Review: This game seems strangely familiar
When Sega announced OutRun Online Arcade
back in December, they touted it as a high definition remake of the original OutRun
arcade game. But somewhere along the way to the game's release on the Xbox Live Arcade, it became an HD update of OutRun 2 SP
(which was last seen as part of the PC/PS2/PSP/Xbox package OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast
) instead. While it's not quite the same game I envisioned when it was first revealed, OutRun Online Arcade supplies that sense of speed and reckless abandon that you want from an arcade racer.
As a port of OutRun 2 SP (a game of rather recent vintage), OutRun Online Arcade features few changes beyond the cosmetic touchups needed to make the graphics high definition. Not that that's a bad thing. OutRun 2006 was a fantastic game that spent a good deal of time in my PS2 and OutRun Online Arcade retains the slick arcade racing gameplay of its predecessor. And seeing as how the game has never looked prettier, what's not to love? Sumo Digital (the developer of both OutRun 2006 and OutRun Online Arcade) even managed to smooth out the slowdown that was present on a few tracks in OutRun 2006.
However, that's not to say that OutRun Online Arcade is the definitive version of OutRun 2 SP. While gamers that loved OutRun 2006 will find plenty to like here, they will also find fewer options overall. Fewer tracks, fewer cars and fewer gameplay modes prove that OutRun Online Arcade is more or less meant to be a faithful adaptation of the OutRun 2 SP arcade game. How faithful is it? After completing the OutRun Mode, the game displays the staff credits for the arcade version. Another change for the worse is that all of the cars have been rebalanced and now handle more or less the same. While OutRun 2006 only boasted slight variations among it's nearly 40 vehicle lineup, at least they had some differences.
But the game still provides all of the patented OutRun thrills that fans of the series have come to know and love. Hitting a straightaway at 180 MPH and then coolly braking into a sideways drift around a hairpin turn will never get old. For those looking for hundreds of cars, tuning options and realistic driving physics, look elsewhere. OutRun Online Arcade is all about driving as fast as you can and reaching the finish line before the timer hits zero. And the game responds beautifully to this setting with pitch perfect controls that require those nerves of steel that some of us have been honing in arcades all our lives. And for those who are into that sort of thing, the game also adds support for the Microsoft Racing Wheel.
All of the original modes make a return as well including OutRun mode (race for the finish line in five of the game's 15 tracks), Time Attack mode, Heart Attack mode (perform stunts that your girlfriend demands of you) and 15 Track Continuous Mode (race for the finish line through 15 of the game's tracks). Pick up and play online racing for up to six players provides a nice bonus as well (even if there is no Ranked mode).
The classic OutRun soundtrack returns as well and it's just as cornball as ever. While the tunes can get repetitive, they fit the game well and I can't imagine OutRun without them.