OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast Xbox Review

Sega and arcade racer, they are words that just go together to form something magical. It’s just like peanut butter and jelly, or so I’ve heard (as I never had the chance the try that fabled delicacy). Well let’s put my culinary opinions to one side and focus on what is now the second update to Sega’s legendry OutRun series. Following on from their work on the original Xbox conversion – which we loved – Sumo Digital are back once again to press a few buttons and twiddle a few knobs which will hopefully result in what is a worthy update to the work then done less than a year ago on. Now before we get any further into this review let me just say they sure did cram a lot into this game, the question is does it all work well together?

If you want a quick answer to the above question then it would be a solid yes, Coast 2 Coast is a great game and easily a must for fans of the series to rush out and buy. In a time when most gamers want to scream for some innovation it may seem weird for OutRun to receive this praise but OutRun sticks to it old ways for a very good reason; you do not fix what isn’t broken and for the past 20 years OutRun has never been broken. Instead Sumo Digital have just added and refined making Coast 2 Coast a very fine game to play.

First of let’s talk Single Player, which consist of the basic OutRun mode, Girlfriend Challenges and the all new brand spanking Coast 2 Coast mode. OutRun is the classic arcade game with you and your girl sitting in a Ferrari racing against the clock through a selection of 15 branching stages you chose via the road forks as you advance. Right turns mean harder courses and left will keep you on the easy stages. Everyone, even those that have never touched a game of OutRun in their lives know how this works so there is little else to talk about here. Then there are the Girlfriend challenges which set you loads of challenges to impress your girl. One of these has you bouncing a beach ball while trying to avoiding alien abduction but others are a little bit more normal as you try to achieve an AAA ranking. A new addition to the genre is the slipstream feature that lets you draft behind cars increasing your speed. The game has no split-screen options for multiplayer but there is up to six player multiplayer available through system link. The game also has some online options if you can find some like minded gamers to play with.

Presentation

OutRun games have always looked pretty. Even way back in the 80s when the franchise was born it was pushing and breaking straight through graphical boundaries making people say “wow” many times over. Coast 2 Coast may not be breaking boundaries with it’s graphics but there is no denying it is a very nice game to look at. If you picked up the original Xbox version back in late 2004 then you already have an idea of what OutRun can do. It looks as if some of the backgrounds have got a few updates and as a result look slightly more vibrant than before. The cars are still as shiny and detailed as they ever have been with a few small details added here and there to help bring more candy to your eyes. The game’s framerate is very steady 95% of the time with only a few hiccups every now and then, when going through some feature-packed area of the environment with loads of detail on-screen.

As always, the music in OutRun games is fantastic and with trademark songs like Splash Wave, Risky Ride, Magical Sound Shower along with many others included in Coast 2 Coast it does not disappoint in any way. The title also lets you buy new tunes from the in game shop. If you despise all things acoustically retro then there is always the Xbox’s custom soundtrack to play around with. The sound effects however can be a little basic and sparse at times with none of the car whooshes or crashes having any real depth or base to them. The engine sounds are ok but are once again rather hushed if compare to games like Burnout. The soundtrack more than makes up for this small let down as, just to reiterate it is more or less perfect!

Overall

The OutRun series of games has always being simplistic there is no debating that. If you play the title just after coming of a bout of Burnout you will obviously feel like the game is lacking something. Thankfully, OutRun: Coast 2 Coast never tries to be something its not, it revels in its simplicity pushing the OutRun formula to it limits. All in all Sumo Digital creating a game that will not only have OutRun fans salivating but also a fantastic racing game that everyone should play. It’s not a must buy for all speed freaks but definitely a rent (or borrow from friend when he is not looking) for anyone interested in racing games.

7.3 out of 10

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