Team Sonic Racing overview: enjoyable and competent karting, however missing the magic of its predecessor

No Comments

At the guts of Sumo Digital and Sega’s newest kart racing effort is an fascinating idea: what if coming first wasn’t the last word aim?

In Team Sonic Racing, your purpose remains to be to position on the prime of the rostrum in a way – however as a staff somewhat than as a person. Every race sees you as a part of a staff of three – and your staff’s total placement on the finish can be decided by the person positions of all three racers. To encourage teamwork there’s quite a lot of techniques and mechanics constructed round interacting with and serving to your staff mates – so generally it’s really higher to drag again off the highest of the rostrum with a purpose to assist a staff mate that’s lagging behind. Just coming first your self isn’t all the time sufficient.

I’m really fairly stunned that this game didn’t find yourself being known as Sonic Heroes Racing, because the three-strong character staff idea really has a good quantity in widespread with the 2003 team-based Sonic platformer. Like Sonic Heroes, every staff primarily incorporates three characters that slot into archetypal ‘classes’ with apparent advantages – Speed, Technique and Power. In the game’s most iconic staff these roles fall to Sonic, Tails and Knuckles respectively, as an illustration.

Unlike Sonic Heroes you’re not switching between characters, nonetheless. You decide one and the others are AI managed – or you possibly can hand off management to different gamers for full native co-operative play in just about each obtainable mode. It’s a neat concept.

Instead of switching characters to progress or clear up puzzles, the staff side of the game is as a substitute targeted on serving to one another with numerous staff cooperation skills. The slingshot, as an illustration, is a transfer the place you drive within the slipstream of a teammate (which is helpfully highlighted) for a interval till you get a bonus increase that sends you flying previous them and onward up the observe. If an ally in entrance of you is bashed off the street or hit by an merchandise that slows them down, you possibly can drive previous them in a detailed name to execute a Skim Boost, which’ll get them again in control. The nearer you move, the larger the increase.

Being a enjoyable and light-hearted kart racer there are additionally a spread of things for mid-race shenanigans. There’s a staff side right here too, as for those who decide up one which’s no use to you a single button press may give your staff mates the possibility to take it off your fingers. All of those actions assist the staff but in addition construct a particular meter that when crammed means that you can execute an excellent transfer that may massively increase your racing prospects.

The introduction of this staff side works effectively and provides a different-feeling wrinkle to the motion that units Sonic Team Racing aside from Mario Kart in a approach that doesn’t simply really feel like a gimmick. The slingshot specifically is a good way to combine the most effective elements of conventional automotive racers, slipstream and drafting, right into a cute kart racing setting. In normal these mechanics have a transformative impact, as now you can go from first to final and again once more way more rapidly with a little bit of intelligent play in your or your rival’s half. The solely criticism of all that is that early on the game doesn’t do one of the best job of explaining how these techniques and mechanics work until you pay shut consideration to loading display suggestions.

But, I hear you cry, is it nearly as good as Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed? That’s this game’s lineage, and it’s a tricky one to dwell as much as, as that game is likely one of the finest kart racers ever. The reply is, effectively – no, it in all probability isn’t, however that was a excessive bar to clear. Team Sonic Racing may be very profitable at its very completely different model of racing, however the staff gimmick maybe isn’t as strong as the reworking automobiles one.

One factor that perplexes me is the choice to drag again from the Sega all-stars idea to solely function Sonic characters and tracks. I understand Sonic is by far the extra recognizable franchise, however there was a spread and depth to the worlds the all-stars racers might go to that this game simply can’t handle. While I do know lots of people underneath 20 haven’t any bloody concept who Golden Axe’s Gilius Thunderhead is, there’s nothing right here that fairly has the temper of a number of of the areas discovered within the earlier, Sega-wide game.

While Sonic and his associates will all the time star, there’s little question that this is able to be a richer, extra diversified game if it went additional past Sonic. I’m under no circumstances satisfied even any five-year-old needs to play as the last word C-tier staff of Vector, Silver and Blaze. In different methods the Sonic theme simply appears to make some elements boring, too – all gadgets take the type of Sonic Colors’ Wisps and customarily really feel uninspired and fewer enjoyable than a spread of recognizable gadgets from a numerous games.

That isn’t to say the game isn’t content material wealthy, nonetheless. There’s an journey mode with a sequence of races and challenges held collectively by a skinny veneer of a completely voice-acted visible novel model story. Some of the challenges listed here are actually tough to get excessive ranks on, and the three problem ranges present an awesome variance of problem not simply when it comes to AI aptitude but in addition in default automotive speeds.

Outside of the journey mode there’s your commonplace four-race Grand Prix as established by Mario Kart, an exhibition mode that permits for extra customizable races, a time trial and naturally full on-line play – an space the place the team-based side comes into its personal for those who can group up with some associates and truly collaborate correctly as a staff.

There’s even a random-chance random draw system (with no actual world cash altering fingers, to be clear) to unlock customization elements for each automotive within the game, with elements not simply beauty but in addition considerably adjusting automotive efficiency.

There’s loads to do, and the dealing with of the vehicles and number of tracks (21 whole) is nice sufficient that you simply really feel inspired to get caught in and do a lot of it.

The complaints are comparatively few, and all just about really feel like nitpicks. The game is extraordinarily competent, and as such my largest gripe feels somewhat petty – at default settings these characters by no means shut up. The soundtrack of this game is an unimaginable suite of head-bopping remixes, however you’ll just about all the time wrestle to listen to them over countless quips and nattering from the racers. Some of those traces serve to feed you info like the very fact your tremendous transfer is prepared or an ally wants assist, however quite a lot of the time they’re simply pointless and annoying. You can mercifully flip this off and even set it to textual content solely, so… Team Sonic Racing even will get this proper.

So, there we now have it – a very competent racer, which is sensible. The follow-up to a game nearly as good as All-Stars Racing Transformed was nearly actually going to be good – although it does really feel as if one thing of the x-factor that made that game actually particular isn’t fairly current right here. Kart racing followers or households are certain to have an absolute blast with this, nonetheless – and it’s a straightforward advice consequently.

Version Tested: PlayStation 4 (Pro). Review copy offered by the writer.