OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast PlayStation/PSP
Published by SEGA
Developed by Sumo Digital
Release Date: Out Now
Price: PS2 £34.99/ PSP £34.99
OutRun 2006: Coast to Coast, an introduction.
I was going to review our PlayStation 2 and PSP copies of OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast separately but after playing the two games and seeing their features, I thought it would be a better idea to do a combined review. Whilst this might seem like a time saving exercise on my part, in actual fact there's a good reason for combining the two games into a single review. Not only are the games practically identical but SEGA have given us perhaps the best reason ever to purchase a PSP and PS2 version of the same game, which we'll come to a little later.
What's the game about?
I imagine most gamers have played an OutRun game at some stage in their life. For those who haven't played the game it is arcade racing at its finest with high speed racing and powerslides galore. The basic game involves racing from checkpoint to checkpoint within the required time. When you come to the end of a section you have the choice of going to the left or to the right. Take the left turn and you're in for an easier ride whilst the right turn leads you to routes that are more challenging. All this is done at breakneck speed and corners being taken by huge powerslides. Of course the fact you drive in Ferraris, also adds to the games appeal. The original OutRun was an absolute classic and the same can be said for OutRun 2 which we reviewed on the Xbox a few years ago. There are some variations on this basic formula in OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast but it's all excellent stuff that combines to make this the best arcade racer on both the PSP and the PlayStation 2.
What's good about the game?
OutRun 2006 offers various modes and includes pretty much everything from OutRun 2 and OutRun 2 SP. Whilst there are quite a few single-player and multiplayer modes for both systems, the various styles on offer include Race challenges, Heart Attack missions and Time Attack challenges. The races see you taking on five opponents and naturally, you'll begin in sixth place and will have to attempt to be in first position when you cross the finish line. In the Heart Attack missions you'll still have to drive from checkpoint to checkpoint but you'll have to obey the desires of your female passenger as she asks you to overtake vehicles, hit giant balls, drift, hit vehicles and other kinds of crazy things. She gives ratings for your performance, so you'll have to do a good job if you want to progress. The Time Attack challenges see you trying to beat a ghost car to the finish line. All of the modes on offer are addictive and will keep you engrossed. Both versions also support online races for up to six players (the PSP supports wireless play too) which means you'll still have plenty to do even when you've tired of playing the single player game (which will take a while).
We mentioned in the first paragraph that SEGA have given us a superb reason to buy both the PSP and PS2 versions of OutRun 2006. The reason for this is that the games are tightly integrated and your progress in one game can be passed to the other and vice versa. In each game you'll create a license (which is another way of saying a profile), which keeps track of all that you've done in the game such as event progress, miles earned and items unlocked etc. Using a USB link-up, you can transfer this license data back and forth from each version. This means you can take your PSP on a long train journey complete a few missions and unlock a few items with the miles you've earned and then when you're home, you can link up the two games and everything you've achieved in the PSP game will be transferred to your PS2 game. This is what handheld gaming should be all about and Sumo Digital deserves full marks for putting in this superb function.
What's not so good about the game?
Unless you've an aversion to arcade style racing games, the only disappointment with OutRun 2006 is that the analogue stick control on the PSP and the PlayStation 2 feels too loose. Of course this isn't a major problem as using the directional pad on either console is pretty much a perfect solution and it's something I personally prefer anyway.
How does it look?
OutRun 2 was visually impressive on the Xbox and when OutRun 2006 arrived for review I was sceptical the game could look as good on the PlayStation 2. In truth, it doesn't look as good but nevertheless it still looks great. In fact the PSP version looks pretty impressive too. The frame rate on both is also impressive. Load times too, are also within acceptable limits. In fact the load times on the PSP are actually very good, given how may games we've seen where you're left twiddling your thumbs waiting for the data to finish loading. Thankfully that's not the case here.
How deaf gamer friendly is the game?
There are no problems for deaf gamers with either version of OutRun 2006. Whilst there is some unsubtitled speech here, it's not going to cause any problems. During the Heart Attack challenges, the lady passenger calls out various tasks for you to do such as hit the cars, try to overtake etc. Her speech isn't subtitled but the challenge she has set does appear in text on the top right of the screen on both versions. The ratings you earn are shown visually too. In fact whilst there is unsubtitled speech in the game, it doesn't add anything or present any information that you can't gather from simply looking at the screen so it's not problematic.
The formula for OutRun was perfected in the very first game and the sequels can't really hope to surpass the original game in terms of the impact they have had on gamers. That said, OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast is as good an OutRun game as you could hope for on either the PSP or PlayStation 2. The interconnectivity between the two versions is excellent and it's one of the few games where it is worth buying the two versions if you're an OutRun enthusiast. If you can only afford the one version then you can't really go wrong with either version as both are excellent. OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast is certainly the best arcade racer on the PlayStation 2 and the best racer so far (arcade or otherwise) on the PSP in our opinion.
Overall Game Rating: 9.0/10
Deaf Gamers Classification:
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OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast is impressive on both the PSP and PlayStation 2. The integration between the two versions is superb and an example of how console and handheld systems should work together.