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Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed Review

Posted by Alaisdair Dewar On Wednesday 26 December 2012ADD COMMENTS

Available on 360, PS3, WU, PC, 3DS and PSV l Published by SEGA l Developed by Sumo Digital l Classified G l Supports 1-10 players

REVIEW IN BRIEF > After a solid start to the series back in 2010, fans had a right to expect that Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed would offer better gameplay along with its transforming vehicles. Unfortunately, it feels like all the fun and joy has been sacrificed in order to make an unnecessarily complicated sequel. By going for too much, too hard, too soon, the game has fallen flat on its face.

REVIEW IN FULL > “The highly anticipated sequel to Sega’s first foray into the karting world comes as a complete surprise. This is simply the most addictive and innovative racer released this year”. That’s what I had hoped to write about this, but unfortunately all the joy and fun that was the first game has been lost in favour of a more technical racing style that is frustrating to play.

…all the joy and fun that was the first game has been lost in favour of a more technical racing style that is frustrating to play.

This is an arcade inspired racing game featuring a large roster of SEGA characters such as Sonic, Tails and Knuckles, along with guests like Wreck It Ralph. There are dozens of drivers to unlock, stars to collect and mini games galore. It’s not all bad. The game does offer some innovative and brilliant level designs and there are a couple of transformation levels and upgrades that keep the game interesting. The graphics are rich and detailed and this is shown all through the various levels from lava to water to grand canyons.

The tracks are built around past SEGA games, from the well-known Sonic titles to Skies Of Arcadia to After Burner. The courses all transform, so no two races are ever the same. This goes hand in hand with the vehicles. The stellar After Burner level, which is set on a bunch of aircraft carriers in the middle of the ocean, is a good example. It sees you start out in your traditional kart and race over a series of boost pads in a straight line, then seamlessly transform into a plane. After flying through some blue boost rings, you end up back on the ship in a kart. Skidding around the corner the car transforms into a boat and this evolves over the three laps of the race.

The three vehicle types are different for every character that you play. For example Sonic is great in a car and plane, but when it comes to the boat, he is painfully slow. This can jeopardise the whole race, particularly if it is close to the end. This is the part of Transformed frustrates beyond belief. The races have three difficulty settings: easy, medium and hard. The bad news is that you have to play some levels on hard in order to get the stars needed to unlock certain characters and access certain areas. Younger gamers and more casual ones will just give up. This is the part of the game that fails miserably and why it became an ultimate disappointment.

…the four screen multiplayer still works a treat and online play has a lot of people still in the lobbies so there are no long waits between races.

This is some of the most challenging kart racing to date.The first game was no walk in the park, but it was playable enough for any kind of gamer to finish. This sequel takes things a little too far. Still, the four screen multiplayer still works a treat (five screens on the Wii-U!) and online play has a lot of people still in the lobbies so there are no long waits between races.

Overall this could have been a masterpiece for karting games and for SEGA, but unnecessarily difficulty, slow boating action and mini games and challenges that do nothing but frustrate bring this game down. Hopefully next time SEGA will stick to the simpler formula from the first game and incorporate the transformers in a way that doesn’t try to be bigger than it actually is.

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