PSP Previews: Outrun 2: Coast to Coast Preview

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Outrun 2: Coast to Coast Preview

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Scheduled release date:

March 2006

Release Date:

People are hyped up for SEGA's forthcoming racing game, OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast. Not because it'll match Gran Turismo 4 in looks or realism, but because it's shaping up to be a fun arcade-style racer with plenty of tracks and a competitive online mode.

OutRun 2 was recently published for the Xbox platform, and developed a devoted following of fans. OutRun 2 SP soon followed as an arcade exclusive. OutRun 2006 is an extension of those two recent games, and more...

OutRun 2006 has its own exclusive stages, but it will also include tracks from OutRun 2 and OutRun 2 SP. In all, 30 different stages will be playable. The in-game garage offers 12 different car models from manufacturer Ferrari, including the all-new F430 and SuperAmerica models. A modest selection of upgrade parts and tuning adjustments will be at the player's fingertips for further customization.

From what we've seen, the PS2 and PSP versions of the game are being developed to closely mirror one another. Many races have mission goals, such as outrunning a rival or reaching a checkpoint within a certain time. The PS2 and PSP games will each have a unique set of mission goals, even though the track and car selections will be identical across the two games. Connectivity between the PS2 and PSP is being implemented. The PS2 game will have exclusive cars and tracks not initially available in the PSP game, and vice versa, but players will be able to unlock those exclusive goodies in both games by using a USB/mini-USB cable to transfer content between the two versions.

Online play will be available in both versions of the game. We've confirmed that as many as six players will be able to compete head-to-head or in tandem teams in the PS2 version. When we asked about the PSP version, we were told that they're aiming for six players in that game as well, although the limit could end up being cut to four if the framerate or net code show signs of sluggishness. No matter what happens, PSP owners will want to keep an eye on this one, since it would be the system's first car-based racing game with online play.

We were given a brief hands-on with both versions of OutRun 2006 recently and came away mostly upbeat. This sure isn't a sim, but the handling does seem to strike a good balance between realism and user-friendliness. Visually, the tracks are beautiful and detailed--even those in the PSP game. While driving, we noticed a wide variety of sexy animated details, such as waterfalls, rockslides, cloud cover, and sun flares. The sense of speed is pretty good too. Obviously, OutRun 2006 won't unseat Burnout Revenge as the PS2's uber-racer; there isn't as much traffic or bluster in SEGA's game; but it's still plenty speedy and fun.

OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast is scheduled to ship this March in North America and Europe.

1/11/2006 Frank Provo

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