games / Reviews

Daytona USA (PSN, XBLA) Review

November 10, 2011 | Posted by Trace Aber

Game: Daytona USA
Genre: Racing
Players: 1-8
Developer: SEGA-AM2
Publisher: SEGA
Rated E for Everyone

Who can forget the first time they ever laid their eyes on Daytona USA? Whether it be in the arcade with the machine yelling its name proudly at you, or popping it into your Sega Saturn among all your friends (because no two people who knew each other ever owned a Saturn at the same time), Daytona USA holds a place in many of our hearts. After eighteen long years, the classic racing game returns to PSN and XBLA, but does it hold up after all these years? Well, yes and no.

The biggest problem with the game is that it’s nearly a direct port of the arcade version, which is also a blessing as well. It’s tricky – while the game is exactly what you expect it to be, it’s hard to justify spending $10 on a game that’s nearly 20 years old and plays exactly the same. The graphics have been scaled up a bit, but they’re still dated, even by downloadable title standards. Furthermore, the game handles exactly the same as it did before, so while it’s fun in short bursts you’re eventually looking for a deep experience.

Speaking of the game’s depth, there isn’t a lot. Playing it back now I’m flabbergasted how I got so much time out of it when I was younger. The game has three courses, each of which are reversible, and that’s it. You also only have a choice of two cars – automatic and manual, meaning there isn’t a whole lot of variety to be found in your arcade racing experience.

The game does add some new stuff, such as challenge and karaoke modes. Challenge mode has you finishing laps without touching a wall and stuff like that, but there’s nothing to unlock other than an achievement/trophy. Karaoke mode is a rather odd inclusion, and has you driving a track while the lyrics to the songs in the game play at the bottom. This mode was fun for about 5 minutes, then quickly wears out. It also points out how little effort went into the lyrics of the game, but that’s actually part of the charm.

Daytona USA does feature online multiplayer to help recreate the thrill of racing in the arcades, but the experience falls flat since you’re not actually surrounded by seven other people. For some mind-boggling reason local multiplayer was left out, which was one thing I was really looking forward to while playing.

-Good nostalgia fun
-Nothing has been touched from the original

-Price is too high
-Very little content

The 411
I can only recommend this game to hardcore fans of the original, or those simply looking for a nostalgia kick. While it’s just as fun as you remember it being, there’s nothing else. 18 years ago this was considered top of the line, but in 2011 it’s simply unacceptable to expect people to pay $10 for this experience. Most people will get their kicks from the demo alone, and would be better off saving their $10 for something that offers more content.

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Trace Aber
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