All right, it’s time to look at the sequel to the other Sonic racing game! I got the other one not too long ago so you’re probably wondering why I got this one so fast right? I got the first one for Christmas and I bought the sequel at the beginning of March so that’s only about a 2 month gap between the two games. What can I say…the first game was just that good! I knew that I needed the sequel and I have seen some declare that it is one of the greatest racing games of all time…maybe even ever! (By default as some have said that it possibly defeats Mario Kart 8. That was before the DLC though so maybe things have changed)
This game has more of a “story” mode than the other title as the main menu is called World Tour. There is no plot or story, but you do have to complete levels to unlock the next ones and you go from world to world. So, it’s a story mode without the actual story. I always liked this kind of set up because it really feels like you got to complete the game after you wrap it up. No worries though, we’ve still got Grand Prix Mode as well. There are quite a lot of levels in World Tour mode so you’ll likely be here for quite a while. Depending on what difficulty level you beat the game on, you can earn 1-4 stars per level.
That’s where the artificial replay value comes in. To unlock some of the final, extra levels in the last world, you must get a whole lot of stars. This means going back and doing a lot of the older missions on tougher and tougher difficulty levels. I thought that this was certainly a bit much, but for many fans that won’t be a problem. The gameplay is pretty fun after all so going back and playing the events again isn’t bad. Replaying the tournament missions is another story, but you don’t need to have literally every star to beat the final levels as far as I know.
World Tour is also where you unlock a majority of the characters and mods. The more stars that you get, the more gates that you can open for unlockable secrets. It’s a nifty system and it always feels particularly thrilling to unlock a new character or custom mod. As I mentioned earlier, we also still have Grand Prix mode, where you can play all the stages as they were meant to be played. Time Attack Mode is a given and naturally, we’ve got the multiplayer option as well.
There’s certainly a lot to do in this game so even without going back and doing old levels, you’ve got more than enough content here to warrant the 60 dollar purchase. Of course, you can likely get this game for a third of that at this point. The PS3 trophies to collect is also another piece of the puzzle to consider. I don’t plan on getting the Platinum here thanks to those tricky online trophies, but I got a decent amount of trophies before I put the game back on the shelf. Perhaps I’ll go back and get some more at some point, but for now I’m definitely satisfied. Each character gains exp when you race as them and you can work to max everyone out. I got Sonic to the final level as I used him for almost all of the World Tour events, but I didn’t get around to the other characters. It’s a nice incentive to make you want to play as every character. There’s even more things to do here that I haven’t touched upon so content is not a concern.
As for the actual gameplay, it’s definitely more arcade styled. The game definitely lives up to the billing there and that will decide whether you prefer it to the previous game or not. I actually liked the style in the other game more, but they’re fairly similar and this one’s still a blast. This game does introduce two new features, which are the boat and plane gimmicks. You can transform during the race at designated spots, which results in a fun change of pace for the gameplay and you get to really zoom through the courses. Perhaps a little ironic, but I prefer the traditional car gameplay to both the plane and the boat, but they are still fun methods of travelling around. You can grab items as you go through the course and naturally, the goal is to get to the finish line first. That doesn’t sound too hard right?
The A.I. is actually much better in this game than the previous one. I think it’s at a pretty good level. It’s tough enough that the levels are not a walk in the park, but it’s not too difficult that you will find it to be a little cheap. The controversial decision to make the computers input readers in Smash Bros was dicey as it is, but the computers here seem relatively fair. Just be prepared to bring your A game to the table for each round and you should be okay.
Graphically, this game certainly looks stunning. You can instantly tell that this is a PS3 level title as all of the details look flawless. Sega spared no expense for this title and you can tell that it came out back when Sonic was still a prominent figure in their plans. All of the levels are crisp with a great amount of detail and the oceans look especially good. You will certainly miss the graphics once you turn your TV off.
Audio wise, the game fares just as well. The stage themes are nice and cheerful, while also being fast enough to keep up with the gameplay. Sonic’s themes are typically the best by far, but we also get some more opera styled themes for the final levels. As this is a cross over, you can expect music from other games as well. While I know all about Monkey Ball’s themes, the rest of the series are all new to me so hearing their music is always fun. The city levels tend to have some really fun themes to listen too.
After a lot of thought, I do think that the first Sonic All Stars Racing game beats this one. At least, in terms of gameplay. That being said, it certainly loses in just about every other area and it can probably be tough to go from Racing Transformed to just Racing. The first game simply doesn’t look quite as good and there are less guest star racers in that game. Pure gameplay is typically what counts the most so the older one still takes the lead, but Transformed is certainly on the same level and deserves the hype that it has gotten. Now, if only they could throw Mario in the game so that we can call it a crossover!
Overall, Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed is a great follow up to the first game. The racing is as fun as ever and the graphics are intense. Aside from racing, some of the events will have you fight other racers or even dodge traffic. Dodging traffic is always a lot of fun for me and it’s easily one of my favorite events in the game. If you plan on doing everything that there is to accomplish here, you should be prepared to spend a lot of time playing this game. It’s certainly worth the money and I can only hope that Sega decides to make a third game to finish up the trilogy at some point. Sonic has definitely proved that he can hold his own racing title and Mario Kart has a legitimate rival now. I definitely recommend buying this game when you get the chance!