The SEGA AGES series is back with a new entry, and this time it’s the turn of the excellent Virtua Racing. Check our SEGA AGES Virtua Racing review!
It’s 2019, and I’ve been playing not an arcade-perfect version of Virtua Racing on the Nintendo Switch, but a greatly improved version of the most excellent arcade classic, with improved framerate and draw distance, 1080p docked and 720p when undocked, online multiplayer for two and leaderboards split between the two available gameplay modes (one for races with five laps and one for a Grand Prix with 20 laps to go), local multiplayer for up to eight players, and more. It certainly is a good time to be alive!
The people at M2, the studio behind the SEGA AGES range on Nintendo Switch and a ton of other projects, are emulation gods. They’ve given us many a Virtual Console release, the excellent 3D Classics series on the Nintendo 3DS, have done some work on the recent Castlevania and Contra collections from Konami, as well as on Collection of Mana, another recent collection that has also seen a Nintendo Switch release digitally – with a physical release right around the corner. SEGA AGES Virtua Racing is by far their most technically advanced emulation port, and it certainly opens the door for us to also get a SEGA AGES Virtua Fighter. Perhaps someone can talk to Disney so that we can also get a Switch version of SEGA AGES Star Wars Arcade…
Since Virtua Racing is a racing game – it’s right there in its name! –, you’ll steer by pressing left or right on the D-Pad or the left analog stick, or you can go all in and use motion controls so that you can use the Nintendo Joy-Con/Pro controller as a steering wheel. If you select manual gear, you can shift up by pressing the R or ZR button and can shift down whit the L or ZL buttons. If you need to break, perhaps when taking on a sharp turn, you can do so with the B button. You can change between four different camera options for the game, between the default setting, one that takes the camera a bit back, one that really pushes it back to give you a view of what is up ahead, and one that takes you right into the car’s cockpit.
There are there courses available, each more difficult than the previous one. You can either take on them in the regular race mode in which you have to complete five laps and come on top, or you can go into a Grand Prix mode in which the laps are bumped up to twenty in total. Since it’s an arcade game, you’ll need to reach each of the different checkpoints on the track before your timer runs out. If you manage to do this, you’ll be given a time extension and will be able to continue racing. If you’re playing in Grand Prix, you’ll need to enter the pits every now and then so that your team can change your tires, since they wear down as you race when making a few mistakes
The local split-screen multiplayer with up to eight players is certainly a nice feature to have, but if you’re going to go that route you better have a big TV, because splitting your TV into eight smaller screens means that each player better be sitting close to it if it’s smaller than a 40” display. The Nintendo Switch’s screen can also be used when playing in Portable or Tabletop mode, and the screen is also going to be split between the many players that will take part in the local multiplayer session, which means everyone will have to sit very close to the screen – but it’s a nice option to have.
SEGA AGES Virtua Racing is the definitive version of the beloved racing classic and the best game in the SEGA AGES series. It goes above and beyond giving us an arcade-perfect version of Virtua Racing, adding a ton of quality of life improvements, with crisper and more colorful graphics, a 60 fps 16:9 presentation with a greater draw distance than the arcade version could ever hope to achieve, as well as local and online multiplayer, and even leaderboards so that you can compare your performance with players from around the world. It’s a steal at its $7.99 asking price, and a game you have to buy on Nintendo Switch.
This SEGA AGES Virtua Racing review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Sega.