OutRun Online Arcade


By: Sam Leitch    On: Xbox 360
Published: Wednesday 6 May 2009 10:00 AM
 
 
 
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OutRun is one of the first games I remember playing, and one of the largest milestones for the racing genre. Hitting the arcades in the mid/late eighties, OutRun was flasher and faster than anything before it.

One aspect of the game still fondly looked back at was how there was an intersection at the end of each stage; each path lead to a new stage featuring an entirely new theme. Every time you inserted a coin seemed like an entirely new journey.

Outrun Online Arcade is essentially a port of the OutRun 2 SP Arcade game, and not the “Coast to Coast” version that hit the console market. What this means is there are no unlockables and the game is fairly ‘light’ on features. What remains though is the gameplay that made the franchise so good to begin with. There honestly is nothing quite like dodging through traffic at 300km/h before shifting down a gear and sliding through a hairpin at 280km/h. To say this game is fast is an understatement.

Of course the branching courses make a welcome return. There are five endings and fifteen different stages. A standard game will take you on an exciting five minute journey of entirely changing roads. This is something that other racing games have never quite managed to latch onto. Every drive really feels like you are actually going somewhere; it’s fresh and liberating for those of us usually confined to a circuit. What’s even better is the ability to stack all of the game's stages end to end and seamlessly drive through the lot! This amounts to a 15-minute speed fest through always changing terrain.

There a variety of game modes to spice things up. As well as your standard race mode, there are ‘Time Attack’ and ‘Heart Attack’ options. Time Attack is pretty self explanatory, it removes traffic and ‘rivals’ and just leaves you and the game's courses. For me this is the essence of the game - just going for a cruise and then seeing how quick you got the end. Heart Attack is a good distraction, as you race, your passenger will make requests such as drifting a corner and staying within markers. This mode will test your vehicle handling and throws in a couple of new elements.

This would all be useless without controls that were up to the task. Simulation junkies will of course have realised by now that this game isn’t for them. The handling is 100% arcade, and proud of it. Sure there isn’t the depth or strategy of Forza, but it’s seriously a real joy to throw your car around simply ridiculous corners.

OutRun Online Arcade is playable over Xbox Live. Unfortunately the traffic disappears for races, which is a little disappointing, but having six people all drifting the same corner at speed is extremely entertaining. The key to races (and the rest of the game) is not to be too serious and just enjoy them for what they are. Like a lot of online experiences, it’s ok with strangers, but is a fantastic way to virtually hang out with some buddies for a couple of hours.

Ultimately this version of OutRun isn’t the most complete, and doesn’t have a huge amount of depth. What it does do well, though, is boil down the most exiting parts of the racing genre and deliver arcade-style thrills to your living room. I know I will be booting up the title time and time again to zone out for 15 minutes and enjoy the epic ride through the games stages, online and offline.


The Score

OutRun Online Arcade
"A sublime experience."
8.0
Great
Rating: G   Difficulty: Easy   Learning Curve: 5 Min

 

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Comments (6)

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Genocide
On Wednesday 6 May 2009 12:15 PM Posted by Genocide NZGamer.com VIP
Sounds like it would be a nice game to have, to play when you're bored of playing the intense fps' and what not. I sometimes hit up some Uno when I'm in the mood for a casual game.
 
 
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Wozza
On Wednesday 6 May 2009 12:35 PM Posted by Wozza NZGamer.com VIP
Yeah, I can see myself loading this up next time I'm in a gaming 'slump'. Should get it and play me Geno. :)
 
 
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Oliver
On Wednesday 6 May 2009 3:07 PM Posted by Oliver NZGamer.com VIP
I have the PSP one that came out in 2006. The game hasn't changed since (they just keep repackaging the same thing), and while it's a great game and I love it (I used to play it in arcades), it does get ole pretty quick. I don't even think I completed it 25% because you get soooo bored of the same thing over and over and the fact you have to be perfect to make it to the end on anything but the easiest route.
 
 
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lexcalibur
On Wednesday 6 May 2009 4:25 PM Posted by lexcalibur NZGamer.com VIP
Got this game on the PS3, and it's suprisingly fun. Gets old quite quickly, but really good for the price. Drifting feels cool, but most of the time it's actually slower then just driving around the corners.

Still a great pick up and play game.
 
 
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Wozza
On Wednesday 6 May 2009 5:11 PM Posted by Wozza NZGamer.com VIP
Yeah no point drifting normal corners, but tight ones, it's the quickest way.
 
 
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The Host of Chaos
On Thursday 7 May 2009 6:32 PM Posted by The Host of Chaos NZGamer.com VIP
Surprised to see this get a decent score. Might have to check it out.
 
 
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