Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed was something I had completely forgotten about so I was pleaseantly surprised when I walked by Sega’s booth at E3. I was actually a big fan of the original game and this new one adds several great new features.
Now even more Sega franchises have racers in this version like Vyse from Skies of Arcadia, Gilius Thunderhead from Golden Axe, and Joe Musashi from Shinobi. The demo showed off three tracks, one each from Panzer Dragoon, Golden Axe, and Super Monkey Ball.
Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed also brings in several new aspects to the series. The biggest one is that the tracks change from just normal road driving to boat sections and even to the air. Your vehicle seamlessly transforms when it needs to to accommodate the new terrain and each type of racing feels different and great. It is definitely going after what Mario Kart 7 did last fall but Sega has taken it much further. When the game first tossed me out to a flying section I was instantly flying around like a natural. It also felt remarkably good. Interestingly, and probably to the game’s benefit so as not to overuse the gimmick, not all tracks will have all 3 different styles of racing.
The other new addition is that the tracks change to varying degrees as you play through them. The Panzer Dragoon track started out as a mix of land and sea racing but by the end most of the level had been destroyed and you were flying over it. It was great to see and really matched the feel of the original game. The other two tracks in the demo also did similar things.
Powers seem to be much less common than in the first game and I only noticed a handful of different types. I also didn’t see any returning items from the first game which I find to be very odd. Unique to each character All-Star moves return but weren’t implemented yet in the demo and are now obtained by collecting enough star coins scattered around the track.
The frame rate was mostly solid but it did feel somewhat slow at times. I’m hoping they are able to fix that up before the game releases.
Overall, I had a blast playing Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed. It looks like they’ve tightened up all the loose fitting pieces from the first one and added a bunch of new features that should make kart racing fans very interested.
I only got to play the PS3 version but Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed will also be available for PC, 3DS, Xbox 360, Wii U, and PS Vita sometime in late 2012.