Saturday, 26 January 2013

Sonic and Allstars Racing Transformed Review

Whoa! I just remembered I have a blog that I haven't updated in a month! Guess I have to do a post then!

So, racing games have always been samey, with the closest thing to "Innovation" is that we have hang gliders coming out of our cars. Luckily, the fine people at Sega have come to do something about this endless barrage of Mario Karts and Gran Turismos. SaART is probably one of the best mascot racing games since the other Sega racing game.

Story-N/A- Like most racing games, SaART doesn't have a story at all. It's simply "Sega characters in cars and boats and planes, what more do you want?" So I guess we can move on quickly then.

Gameplay-9/10-The game has a basic "3 lap race around the track" style, but it manages to change things up by having the most of the stages change up each lap and having the cars change into boats and planes, which each have their own gameplay style. The car controls like you would expect it to, but with a few differences, such as being able to shift directions while drifting, effectively making you able to do endless drifts. The boats are basically like the cars, but harder to control. The planes, on the other hand are much MUCH different, being able to move up, down, left, right, do flips, and do barrel rolls. The downside with this is that it's much harder to drift, and you can't change directions.

Each of the 25 characters has a special "Allstar" move, that grants an unlimited attack for a limited time. In the previous game the Allstar moves were big and flashy, getting a short cutscene and a special effect. In this game, it's more downplayed, with the character changing into their plane mode and getting a boost of speed. Heck, Sonic doesn't even change into Super Sonic for his!

Each character also controls VERY differently. That isn't to say any of them are bad, it's just that some of them are harder to use then others, the most notable being Gilius, who slides all over the place. But this can be resolved, as each character has 5 "Mods" that can be unlocked by leveling them up. The standard mod is basically the normal character, the Balanced mod balances out the characters stats, the Handling mod makes the character easier to control, Speed makes them go faster, Acceleration also makes them go faster, and Boost makes the drift boost last longer.

There is a 6th mod, though. To get it, you must get enough stars in the World Tour mode, which is basically the story mode. The Console mod makes your character all around better and faster, which can be useful.

Speaking of the World Tour mode, this is really a thing more racing games need. It basically functions as the mission mode of the game. These missions consist of everything from a regular race, to avoiding traffic, to flying through hoops and exploring the track. Each mission consists of 3 (Later 4) difficulties, which each grant you a star. Getting these stars help you move on to the next part of the mode, but also unlock characters and the aforementioned Console mod. These missions can be extremely difficult, so be warned.

There's also the standard Grand Prix mode that consists of 4 tracks, but that's in every racing game so it's kinda boring.

Graphics-8/10- The graphics are great and fit the game perfectly. The 21 tracks look great and so do the characters, for the most part. The real problem with the graphics solely resides in the character's faces. They are blank and unmoving, like they're wearing masks. This was also a problem with the first game, but it's a bit more noticeable here.

But that's basically the least worries, as everything else looks great especially the tracks, with my favorites being Dream Valley, Race of AGES, and Graveyard Gig. The karts also look very good, with their transformations into planes and boats being very detailed. They do cut corners a bit with characters like Amigo and AGES, who's vehicles just change in a puff of smoke, but there are reasons why they did that.

Speaking of the characters, the roster is mostly fantastic They included popular characters from the first game, and characters fans were clamoring for, like NiGHTS and Gilius. There are some strange choices though, with a few series getting two characters, some making sense (Reala) and some making less sense (MeeMee). Then there's the odd choice of having Danica Patrick, real life person and not video game character, being in the game. Of course, this is counteracted by having Ralph from Wreck-It Ralph be in it, even if his voice is a bit wonky.

My favorite characters are probably NiGHTS, Gilius, Eggman, and the super secret final unlockable character AGES. AGES is probably the best and most creative character in the game, being a tribute to Sega in general. The car form is a Daytona USA car, the plane is an After Burner F-14 jet, and the grandest of all is the boat, which is a Dreamcast controller that communicates in the Dreamcast's loud humming sound. When you get to see AGES outside of the car in the victory screen, he is a Dreamcast VMU with a tiny smiley face on it's screen.

So yeah, the graphics are good.

Overall-9/10- Like I said in the beginning, best mascot racer since 2010, and even then, it's probably one of the best racing games in general. If there is anything I want to see from this game, it's some sweet DLC, and a Smash Bros-like fighting game because I am a sucker for those.

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