Addictive Retro Arcade Gameplay
The original OutRun was released in arcades way back in 1986, so for fans of the series, the arrival of OutRun 2 signals the end of a extremely long wait. Sega\'s racing sequel has gorgeous graphics, plenty of content and online play, but it doesn\'t forget its roots. OutRun 2 is strictly an arcade racing game.
When you first press the start button, you\'ll be greeted with three modes Arcade, Challenge and Xbox Live. The arcade mode offers three different game types OutRun mode, which allows you to drive down a branching path and try to reach the finish line, Heart Attack mode, where you\'ll try to finish a race while obeying specific instructions from your female passenger, and Time Attack.
Outside of the Arcade mode, Challenge mode allows you to play a multiplayer party game where you and your friends take turns competing for high scores. The mini missions you\'ll be competing in can be chosen, but most often they resemble those found in the Heart Attack section of the game.
You\'ll find yourself doing some wacky things like watching on-screen numbers as you race, adding them up in your head, then driving through the correctly numbered gate at the finish line. Obviously these objectives don\'t make up the bulk of the game, but they\'re an amusing distraction and ensure plenty of multiplayer fun will be had by all.
Most importantly, the Challenge mode offers OutRun Mission. Over 101 missions are included here, from knocking over colour coded cones to keeping your speed up in certain areas of track, there\'s plenty to do; this is definitely the meat of the package. Each series of missions takes place on a different section of branching track - sections that branch left are generally easier than sections which branch right, as explained on the track diagram which appears on the loading screen. Fans of the old-school OutRun will be familiar with this formula.
Then there\'s the Xbox Live support, which holds up extremely well. Up to eight players can race on any section of track that the host chooses, and slots can be set aside for friends who want to join your group of racers.
Once a race is over, it\'s easy to stay with the same group of people if you want to jump straight back into another race, which is something too often overlooked by Live developers. Global scoreboards and downloadable ghost data all help to bring the online experience to life, and if you\'re a serious OutRun 2 player, you\'ll appreciate the competition and kudos on offer here.
Modes and game content aside, OutRun 2 plays very well, but it\'s not a racer that everyone will necessarily appreciate. Because the game is so true to its roots, the racing is anything but realistic - you\'ll be able to power slide around every corner at the flick of a trigger (although that doesn\'t necessarily mean you should), turn corners with remarkable grip and slam into almost anything without loosing control. Even huge airborne crashes will always leave your Ferrari landing the right way up and facing the right direction.
Retro Gameplay Remains!
That doesn\'t mean that OutRun 2 is easy. It\'s actually a really tough game that rewards dedication and old-school sensitivity. If the idea of reaction-based retro gameplay appeals to you, you\'ll lap up Sega\'s sequel, but if real-world physics, damage modelling and car customisation are more your thing, you should probably steer clear.
Featuring 12 officially licensed unlockable Ferraris. OutRun 2\'s tracks are wonderfully diverse and well designed. You\'ll race across beaches, around European castles, through the streets of Paris, over hilly countryside, through forests, past pyramids and across snow-covered fields.
The key to mastering the gameplay is knowing when to drift many corners can be taken much faster if you stick to the best lines and don\'t get your car sideways, but there are just as many occasions when you have to drift to avoid dirt or grass. There\'s a strange kind of addiction that comes from playing OutRun 2 - even after you\'ve been racing through the game\'s OutRun Mission mode for hours, you\'ll still feel compelled to come back and try to master the courses.
If there\'s one blemish on OutRun 2\'s slick design, it\'s the lack of a two player split screen option. Why this was omitted remains a mystery, but you and a friend can\'t directly race each other on a single Xbox. You can however link two Xboxs, two TVs and two copies of the game to play head-to-head, but for most, that\'s not a viable option.
OutRun 2 certainly looks great. The cars are all wonderfully modelled, right down to hub caps and decals, while the tracks and trackside objects look simply wonderful. You\'ll occasionally notice some rough edges as the sky awkwardly changes from one area to another, but for fans, this will serve as a reminder of the original\'s similar quirks.
Very rarely does the frame rate drop, making OutRun 2 a very slick, fast-paced game. The sound design is as retro as the gameplay - old-school OutRun tunes have been remixed for this new game, and the squealing of tyres, high-pitched calls from your female passenger and metallic announcer all serve to recreate a classic Sega arcade experience at home.
It\'s easy to see how far games have come in the last 18 years when you play OutRun 2 (especially as the original game is included on the disc), but its nice to know that Sega hasn\'t felt the need to overhaul the timeless gameplay. Realism buffs won\'t enjoy the game, but old-school players will relish every moment of Sega\'s long-awaited sequel.