Daytona USA PS3 Review

Before going into this review, let me give a little history on one of my favorite arcade racing games of all time. Daytona USA was released in arcades in 1993 and was the first to debut on the Sega Model 2 arcade board which allowed for more texture mapping in the levels. Additionally in 1995, Daytona USA was one of the launch titles when the Sega Saturn launched in the USA.

Immediately upon loading Daytona USA, I jumped right into the Arcade Mode and was thrown into a 40 car brawl to the finish. The sights and sounds were just as I remembered, from the introductory “ROLLING START!” to the cars driving by. Daytona USA offers a few modes that were absent from previous versions of the game. First off, the title features the very-nostalgic Arcade Mode, which has 3 tracks to choose from. First of the three is the ‘Beginner Track’, an 8 lap run against 39 other opponents. The ‘Advanced Track’ is a 4 lap run against 19 other opponents, and the ‘Expert Track’ is a 2 lap run against 29 opponent cars.

There is now an extras menu with 4 game types to choose from. The 4 new game types are: Challenge, Karaoke, Time Trial and Survival. Challenge Mode is exactly what it is, 10 sets of challenges on each of the 3 available tracks. The challenges you will face vary from reaching the goal without hitting any walls to drifting around a corner. Karaoke Mode pits you on the track with the game’s soundtrack song lyrics at the bottom. With no real scoring system for the Karaoke mode, I don’t see it serving any true purpose unless you are throwing a karaoke party and ran out of songs to sing.

The next two offerings are Time Trial and Survival Mode. Time Trial puts you onto the track to see what your best lap times are while you are the only car on the asphalt. Survival Mode is a test of endurance and one of my new favorite modes to play. The game puts you into the tracks with a lot of laps to complete, and by a lot I mean 80 for the Beginner Track alone. For every car that you pass, you get a time extension. Survival Mode is not easy by any means. If you hit a wall or hit other cars, it will hinder your time to get to the checkpoint with a penalty of about 25 seconds. Precision and attention to both yourself and your opponents are what will be rewarded with a high score.

Finally, we come to multiplayer. Multiplayer pits you against real players instead of CPU drivers unless you want to add them to the mix as well. In all honesty, not many people were playing online at the time of this review but I did manage to get into a game with 3 other players. Just as in Arcade Mode, multiplayer is a straightforward race to the finish.

Daytona USA  is no doubt a lot of fun for an arcade racing game. The full PlayStation Network price of $9.99 (800 MSP) seems a bit steep for such an old game but the fun factor definitely makes up for it. If you’re a PS Plus subscriber it is priced at a much more reasonable $6.99. If you are a nostalgic gamer like myself, the title is a must-have. If you are a racing game fan, this title is a must-have. Sega is one of those developers that don’t push mediocre games out year after year, sequel after sequel. Daytona USA is one of those rare breeds of a Retro arcade-type racer that keeps the fun factor going, even hours into gameplay.
8/10

by

Version tested: PS3

Also available on: Xbox 360

Developer: Sega

Publisher: Sega AM2

Genre: Arcade Racing