Originally launched in the arcade back in 2003, Outrun 2 came as a refreshing surprise, it represented a brief respite to the failing arcade scene giving a new lease of life while taking a classic title and putting its simplistic gameplay values back in vogue. As for the gaming community, well let’s just say everyone was suddenly an Outrun expert, even those who weren't seemingly born when it originally came out. Anyway back the game and it was a pretty straightforward race to the end using a similar structure to the original title. Wonderfully smooth 60fps and a perfect powersliding motion, it may not have been the most critically acclaimed title nor the most financially successful one but Outrun 2 did a solid job and was a worthy official sequel to the 1989 hit.
One of the largest XBLA and PSN titles to date, Outrun represents a new level of quality on what we'll be seeing online taking what is effectively a full game and using the growing direct online retail options. So moving on and the menus though basic are perfectly formed, again walking a strict path with the original title, players are given the choice of Outrun Mode, Heart Mode, Time Attack and online Multiplayer featuring 6 player races with the standard in-game options. Outrun mode being the classic race to the finish of course you can always try the endurance 15 stage option which encompasses every stage environment the game has to offer.
However some of the best fun is to be had on the Heart mode, this was first introduced in Outrun 2 and basically its about keeping your girlfriend happy. She sets a range of tasks and your level of completion depends on her love rating, these tasks include overtaking cars without crashing, drifting through coloured pieces of track, collecting coins or drifting through checkpoints amongst a range of other activities.
However gameplay is not all hunky dory, the control from the original conversion does not appear 100% converted, with overly sensitive commands making it very difficult to turn the car without massive oversteer. There is an option to reduce sensitivity however this brought in considerable understeer resulting in my play experience being unable to find a comfortable balance. Many of these hurdles can be covered with extended play but control is neither ideal nor inkeeping with the Outrun philosophy.
Graphically the game is a solid representation of the arcade but at the same time its somewhat underwhelming, the resolution just doesn't seem that high? There appears to be an odd mist covering the screen, this could be interpreted as a severe lack of anti-aliasing or simply a lower resolution, either way after the success of REZ this is disappointing in the technical department and could have just as easily been sold on the marketplace as an Xbox/PS2 Original and really doesn't appear upgraded to next gen hardware in any way. In essence this is just an emulation and even includes slow-down on the first stage of the Heart Mode, very disappointing and not what we expected.
Overall Outrun 2 is still a fantastic game and fans will always enjoy the challenge, a reasonable price for a full game but its a little bit cheeky to sell an Xbox/PS2 original in this way, I hope that future arcade titles do receive the upgrade treatment we expect, for now though my Ferrari and sexy though slightly moody girlfriend are waiting for a quick spin.
7 out of 10
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