Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed Preview
Kart racing is fun, but why not expand on the concept? Diddy Kong Racing did it nearly fifteen years ago, of course, but how’s about using next-gen technology for that land, sea and air philosophy? In the upcoming Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, our favorite Sega mascots will have access to super special vehicles that can transform into a car, hovercraft, and plane. And you know, it’s not quite as straightforward as you might think…it’s not just about particular races adopting a set, static environment.
No, in fact, you’ll be able to transform in the midst of the action thanks to “transformation gates,” which will be placed at strategic positions on the track. The only possible downside is that the majority of such gates won’t be optional; i.e., if you miss it and don’t transform, you’re in definite trouble. Then again, there are some gates that aren’t essential, and you can get the jump on the competition if you hit ‘em. This must mean that the designers are producing a series of circuits that are both diverse and capable of accommodating any of the three vehicle transformations.
Developer Sumo Digital is also prepping an all-new physics engine, so it should be an upgraded gameplay experience when compared with its predecessor. This engine will have to handle the different physics pertaining to each transformation type; the plane will obviously fly, for instance, and the hovercraft will have to react to water and waves. We’ve also heard the racing physics for the cars will be overhauled as well, so expect vehicles with a bit more reliability and stability (they felt a little floaty in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing). The result should be a more technically sound product.
As for characters, you probably already know who to expect. Sonic and his buddies have been pal-ing around together for a while now, but Sega also plans to implement a few new faces. My favorite is Vyse, just ‘cuz he was the hero of Skies of Arcadia, the only game on the Dreamcast I really wanted to play, being a huge RPG buff in those days. But there’s also Gilius from Golden Axe, among others, so there will be plenty of characters available. Me, I’ve always been partial to Dr. Eggman just because he’s such a maniac. A memorable maniac from childhood.
The various environments will encompass everything from Super Monkey Ball to Panzer Dragoon, and you can always expect various Sonic influences. With very distinct transforming vehicles and unique locales, each race should be very different from the one before it, and I love the idea of changing tracks. See, a track might change during a race; a piece will break off or become inaccessible, and your route will have to alter. It reminds me a little of MotorStorm: Apocalypse, only maybe not to that extreme level.
Lastly, we’ll have character-specific tricks that can earn you essential speed boosts and this time around, the tricks will be more numerous and complicated. Plus, if you can’t complete a trick before hitting the ground, you’ll incur a speed penalty. A bit more strategy and tact might be required… The all-star attack is a little different, too; the meter will fill if you drive well, so picking up coins and landing big tricks will prove quite beneficial. Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed will arrive later this year and I have to admit, I’m definitely looking forward to it.
5/3/2012 Ben Dutka