Published on February 27th, 2010 | by prime0
Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing – Review
Summary: Sumo Digital has done a wonderful job at capturing the spirit of the SEGA universe
Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing isn’t a Mario Kart beater. It isn’t even as good as Naughty Dog’s Crash Team Racing or our particular PS1 kart racing fave, Speed Freaks. But then, to be honest, you never expected it to be, right?
So what is it? Well, it’s a SEGA lover’s dream, a collection of stunningly rendered environments, characters and blue skies from the length and breadth of the SEGA universe. It’s homage to some of the greatest characters in the industry with a sense of charm often lost in today’s ‘gritty’ gaming. Quite frankly, it’s a bit of a laugh.
Just like 2008’s Superstars Tennis, then? Well, almost. As well as a standard Grand Prix mode (to start off with there are five tournaments available, each home to four unique courses, with further events unlocking as you go on), All-Stars Racing features a Missions mode similar to that seen in Superstars Tennis, featuring a variety of tasks including drift challenges and ring collection as well as more traditional modes like time trials and eliminators across 64 separate events.
But similarly to that game, All-Stars Racing also has its fair share of faults. Firstly, the framerate is as predictable as a moose on crack, largely sitting at 30fps but frequently flittering between 60fps and early teens depending on what’s occurring on screen – a shame, given the rest of the game’s visual flair, as the sudden slowdown tarnishes the warmth of Seaside Hill and the gloriously stylized urbanicity of Jet Set Radio’s Tokyo-To.
Which ultimately, besides the reunion of Sonic and co., is the highlight of All-Star Racing. The tracks, though never reaching the dizzy heights of Bowser’s Castle or Rainbow Road, are each wonderfully crafted, thoroughly imaginative nostalgia-fests, each full of their own sense of charm and personality. From the twisty-turny roof-racing chaos of Samba De Amigo’s Jump Parade to Sonic’s Pinball Highway, developer Sumo Digital has done a wonderful job at capturing the spirit of the SEGA universe. That authenticity stretches to all of the racers too, each fantastically animated and with their own bespoke special move, making All-Stars Racing enough to force any SEGA fan into a fit of excitement – so long as they can withstand the stupidity OTT announcer, who regularly spits out ridiculous phrases like. “Sonic wins and what a guy he is!“ and “Where did you guys learn to drive? A FARM?!” Very annoying.
It’ll keep you fairly busy too, what with the mission mode and extensive amount of Grand Prix to work your way through and the healthy amount of secret characters to unlock and shortcuts to find. But throughout you’ll always have that niggling feeling that it’s not quite as good as it could have been.
Switch to a first-person view to use the EPK and search for ghosts and collectible items
The weapons – a mixture of generic bombs, boxing gloves and mega horns – don’t blend into the universe as well as they should and we’d like to have seen some characters switched out for other stronger ones. But nevertheless it remains entertaining, a feeling accelerated by getting three mates together on the couch ‘old-school style’. The original may still be the best, but Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing is a brilliant first attempt from Sumo, and the best kart racer on Playstation 3.