t there.

OutRun mode (in both single player and multiplayer) basically has you racing against the clock and in between time extension checkpoints, being OutRun, when the road forks into two directions it’s then up to you as to which route you take. Heart Attack mode shares these same principles, although the focus changes to that of your bossy female passenger, rather than giving her simple things such as chocolates and flowers, this lady prefers you to give her the thrill of the drift, to avoid hitting things, to collect coins, amongst a number of other silly tasks, in which you’ll be individually ranked in: collectively determining the overall grade that you’ll receive when you speed across the finish line in your chosen Italian beauty.

Beauty is the essence of OutRun2: the gorgeous scenery (sunny beaches, green forests, skyscrapers, starlit night skies, flowery fields and more) changes with each new stage, the Ferrari’s are able to swing around corners at high speeds, making the handling some of the most satisfying and visually gratifying in an arcade racer. Even though it isn’t necessary and it can slow you down on certain portions of the track, I felt like tackling every corner in this spectacularly over the top manner.

Online, OutRun Online Arcade is a lot of fun (lag can occasionally spoil things and there’s an occasional and weird glitch, in which the track disappears) that has a decent amount of people playing. You can either choose to race in the traditional OutRun mode, you can finish at a selected goal, or there’s the 15 continuous stages (also a single player option) that puts you on a linear path through all that beautiful and ever-changing scenery. All online races are unranked which may irk those looking for a truly competitive game, the kind of people who like something to show for it with each victory (winning five races in a row does earn you an achievement though), whilst leader boards are strictly for the single player sessions.

Visually, OutRun2 has never looked better than it does right here. The newly HD-enhanced visuals are lovely: sure the game may be around five years old now and it still suffers from occasional bouts of slowdown, but, thanks to said HD and its eye-catching brightness, it manages to look very respectable indeed. Aurally, we are treated to remixes of the legendary music from the 1980’s original, it’s very nice and all that, but oddly enough I still prefer the C64’s beepier music, perhaps it’s because I respected that the SID chip was trying its hardest, or it may just be that my little voice of childhood nostalgia is speaking.

OutRun Online Arcade may not be the best release of OutRun2, but it’s cheap, looks slick in HD and has a good amount of people playing online. The arcade handling is superb: being easy to pick up but having a learning curve all at once, and is never anything less than satisfying. Now, I can only hope that this time around the third time is the charm and OutRun2 in the home will finally receive the success that it has always deserved.