Sega’s “Ages” line-up for Nintendo Switch has given its classics a rebirth as of late, with games like Space Harrier and Sonic the Hedgehog seeing a rejuvenation for both at-home and on-the-go play.
But Virtua Racinggoes on a completely different level. Instead of just getting a game that takes an arcade-to-home route, the developers at M2 have seemingly packed the game with a few extras that take it above and beyond the usual port. And that makes it more than worth the $8 price tag, even with its low amount of content…
Like the arcade game, Virtua Racing features three tracks and one car to choose from. That’s…really about it. But it’s the racing itself that’s the highlight, as it runs at a beautiful 60 frames per second, thanks to M2’s remastering of the game. Not only that, but you can switch flawlessly across four different viewpoints, from right on the track to high above the course, in case you’re feeling like taking an aerial view. What’s more, racing against the opposition can be a lot of fun, and you can compete against others via online leaderboards, with two different ones available, depending on which mode you select.
There’s the typical five-lap mode, which follows the arcade mantra. But then, for hardcore racing fans, there’s the 20-lap Grand Prix mode. This is similar to real-life racing circuits, and offers a much more hardcore challenge. The racing’s about the same, so the difference lies in actually taking longer to get a first place win. But it’s a neat addition for those that can’t get enough Virtua Racing goodness. And with leaderboards supporting both modes, there’s a lot of competition to go around.
The graphics look beautiful. As I mentioned, the speed of the game is spot-on, and it runs nicely in 1080p on TV and 720p in handheld. Both look great, no matter which way you want to go. Now, it’s no Daytona USA, so don’t expect next-level visuals. But it does provide a nice throwback to the olden days of polygonal racing, if that’s what you’re looking for. The old-school music is a nice touch as well.
As for gameplay, you can take on Virtua Racing the classic way, or you can try out the new steering option, which follows more of a “standard” option like more current driving games. It’s your choice, but it’s a cool option to give a go if you think the old-school style is too simple. Me? I prefer the older way to go, but to each their own.
There’s also multiplayer, but it’s limited when it comes to online. You can take on a friend in two player match-ups, but it gets really laggy. That’s why I mentioned sticking with leaderboards instead, as you can compete for best times and still get the most out of the game’s performances.
However, if you prefer offline racing, the game is king. You can take on up to eight players in racing competition, without the game missing a beat. Be warned, though – the screen becomes very crammed in this mode if you’ve got several friends. Maybe try to stick with three or four so things don’t get too crazy, unless you don’t mind having so much company over.
In the end, Virtua Racing goes above and beyond what most arcade ports do. It sets a new standard for the Sega Agesseries, even if some of the additions seem like fluff. There’s not much general content, and the online performance is a little spotty, at best, but the multiplayer is great, the new 20-lap challenge is a lot of fun, the online leaderboards are well supported, and the presentation is excellent. And it’s wonderfully priced too, going for just $8. If you’re a fan of arcade racers, or you just feel the need to give yourself a nostalgic boost, you can’t go wrong with this racing champ. 4/5 Clean Finishes.