It's Like Marmite
Love it or hate it, Outrun is back on Xbox. Now this is going to be a tough one to review because I really don't like these games. Well, that's not entirely true. Back in the day, Outrun was the best arcade racer going but despite a successful transition into 3D, this series feels archaic.
Fans of the series will no doubt be pleased with the latest installment. It's probably the biggest Outrun yet, featuring 15 stages and 15 fully licensed Ferrari models. This is essentially two games in one, with Outrun2 SP's features tied into both games.
There's plenty here to unlock and the "Outrun Miles" currency system, which rewards you for everything you do, eases your progress through the game. There's also online play for up to 6 players, which is always a bonus.
The single player is a beast that'll eat up your spare time should you be a fan. Once again, Outrun mode sees you racing to the finish line as fast as possible, Time Attack pits you against ghost cars and Heart Attack mode sees you taking directions from your girlfriend while she gives you tasks to do. In Coast 2 Coast all these modes of play remain, but feature added replay value with numerous parameters to tinker with.
Thing is, despite being a solid game on Outrun terms, it's a complete dinosaur to play. My biggest problem is with the controls. Just like the previous Xbox iteration and the classic before that, you car is stuck to the road.
You race endlessly through a series of environments, rarely having to adapt. It's just a bit boring, in my opinion of course. The camera is also a bit dodgy and the transition between normal driving and power slides is an awkward one. Retro homage or not, there's no excuse for a nuisance like that.
Visually, Outrun 2006 is merely "good." I suspect this is more a result of playing Project Gotham Racing 3 than the graphics actually being underwhelming. In the games favor, the cars are nicely modeled and the environments highly detailed.
It's also worth noting that no detail is lost during the online play, which performs very well. Overall, Outrun 2006 is a nicely presented game. It even sports a catchy, retro soundtrack. Load times are also virtually non-existent, always a bonus.
In the end, clich