But if the single player game is good, the multiplayer game is just brilliant. There’s something very cool about sitting in the office, playing OutRun on my PSP against five other players online. Amazingly, the gameplay is silky smooth too, with little or no lag – not bad considering both the WiFi setup and ADSL in the TrustedReviews office are not the most reliable in the world. Also, unlike playing Project Gotham on Xbox Live, playing OutRun online is fun from beginning to end. Because the gameplay and dynamics are so simple, if you crash it’s easy to get back in the race. I actually won my first ever race, despite being in last place for the majority of it.
Graphically OutRun looks superb and I can’t imaging that Sega could have done a better job. OK so there are a few jaggies on show here and there, but that’s just highlighting the limitations of the hardware, not the game. The feeling of speed is convincing, and the bright and detailed landscapes are light years ahead of the original arcade machine. Likewise the sound is top notch, with all the original tunes from both OutRun and OutRun 2 – not that I listen to anything other than Magical Sound Shower of course.
Ultimately OutRun 2006 is everything that I’d hoped it would be and more – it has all the instant accessibility of the original arcade game, with enough extras thrown in to keep things interesting. If this game has a failing, it’s that players who didn’t experience the original OutRun phenomenon may not find it as instantly appealing. In fact they may even read this review and wonder why I’m raving about it, when by comparison Ridge Racers is a far more detailed and complex game. But if they spend some time with OutRun, they might just realise that not everything from the 80s is best forgotten.
The problem with most PSP games is that they try to be too clever, too “next gen”. OutRun 2006 may not be the best looking game on the PSP, or the most challenging, but it is great fun to play. Of late I’ve been playing my Nintendo DS far more than my PSP, because the games are just easy to pick up and fun to play. However, Sega has proved that “Fun” games can work just as well on the PSP – it has proved it with OutRun, just like it did with Virtua Tennis last year.
OK, so a game like OutRun doesn’t offer the kind of challenging longevity as GTA, but it does have that “pick up and play” appeal, especially with the multiplayer aspect. OutRun was a classic in 1986 when the masterful Yu Suzuki created it, now, 20 years later it’s a classic all over again.