psiman's Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing with Banjo-Kazooie (Xbox 360) review

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A throwback to when games were fun

The idea of this game originally made me cringe, sonic games in the last ten years have been nothing short of abysmal yet I still seem to have a soft spot in my heart for that loveable hedgehog, which inevitably brings me to buy most of the games and be utterly dissapointed.
 
This game seems to have changed the trend of the recent sonic games and actually be fun and something I recommend for a person of any age, yes their are similarities to mario kart, but honestly the 360 needs a game like this.  My friend and I have had a great laugh the last few days having a few split screen races.
 
Sonic and Sega all stars racing does away with any type of story, which i actually think is a good thing, we are given no indication to why all these characters are racing one another but all of the different characters seem to gel together to make a cohesive game. Tracks are built from a variety of different games, we have tracks from sonic, super monkey ball, samba de amigo(which are my favourite tracks in the game) curien mansion and more, a bit more variation in the tracks would be nice but most of the 24 circuits are enjoyable.
 
The character selection is quite vast encompassing an array of different sega characters, I would have liked to have seen a few other appearances( one noticeable that I would like is toejam and earl, maybe even with a track to go with them, hopefully in the dlc). All together there are 22 characters to play as with 11 being available from the start, the rest bought with sega miles which are rewarded for completing races. The xbox 360 version gets banjo and kazooie as playable characters and they fit in well with the rest of the bunch although they are not personal favourites of mine. avatar support is also available and mii support for the wii, I am not too keen on this inclusion as I do not feel they fit in well with the universe.
 
The driving itself is very arcadey, bringing in the drift mechanic from outrun with a rewarding boost for holding the drift down which is essential to winning the races especially at the harder difficulties. Weapon powerups are littered throughout the track, these are quite effective but I feel that they could have been a bit more inventive with some different ones but the ones that are there work well. Each character also has an all star move which is normally awarded when you are at the back of the pack, this can turn the tide of the race and is quite fun seeing what each characters move is.
 
The graphics are bright and full of detail, the slowdown which was present in the demo is greatly reduced and does not cause any major problems in the game. 
 
the only downside I can find is the game does get a bit boring when you have no one else to play with and since I am currently without xbox live this is quite often.
 
all in all I can not reccomend this game enough, good fun with friends and brings back memories of my childhood even if they did choose to include big the cat ....
 
(this was meant to be a four star review but somehow I made a rookie mistake and gave it a three)

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