Sega mascots…start your engines! Sonic and the gang are back again with more racing madness. However these new races are no longer restricted to land. These races now take to the seas and into the air raising a whole new challenge as well as bringing in a much needed change of atmosphere. This is no longer just racing. This is racing…transformed and it’s a blast as I make my way to the finish. I played the heck out of the original game as I drifted through the turns and used a few well placed weapons on the competition as I took the checkered flag. This new Sega racer now takes gaming to the next level and I can’t get enough of all the fun.

PROS:

Not Watered Down With Sonic
The original game was filled with so much Sonic in terms of characters and stages that had me wondering if Sega forgot it’s own history. I cringed anytime I had to use Big the Cat in the original racer and even in Sonic Adventure. Transformed now consolidates the meaningless members of the Sonic cast and brings in more Sega franchise characters including Gilius Thunderhead from Golden Axe, Vyse from Skies of Arcadia, and even Joe Musashi from Shinobi. Even the stages I raced on are not watered down with Sonic and focus more on the company’s rich history which is a huge plus in my book as I fly off the aircraft carrier in the Afterburner stage, or avoiding the dragons in Panzer Dragoon.

Smooth Transformations
When I heard about the idea of transforming vehicles the first thing that popped into my head was “Oh great! Here comes the cheap gimmick.” I thought that this idea of transforming vehicles would come off as rather cheap, but I was wrong. It actually works great. None of the transformations feel “forced.” In fact each transformation works rather smoothly as I moved into different phases of the race. They even have that transforming sound almost like the Transformers themselves. There was a moment in the game where I transformed from land to air and I head the sound and a moment of silence came into play as I was flying through the air and for some strange reason I started singing “You Got The Touch” from the Transformers movie. Sorry, I was just in the moment there, but it was pretty cool.

Fun Multiplayer
Like any cart racing game multiplayer is definitely needed. The multiplayer component of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is absolutely brilliant. I had so much fun racing online with a wide variety of players as we traded paint, hit each other with weapons and all-star moves, and made our way to the finish line. I had a lobby going for hours with nobody leaving as we raced on all the tracks (the ones I had unlocked at the time that is) and had a blast. The competitive atmosphere was great. It didn’t matter how good anyone was. It was all about the spirited competition, and most of all, having fun. Great online family style community where players are not cussing in your face like some other games.

CONS:

I Miss The Original Announcer
If there’s one thing I really liked in the first game it was the announcer. Not only did he give some play-by-play commentary, but he also had some witty remarks during the race which made the game fun and exciting. Lines including “Hey guys, wake me up when you decide to start racing” gave the game a certain sense of charm and I liked it. This new announcer is not like that in any way. Sure he’ll let you know that a certain character has gone “All-Star,” but that’s about it and that’s rather disappointing.

Danica Patrick?
It’s no surprise to me that this game would have special guest characters. Banjo-Kazooie was in the first game along with the ability to race as my Xbox 360 avatar. Now I have NASCAR star Danica Patrick and Disney‘s Wreck-It Ralph. Now I can understand the inclusion of Ralph because it really ties in with the movie where he jumped into different video game worlds so this makes sense. However, Danica Patrick does not. I would have to compare her appearance in this game to the Star Wars characters (Darth Vader, Yoda, and the Secret Apprentice) in Soul Calibur IV. Sure she’s a race car driver, but she just feels a little out of place considering the company she’s in.

IN CONCLUSION

Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed is a fun sequel to the original game. There’s so much Sega history packed into one game that any fan of the company will love. It really fits in as an entertaining break from my other racing games where I use real life cars and trucks. Transformed also has plenty of replay value beyond the single player racing so that I never got bored or fall into that rut of doing the same repetitive stuff. I’m sure that there’s plenty of DLC on the horizon with new characters and stages to help keep things interesting as well. If your a fan of everything Sega then you owe it to yourself to get this game.

Developer: Sega
Platform: Xbox 360
Players: 1-10 (online multiplayer)
Price: $39.99

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