Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is a racing game developed by Sumo Digital and published by Sega. It is the sequel to Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, which was released in 2010. It was released for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and the Wii U in November 2012, the PlayStation Vita in December 2012, Microsoft Windows in January 2013 and the Nintendo 3DS in February 2013. It was a launch title for the Wii U in both North America and Europe.
Why It Rocks
- The gameplay is very unique compared to other racers of it's type: by allowing the ability to swap between three modes of racing (land, sea and air), this makes each track all the more different from each other, as the layout and course can change with each passing lap. As an example, a track could have one lap where you're on land, another lap where you're on the water, and the final lap where you're in the air.
- An impressive character roster of over 30 characters (including DLC), spanning different Sega properties from Crazy Taxi and Golden Axe, to Jet Set Radio and Shinobi, with the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise naturally getting the most representation.
- Newcomers to this game that weren't in the previous game include Vyse from Skies of Arcadia, Nights and Reala from Nights Into Dreams, MeeMee from Super Monkey Ball, Gum from Jet Set Radio and more!
- Plus there's even some weird yet unique third-party characters, such as Wreck-It Ralph, and even real-life driver Danica Patrick herself.
- Furthermore, there are free DLC characters from Sega's PC franchises, such as Football Manager and Total War, and even Team Fortress 2 makes an appearance (see BQ#1).
- Instead of re-using the majority of the tracks from the previous game, Sumo Digital instead had the majority of the tracks in this game be new, with 4 of the best tracks from the previous game (similar to the retro tracks in Mario Kart) returning.
- Much like with the selection of characters, the tracks feature a wide variety of Sega franchises, with even franchises like Billy Hatcher, Burning Rangers and The House Of The Dead having tracks despite not having any characters from their respective games appear here, creating a tracklist of 21.
- Highlights of the tracks include Carrier Zone, Rogue's Landing, Sanctuary Falls, and the Race of Ages, this game's answer to Mario Kart's Rainbow Road.
- Different mods for each character and their vehicle, which can either improve or worsen the vehicle's speed, acceleration, handling and boost, as well as your All-Star move. Unlocking and swapping between mods is a great way to get to know which mod will work best for certain events and which will make your car reach it's maximum potential.
- As well as a normal and mirror Grand Prix mode, All-Stars Racing Transformed offers a vast improvement to the single-player element: the World Tour mode, effectively the campaign mode in this game. Characters and mod packs are unlocked as you progress and collect stars in this mode, and gaining every one of the 232 available stars in this game is a hard yet satisfying accomplishment.
- The graphics are very crisp and good, both as a game released late in the life of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and as a launch title for the Wii U.
- The soundtrack of this game features excellent remixes of classic Sega songs, as well as some original pieces to fit with the atmosphere of the track, and as a whole, the music, while not as great as regular Sonic music, is still good overall.
- The controls of all the different vehicle modes feel responsive, and nailing a Level 3 drift in any vehicle mode is a small, yet satisfying accomplishment, giving you a substantial amount of boost. Even doing a short drift is satisfying enough if you manage to overtake another racer.
- The items in this game are completely different to the ones seen in the previous game, and whilst they aren't anything special compared to the items in Mario Kart, they're still fun to use and more than just Mario Kart rip-offs, unlike the items in the first game. The items that can provide the most fun are particularly the All-Star moves you can pick up from these item capsules, and the Swarm item, effectively this game's answer to a Blue Shell.
- Furthermore, some item capsules contain more powerful or more uses of these items, and are placed in more difficult to reach areas. This gives the player a sort of risk-reward incentive, potentially forfeiting 1st place by driving/flying dangerously in hope of getting a powerful item.
- A fantastic level of fanservice, being at a level where it's just right and not too overblown and in your face.
- The variety in mission types in World Tour helps alleviate some frustrations since if you don't like a certain type of mission, you won't have to play it one after the other. There are a total of 9 different types of events, each coming with 4 difficulty settings:
- Battle Races effectively come down to a Last Player Standing type of mode, with several strategies that you could use: either by staying in last and letting everyone else take each other out, or staying in first and dropping obstacles for the other racers to get hit by.
- Boost and Drift Challenges are similar, with the difference being, as the titles suggest, the significance of boosting and drifting. In boost challenges, as long as you are boosting, the timer doesn't go down, and you need to go through all the gates before it does. In drifting challenges, you gain time by drifting along paths and through gates, and again, go through all the gates before the timer runs out.
- Boost Races are races with no defensive or offensive items, and simply just more boost pads than normal.
- Pursuits involve you using weaponry to take down a gigantic tank, and can get pretty intense at times.
- Races are the most common event type you'll find in World Tour, and they're pretty self-explanatory: try and win.
- Ring Races involve you using the air mode of your vehicle and flying through all the checkpoints and rings before the timer runs out. It can get quite challenging on the harder difficulties, but it's satisfying to complete.
- Sprints are effectively Time Trials, only with time limits that can be different to the actual Time Trials in this game.
- Traffic Challenges involve you driving in between checkpoints (sometimes in between cars), and avoiding the traffic and the police as much as possible, otherwise you'll have to restart once the timer runs out. Like Ring Races, they can get quite tough.
- Versus races could be most comparable to the majority of races in a game like Tokyo Xtreme Racer, where either you need to be a certain different ahead of your rival, or just be ahead of your rival when the timer runs out.
- The game can get quite difficult at times when trying to beat all the Expert ghosts in Time Trials, or when collecting every star in World Tour mode, but it's at a level where you can adjust and overcome it with enough practice.
- The multiplayer modes, both for Racing and Battle modes, can get quite hectic, especially this game's version of Capture The Flag: Capture The Chao.
- The PlayStation Vita port is astonishingly faithful to it's console counterparts, for a variety of reasons:
- It runs on the same internal engine as the console version, codenamed 'Sumo', and as such, looks almost the exact same to the console versions with less graphical detail.
- It includes all the different World Tour events, whereas the 3DS version didn't (See BQ#3).
- It maintains the strong sense of speed that the console versions had, making it the ideal portable version of this fantastic racer.
- Whilst there are plenty of new characters to this game, some of the characters from the previous game have been cut, most notably Billy Hatcher and Jacky and Akira from Virtua Fighter.
- Whilst 20 tracks (21 if you count the pre-order bonus level) is a decent number, considering the quality of the tracks themselves, it would've been nice for Sumo Digital to add maybe 4 or 8 more retro tracks from the previous game, however, it's not a deal-breaker.
- There are fewer tracks in this game than in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, but that's not too bad considering the majority of the tracks in this game are brand-new.
- The online multiplayer component to this game is pretty much dead at this point, so if you're going to try to get the online trophies, it's best you find a boosting session to help you out.
- The Nintendo 3DS version of this game is the weakest outside of the mobile versions. Since it doesn't run on the same engine as the other versions of this game, it doesn't look as nice as other racing games on the 3DS. That, and the fact there are more glitches in this version.
- There was a day-one patch on the Wii U version that made the Boost Race levels unwinnable, as well as the online Battle modes being broken. This has since been patched.
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed received "generally favourable reviews" on all platforms, except for the 3DS Version. Both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions have a critic score of 82/100, the Wii U version has a critic score of 78/100, the PlayStation Vita version has a critic score of 75/100, and the Nintendo 3DS version has a critic score of 63/100.
- The console and PC versions allow up to 10 racers, whilst the handheld versions only allow up to 8 racers at once.
- The reason why the title is just Sonic & All-Stars, instead of Sonic & Sega-All Stars, is because of the abundance of third-party characters in the game, as mentioned in GQ#2