|Posted by Kelsy on August 1, 2019 at 3:30 PM|
The year is 2010 and Sonic's reputation has never been lower. After the release of Sonic 06, the yearly Sonic titles have been rated poor and people were losing hope in the blue blur... But with the announcement of Sonic and SEGA all Stars Racing, fans thought this was just another Mario Kart attempt to grab cash and call it a day. The reaction wasn't strong, and no one could get over the fact that Sonic would be driving a car... but with the release of the first Sonic game of 2010, the world was caught by surprise: the game was spectacular! Not only did it sell well as SEGA hoped, but the gameplay having all of SEGA's all star iconic characters like Sonic, Nights, Crazy Taxi and more were head to head on the track and speed never suited SEGA more than this game! The game played well, the music was on repeat in my house, there were tons of grand prix, missions and stages that the world fell in love with. Not to mention the great online gameplay that players got together for around the world and raced away! The follow up in 2012: Sonic and SEGA all Stars Racing TRANSFORMED was even better than the original and added new gameplay mechanics such as flying, driving a boat while also managing your normal racing on the track. The gameplay was improved, fixing bugs and glitches that were in the previous title while offering so much more content and even DLC to the title like new characters and vehicles. As the years went by, nothing was heard from SEGA that an all stars racing would ever be made again... let alone seeing another Iconic SEGA game that isn't Sonic release. But as a surprise was around the corner of E3 2018: Team Sonic Racing was announced and the world was more than excited.... for a few months. As time went on, SEGA announced Team Sonic Racing would strictily have Sonic characters only, while removing the transformation mechanics, and... was delayed after a 2018 promised release. Though this may all seem negative.. there were many promises that were kept that fans looked forward to such as the new team gameplay mechanics of 3 on 3, story mode, and for the first time: customizable vehicles! FINALLY in May 2019, the game released but is it what the world has been waiting for? Or is it another Sonic game to leave on the shelf to collect dust on the track?
Reviewed by: Kelsy "SuperGirlKels" Medeiros
Nintendo Switch Version
39.99$ - Physical Version
Team Sonic Racing introduces a story that I'm going to be honest..... I didn't even bare to watch the cutscenes... In fact, I didn't even know there were cutscenes until I got half way through the story mode. When selecting the level in the map, you have two options 1) View Story 2) Play Level I'd always press the A button which started the game immediately, where if I pressed Y it would play the story. SO I ended up googling the story for you guys and will post a summary for you all here!
Sonic and friends are enjoying a relaxing summer day when Sonic receives an invitation to compete in a race to prove that he's the fastest thing alive! When confronting who's in charge, this new face: "Dodon" is a new character that presents Sonic and friends with challenges to race and compete in order to claim a special prize at the end! This "king" -like figure has a lof of power including obtaining machines that can travel through time and space, and has enough money to build race tracks anywhere in the entire world. As his challenges get harder, and his purposes become more vague, the Sonic team becomes suspicious and don't trust this new character... Though Sonic of course, having his curiosity at a high and a craving for action, jumps into the challenges and finds himself a new adventure of completing every challenge on the track with his team, while figuring the truth about Dadon!
The story mode consists of hundreds of challenges in a world map separated by 7 chapters that include Grand Prix, Team Races, Ring Challenges (GOD KILL ME) which are timed challenges in which how many rings you can collect before the time ends, Traffic Attack which involves the player avoiding traffic to gain points before the time runs out, and more. ALL challenges contain a Normal Mode (complete the level) Hard (Gold) or Expert (Platinum) to encourage the player to challenge and complete. You are rewarded with new paint skits, vinyls, and vehicle parts as you progress and challenge yourself. Some challenges are super easy, while others took me up to weeks to complete that when I did make it past that damn Ring Challenge (the hardest challenges in the game by far) I would pop off harder than I ever did in any tournament. ALL missions though are extremely fun even when challenged with the hardest mission. You feel a sense of accomplishment, and improvement as you advance. All challenges aren't repetitive since it's constantly changing the pace, levels, and missions. Even when I found myself in my 90+ attempt of a challenge, I never once felt frustrated and just had the motive to keep trying and improve or to research ways other players have succeeded. It was exilerating and I never had that much fun completing a story like that in a really long time.
GRAPHICS & MUSIC
Sonic Team went ALL in when it comes to the soundtrack. One thing that that the team does very well is listening to the fans, and while listening they knew which Sonic tracks have become iconic and legendary over the years. Hearing those tracks play on our favourite stages while racing completely remastered has only been satisfying and EVERY track is a joy to listen to. I don't think there's one track that I don't enjoy, the rock and roll sound with a touch of pop really gets me going in a race and pumps me up to achieve 1st in every race! SEGA hired Crush 40 who is responsible for some of Sonic's best themes such as Live & Learn, City Escape, What I'm Made of, and more. To see them work on pieces that weren't originally theirs like Sunshine from Sonic R, making it their own in a new way has given my eardrums the best sounds it's listened to in the racing genre. Sonic has always been consistent with his music, but this time they really blew me away even with the main theme for Team Sonic Racing! The menu as well I can just leave on all day and just enjoy it while writing this review! Everything has been so thought out with the music and I'm so happy to see that SEGA still really cares about Sonic's music history. Sound effects too are for once not re-used from a Sonic game and all feel so good when clicking, collecting, and using items. I love the sound of Sonic drifting on dirt, ice while sniping my opponent with a rocket.
The graphics are also completely updated from the SEGA all Stars Racing series that is known to re-use their models in the All Star Series. Even with the same engine as Transformed, the models have all been re-done, and been added so much detail to make every character come to life while racing. Every car is detailed, and makes me think I'm at a 2050 presentation for the future of cars. My biggest issue with the previous SEGA All stars racing games is that while driving you would lose track of the ... well. track lol. WAlls would appear not giving you enough time to turn, and signs weren't clear on where to go. In Team Sonic Racing, this is fixed. You clearly can see well even in dark stages where to go. Tracks are bright, and wide for all players to race on and the detail in the background is just as detailed as the dirt you're driving on. Whales can be seen in the back as a Sonic Adventure reference, diving into the ocean. The graphics of course aren't God of war or super realistic vibe, but that's okay. This is Sonic, and as a racing game I feel the gameplay is really what's important.
When Team Sonic Racing was announced, the one issue that youtubers, fans, and reviewers everywhere were concerned for was : "The tracks look really linear, boring and plain..." This though, was before the delay announced last October. I think SEGA listened to those complaints, because as Team Sonic Racing released, it showed no signs of those issues anywhere. Every track feels unique, and different from each other. The only issue I have is the theme that goes on with Team Sonic Racing. There are 4 themes: Beach, Planet Wisp, Frozen Factory, Bingo Highway and later you can unlock Eggman's fortresses. There are 4 tracks under these 4 themes EACH which kill the vibe of the levels. I want to see Sonic driving in chemical plant, or City Escape or something! I feel there were many opportunities missed that could have been shared as levels in this title but SEGA chose to play it safe and give 4 themes of Sonic's latest and more re-occurent stages in racing games that eventually make you wonder which stage you're even playing on at the moment since how similar some of the stages are. Besides this of course, the tracks are all fun. Twists, Turns, Gimicks and hazards are at every turn that always surprise the player constantly making you learn the game more and more and get better at racing. Shortcuts can be found in most tracks, and I still after 90 hours of playtime have not found every single shortcut. So no, the stages aren't linear at all and there's action everywhere to be found!
Okay Kels. Lay it on me? This is the most inconsistent part about Sonic... the game may look and sound great... but how does it play?
Team Sonic Racing is overwhelmingly addicting to me to the point where I decided to host weekly tournaments for this title. Needless to say, that doesn't make it amazing, but that does mean it's fun. Driving feels smoothe and just as the same as the past title: All Stars Transformed. With the same engine, I didn't have a doubt that it wouldn't feel the same. THOUGH every type of character feels different, and customizing your vehicle for that specific character can help you feel even more comfortable while driving. Speed characters have amazingly top speeds to the point where they can sometimes go through hazards causing them to slow down, but not fall into hitstun. Power can smash their way through stage hazards without damage while giving them amazing boosts to give their team a lead, and Technical type have amazing sharp turns and handling while being able to drive on outer walls such as grass, toxic wastes, sand and more. The 3 on 3 team mechanic is the main feature for Team Sonic Racing, of course you can always play singles which is like a standard racing game but 3 on 3 is really where the fun is at. Being able to team up with your friends racing together, and supplying them YOUR OWN items for them to use on opponents creates a new dynamic and a whole new way to play racing games. I always wished as a kid when playing with my brother that I could help him catch up to me in race and I'd always want to give him my items somehow... It's great to see this imagination become a reality as I'm able to strategize what items to use when, or when to actually pass them along to my team mates. While being behind your partner ahead of the team , they will create skimboost lines which are yellow track lines teammates can drive on that will speed them up, give them amazing boost and fill up your ultimate gauge. The ultimate gauge is another new feature, where after working as a team well you'll fill up a gauge called "Team Ultimate" Gauge. When filled, all members on the team's pictures will go yellow (shown in the picture above) and if used all at the same time, players will become invincible while at full, uncontrollable speeds (such as Super Sonic in Sonic 2) and pass everyone that comes into your way and knocking them out. This lasts for about 10 seconds, and planning when to use it is so important when taking control of the race. You never know when your opponents are going to use theirs! Items are also extremely balanced in compared to other racers: Eagle which is a target system item that targets players ahead of you (but can be stopped with other items), Cube are cubes you can place as traps around the track. Rhythm are music notes that cover the opponent's screen blocking their view, Ghost turns the player invisible that allows you to go through hazards and avoid other enemy attacks. Lightning knocks all players in front of you down to give you time to pass them, Drill similar to Sonic Colors, drives you ahead of the race if you're too far behind. Spikes are spikes that surround the player with a shield of spikes that attacks other players when passing them, my favourite: rocket, which is a super fast projectile you must aim and can hit players in front of you, or behind. It bounces off of walls creating the best traps and strategy to hit players. Boost is a boost that gives yourself more speed, Lazer gives your player a lazer in front of them that can be aimed by turning the vehicle while sniping those ahead, Quake similar to the Blue Shell, sends a storm of stone walls in front of the 1st player but stays on the track . It can be avoided with driving skill and precision, and can also hit the rest of the players since it remains on the track afterwards. Burst will leave a burning trail behind you, meaning any opponents that are riding your coattails with spin out if they go over your line. This Wisp is exclusive to the Speed-class racerd. Void Wisp acts like one too as all rings and item boxes are sucked into it as you go past, while also slowing down other racers. This is another wisp exclusive to the Power-class racers. And finally, The Bob-omb of the game, this Black Wisp can be left behind you or thrown in front to take out unsuspecting opponents.
Tons of customizable parts collected through "mod Pods" (tokens you collect as you race) completely change up the race as well since you never know what part your opponents have, and how it can effect their speed and handling for specific tracks. You can also change it to almost any color. Some people on twitter have created the best of cars that I dream becomes a reality.. while others have simply created the best of memes that we'll forever laugh over like Shadow the Ultimate Lifeform driving in a Hot Pink beetle. This game really brings the family together. I've played this with my mom and brother even, and the fact that we were able to sit on the couch together and not race AGAINST each other is the most special thing I've ever seen and it's something no other kart racer offers.
Though as said, it doesn't make this game amazing and there are actually loads of problems.... To be blunt : this game is a mess. There are bugs left and right that even with the 6 month delay, it wasn't nearly enough time to fix these issues surely. Clipping through walls, hitting characters then being sent flying backwards... There has been countless clips on the internet about the bugs this game has, and no comment from SEGA yet has been made if there will ever be a fix. Some stages such as Frozen Factory, has a glitch where if going to fast you can hit the cieling and fall to your doom. Other ramps will send you out of bounds, and items don't work as they should specifically the Eagle. The eagle, a targeting item relating to the "Red Shell" in Mario Kart, sometimes just doesn't target and will either send itselfiinto the ground, the wall, or just skip opponents entirely. Other items do the same issues. Menu issues have been found too such as text disappearing forcing restart of the game and I've ever had a crash during races forcing me to start over the grand prix I was in. The entire game would shut down unexpectedly... and this is MOST frequent online. OH MY GOD DONT EVEN GET ME STARTED WITH THE ONLINE . IT's a mess. No spectating mode, players lose sync so if a player gets 1st on one screen, the other screen will show 4th etc. Players disappear, disconnect randomly with no wifi issues. The game will crash, and finding players in worldwide is almost impossible. The most important part of the gameplay, ONLINE these days is SO crutial and it's hard to believe how bad Sonic team screwed up. This hurt the game massively, forcing players to stop playing the game entirely only after days of playing. Because racing games, are mostly fun with friends and online is the best place to play with friends... a Patch has been released since release but the patch seemed to have done nothing since nothing noticable changed. I REALLY hope Sonic Team takes care of these issues and can somehow even give us future DLC to help the game's life cycle last because at this rate, just because of poor marketing, glitches and online issues the game is already not being played by most consumers while Sonic and Sega all Stars Racing Transformed (2012) is still being played online to this day on PC.
ROAD TO 100%:
- Complete Story Mode: 142 Stars with Platinum Level/ Expert Mode
- Gather all Keys in Story Mode
- Unlock all Car Parts in Mod Pods
- Unlock all Paint Kits, Vinyls, and Horns
- Get 1st in all Grand Prix for 3 on 3 Races / Singles in Normal, Hard, and Expert Mode
Total Time Played: 90 Hours
Team Sonic Racing is a blast to have in between friends, family and even as a single player title. It's something everyone can laugh about, enjoy just as a racer or as a completionist. It's the best controls I've played in a racer, it's constantly teaching me something and I know I'll be playing it for a long time with friends. Though, it had so much more potential. The transformed mechanics could have been implimented, I do miss the SEGA characters, and the bugs in online and offline only just ruin the experience of what it could be. Overall, Team Sonic Racing is great but could have been the best.
7.5/10 - Good
+ Customizable Features
+ Smoothe Gameplay
+ Team gameplay is revolutionary
- Online Experience is Dreadful
- A Buggy Mess
- Transformed Mechanics / SEGA Characters were a missed opportunity