Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
Developer: Sumo Digital
Posted By Shaun K. about 1 year, 1 month ago
Originally released in 2010 to rave critical reviews and strong sales, Sonic & All-Stars Racing may have been a Mario Kart clone but it was a superior one that had just enough original elements to be able to proudly stand on its own. So it is little surprise that SEGA green-lit a sequel to the game and now at last that game, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, stands fully revealed. And even better, it looks to be a more ambitious game with more characters, tracks, and modes than the original.
In an interview with Eurogamer.net, the game’s design director Gareth Wilson (who also played a major role in the development of the underrated racer Blur) spoke to the larger goals of the game this time around. These include the introduction of a much more involved single player mode modeled after Super Mario Galaxy and Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Wilson talking about the mode had the following to say:
Just as intriguing is a new leveling system that seems to draw more than a little inspiration from the now famous Call of Duty multiplayer model. Essentially, each of the games initial 27 racers (which include such newcomers as Golden Axe dwarf Gilius Thunderhead and Skies of Arcadia pirate Vyse being added to the ranks) are capable of being leveled up through five ranks. Various actions during races will earn players exp and with each new level reached, they will unlock various equipable stickers and vehicle mods, with the latter altering the handling characteristics of a vehicle among other aspects.
Speaking of vehicles, one of the biggest new additions to the game this around revolves around the new ability vehicles will possess in the game (and the one from which its subtitle is drawn). In what sounds like something of a mix between last year’s hang gliding/submersible add-ons in Mario Kart 7 and Diddy Kong Racing‘s feature of three vehicle types (kart, hovercraft, and plane), all racing vehicles in SASRT will have the ability to transform between three different modes: one land based, one water-based (on top of the water as opposed to below it as in MK7), and one air based. Said transformation is triggered by special gates and will tend to be mandatory, although apparently some tracks will feature branching paths that offer players the choice of mode. Also, some tracks will make use exclusively of one mode.
As part of this, developer Sumo Digital have built a completely new physics engine from the ground up for the game to better accommodate the differing aspects of each vehicle type. So cars in Transformed will control closer to their real world counterparts than in the original SASR, with a greater focus on weight and heft and more responsiveness when performing actions such as hard turns. Planes will be much less responsive, with slow turning speeds, but makes up for this by being the fastest of all the vehicle modes. They will also use a system that causes decelerating during ascent and (rapidly) accelerating during descent. Finally, boats will operate as something of a middle ground between the other two vehicle modes, with the mode having similar handling to cars but slower speeds in shallow water and greater speeds but less control in deeper water.
Other new additions to Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed include a revamped take on the all-star attack that links it to the game’s new trick system. In addition to rewarding experience, filling the all-star meter grants players a special transformation into an invincible flight based vehicle mode (armed with its own unique weapon to boot) that can allow skilled players to shoot right to the top of the pack. The attack can be stored and triggered whenever a player desires but the catch is that until said trigger is activated players will be unable to pick up and use other weapons available in the game. Finally, players can look forward to what is being promised to be a dramatically revamped multiplayer approach for Transformed. Check out the announcement trailer for the game, along with a bevy of screenshots, below:
Overall this sounds like an exciting addition to the series that promises to grow it in all the right ways. I am not much of racing game guy, mainly because I am all kinds of terrible at them, but I always play Mario Kart games because they remains so enjoyably accessible. When I played the original Sonic & All-Stars Racing I ended finding a similar experience and it remains one of my favorite racing games of the last few years. Combine that with a stronger focus on single player gameplay and my many fond memories of Diddy Kong Racing (despite constantly loosing in that game, something about a well-done kart racer makes even failure fun) and it should not be hard to see why this game is now very much on my radar. Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is currently being planned for release sometime late this year on PS3, Xbox 360, 3DS, PS Vita, and PC with possible other platforms *cough* Wii-U* still being considered for down the line. Stay tuned to Blistered Thumbs for continuing coverage of the game and be sure to share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.