Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed Is Awesome!

So I just finished playing Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. I wasn’t able to get everything in the game, as I still need to get a lot of stars, complete the Grand Prix cups on the hardest difficulty and go through some time trials. However, I did do most of the game and I managed to unlock all of the secret characters. I never touched the multiplayer stuff so in lieu of an official review, I decided to just write down some of my thoughts about the game and as you can tell by the title of this blog, I enjoyed it an awful lot. In fact, I would say that this is my game of the year so far for 2013. Yeah, I know the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita and Wii U versions came out last year but I’ve been playing the PC version and that came out this year so I’m counting it. For reference, I did an official review for DmC: Devil May Cry and gave that game a 4.5 out of 5. I like this game more than that. Is it hypothetically a five then? I don’t think so but damn is it close. Again, not doing an actual review because I didn’t touch the multiplayer stuff but for the sake of giving you guys an idea of the quality of this game.

I know of three different reasons why I love this game aside from this game itself.

  1. I’m a big Sega fan. I love the games Sega made while they were a hardware company and franchises like Sonic the Hedgehog, Toejam and Earl, Shinobi, Nights into Dreams, and Crazy Taxi are near and dear to my heart.
  2. I was disappointed by Mario Kart Wii. I love the Mario Kart series but the Wii installment just didn’t feel or play right to me. When my friends and I play Mario Kart, we still go with Double Dash on the GameCube or at times Mario Kart 64.
  3. I LOVED CTR: Crash Team Racing. Crash Bandicoot had his own kart racer back in the late 90s on the original PlayStation and it was amazing. It focused on boosting and drifting similarly to this All-Stars Racing franchise.

So with that in mind, you should also know that I waited to play this game until now because I wasn’t expecting much. Despite enjoying the first game in this series, I saw the trailers for this game and saw that they were essentially ripping off the car/boat/plane idea from Mario Kart 7 and wasn’t really interested. I couldn’t have been more wrong as the courses in this game are so inspired and cover Sega’s entire history. When I saw the course that was inspired by After Burner in which you drive on two aircraft carriers, fly in between them, as well as drive a boat across the waters at one point, I was filled with giddiness. Yes, I squeed and I’m not ashamed of it.

The fan service in this game is off the charts, being able to play as Joe Mushashi from Shinobi while racing through a course inspired by the Nights franchise just rubs my happy spot in a way I didn’t think would happen. However, what makes this game fun is the actual gameplay and how many ways the game gives you to utilize that. Controls are simple but fun and precise. The racing focuses on going fast more so than using weapons and there’s numerous ways of getting boosts of speed such as drifting, doing tricks in midair, boost pads on the course, and pick ups of boost. There’s no rubber band AI either so you won’t have other drivers closing in on your when you should be way out in front. There’s no “blue shell” either. This game doesn’t punish you for being in first place the way Mario Kart does.

The game also gives you a lot to do. Not only do you have Grand Prix cups to go through, you also have a World Tour mode that has you earning stars to unlock upgrades to players called “Console Mods” as well as extra characters. You also have Time Trials to beat that go towards your 100% completion rate, not just a score on a leaderboard. You can also earn stickers to put on your license by doing various tasks like completing the Nights course as Nights. The World Tour mode also has other events other than racing such as Drift Challenges, Battle Races where you win by hitting your opponents three times to eliminate them, Traffic Challenges where you dodge traffic to get to the next checkpoint before time runs out and more. You also level up your character the more you play as them. You can level up five times and each gets you a mod that can change the settings of your character’s car.

This is a feature packed game and I highly recommend everyone get it. The PC version has three exclusive characters, more than any other version so if you got the rig to run it, I’d recommend that version. The only negative I can think of is some characters that were in the previous game, like Ryo from Shenmue, have been removed. Otherwise, it’s fun, PC version can run at 60 FPS and it’s a lot of bang for your buck as the PC version only costs $30. I love this game and you need to play it.

Though I still don’t know why Danica Patrick is in this game. Yeah, I know Wreck-It Ralph is in this game too but the real question mark is Danica Patrick. WHY!? She’s actually a decent character to play as. Her All-Star move is pretty useful.

9 Comments Refresh
Posted by project343

Just bought this game on sale ($12 on GMG). It really is fucking awesome. It's a shame that these games have been pushed to the side and ignored as 'yet another generic cart racer' when they are arguably better than Mario Kart has been since Double Dash.

The stages are all visceral, exciting and varied, and the transformation mechanic might be the most 'fresh' addition to this genre since goddamn powerups were introduced. XD

Edited by Yummylee

I agree, it's a great game. It would have easily made a spot on my top ten for last year had I played it during the year.

Posted by SathingtonWaltz

This game is probably why my wii u has seen so much use since i bought it. it's fucking fantastic.

Edited by Trace

Great write-up, and yeah, this game totally deserves it. I'm shocked at just how solid it is for a kart racer, especially once I discovered the various boosting tricks (I seriously went through the first two worlds without knowing you could pull flips and rolls to earn boost).

I use Danica as my driver for the hell of it. I find way too much hilarity in picking the most out-of-place driver, especially since they bill her as a NASCAR driver while she's using an IndyCar. She actually reads her lines decently, which is surprising both for being a Sega game and for being Danica Patrick.

Posted by JJOR64

I have the game on Wii U and it's great. Easily one of the best Kart Racers in recent years.

Posted by BabyChooChoo

This game completely blindsided me with how much fun I was going to have. I had heard great things but honestly did not expect it to love up them and I'm so damn happy I was wrong. I think I may have posted this on Destructoid, but what I love absolutely love about the game is it is a fantastic game first and foremost and it's some of the best fanservice ever second. Normally, with a game such a this, one would assume it's just met to be stupid fanservice wrapped around a mediocre game, but it's not. Everything about it is really good.

Also, man oh man, I wish I did Youtube videos or streamed or something so I could record my reaction because the first time I played Burning Depths, I had the absolute biggest, dumbest, "kid in a candy store" smile on my face then entire fucking time. Words cannot describe how happy that track made me.

I really hope this game does well for Sega. Every now and then, they put out something awesome that doesn't get the recognition it deserves and I would hate for this game to fall into that category.

Posted by Colorwind

@pseg: I didn't even noticed the NASCAR - Indy Racer thing since I don't watch much racing but you've got a point!

@project343: They truly are better kart racing games than Mario Kart at this point. Double Dash is my favorite from that series and this combats that for being my favorite.

Posted by Andorski

It's hands down the best kart racer in years. Great sense of speed, decent variety in weapons, and well made tracks. Too bad not many people play it online (for PC at least).

Posted by Colorwind

@andorski: That's a shame. I haven't tried the multiplayer yet but at least the PC version supports local multiplayer.