Based upon Yu Suzuki's original racing classic, OutRun 2 SP introduced slip-streaming and an American theme. OutRun Online Arcade is a perfect port by Sheffield's SUMO Digital, introducing online scoreboards and new six-player multiplayer modes.
OutRun Online Arcade is available from the European Playstation Store only and costs £7.99.
We should probably expose a slight degree of personal bias on our part when it comes to OutRun, but that only heralds from the fact that the game is so good in the first place. If you're new to OutRun, expect loose controls, super-satisfying drifts and some great point-scoring mechanics. Driving behind cars will allow you to "slipstream" them, providing a subtle boost to your car's speed clock and also increasing the points you earn when passing other traffic. Slipstreaming is an essential method of earning both the high scores and the trophies and it's a really fun mechanic. As is drifting, which allows you to maximise your speed while taking ridiculous corners. It's so simple, but OutRun does it perfectly which is why you'll want to play over and over again. It's a shame there's no quick option to replay a mode, mind.
In absolute blatant SEGA-stereotype style, the guys with fast cars get the hot girls. Hot but annoying. And they demand pleasing. Which is where Heart Attack Mode comes in. During your 5-minute race, you'll encounter a number of challenges set by the Missus - some of which are easy, others not so. Doing them well will earn her affections. Do them badly and you'll get dumped on the spot. The other modes include OutRun (which is just a straight race to the end) and Time Attack (obviously set the highest time). Heart Attack Mode rates you on "Hearts" you've earned from your lady - so shallow but so true.
The best thing about OutRun is that while each race is essentially a 5 minute sprint to the finish, you can take different routes. So whether you're tearing up the streets of a night-time Las Vegas (complete with Sonic LED boards) or driving through the Grand Canyon, there's plenty of charm to encounter. This is all compounded by the multiple ending sequences which are so terribly unfunny they become hilarious.
Here at PushSquare, we've coined a new phrase for SEGA music - soft-rock. OutRun is of course no exception - it's a SEGA game, it has TERRIBLE music. But the best thing about SEGA's terrible music, is that it's actually really amazingly memorable. And that's why it goes into the "What We Liked" section - on one hand we HATE SEGA music, but on the other hand, it compounds everything we love about SEGA games. Plus, you totally know you'll be humming along to Magical Sound Shower.
While SUMO Digital have done a pretty good job making OutRun look good on a HD TV, the HUD looks a little low-res and spoils the illusion a bit. It's a shame they couldn't have made a new timer and score counter that doesn't look all grainy. The car models look amazing though.
At £7.99 it's not really a big deal, but OutRun Online Arcade lacks that progression/unlock element that Coast 2 Coast provided so well. It doesn't really matter because the gameplay holds up just fine, but some players may find the experience lacks depth.
We don't know why OutRun Online Arcade is an XBOX 360 exclusive in America, but for whatever reason that has made the online experience substantially less than it could have been on the Playstation 3. The racing works fine and is generally good fun with another six-players. However, the game lacks active participants and a better matchmaking/lobby system.
OutRun Online Arcade is a meticulous port of one of the best iterations of the classic OutRun franchise. It's without reservation that we say this version is without thrills, spills and ribbons; it's OutRun - pure and simple arcade racing. And nobody does it better.