|Console port of the mighty super-drifting arcade racer; actually, it's sort of a port of both OutRun2 (see entry 858) and OutRun2 SP (see entry 1052); you get the tracks and modes from both games, plus a "Coast 2 Coast" mode consisting of a series races and challenges of escalating difficulty. I like these races, since you get to race against multiple CPU opponents, rather than just racing the clock. It's really all about racing tracks fast, I know, but having foes visible on the track gives me a nice outlet for cursing and so forth.|
A lot of the modes are variations of "Heart Attack Mode" from OR2SP (and maybe from OR2, I dunno), in which your passenger-seat-driver girlfriend tells you to do certain things, like hit other cars, pass other cars (gee, you mean drive fast? :p), drive over certain bonus items, and so on. I find these modes sort of weak, as they distract from the main point of the game: namely, driving at ridiculous speeds.
Fortunately, you don't really need to play those modes, as there are plenty of races to run: you can time trial all of the tracks or series of tracks, or even whole games' worth of tracks; you can just play regular OutRun style on OR2 or OR2SP tracks; you can play a straight port of OR2SP; you can do the race challenges in Coast 2 Coast mode; you can go race online, or locally with friends.
I haven't raced anyone yet... Hopefully soon. I waited around in the online matchmaking service for most of the afternoon of a national holiday, and saw absolutely nobody, which was a big let-down. Didn't anyone buy this game? Dang. It looks like there's a whole online leaderboard and stuff, and you can store other people as "friends," and I think get a notification when they come online. There doesn't look to be any kind of chat interface at all, though, so maybe that helps explain where there doesn't seem to be any community hanging out online.
Well, they should have, because it's pretty darn awesome. Control is good with either analog nub or D-pad (I've been using the nub's finer control more, of late), there are tons of cool tunes to race to, and the game rips along at a very impressive speed; I dunno if it's 60 fps, and there are little points where you might notice a tad of slowdown around a corner with lots of cars, but the draw distance is huge, the landscape shoots by super-fast, the cars and backgrounds look super, and overall it's an impressive showcase for the PSP.
Oh! I hit a really weird glitch today. I was re-racing a Coast 2 Coast mode drift challenge (you get points while drifting, and you have to end the race with more drift points than the CPU rival) just to get a higher ranking, and maybe stack up some more "miles" (more on that later), and I cruised across the finish line just milliseconds ahead of the CPU...and kept going, right through the crowd, around a corner, and off into nothingness. Whoa! The track was still there, just invisible. I managed to make it to the next checkpoint, when the track suddenly reappeared, and then I got to race another track, still mounting up drift points. The game ended correctly when I finished that track, so I had well over twice as many drift points as the CPU. Sweet!
Okay, so let's talk about "miles." Racing and especially winning earns you "miles"; you spend said miles in the "Showroom" shop, where you use them to unlock additional cars, car paint colors, music tracks, reverse race tracks, and "goals" (I'm not exactly sure how those differ from tracks). The unlockable stuff is pretty expensive, but you need to get the later cars if you're going to be competitive, since their stats blow away the earlier cars--if you have the cash you can buy "OutRun" versions of the regular cars, that just perform a whole lot better. The OR Testarossa, for instance, will set you back 18500 miles, and you get maybe 500 miles for running a C2C-mode race--so yeah, it'll take a while to get everything unlocked, not to mention one decent car.
Which is a drag, in a way, because with the slow car I have now, I can't really hope to set good time trial records, or get really far in C2C mode, or OutRun mode, or whatever. Maybe it's just because I'm not a great racer. But, shoot. Well, the racing is pretty gripping even in the slowmobile F50 I have now, so maybe I'll be able to stick it out. It'd help if a certain PSP-havin' friend of mine would finally get over here with his copy so we could have some races...
Er, what? Anyway, this is a fun game. Purists might disdain it for not quite having the arcade framerate at times, but fortunately I'm not that much of a purist, and can enjoy all sights, sounds, and rides it has to offer. Sega, and Sumo Digital, who ported it, put a lot into this little UMD, and I for one am pretty grateful.
Ohhhh, I might mention that the CPU seems to have some pretty tight rubber-banding going on. That might be explained just by how you get a big burst of speed by "slipstreaming" close behind another car, but then again, multiplayer mode has a catch-up option you can turn on and off, so :p. I guess it keeps the races tight and all, eh.
|You know, on second thought, it looks like it isn't gonna take as long to save up 18.5K as I thought. After somehow whupping a series of three races on C2C mode (I got dusted on an earlier one, but it still let me move forward and try the next one), I just made close to 5K in under ten minutes, I think. Sweet.|
|Woot! Got my OR Testarossa. Those suckers in C2C mode are eatin' my dust now! Wheeeeeeeeeeeee...|
I don't think I mentioned it in the SP article, so I'll mention here that slipstreaming makes a nice counterpoint to drifting, because while it gives you a real speed boost, you can't slipstream while drifting! Oooh! So do you hold on and try to take that turn in slipstream, or do you go for the inside with a drift? Strategic!
|Download added: 01_backfire.jpg (18682 bytes)|
"My testerossa fires as I upshift out of the gate."
I'm slowly learning some of the finesse involved in the game. For instance, going into a drift around a turn is easy--a downshift or tap on the brake usually does it, and sometimes all it takes is a turn of the wheel. The tricky part is coming out of the drift smoothly; it isn't apparent at first, but you usually have to start steering out of it before you're done with the corner, otherwise you come out of it with this nasty angular velocity that wants to bounce you off the side of the road. When and how hard to start steering out of a drift is more of a feel thing than something you can see, and it comes from knowing the car and knowing the track. The snap out of the drifts was really annoying me, but now that I've found a technique for avoiding it, I'm fascinated by the depth of control here. Coming out of a drift just right to take the inside lane at high velocity, when you do it right, is very satisfying.
|I tried some local multiplayer with a friend, and got soundly thrashed. You can turn on a catch-up feature, so the person behind gets a crazy auto-drive boost that actually jerks you back on the road and keeps you in the race, but I still lost each time because the routes tend to end with a nasty curve that you'll barf on if you aren't prepared for it, which I definitely wasn't. You can probably have some pretty cool races with two evenly matched opponents, but I'd need to find someone pretty bad to have that experience.|
One disappointment in this mode was that you're limited to the items that the person hosting the race has--courses, cars, and paint colors. I can understand limiting the courses, I suppose, but man, can't I use the cars I've unlocked to pwn (or at least to try to pwn) other people? Dang.