Sonic Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed
Gameplay - 7
Presentation - 6
Story/ Creativity - 2.9
Lifespan - 5
Once Again, Sonic Comes in Second
It has been a while since I have seen something that was this blatantly ripped off. Seriously, I think you really have to be trying to make something this similar to about five other games. I think Sega really envies Nintendo. They sure do seem intent on copying everything they do nowadays. Apparently, this includes turning Sonic into a clone of their leading man. What they fail to realize is that Sonic was once great in his own right. However, they have tried to make him fit so many different molds that he doesn’t fit any. With every new game Sega finds some new way to characterize him. If Sonic Generations were to be accurate, we would probably need a thousand of the little buggers. This time around, Sega sends Sonic into the dressing room with a racing jumpsuit. He comes out with one arm in the head socket and his head jammed into the leg.
As a whole, Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed functions pretty well. That is probably because the gameplay is ripped straight from five other games. To prove this theory, I went over to a mate’s house. I handed him the game and gave him no instructions on how to play it. He managed to win his first race. He informed me that this was because of his experience with the Mario Kart franchise. Now, that isn’t to say that Sega only rips off Mario Kart. No, there are ample helpings of Hydro Thunder and Star Fox mixed in there as well. The end result is a cheap experience with glue bursting at seems.
There is a serious problem when a developer tries to incorporate aspects of multiple games into their own. In many cases, particularly this one, the game ultimately suffers. There was a brief moment when the game reminded me of F-Zero GX, one of my favorite racing games of all time. However, this did not serve to increase my level of enjoyment. All it did was make me wish that I was playing F-Zero GX. There is no appeal. In reality, this game could be best described as a marketing experience for other games. I walked away convinced that I wanted to play Mario Kart 7.
The tracks are where the gameplay really suffers. Most of them are just modded levels from other Sega games, with unnecessary motor boat and spaceship sections added in for good measure. In order to incorporate the transformation aspects of the experience, the lap length is padded out. Aside from the tracks being of a lackluster quality to begin with, having to stare at them for a prolonged period of time certainly doesn’t help things. Unlockables are another problem. There is no customization, instead you unlock different modes of racing for each character. However, this requires playing with the characters for long periods of time. In the end, it discourages experimentation. This is forgivable, since you probably only know or care about four characters on the roster anyways. Which brings me to possibly the biggest flaw in this game, the racers themselves. Seriously, is Wreck-it Ralph the best Sega can muster? He reminds me of one of those bonus characters you would include to market some upcoming movie. B.D. Joe was an excellent addition, especially since no one has even cared about Crazy Taxi in almost a decade. It isn’t bad, there is just nothing special.
Overall, the gameplay isn’t bad, but it certainly won’t keep you coming back. Which is really a shame, since the game does offer ample amounts of content.
The graphics featured in this title are passable at best. However, I did only play the 3DS version. It is fully possible that the console edition boasts the best visuals known to man, but I doubt it. The car design is also a bit lacking in appeal. The tracks are just bits and pieces of other Sega games molded into some form of a circuit. This all is not to say that Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed looks bad. The visuals are just simply not memorable. The voice acting is nice, and the animations as a whole function well. There is just isn’t a wow factor. I was hoping the presentation would draw me in more than the gameplay did. In the end, this was not the case.
As I have already mentioned above, there is a fundamental lack of creativity in this title. So, let us proceed to the story. There is the World Tour mode where you “rescue” characters. Rescue them from what? The game does not specify a villain, nor does it explain why I need to collect stars to do this. I honesty though rescuing was the job Sonic performed when he wasn’t racing. The story of the game is scrappy at best, and it could be in one’s best interest to forget that there is some form of a story here at all.
The whole premise of transformations, while being the most generally creative aspect of the game, certainly could use some improvements on the execution end. For one thing, it seems to be responsible for the unpleasantly long lap times. Furthermore, the transitions can be very flimsy often leading to spin outs. The idea has great potential, it just isn´t fully realized. For one part, the three sections do not always mesh well. Better track designs could have remedied this, but I think it has a lot to do with the copying problem mentioned above. The experience these transformations provide is not bad. It is simply lacking. Then again, one could also say this applies to the experience as a whole.
The game offers loads to do, but there is very little incentive to do it. There is an online mode as well as a wide multitude of single player activities. While these are all brilliant ideas, there is simply nothing here that we don’t already have. If memory serves, I recall saying that Mario Kart 7 consisted of about twenty hours of gameplay. While this game certainly offers more content, it does so at the expense of quality. I would say you will probably only be able to invest about five to ten hours before finding a better game to play. That is considerably short considering that the 3DS prides itself on the length of its games. Titles such as Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing are excellent examples. The experience keeps a person’s attention well enough for a period of time, but fails to enthrall him into continuously coming back.
Unless you are just bored and rich, go buy one of the better 3DS titles instead of this one. I would personally recommend Pokemon or Mario & Luigi: Dream Team. The game has ample amounts of potential, but fails due to rampant amounts of copying and an inability to forge its own unique identity.