|System: X360 (XBLA)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Sumo Digital||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SEGA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Apr. 15, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-6||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
If you are a fan of automotive games, by now you have certainly heard arguments about whether arcade-style racing or sim-style racing is better. The argument for arcade racers has always been that they keep the fast-paced nature of street racing intact and are more approachable than sim-style racers. On the other hand, sim-style racers are a lot more challenging and offer a deeper, more strategic style of gameplay. Both of these arguments have valid points, and as someone who enjoys both sub-genres, I would be inclined to say that both are right. However, the best automotive games are ones that blend both of these together, like OutRun Online Arcade.
At its heart, OutRun Online Arcade is an arcade-style title. This is most evident with the controls, which are easy to learn and emphasize speed over precision. Add to this quick car recovery times, the absence of crashes, and larger than life acceleration, and it seems like you have a textbook arcade-style racer. But the cool thing about OutRun, and what made it a standout title in my opinion, was the subtle implementation of sim-like mechanics.
For instance, the game's main mode, OutRun, challenges you to race your way across five stages, staying within a certain time limit. While it is totally possible to get through the first four by flooring the accelerator and trying to evade other cars, you will always come up just a little bit short before getting to that last stage. This is where the sim mechanics come into play. In order to make a complete run within the time limit, you will have to employ advanced driving techniques like drifting and slipstreaming in order to make that final time gate.
Although the precision needed to pull of these moves is nowhere near the intense concentration needed for the PGR series or Forza, the game is challenging enough that it will require more than just steering to win a race. Fast, timed drifts are the most difficult to pull off, and while the driving is not as strategic as some other big titles, getting past your rivals is definitely a challenge here. Although the controls make this title feel approachable, there is enough of a challenge to keep the player interested past the initial time gate.
However, even though the OutRun is the main mode, I have to say that the game's Heart Attack mode nearly stole the show. In Heart Attack, your main goal is to impress your girlfriend. No, I am not kidding. Unfortunately, though, I get the feeling that your character's girlfriend is either crazy or just wants to kill you. She will occasionally shout a goal for you to accomplish, like "drift more" or "pass all the cars," and if you don't comply let's just say the woman will not be too happy.
In addition to regular driving challenges, Heart Attack mode also has some pretty outlandish challenges as well, which in my opinion really make it memorable. Occasionally coins or snowmen will randomly appear and your girlfriend will (of course) want you to knock out these obstacles. These mini-missions are lots of fun, and they really give this game a lot of replay value.