OUTRUN ONLINE ARCADE REVIEW
A warm welcome back to the king of arcade racing. Full 3-page XBLA review !
Posted by PlayDevil.com Staff on Apr 22, 2009 15:11 (Apr 22, 2009 15:11)
Written by: Mark
The king of arcade racers makes a welcome return, this time with added multiplayer. We couldn’t wait to get our hands on the XBLA release "Outrun Online Arcade" to see if it retains all the charm of previous Outrun games.
Sega’s Outrun 2 was the game that was responsible for my first purchase of a Microsoft console in the form of the Xbox. At the time the quality of the game totally blew me away with at the time groundbreaking graphics combined with fast and slick gameplay.
Since this release the game has ported across to the Sony PSP with a fair amount of success but it is fair to say when it was announced that a remixed version was to hit Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) I really could not wait for the release date to arrive.
Finally this date has arrived but as excited as I was to play the game I still approached with a certain amount of trepidation as to how the game would look and play on a next gen console.
Different name, Same great game?
Interestingly the main difference with Outrun Online Arcade and it’s predecessors is the inclusion of a new six player online mode which adds something new and very welcome to the franchise. Although any Outrun fan will admit the success of the game is all about it’s pick up and play gameplay which makes it accessible to gamers of all abilities.
Despite this addition (which I will look at later in the review) the game in essence is almost identical to the successful Outrun 2006 Xbox game which is also backwards compatible and can be picked up relatively cheaply. That does not mean that Outrun Online Arcade should not be downloaded as the game seems to have had a minor make over to suit the high definition generation yet maintains the same charm as the original with more content to boot.
The game offers a variety of different game modes which represents even more value for the superb 800ms point price. Admittedly most of these modes involve a simple point to point race over fifteen stages which are split into five stage races. These are determined by the player as to which route is taken and each offers a massive difference in appearance although the race mechanics stay the same.
Similar to the main mode is the fifteen stage continuous game which has you trying to race across all fifteen stages in sequence before time expires. This is the first real challenge which the game throws up and although the five stage races are simple and quick affairs you really need a fair amount of skill and a lot of concentration to complete the fifteen stage continuous mode.
In addition to the main outrun modes against the clock we have heart attack mode which sees you competing over the same stages only this time having to achieve set goals along the route to impress your girlfriend whom is sat alongside of you in your chosen vehicle. The challenges range from achieving perfect race lines, collecting objects, successfully drifting around corners to many more. Heart attack mode certainly does prove a challenge and is another mode to add even more longevity to the overall game.
It would be fair to say that in terms of pick up and play arcade fun Outrun Online Arcade is certainly one of the most fun driving games you will ever experience. Particularly as the game is designed to be instantly accessible to all gamers from the outset with nothing to unlock unlike the majority of other games on the market. This is one of the major strengths of the game as all ten available cars and all tracks and game modes are available as soon as the game starts.
Whilst this may disappoint those whom are fans of seeing their achievements rewarded what you have to remember is that the game is simply designed as being fun, and it certainly is!!
Lets start by taking a look at the vehicles which are used which sticking to the Outrun traditions are all Ferrari’s although different models throughout the companies history. There are no options to customise the vehicles other than giving them a colour change although this does not distract from how good they actually look.
The same thing applies for all of the fifteen stages which are nothing short of stunning to look at with the scenery superbly animated which certainly makes the game a thoroughly enjoyable experience which is certain to leave you open mouthed on many occasions. The only downside to this is that the sheer speed of the game often leads to an edge of the seat experience requiring so much concentration that you can miss what is happening in the backgrounds. On the flip side to this is that although racing over the same fifteen stages can become slightly repetitive you will never fail to notice something different each time you play.