Memorable, Beautiful, Play it on that new 'portable genesis'
-Controls are easy to pick up, and tight.
-Visuals are unique, almost Dark-Deco styling.
-The Music is beautiful and memorable. Eat your heart out Jan Hammer.
-Very simple design, very good focus on creating an experience without letting useless 'features' take away from it.
-No driving in endless circles.
-Rewarding whether you're skilled or unskilled.
-One of the few games where you ACTUALLY want to listen to the music from the game via the main menu.
- I personally don't think that the game needed a story, but maybe a little more of one wouldn't have hurt.
The Bottom Line
Games are about experiences, they replicate, create, and hopefully convey a story, a feeling, or a scenario. OutRun 2019 succeeds in all it aims to do, mainly because it focuses on several strong points and creates a very polished atmosphere. Usually when a person plays a racing game, the focus is on the win, on the curve, on the other cars. I've played and loved the Gran Turismo simulators, but this isn't that. The focus when playing OutRun is on the experience, the sound, the visuals. You do not drive in a circle, there are no 'laps' - The highways of the world are your racetrack. Each section is divided into stages, prior to each stage the road forks - and you choose which stage to drive. From a sunrise over a vinyard setting in france to a dark future-chicago the hum of your engine is met with driving beat that always suits the surroundings. It is still a race, and you are reminded as opponents clip your car when passing. You can ride them down or ignore them, falling off the track results in your car being 're-set' (Mario Kart style), and the animations for flipping, spinning and deflecting are done stylishly.
There aren't any 'upgrades', your car is your car, the best car, and there's no need to or chance to drive anything else. I think this was actually a great decision on the part of the design team, as the 'specs' and 'models' and playable characters of other games can sometimes detract from the over-all experience, as players spend time wondering if they are really getting 'the best' out of their choices.
The end of the game is done beautifully, and is an experience that has stayed with me since first beating it at age 10 or so. You finish the game regardless of what 'position' you came in, as if the game respects the long journey you completed to finish. The last stage is a floating road made of glass, and as you cross the line the credits roll as your car continues upward until all that is visible is the transparent road and the stars. And of course they saved the best song for last.
If you have the new 'gen-con' system or portable genesis cart handheld, this is a wonderful addition to the pre-programmed games on there. I can imagine playing this in the car on long trips (hopefully not while driving).