Game Review

Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by James Newton

Constellation prize

The first hour or so you spend with Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing, your brain rejects it, telling you it isn’t Mario Kart enough, or it isn’t Sega enough. You’ll wrestle with the wheel and tell yourself you could be playing Mario Kart Wii instead, but once you learn to go with it you find yourself having a blast.

There’s nothing exactly mould-breaking here – single-player boasts the usual selection of cups and time trials, as well as a rather enjoyable mission mode sadly missing from Mario Kart Wii. With a wide variety of goals and settings there’s much to enjoy in mission mode, and getting AAA ranks on all missions will take skills of the highest order.

Progressing through the stages nets you Sega Miles, officially the world’s best (and most valuable) currency, which you spend to unlock new characters, courses and music. How many miles you accumulate is linked to your performance in each race, not necessarily the distance covered, so you won’t be able to amass thousands of Sega Miles by doing donuts in the first course. Unlocking everything will take plenty of hours, and although the quality of the content varies – why no music from OutRun? – it still keeps you going.

In terms of handling, it’s best described as a cross between OutRun and Mario Kart, with the emphasis very much on drifting to build turbo boosts. Using the Wii Wheel is as natural and accurate as in MKWii, but pad fans may want to switch to a Classic Controller, as there is no GameCube pad support. There’s a certain smoothness to the handling that’s very appealing, and you can continue to drift whilst changing direction; perfect for some of the later tight chicanes.

The courses are well designed too, with the very first circuit offering a figure-of-eight, a corkscrew and long sloping corners that let you slip into the controls nicely. There’s something different and interesting in each stage, although one complaint would be the decision to base several courses on the same area – Sonic’s levels are primarily based on Seaside Hill, Final Fortress and Bingo Highway, with no sight of classic stages or courses from other Sega properties. With every game like this there’s always going to be someone crying out “why isn’t this game included?”, but it has to be said the exclusion of every classic Sega racing franchise is truly disappointing. No OutRun, Daytona USA, Sega Rally or Virtua Racing is saddening, but the inclusion of the oft-forgotten ChuChu Rocket!, Bonanza Bros and of course the glorious return of Shenmue star Ryo Hazuki is to be celebrated.

Another disappointment is the game’s online mode, which has been sadly dismantled by hackers already. Even without their presence the lobby system is often slow, seeming to take ages to find a game after which you’re forced to wait whilst everyone chooses a character with no cut-off clock. When you do find a game it’s usually pretty lag-free, but the impatient amongst you may want to try out the addictive online time trial mode, which although near-identical to the offline time trial shows how you stack up on the leaderboards immediately after, prompting many “one more go” moments.

Offline multiplayer is a far more rounded affair, with a wider array of gameplay modes than many other titles. King of the Hill is an office favourite, but the others are all decent too, although the standard races suffer from being unable to select random courses or play through Grand Prix cups: completing a race returns you to the course select, slowing down the game’s rhythm. It’s not a huge issue, but it could have been improved with some extra options, although the game does boast the ability to turn on or off slower car speed boost — a big plus when playing against a rather less-skilled gamer.

Conclusion

Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing is, despite its flaws, a well-crafted racer that’s clearly had a lot of good design work put into it. It looks good, handles nicely and contains enough Sega references to please any fan (check out the Achievement-style challenges unlocked throughout the game). As is to be expected, there are still things we would change, but the game is still fast, bright and enjoyable with plenty to keep you occupied for weeks to come.

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User Comments (58)

bro2dragons

#4

bro2dragons said:

sounds good. maybe worth picking up at $20 when i have nothing else to get. not a big racing fan, so i'm not too eager, though.

btw, Prosody, did you mean "exclusion" instead of "exclusive"?

Slapshot

#8

Slapshot said:

Not too shabby, Sega actually made a decent game with Sonic in it.... about time!

ueI

#9

ueI said:

How is this game a constellation prize?
I'm not sure if I should get this. On one hand, I liked Sonic Riders, which is supposed to be worse. On the other hand, I think Mario should be the only one in a kart.

Objection

#10

Objection said:

I hate to be one of those word nitpickers, but did you mean "consolation prize" as opposed to "constellation prize"? Although, i guess that's where the "All-Stars" comes in.

Stuffgamer1

#12

Stuffgamer1 said:

Just thought I'd point out, for the benefit of those multisystem gamers here, that the PS3 version of the game doesn't have the online hackers problem (as is probably to be expected).:)

Also, to nitpick: The game's bio's suggest that Jacky and Akira's car is directly from Virtua Racer, which gives it more coverage than the other racing games (though not by much). IMO, more than that would've messed up the mostly cartoony flow of the game.

Regarding the developer: It's Sumo, not just generic "SEGA." Sumo's good people, responsible for at least one recent Outrun game and SEGA Superstars Tennis (which I enjoyed on Xbox 360 quite a lot).

Interesting that they implimented the Achievement/Trophy list in-game. More multi-system developers should do that.:)

Also, just to brag: I finished getting all AAA's on the Mission mode on Friday.:D

RevolverLink

#16

RevolverLink said:

What, no characters from Yakuza or Phantasy Star?! :p

Although Ryo being playable is still pretty darn rad.

Saber

#17

Saber said:

Im little sacred to pick this title up because of the past 3-D sonic games, don't get me wrong all the ones from 1-3+sonic and knuckles+ sonic cd were awesome.

bro2dragons

#18

bro2dragons said:

@Rondowhip: it's not a Sonic game, though. it's a Kart game, and it's not even made by Sonic Team, anyway. completely different developer. besides, if Prosody says it's good, that's enough for me.

SilverBaretta

#21

SilverBaretta said:

@uel: I also think Mario should be the only kart racer, but then again, even that's kind of weird, if you think about his platforming games. Anyway, the only thing I wish this game had was a Sonic that ran instead of drove.

Sylverstone

#24

Sylverstone said:

Good review.

Hopefully a sequel is coming soon, addressing the flaws of the first. (And at least Mario Kart has "some form of competitor.") :p

Anyone gonna review the DS version of this?

RaylaxStaff

#25

Raylax said:

@21: He's in a car because past 3D games have proven he can run fast, but can't corner to (literally) save his life.

Machu

#26

Machu said:

Tis a shame. I knew it wouldn't match MKW skill wise, but I was hoping the online would give me reason to buy it. Stoopid haxors!! :/

TwilightV

#27

TwilightV said:

That comic I read said he's in a car to prove to everyone (especially Knuckles) that he's the fastest no matter what. Tails also stated the obvious fact that he's raced in a car before. >:3

Stuffgamer1

#28

Stuffgamer1 said:

@TwilightV: Man, that's one of the easier ones, really. Just takes a light touch on the analog stick.:D

@Blueflamebat: It has Classic Controller support, but not GCN controller. I THINK it has remote/nunchuk as well, but I'm not sure.

Fuzzy

#29

Fuzzy said:

I tried te DS demo. and was quite impressed with the track. Are the weapons more balanced in this than Mario Kart?

outrun2sp

#30

outrun2sp said:

This game is more fun than mario kart. Its fairer. No blue shell syndrome and it has skill involved in it.

Mario kart is still good although I havent played it in a year.

James

#31

James said:

I'm reviewing the DS version later.

Yes, the tagline is a pun on All-Stars and constellation, it even stumped some of our staff here!

@Fuzzy - There seems to be a better balance yes, although when the Superstar moves get activated it becomes a little less fair!

BulbasaurusRex

#32

BulbasaurusRex said:

Could you give some details on the Battle Mode? The biggest reason I'm interested in this game is because the Battle Mode in Mario Kart Wii stinks.

Guybrush_Threepwood

#35

Guybrush_Threepwood said:

Sounds great! I will definitely buy this game although I will choose the Xbox360 version.

I'm a Mario Kart fan since the SNES original but the Wii version was quite disappointing in my opinion. The overuse of blue shells damaged my gaming experience especially in the online mode. The loss of one defense item (false item box) and the items' distribution in general rewarding only bad driving skills were other negative points.
It's ironic that the short and easy courses (Luigi Circuit, Yoshi's Falls) are by far the most frustrating. On those tracks I lost constantly way too much points thanks to item hits in the last round. I quit playing online after loosing over 300 points (I would have got about 20 points for a victory) in one race on Yoshis Falls. First place on the home stretch ==> blue shell ==> red shell ==> bullet hit ==> last place. :D

LEGEND_MARIOID

#36

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

I got both the Wii and the DS versions. They are both great and very similar to eachother. Because of the hand-held gameplay and controls I considered the DS version quite a different experience to the Wii. As an all round package its a really good video game racer. Good racers, good modes, good features, good control response (including the wii wheel controls). A few minor complaints here and there but negliable. 8/10 is spot on. Its more fun than Need for Speed Nitro and its got its own character so it doesn't need to be compared to MK Wii (which I love more, but who cares?).

Recommended

Good revw and spot on. Thanks.

Ricardo91

#37

Ricardo91 said:

Oh my god, Sega made something decent for once! And it's not even developed by Platinum Games, Dimps, or Creative Assembly! Still not entirely sure whether or not it's worth buying though. Will give the 360 version a rent.

Boonehams

#38

Boonehams said:

@24.BlueFlameBat & @29.Stuffgamer1
Yes, it accepts Wiimote with nunchuck controls, which is actually my preferred setup. This game includes all control setups except for Gamecube controller--everything else is available.

@31.outrun2sp
Took the words right out of my mouth. The AI and weapons are a lot more balanced here. (I personally like the remote missile weapon--so choice.)

@32.Prosody
Yeah, getting nailed by someone who is going All-Star can suck, but at least you see it coming and can avoid it... unlike [takes deep breath] THE STUPID BLUE SHELL. And in all honesty, the All-Star moves are no more damaging than the Bullet Bill power-up in MKWii, since that's what most of them basically are.

TKOWL

#40

TKOWL said:

Still infuriated Big is in over obvious stars like Gunstar Heroes and Ristar.

Vinsanity

#41

Vinsanity said:

All you need to know is that this game, unlike Mario Kart Wii, is balanced. So good players will do well, instead of losing to a barrage of 5-6 blue shells. Like in the Wii version of Mario Kart (by far the worst version of Mario Kart ever made...well, along with the GBA one).

Sumo Digital knows how to make racing games, so it's nice to see them absolutely nail it with Sonic All Stars here. I hope SEGA takes this much care with a lot more of their games going forward. Absolutely kills MKWii thanks to the impressive "born on HD, brought to Wii" presentation and the aforementioned balancing. Great job SEGA!

SegaGamer93

#42

SegaGamer93 said:

Wow thats a really good score.SEGA did a really good job with this game and i own this game and i find it better then Mario kart.

barneygumble

#44

barneygumble said:

Most Tracks remind me of F-Zero AX / GX.
Seems Sega "re-used" their acknowledge from their Arcade F-Zero ( ported and known as Gamecube F-Zero GX ) with their Charakters.

For me Mario Kart had the better Stage design, Sega Allstars is more colorful ( some stages are to dark ) and more crazy design - but very playable & fun. I just dont like those Pinball-Stages.

pikku

#45

pikku said:

yeah it actualy does remind me of F-Zeor...anyway,it loks awesome, want to get it soon.

#47

said:

This game's better than Mario Kart, sure, but I don't reall think it's "perfect". They missed key characters like Larcen, Sketch Turner, Blaze Fielding, and Gus!

Zinjak

#48

Zinjak said:

quite frankly...if the game is less of a pudding then MKW with its constant artichoke of item banana...then this might actually be a better game in my book

SuperMarioFan1995

#49

SuperMarioFan1995 said:

Not as good as Mario Kart Wii. The only thing that's better is the sense of speed and graphics. But still great.

I know it's a shame why the online has so many hackers, and the fact that it takes SO LONG to search for players that I'm needing to turn off my Wii console. :(

MKW online all the way! :) (Of course, that one has hackers as well.)

SuperMarioFan1995

#50

SuperMarioFan1995 said:

Gameplay: 9/10
Graphics: 10/10
Replayability: 10/10
Vehicles & Characters: 10/10
Online Mode: 7/10
Soundtrack: 10/10

Final Score: 9.0/10

SuperMarioFan1995

#51

SuperMarioFan1995 said:

As I've also forgotten to say, Sonic R was probably okay in that matter. However, it didn't really feel like a Sonic racer to me. I'm glad Sega brought out this game which is definitely great and one of the true Sonic racers.

I didn't like how they screwed up the online mode, making it far too long to load up global players and yet those stupid hackers ruining the entire fun. There is hardly no lag in the mode, but only one shoddy flaw that suffers it, same with the fact that the single race mode has no random option. The replayability, to me, is quite excellent as it takes weeks and weeks to complete everything. Still, one of the best Sonic racers available on Wii, PS3, 360, DS and PC.

MapGuy21

#52

MapGuy21 said:

This is the best racing game ever! I would like to say that I really do love that game so much a tiny more than Mario Kart Wii. I still do like Mario Kart Wii and Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing so much! And I still do like that other Sega game on the Wii that is called Sega Superstars Tennis cause that I do love to play games that contains different Sega characters more than just Sonic characters. In the future time I would love for Sega to make a golf game that contains some Sega graphics and golf courses and Sega characters and also have some Sega music and could name that game either Sonic & Sega All-Stars Golf or Sega Superstars Golf! On the Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, I love to play with different characters and that Ryo is my top character as well as Shadow, Beat, Jacky & Akira, Big, Alex Kidd, Zobio & Zobiko, Aiai, Knuckles, Sonic, and as well as the Mii!

sonic_brawler95

#53

sonic_brawler95 said:

I have the DS version, but for a console version of it, I'm gonna go with the PS3. :)

Fun Fact: Mario was going to be a playable character in the Wii version, but Sega didn't want people to confuse this game with the Olympic games series. All true.

Matillion

#55

Matillion said:

Are the hackers still there?

Also, obvious facts:
XBOX360: Banjo Kazooie and XBOX Avatar
Wii: Mii
PS3: Idk, graphics?

atariman

#57

atariman said:

Now this is one of the best Sega games ever created! It tise with Mario Kart wii.
The best sonic game is Sonic The Hedge Hog (Genesis)

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