Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed Review

Broken modes, both online and off, bring the otherwise enjoyable Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed to a screeching halt.

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Whenever Sega has released a mascot-fueled game, such as Sega Superstar Tennis, comparisons have inevitably been drawn to its Nintendo-developed counterpart. But Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is far from a poor man's Mario Kart. Fun track design, a solid character roster, and a bevy of multiplayer modes could have made this one of the best games of its class--but there are big problems with the Wii U version that significantly hinder it.

Like its predecessor, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed brings together a colorful cast of characters from many different beloved franchises. Many, like the popular Sonic and Knuckles, will be familiar even to the most casual Sega fans, while the likes of Golden Axe's Gilius and Vyse from Skies of Arcadia force longtime fans to dig a little deeper into their gaming memories. They are joined by guest characters Wreck-It Ralph, who fits in surprisingly well with the rest of the cast, and real-life racer Danica Patrick, who…well, she doesn't fit at all, really. Each racer has his or her own unique vehicle and associated stats, encouraging you to experiment with different styles.

But Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed doesn't depend on your nostalgia to be enjoyable. The core of the gameplay, the racing, is fast, fun, and easy to get into. The driving controls feel tight, allowing you to drift around corners and weave through enemy attacks with ease. When you bump into a wall, it feels like it was your fault, not the controller's. Drifting is as easy as holding down a button, and longer drifts earn you important boosts.

Items and weapons you pick up on the track work exactly as intended, and they do so in a well-balanced manner that prevents races from being decided entirely on one player's lucky item acquisition. You may still lose a close race due to a timely firework hit, but there is no "blue shell" equivalent to constantly ruin the fun of the racer in first.

Per the game's title, your vehicle transforms during a race into a car, boat, or flying vehicle, depending on the track's terrain. Don't be fooled into thinking this is merely aesthetic; each transformation handles differently, with track sections on water feeling more like Wave Race than a traditional kart racer. The flying sections feel the most different, because the ability to move up and down freely, as opposed to just left or right, makes a big difference not only in where you go, but also in how you use items. You're less likely to hit enemies with a weapon when they have an additional axis on which to move around and dodge.

All of this is complemented by wonderfully designed and often dynamic tracks that change as you race. You may make three laps around one track, but it won't always feel like the same track each time, because you might be forced onto a different route through the environment your second or third time around. You might spend most of your first lap on land while your second lap is much more water-based. Paths and shortcuts change, making it a bit harder to know an entire track by heart. The transformations are scripted--there aren't moments when you're changing the landscape at will--but they keep tracks feeling fresh longer. All levels are based on different games from Sega history, including a Nights level that's particularly good at capturing the look and feel of the game that inspired it.

You aren't limited to the standard Grand Prix style of events, although that's still available and done well. The more interesting mode of progression is the World Tour, which is a map full of events to play and earn stars through. Events range from simple races to more focused tasks like drift challenges, and each event has different difficulty settings. The higher the difficulty setting, the more stars you earn. Most new events are unlocked as you finish the previous event on any difficulty, though some gates to new events (as well as unlockable characters and car mods) require you to obtain a certain number of stars to move forward. You won't be able to see the end of the game by playing on easy the entire time.

Here's where the problems with the Wii U version begin to surface. As of the game's launch, Boost Race events are broken to the point where they are impossible to complete. These events require you to boost as often as possible through a set number of checkpoints, but on the Wii U, these races are missing checkpoints altogether. You can skip these events and move forward by failing on the easiest difficulty multiple times and choosing "skip," but it's a frustrating complication that prevents 100 percent completion of the game. It seems a day-one game patch is responsible for this bug, since it didn't appear before the Wii U's online service was on, but the game will patch automatically if your system is online, which may leave you with a broken experience.

The problems don't end there, however. Online play is limited to 10-player Race and Battle modes--but Battle mode simply does not work as intended. On one stage, players spawn in the middle of space and fall to their deaths until you quit or the game ends. On most others, players spawn practically on top of each other, which is a particular problem in the Wii U's inclusive "party" modes, in which the GamePad player wins every time by default. Only one stage, Creepy Courtyard, spawns players in correctly, but even that stage won't work for the exclusive Super Monkey Ball mode, which never spawns the bananas that non-GamePad players are supposed to collect. Fortunately, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed fares better when you play cooperatively. Friends can join you in all game modes locally, even World Tour and Grand Prix. So you are never forced to play alone if you don't want to, provided you have at least one friend to share your couch.

If it weren't for these problems, the Wii U version of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed would be as good as, if not better than, the other versions. The game can be played entirely on the GamePad screen (though the ability to do so by swiping down on the touch screen isn't even mentioned in the manual), and the fundamental mechanics of the game are sound. Normally, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is a joy to both play and look at. It's just unfortunate that this version is so broken. If it were fixed, it would be a wonderful choice for kart racing fans looking for ways to enjoy their new Wii U.

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The Good
Controlling the crazy vehicles feels great
Creative and varied track design that changes mid-race
Transformed vehicles feel significantly different
The Bad
Certain modes and challenges are completely broken
Can feel slow at times when not boosting
Danica Patrick is out of place
6
Fair
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed

About the Author

Britton Peele is a freelance writer for GameSpot and a Digital Entertainment Editor for The Dallas Morning News. Find hi

Discussion

3 comments
jonesrick
jonesrick

had to post in two segments comment was too long

jonesrick
jonesrick

 Yet they are laughing there asses off on a youtube video showing shutter and some other games that just makes no sense. Im no nintendo fanboy or sega fanboy if something is great I will like it no matter what the platform is. I have to say out of all the kart style racing games I have played Sonic all stars racing transformed is the best for a multitude of reasons and deserves atleast a 9. I mean come on if lame behind super paper mario gets an 8.8 and ranked in the top twenty something is completely wrong. That game sucks so bad I would pay someone to take it off my hands. I couldn't play past chapter 3 I atleast gave it a try and my wife turned it off before she played watching that horrible 20 minute intro to a lame game. Your better off to either rent a game first your interested in or borrow from a friend or go to youtube but please don't take any review from gamespot or ign seriously its obvious they don't know a good game if it hit them in the face.

jonesrick
jonesrick

I just signed up today because I am bored at school killing time and a search led me to gamespot.  To be quite honest though this site as well as IGN have disappointed me to the point that I don't consider their reviews anymore and listen to the general gaming public and try to figure out my own personal taste by watching gameplay footage on youtube or other sites.  My gripe before I get into the low score on this game is that all these sites like gamespot and ign gave super paper mario an 8.8 rating and placed it in the top twenty for the wii.  I bought it blindly by these ratings and man this is the lamest game I have ever played.  The story starts out with 20 minutes of unskippable pointless conversation and all the characters are forgettable and not interesting.  I don't mind twenty minutes of reading if the story and characters are that good to be worth the time to follow.  Also Game and Wario gets a 5.5 and 6 from both gamespot and ign. 

xtiansk8
xtiansk8

Please change this score. They already fixed these bugs.

bansheespartan
bansheespartan

They fixed the problems pretty quick at launch. They should change the score.

ster-bac-blu
ster-bac-blu

God damn it. It's is just pathetic. 6 rating? I am THE most legit Mario Kart gamer I know of (and I've been through the whole college party social gamer scene, trust me, I DON'T LOSE AT MARIO KART), but what Sega did with this game...my god...it's as if Mario was in a dead sprint leading a 2x100 meter relay, eons ahead ahead any kart racing competitor, he's about to hand off the baton to his partner, and guess what, his teammate is mother f*cking sonic the hedgehog. That smug-assed cool prick with his I-aint-taking-no-shit-fro-nobody attitude blazes to the finish and picks up the pace as if Sega somehow met and sodomized the god of kart racing and bathed in all it's godly glory.

This game makes me forget the weeks worth of time spent on Mario Kart Wii. It was a seamless transition. Exact same comtrols as MKWii(i actually prefer the alt comtrols, they rock when you master them) You can race on water and land and do all the tricks, but even better, you can fly...YOU CAN F*CKING FLY. Drifting, stacking drifts and stacking boosts (can't do that on Mario kart) much much more faster paced then MKWii. Same ammount of characters and tracks. MODDED KART STATS. ALL MODES PLAYABLE WITH UP TO 5 LOCAL RACERS, YES 5. Extremely difficult campaign mode, again, also playable w/up to 5 local on one TV. Leveling up your favorite racer, don't fucking mess with me when I'm Alex Kidd, you're toast bro. There is nothing this game doesn't have.

Do you own a WiiU? Do you often have 2, 3, 4 or 5 dudes over to your house? Do you all like gaming? WHY HAVEN'T YOU BOUGHT THIS GAME YET. 9.5/10.

zasxas
zasxas

GAMESPOT YOU SUCK!!!Seriously get over with the Nintendo hate...there is no reason to score lower in the wii u vesions of ALL games....

I_are_Cake
I_are_Cake

Pff, and some people actually say that GameSpot doesn't hate Nintendo.

GameBeaten
GameBeaten

Finally got around to playing this last night, so I was not able to experience any of the problems mentioned here since its patch.

 

It is true that this review could use an "update" like I've seen in some other reviews across Gamespot, but even at the end of this review it mentions that if the problems were fixed "it would be a wonderful choice for kart racing fans looking for ways to enjoy their new Wii U."

 

By that statement alone (and the problems having been fixed), this version is just as good as the others.

Shinobishyguy
Shinobishyguy

This is funny when you realize that the ps3 version of Skyrim got a 9.0 even though it was broken to hell and back at launch.

kpolicoff
kpolicoff

Gamespot seriously needs to do a re-review of this game. The patch has fixed the issues, and it play the same if not better than the other systems. The ability to play with 5 players instead of 4 alone is enough to give it a better review than what was given for the other systems.

 

The review process is not to reward or penalize developers for game stability upon release. It's to inform their customers of how this game is. If a game has been fixed, The site should update the review to reflect that... because as a viewer, I wouldn't know that the game is fantastic based from what I'm reading. You shouldn't  do another review for the sake of the developer or Nintendo. You should do it for your readers that are thinking about getting this game.

mariokart64fan
mariokart64fan

lol danica out of place im not sure that should count as bad dont pick her  its that darn simple i wouldnt pick her in nascar   ,   bad review all over the place on gs,  007 legends deserved a 7.5 at least sure its not the best bond but it is not the worst  

zombie u - another one that actually deserved a 8.5 -9.0  

and this is actually pretty decent considering the fact that its another mariokart clone - 8.0 material  ,  and they give it a 6.5 due to most of the stupid reasons

TillMaster
TillMaster

This is now the SUPERIOR version of this game , (i own ps3/360) after the patch 

Gamespot is going downhill i rarely listen to their reviews anymore and ZOMBIE u a 4???????? that game is a 9 tards

santaglause
santaglause

patch is out now so this review is pointless

megakick
megakick

Too bad this game is awesome on the XBOX 360.

Phange_2
Phange_2

It's ironic that people are using the excuse of "Gamespot should only review a game sans patches" as to why they shouldn't change the score now that the patch fixed the glitches. Why? Because it was a patch that actually broke the game in the first place. Version 1.0 didn't have any of the glitches, and Gamespot had access to it for a week before the Day One patch came out and broke the game.

 

In other words, Gamespot's violating its own "Gold 1.0" policy by keeping the score at 6.0 instead of being non-manchildren and re-rating the game now that the patch has been fixed.

 

 

MAS_LUDICREN
MAS_LUDICREN

Not a bad game got it last week. Actually kind of awesome at times

thehawk3986
thehawk3986

Jesus H Khrist!!! When did gamers become such whining babies. Oh no beloved Sonic got a terrible score on the Wii U because the reviewer didn't wait for them to release a patch to fix the broken game. You people are idiots. A reviewer should not have to recant and re-review any video game because of a patch. When they first play the game the game is supposed to be up and running properly. if the game has glitches and bugs the reviewer has the right to speak and on these issues and score the game based on it. The reviewer can always go back later and add a side not about the issue being resolved on a particular date via patch, but the score should never change, because that score represents what the original finished product was that the devs put out there for the gaming community to play with.

 

And for all you Wii U bashers out there please go get a life. The Wii U has definitely dropped the ball on the whole next gen thing, but then again Nintendo has never been a leader in technology and graphics. Nintendo relies on there 1st party games to get them through. Just about every single console started out slow with crappy titles and maybe one or two gems to hang there hats on. That is the way it is when a new system launches. Give Nintendo some credit and some time to actually pump out something great with their new technology. I mean everybody that the Wii when it first came out would never last, but it sold more than the ps3 and xbox360 combined. And lets also keep in mind that a lot of these multiplatform games that are releasing on the wii, are basically just copy and pasted for the wii u. Madden Devs only had 7months to make the entire game. So i can imagine how much time Sega probably had to make their little Sonic racing game. Just relax people Nintendo will get it together sometime next year. Until then just shut up and pay attention. 

 

BTW Im not a fanboy of any console. I own the PS3, 360, and Wii U... I'm Just a Gamer who loves to game

faneboogie
faneboogie

maybe you should change your negative review since this patch has been released....it's only fair.

JustPlainLucas
JustPlainLucas

Ok, well, looks like I need to apologize to the reviewer.  Looks like I misread the review, confusing the Drift challenge with the Boost challenge.  The Drift challenge works just fine, but the Boost challenge is indeed broken.  There are no checkpoints.  

ClintCommander
ClintCommander

I have been playing this for a few hours now on my wii u and have not encountered any of the negatives explained in this review.  It did update when I started so that might have remedied what was wrong.  It's a really fun game.

area51_33
area51_33

bleh...Diddy Kong Racing did what Sega is trying to do with this, but DKR was still a much better game, and for an almost 17 years old console.

Furwings
Furwings

I'm sure Sega will address these issues in patches and bring this version up to par with the PS3/360 versions.

 

Speaking of reviews GameSpot, where the hell is the review of the PS3 version of Assassin's Creed III already? ! Are you just NEVER going to review it? It's only one of the biggest multiplatform releases of the year that released nearly a month ago now, but by all means, take your sweet time!

Flint247
Flint247

So is this game still great after the patch? I am deciding whether to get this version or the 360 version.

ggregd
ggregd

I thought the review policy was not to take any patches into account.  That should be followed whether they break the game or improve it.

GoldenEye2010
GoldenEye2010

I don't get how the 360 version gets a 8.5 but Wii U gets a 6.0

They always do this.

limbomaster
limbomaster

@gamespot is it possible to deny the update process or just start it without being online ?

or is it mandatory ?

Rusmurf
Rusmurf

Release a broken game, get a bad score. Maybe they can revise it, still deserves criticism for being released unfinished.

mjc
mjc moderator moderator

@I_are_Cake So busted gameplay in this version is cool with you?

RandyAU93
RandyAU93

@kpolicoff I bought the game after playing the demo and talking to users on Miiverse about it. It plays just fine online and off, and I compared it against the Xbox 360 version, which GameSpot enjoyed. It's time for a re-review.

MajinSquall
MajinSquall

@TillMaster to be honest gamespot has got very xboxcentrinc since they merged all of the regional sites in to one site run from the USA

baxwam
baxwam

 @santaglause it really makes you think that these are not really reviews but more like first impressions  

suade94
suade94

 @Phange_2

 I understand what you are saying, but what about Skyrim on PS3 or the Halo scratched disks?

ster-bac-blu
ster-bac-blu

@thehawk3986

///When they first play the game the game is supposed to be up and running properly. if the game has glitches and bugs the reviewer ///

Unless its an online FPS. Then it's just peachy that no one can log on for weeks, or that the best content is only available via purchase, AFTER YOU'VE ALREADY BOUGHT THE GAME. Lol 9.5/10 DERP

Zaledo
Zaledo

@thehawk3986 What is a point of a review to you? To me, it's to inform consumers on a game. Obviously, this review fails that within weeks. Sure, it doesn't have to stand the test of time, but really, to be basically completely obsolete in such little time is embarrassing. Their review as of the last patch is completely and utterly pointless, no one should take it seriously, because they are being misled. Most people aren't angry because a Sonic game got a bad score, that's not fucking new, it's because as of that patch, this review is a shitty review.

It's all up to whether GameSpot has any quality control and actually fix the review to serve it's purpose or not. Right now, it's misinformation and fails its task as a review.

ClintCommander
ClintCommander

 @Flint247 I bought it for the wii u and have not encountered any problems so far.  I would get it for the wii u based on the fact you can have up to 5 players playing it at one time.  The gamepad functionality is pretty neat as well.

Sargus
Sargus

 @limbomaster  You can delay it and start playing, but it downloads automatically and then installs later. And once it's installed, it can't be removed. (Well, technically it can, but the Wii U refuses to play the game again until it's updated again,)

MajinSquall
MajinSquall

@mjc @I_are_Cake well i have never had a problem with it but i did get the game after the patch was out so i don't know what it was like to begin with and i do understand that you review the games as they are when they are first released but you really should put a update in the review stating that these problems have been fixed because all of the things you flagged up are no longer there and it now plays just as well as the PS3 and 360 versions

RandyAU93
RandyAU93

@mjc @I_are_Cake This review was written prior to the patch that Sumo Digital produced to fix the problems. I believe it would be very appropriate for GameSpot to re-review the game post-patch. If they could do it for "Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing" SIX YEARS after the original netted the infamous 1.0 review, they certainly can do it for this, as well.

ster-bac-blu
ster-bac-blu

@the9thinning @megakick it's only worth getting on the wii u as far as I'm concerned. 5 playa local is just sick.

ClintCommander
ClintCommander

 @JustPlainLucas I guess they don't now that you mention it.  I was confused about the drift and boost challenges as well.  Since i could just skip them I really didn't make such a big deal out of it.

area51_33
area51_33

 @NiteX I agree, graphics are shit, I don't like, no wait.. I hate the N64, but gameplay wise, DKR is still the number one, with better "mixed vehicle" modes where each player can choose the of vehicle to race on, be in a plane, hovercraft or car, all toghether at the same time, no scripted vehicle mode changes, and the circuits have multiple paths to choose depending on the vehicle chosen by the player.

limbomaster
limbomaster

 @Sargus ok thanks.

sucks a bit. but i guess its going to be fixed by sega.

at this state it deserves  6 out of 10.

 

but i also think GS rating system sucks.

the fun part should never be in the same as technology and vice versa.

it kills the rating a lot in most games.

even if it is not braking the game

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed More Info

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  • First Released
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    Sonic and the All-Stars cast battle for supremacy across land, water and air in transforming vehicles that change from cars to boats to planes mid-race.
    8.2
    Average User RatingOut of 368 User Ratings
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    Developed by:
    Sumo Digital
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    Sega
    Genres:
    Driving/Racing, Arcade
    Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
    Everyone 10+
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    Animated Blood, Mild Cartoon Violence, Mild Language