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Old 02-04-2011, 07:15 AM   #52
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Outrun Online Arcade Xbox 360
*** This game is no longer on PSN due to licensing constraints and will be removed from XBLA in November this year ***

Over Twenty years ago one particular game set the standards for all future arcade racers. Yu Suzuki's Outrun had vibrant varied visuals, was lightening quick and immense fun. No longer was arcade gaming about shooting endless asteroids or gobbling up ghosts with a yellow ball (I say this with no malice, Pac Man is awesome). Instead gamers were driving top of the range Ferrari's to impress hot girls. It became an instant classic. It was some 20 years later before we saw outrun 2 in the arcades and Xbox with the original game being outclassed by a minor arcade hit called Daytona in 1994. But now the sequel is back again in glorious high definition and online mode.

Outrun Online Arcade stays true to the original in many ways. You race through a stage, choose right (hard) or left (easy) at the end of it and there are 5 potential end points that you must race too before the time is up. The game also stays true to the original with it's camera. The camera is rigidly fixed on the cars back unless you drift. It works differently from racing games of today and at first is a little strange but you quickly adjust tote old school style of the game. Outrun 2's graphics have all been redone in higher resolution and the game looks stunning. This is not just a simple upscaled Xbox port, all of the textures have been redone an the visuals have a polish unmatched by most XBLA offerings. The game also, like the original, features a drift mechanic that is imperative to master to be successful at the game and as with all SEGA arcade games the mechanic is easy an intuitive to master. Pull on the break, slam the wheels right or left and hit the power. The controls work well and drifting accurately is very easy. However drifting is of course slightly slower than straight line driving so judging when to use this for maximum speed is an art form and assessing which corners you can take without drifting whilst avoiding a time consuming spectacular crash is part of why Outrun is so addictive!

Every stage is carefully crafted; this is not a realistic racer! So you will go from a woodland stage to an inner city stage to a snow stage seamlessly. Each environment is as beautifully thought through as the last and whilst on paper there are only 15 stages to see you will want to reach every ending and to give the game replay value there is a heart attack mode where you must complete impromptu tasks to impress your girl. These can range from collecting coins, passing traffic or drifting within a certain area. It's not as extensive as the original Outrun 2 'crazy box' style missions but it certainly adds to the game. On top of this there is a continuous mode where you play through all 15 stages and a time attack mode. Then there is the big new addition to this version the Online mode. It actually works very well. Ok games are a bit sparse and you will rarely have more than 5 racers competing but it certainly gives the game some longevity and a new dimension. It played with no slowdown and given that the game typically isn't a conventional racer and
More an 'against the clock' game let you play the game from another perspective.

Of course there are some negatives. Those who played Outrun 2 or Outrun: Coast 2 Coast will have pretty much seen the game before and of course once you have played each course once there is little to keep you comic back to this one apart from the occasional blast at the online mode. Still, 800 points for a game this polished make this game tough to not recommend unless you are a racing simulation freak or just plain hate racing games. It's refreshing to see games like Outrun and Afterburner still have a place in gaming when they probably wouldn't hold up as full retail releases nowadays.

Outrun Online Arcade is exactly the way an arcade/rereleased game should be done on XBLA with remade HD visuals and an online mode. SEGA would do well to take note of Sumo Digitals effort next time they port one of their beloved Dreamcast games. The arcade style won't suit all. But for everyone else this is an immensely fun pick up and play racer.

Pros - Its Outrun 2 in HD. Brand new online mode. Perfect price point.
Cons - It's Outrun 2, there isn't a lot here if you played the original. Limited longterm replay value.

Overall - 80%
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