Ninjas on a plane! (E3 2012)
Who would have ever though Sonic the Hedgehog would get in a car? Sumo Digital and SEGA did back in 2010 when they released SEGA All-Stars Racing, and now the team is back with a sequel. This time a lot of SEGA's characters will be taken out of their comfort zones as races take place in land, air and sea.
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed takes the karts from the first game, and in addition to adding the new types of vehicles, the weapon game has been enhanced; no longer is a homing missile a sure bet to take out the leader temporarily. The game's interface has been updated to notify a player when an enemy is sending something nasty their way giving them ample time to prepare some kind of defense. Sumo has also said that all weapons can be counteracted through the drift system, even homing weapons. Some of the items on the field are unique and offer different effects based on how many times they hit someone, such as a snowball that turns an enemy into a block of ice if it hits 3 times in a row.
Even though Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is advertised as having three ways to race, each track doesn't have to have all 3 and some even have variations what is actually raced on. In the playable demo at E3, a Super Monkey Ball level didn't have an air section; while the Golden Axe track replaced water with lava. These different types of racing surfaces function differently, with the lava acting as thicker version of water.
Similar to the first game, Racing Transformed's roster contains SEGA characters and tracks from properties both old and new that will appeal to those whom have been around all throughout the companies storied video game history. New characters announced include Joe Musashi from the Shinobi series and Vyse from Skies of Arcadia. Seeing these characters come back is exciting, if only to see exactly how Joe's vehicles will look. There will be at least 27 characters in the final version, which doesn’t include special guest Danica Patrick, who will be in due to a partnership with SEGA. Character specific All-Star attacks weren't implemented in the build, but will be in the final version. A great amount of attention has been paid has been paid to the game's tracks, with the ones seen in the build being faithful to the game it represents, so don't expect to see grass near Golden Axe's volcano.
The controls of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed worked well, although trying to get the drift mechanic working was a bit difficult, which could have been due to the character I picked. Boats felt similar to cars, just with more opportunities to do tricks such as barrel rolls, while the air sections felt really different and will be the section with the biggest learning curve. Having so much freedom in a section of the track so suddenly was hard to deal with, until I got used to controlling air space. I didn't see weapons in either section, but it may be because I was getting adjusted to the new controls.
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed in its current state is a title that is adding just the right things to a sequel in the series. Who would have thought Sonic would go from playing tennis, to racing cars, and now airplanes? Taking SEGA nostalgia and having fun with it by throwing classic IP in a solid title is always a great premise and from what was at E3 the game can only soar to new heights (no pun intended).
Akil is a big fan of video games and music, specifically fighting games and R&B. Other interests include game design, and comedy. His background in game design combined with his unique worldview and sense of humor makes him someone to follow.
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