Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Review #135: OutRun 2006 - Coast 2 Coast

 This is what fun is made of.
 If there's one thing I love when it comes to games, it's when they are arcadey, meaning, they are easy to pick up, fast paced and usually score based with very little nuances at their most basic level. I don't usually like Racing games, but OutRun was a game that I always enjoyed, so I knew, I just knew that I was gonna like Outrun 2006.

 I think calling OutRun a racing game is not entirely correct, sure, you are racing against the clock, but you are not racing against other racers(At least on the main mode). "Adventure Racing Game" suits it much better, reason being the way the game itself plays. At the start of the game you start of with 99 seconds on the clock and a very straight forward path that branches in two at the end, rule of the thumb being that the left routes are always easier than the ones on the right, and then whichever route you chose branches off again for a total of 15 "tracks" and 5 possible goals. Needless to say, there's a lot of routes(20 if I'm not mistaken) you can take, and each track is completely different from each other, which is why it feels more like an adventure than anything else. OutRun 2006 actually collects both OutRun 2 and OutRun 2 SP's tracks for a total of 30(Although, sadly, you there's no "mixed" set, you either play on 2 or SP's sets). The game also features two 15 track races(One for each set) which are quite long, but feel very epic and even more of an adventure.
 The game is very simple and built around 2 techniques: Drifting and Slipstreaming. Slipstreaming, the easiest one, consists of running behind another vehicle in order to have it break the windr esistance for you, thus boosting your speed. Drifting is performed by letting go of the accelerator, quickly tapping break and then accelerate again while engaging curves. If you wish to real the finish line, you will have to learn both techniques. One thing I really loved is the difficulty curve, when I first started I usually lost by the third track, but as I got better, learning how to play, I managed to reach every goal with very little trouble. It feels very natural, and very rewarding how you manage to get a little further every time. In no time I was clearing the 15-track monsters which felt incredible.

 Besides the traditional "OutRun" Mode there's three other modes: Heart Attack, in which you must fulfill challenges to earn points as you race through the game and Time Attack, in which you compete against Ghosts as you... race through the game. Time Attack is the only mode in which you can play the unlockable Reverse Tracks(or even Reverse routes, including the 15-track routes) as far as I noticed. Lastly, there's "Coast 2 Coast" AKA Mission Mode. There's two varieties, Girlfriend missions and Flagman missions. Girlfriend missions has you completing challenges for one of three girls, but these are way crazier than the ones features in Heart Attack, like counting cars, picking up food, avoiding meteors among others. Flagman challenges are more straightforward, most of them are simple "race your rivals" in which you start off in last place and must race your way to the top in a set amount of tracks, but there's also a few more interesting ones, like Elimination races, in which every few seconds the racer in last place gets eliminated. These missions are interesting in that they feature the reversed tracks and sometimes mixes tracks from 2 and SP, and they get progressively harder as you go along, culminating in a epic race in which you start in position 100 and must reach the car at 1st.
 Playing any of these modes earns you "Miles" which you can spend in the shop to buy a ton of unlockables, cars, music, reverse tracks and colors... and here's where my first gripe with the game pops up, there are PSP unlockables. This means that the game requires you to link up with the exact same version of the gameon the PSP in order to unlock them, which would suck had it not been for the "Unlock all" cheat. Probably best use it after you are done with the game, as it will overwrite your scores in Coast 2 Coast mode. The game also lets you play the original version of OutRun 2 SP, but it feels kinda needless, as the main game contains everything and anything this has and more, only that the Arcade version doesn't net you "Miles"... maybe it's there to give you a taste of some of the unlockable cars, since everything is unlocked from the start?

 Know what the game could've used? Local Multiplayer. There's absolutely no way to play this on the same console with other players, having online is Ok I guess? But who really used the PS2's online services? It's a bit disappointing really. Since I'm at it, although this is more of a nitpick, I would've liked a mode that let you race without a timer on top, the game really lends itself to casual play, so it would've been a nice addition.
 Graphics are pretty nice, I bet having real Ferraris was a huge selling point for some, but in my opinion, it's the beautiful tracks that steal the show. Each track is very distinctive, particular stand outs being Milky Road and Casino Town. It's a very lively, colorful game and these tracks never get old. The soundtrack is phenomenal, every song lends itself to the game, with "Night Flight" being my favorite. Nothing, absolutely nothing beats drifting at top speed while listening to Night Flight, it feels incredible.

 OutRun 2006 is an amazing game, I found myself getting sucked in the game oh so many times, driving in this game feels like a dream, the sense of speed coupled with the amazing environments and the great tunes.... It's a fantastic game.
 9.0 out of 10.

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