Review: Sega Ages Virtua Racing (Switch) - TheFamicast.com: Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!

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Monday, May 6, 2019

Review: Sega Ages Virtua Racing (Switch)

by Danny Bivens

Early polygonal racing at its finest. 
The racing genre is clearly a subset of games that is under-represented on the Switch. Sure, there are a few of them out there, but pure racing fans have been given the short end of the stick on Nintendo’s console. Enter Sega and their recent release of Virtua Racing. This purely arcade racer is definitely not going to give you a sim-like experience, but boy, it will take you on an awesome trip back to see what past racing games were like in the arcades.

Virtua Racing was originally released in the arcades in 1992 and saw various ports across the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, 32X and Sega Saturn. Thanks to the revolutionary (at the time) Model 1 arcade system board, the game helped pave the way for several popular series from Sega such as Virtua Fighter, Daytona USA future polygonal 3D racers from other developers as well.
With this release of V.R., and staying true to the arcade original, players have access to three different courses that can be played either in either five laps (Normal) or 20 (Grand Prix) with either manual or automatic transmission. Of course, you can play by yourself in single player or you can hit the pavement with up to seven other friends - eight players total - on one Switch console. You can even do this in handheld mode if you want to. I know, personally, it would be tough for me to get seven other friends together in general, let alone for the sole purpose of playing this in the eight player mode. Still, it’s cool that this is even in here as an option.

Graphically, Virtua Racing is stunning. Sure, the polygonal look is totally crude by today’s standards, however, the extra care and work that went into this version of the game (thanks to developer M2) is really endearing. The game runs in high definition and keeps a consistent, locked 60 frames per second pretty much no matter what is happening on screen. Players can cycle through four different camera angles, dubbed the “VR View System,” to decide on how they want to tackle the racing action here as well. Again, these are some old school looking 3D models, however at the same time, the polygonal cars, environments and human models still look fantastic in HD on the Switch.
Online connectivity plays a huge part in your experience in Virtua Racing. You can go head to head against another person online, which I found worked decently enough. I did run into a little bit of lag that did seem to take away from some of the precision I felt while playing in single player. The real bread and butter of the online isn’t with this aspect of connectivity, but rather the online leaderboards. Your time after each race is recorded and depending on how you do, you can climb up to try and be number one. Not only that, but you can record replays of your races and check them out later for further review. Up to ten replays can be saved at a time. You can keep the ones you want locked in (by pressing Y while under the replay section), otherwise your most recent ten races will appear here. One other really cool feature is the ability to check out the replays of the racers at the top of the rankings. This is extremely helpful if/when you’re looking to shave some time off of your races.
Virtua Racing is a joy to play and look at. It is a bit sparse when it comes to content (only three courses are available to play here), but the attention to detail and online connectivity help make this a racer that you should really look into if you’re dying to play a no nonsense title in the genre on your Switch.

Final Score: 8.5

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