Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing (PS3) Demo Impressions

As if we weren't covering this game enough at SuperPhillip Central, the PlayStation 3 demo for Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing came out this past Thursday. What comes with it is one track, Billy's Hatcher's Blizzard Castle: Rampart Road which can be played one-player or split-screen with two players. The course is filled with simple twists and turns. The main obstacle of the stage are these chutes that shoot out giant eggs. These cross the track at several sections, plowing through anyone foolish enough to get in their way. The music that plays for the course is Tumbling Xylophone. Don't remember it? Check it out here. Anyway, the announcer describes the course while several different and impressive views of Rampart Road are shown. With the demo only two characters are selectable either Sonic who is all-around good and Eggman who specializes in high speed but is penalized with low acceleration. He's essentially your Bowser of the bunch.

The tracks promise to have tons of SEGA references in them.

Starting with the presentation, there's loads to be excited about and go gaga for. There's the announcer who didn't repeat himself too much during gameplay. Hopefully he can be turned off for some players out there. The visuals are very nice, the characters are animated well, the sense of speed is there, and the framerate of the PS3 demo is stable unlike that of the rushed 360 demo. That notwithstanding, we'll have to wait and see how the final product holds up.

Racing works similar to MySims Racing. As you powerslide you gain a boost. The longer you powerslide, the greater your boost. I guess I should use the term drifting as that's what the game calls it. Regardless, drifting feels natural and very tight. To also gain a boost, you can perform a trick in midair. Careful though because if you don't give yourself enough time to perform the trick, you spin out. On Rampart Road there was at least one spot where you could pull off a trick with ease. The 360 demo's track had several more.

Items were an afterthought in SEGA All-Stars Racing. It's true. SEGA asked for Sumo Digital, the developer, to put in items well into development. The items themselves are rather basic and what you would expect from a kart racer. There's homing missiles, regular missiles, shields, an item that turns everything upside down (again similar to MySims Racing), and the most coveted item being the All-Star powerup. This gives your racer a chance to shine with an exclusive ability. For instance, when Sonic uses his All-Star move, he uses the power of the Chaos Emeralds to turn into Super Sonic, jetting through the course, knocking any and everyone out of his way.

The controls were tight and responsive throughout my time with the demo. Either of the left shoulder buttons are used to drift while either of the right shoulder buttons are used to accelerate. Steering can be down with either the analog stick or d-pad. The square button is used to look behind you, and the X button is used to shoot out items. It's a very simple yet effective control setup. I'm sure it'll translate well regardless of what console you decide to play or dare I say purchase this game on.

Check out footage of the demo here!

My first attempt with Sonic netted me second place. It was the second attempt that earned me first place thanks to a third place position All-Star move. Overall, I'm really digging the game, and the wait for Thursday (when I'll get to play the game) is going to be a tough one for sure. There's only a few days left until Sonic and SEGA All-Stars hits all major platforms. Expect 20+ characters, 24 tracks, over 70 different songs, and 8-player online play (4 for the DS version). Catch the long anticipated verdict sometime in early March.

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