Wednesday 29 March 2006
You know what we'd love? If more developers focused on making one feature of their game great instead of filling it with hundreds of half-finished ideas. Content isn't everything you know; one idea, providing it's sufficiently well-designed, can be stretched for miles. Think of how many hours you've spent playing Tetris. Loads, right? And all you've been doing is stacking odd-shaped blocks.
Well the same applies to OutRun. We must've sunk at least 40 hours into the thing and all we've been doing is drifting through basically one track. The route and theme of the courses may vary, but it's essentially the same thing every time. But thanks to that focused care and attention we mentioned earlier, it never gets boring.
It's mainly down to the drifting, which could well be the most satisfying sensation in the world. Well, the world of videogames at least. If you thought the outlandish powersliding in Ridge Racer was fun, OutRun will blow your mind. Tapping square and teasing the analogue stick into a bend turns your car almost horizontal as you career smoothly around the apex with your girlfriend's hands waving in the air. You feel like the man. You are the man and nothing's gonna stop you. Unless you hit another car that is. But even then it just spins out, disappears and you continue skidding along. Perfect arcade gameplay.
But it's this simplistic arcade approach to racing that has the office split on whether or not OutRun 2006 is actually any good. "It's sub-Burnout!" the doubters shout. "Look at those awful collisions and the basic handling!" Well, that's a fair point. Clip another car or an obstacle and you won't crash 'realistically' like in Burnout - you'll lose a little speed or flip over and land on your wheels.
But does that really matter? Of course it doesn't. It's an arcade game. The less founded in realism it is, the better. There are no 'crash points', combos or anything. It's just pure racing and the joy is in the driving.