At a glance...

Previewer Platform Publisher Developer Players Release Date Screenshots
Matt Bailey Xbox Sega Sumo Digital 1-2 (Split scrren), 2-8 (LAN, Xbox Live) 1st October 2004 Here

OutRun2 preview

If there was one thing Sega hadn't considered when decided to port OutRun2 from the arcade to the Xbox, it was Burnout 3. Being the sequel to the classic arcade racing game it naturally received a lot of attention, but in September along came the Criterion/EA racer to the Xbox, providing a game that is both immensely enjoyable and packing a great deal of depth - providing the ultimate arcade experience. Considering it's a relatively shallow arcade port, what does OutRun2 have to offer that Burnout 3 doesn't?

Well, based on the preview code I have played, OutRun2 is still very good fun, despite lacking the amazing crashes of the Criterion game. In fact, it offers it's own arcade driving experience - allowing you to experience the joys of exaggerated powersliding, multiple routes to completion which dictate difficulty, and the ability to take some licensed Ferraris for a spin. Of course, licenses aren't everything, but there is something satisfying about tearing down a traffic-packed highway in a red Ferrari F50, before sliding round the corner and just making the checkpoint.

So what have Sega in store to keep this interested. Well, the original arcade game itself is likely to get you hooked, albeit not for long enough. As well as packing in a time-trial mode and a 'heart attack' mode - where you have to perform extra tasks while driving to satisfy your on-screen girlfriend. This is all well and good, but it is the Xbox Live functionality which will keep you coming back for more. Working better in the preview code than Burnout 3 does now post-release, it is where the game has the upper hand over what is arguably it's main rival (just how much these games actually cross over is a matter for debate). As well as delivering a more stable experience, there are also ghosts to upload and download, and up to 8 players racing live against each other. It does lack the excellent short bursts of fun of Crash mode, though.

Considering the arcade game's technology is based on the Xbox, a port seemed both likely and easy. However, that doesn't guarantee everything will go smoothly (see some PS1 and DC arcade conversions), but UK developers Sumo Digital have done a great job for Sega, ensuring the new game is both fast and smooth, and displays the great graphics the original version cabinet version offered.

But how does OutRun2 compare with it's classic predecessor? Well, that's saved for the upcoming review, but let's just say that the new game is certainly an improvement graphically...

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