E3 2012: Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing Transformed

There is one more game of E3 I feel is worth mentioning: Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing Transformed.

At first glance it appears to be “Yet another kart racing game”. But as I explained with the first game, when you think about it, the PS3 and 360 don’t really have good kart racing games of their own. Yeah Sony is trying to fix that but I don’t think that will work out for them. Mod Nation Racers wasn’t very good (not bad, just not very good) and I don’t have a lot of faith in the upcoming Little Big Planet racing game. So there’s definately a niche that a game like Sonic & SEGA racing can fill, and did with the original.

This time, however, they’re doing something a little different. Now the vehicles transform from a car to a boat to an airplane as you race! At first this might seem to be stealing the glider idea from Mario Kart 7 or the three vehicles of Diddy Kong Racing. However, the difference is that here you switch between three different vehicles automatically! It’s just enough of an original idea to make this one fresh and I appreciate it. They could have easily gotten away with releasing the exact same game but with more content (and I would have been perfectly happy), but they actually are trying to do something new-ish.

That said, I do have some concerns. With three different vehicles that all handle differently, it could make the game a bit more difficult to play than it needs to be. Danica Patrick, who will be appearing in the game (yes, seriously), mentioned in her time playing that the plane sections were way harder for her. I’m sure she won’t be alone. Similarly, flight-based racing is sort of an acquired taste and not everyone likes it so to some it might feel like the game goes from “awesome” to “meh” and back again. What’s more, what does this mean for racing wheel support? The first game did support the force feedback racing wheel, but will this game?

So I think my question is will there be single vehicle races as well? A few specialty courses for just planes, boats, or cars? That could both help players train with vehicles they’re bad with and allow them to enjoy their favorite vehicle type.

I’d also like to know if multiple of the same character are allowed this time. In the previous game only one person could play each character and this nearly caused some balance hiccups as some characters had motorcycles and there weren’t enough motorcycles to go around.

On the plus side, the game is coming from Sumo Digital who are bonifide SEGA fanboys. In the first one they made sure to include obscure fan favorites like Ryo from Shenmue and Beat from Jet Set Radio, which pleased a lot of hardcore SEGA nerds. This time around, Gillius Thunderhead joins the fray along with Vyse from Skies of Arcadia. A Panzer Dragoon stage is also confirmed so there will be plenty of SEGA nostalgia for all.

Call me crazy but personally, I’m very excited.

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