Review by wolverinefan

Reviewed: 09/05/06

A fantastic racer for the PSP

I'm not the biggest racing fan. However I find them highly enjoyable on portable systems because they are a quick pick up and play, as long as the load times are good. I grabbed Outrun from the video store a little over a week ago because I had heard how fun it was and because micro machines was rented out. Let’s face it, for racing games there isn't a whole lot of options these days unless you like rather long load times, ATV was awesome and all but the load times really killed it for me. How does Outrun hold up? Well, if you're looking for a comparison from the older titles, look elsewhere because I never played them.

Graphic wise Outrun really doesn't disappoint. It isn't as crystal clear as say Need for Speed Most Wanted or ATV Off-road Fury but it firmly holds its own. The stages are nicely detailed and I liked the slightly cheesy effect of the blades of grass fluttering in the air if you drive in grass. The cars look good, if not a bit grainy and that's the only problem with the graphics, they really look grainy sometimes but not so bad that it takes away from the game. I also think the graphics alone are one of the reasons to get this but not in the normal sense. The thoughts that have gone into how unique the 30 stages are surprising and brought back very fond memories of Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2.

Sound wise I was disappointed but also overly pleased all at the same time. Not being a huge car nut I really couldn't care if each car sounds like it should. They all sound the same so if you're looking for realistic you better look elsewhere because you're not going to find it here. The music in the game is very nicely done. I'd assume it’s the same from the previous games but it doesn't matter because it's so light hearted and fitting with the arcade feel of it all. The music is a mix of R&B and jazz. I really liked it actually. Sadly there are only about 10 songs....

Outrun plays like any other arcade racer but toss in a bit of the Need for Speed Underground series with the drifting which I suck at in every game but I found that the further I got in the game and the better cars I got that drifting became easier as the handling decreased and speed increased, this allowed for a smoother slide. Because this is a racer the controls are simplistic and require no real thought behind it all.

Outrun 2006 offers a few choices when it comes to game play. You get normal Outrun which offers two sets of modes. The impress your girl mode is highly amusing and addicting. Think back to the Crazy Taxi series, remember how if the ride was more thrilling you got more money. Well in this girlfriend mode she requests certain things, miss all cars, and hit all cars ECT. You raise the heart meter and advance on an ever changing path. It’s highly addictive and fun. The other option is kind of like what one would consider the main play mode. Its normal races for the most part but you get different sets and there are four difficulties that you need to work your way through. Besides normal races though you have drift contests and knockout rounds. Pretty simple to get the hang of and at the end of each round you get a letter ranking (1st is AAA, 2nd is AA, A is A, you need one of those to "finish" the mission". Let me state here that the other racers aren't the only thing you're racing against, there is also a time limit but I never really found it a problem unless I wrecked a lot.

So, what makes this game so great from other racing games? The load times are fairly quick. The races are addictive and there is one reason for that. The locations for the 30 tracks are very interesting and varied but a race is never 1 stage, it takes the stages and mixes and matches them and while this normally wouldn't work the game links each one via a highway between them. It's a subtle change, for the most part. Sometimes if the next stage has mountains and kind of roll out in front of you, it's kind of amusing.

What does Outrun 2006 have to offer besides that? Online game play, which I was unable to use because I can't find any hot spots to use but from what I hear it plays fine but there just isn't a lot of people playing, which is a shame. Besides that you have time trial and an old version of the game which I just can't figure out how it's different than the normal. There is also a really sweet mode I like. Think of it has a giant branching path and it has all 30 stages. Now, inside the first stage you start on you have 3 goals, each separate and it tells you what to do and all of that when it's time for those goals. Depending on your grades (which get averaged out at the end of the stage) it choices which path stage will be next so it makes it rather random and interesting and opens a lot of different combos to try.

Outrun 2006 is one of the few rentals that I've gotten this year that I feel the need to rush out and buy. It's just too much fun and I just can't figure out why. Maybe it's how simplistic it all is or how much it reminds me of Hot Pursuit 2 (minus cops) but it's a blast to play and I wish I had internet....

Story - N/A
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Control - 9/10
Game Play - 10/10
Replay Value - 9/10

Final Score - 9/10

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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