Since we just reviewed a game where you shoot everything in sight, I was thinking we move onto a different genre altogether, and one that I sadly don’t talk too much about, the arcade-style racer. This is where you play a racing game that is more on the fun side and doesn’t try to be as super realistic as possible. Again, I don’t have an issue with a game being realistic, but sometimes that takes over the game’s whole design and can make it less fun. While I do like games that have a more realistic feel to them, sometimes I just want to drive around at top speeds in a red car, gaining multiple hearts for my girl in the side seat who will strangle me if don’t get an A on the race. Yeah….I’m reviewing Outrun 2 on the Xbox. This little known racing franchise’s first game was brought to you by Shenmue creator and Sega’s answer to Miyamoto, Yu Suzuki, and was released in 1993 for the arcades and a bit later on the Turbo Grafx 16. It was well-received and is remembered as one of the great arcade racers. There have been many spin-offs, but this is the true sequel to the first game.
Let us get started with the story. Um, there is none. You drive different cars around, completing different challenges, and racing your way through different levels. That is the entire story you are going to get. This game is more designed like an arcade game, where story doesn’t mean jack, and you play the game to have some arcade-style fun. While I sometimes criticize a game for having very little to no story, I give games like this a pass. Plus, how much story do you want about a guy driving a car and trying to impress his lady?
The gameplay is of an arcade racing game in the same breed as games like Cruisin USA. You basically drive through levels trying to get to the next checkpoint before the timer runs out. However, that is just one of the main events the game has to offer. The main draw of this game is its multiple missions that each of the game’s racing levels offer. The main target of each mission is for your girlfriend in the passenger seat to gain as many hearts as possible. How do you do this? Well, you complete challenges like outrunning all the cars, only staying within colored lines, hitting blue cones, drifting, and beating other racers to get in first place. At first, this seems like a simple arcade racer where you just play to have fun, and it is, but the main gimmick of this game is the drifting mechanic. While it isn’t the first racer to have drifting, it was one of the first racers that I know of that made it essential that you learn how to master the drift mechanics. A lot of the challenges require a good mastery of drifting, and while I do have some complaints about the drifting in this game, I’ll talk about it later in the review. All you need to know is how to drift and when to drift during the challenges. There are also the usual multiplayer options of racing, but since the online doesn’t work anymore, I can’t comment on them. Overall, you get a great number of challenges, ranging from easy to hard, and with this game’s arcade-style racing, it can be very enjoyable.
Graphically for the Xbox, it looks good! Everything is bright and colorful, the game runs very smoothly ,and for the speed that you can go in the cars, I was impressed with how there was no slowdown. The music is also enjoyable. It isn’t very memorable, but it fits the energetic mood that you would want in a game like this. The voice acting is terrible, but it gets a pass since it really isn’t a main part of the game’s audio design.
So, what is wrong with this game? Well, I really do have one complaint about the game, and it is how the game handles its drifting mechanic. It doesn’t really tell you how to do it, and getting used to the drift mechanic is crucial when you are trying to get to each checkpoint. I also don’t like how it was handled. It is hard to explain why I don’t like it, but look up how to do the drift mechanic online and you will see what I mean. While the graphics are nice and colorful, a lot of the textures are flat, and maybe I am just thinking in a next gen style, but I felt like the Xbox was very capable of making eye-popping graphics. Then again, if they did a lot of detail on the levels themselves, they would have to deal with the fast-paced racing and the high-end level graphics causing slowdown or some technical issue, but all these complaints are very minor.
Outrun 2 is a very fun racing game for the Xbox and if you are a fan of Outrun 2006, you will love this game. It can be found for cheap, but I would recommend paying about 10 dollars for it. I wish Sega would bring this racer back into the spotlight, and while I love games like Sonic and Sega All Star Racing Transformed, I think everyone could use a little arcade racing. For the final game, how about we ride a dragon?
This game gets an 8 out of 10.