After my purchase of the Wii U and a 30 minute go of ZombiU, I felt I might have misjudged my investment considerably.
I then unwrapped Sonic and All Stars Racing Transformed, put it in the Wii U (Game Update..... 15 minutes later....) and watched a bright dazzling animated video of the Sega universe springing to life in all sorts of racing action. Oh Boy was my initial thought, I had previously read a review that scored Sonic 6/10 and couldn't understand why the negativity until this visual assault played out and I felt that all the quality was on the intro and not on the game.
Firstly let me say that Sumo Digital have done a fantastic job in making an underrated experience into something that really has helped define my Wii U. I love SONIC! There the cats out the bag or maybe the hedgehog... I dunno what has happened but as a 33 year old I should be too old for these games supposedly.
There is a rare quality about Sonic Racing Transformed that reminds me of Mario Kart or F-Zero, it has an amazing sense of fun, challenge and replay value, something that plenty of racing games lack. Lets be honest this isn't any GT5 or Forza experience, this is about fun, bloody hard power me up fun and it delivers it in bucket loads.
Playing the game gives you various options, a world tour mode to play through various tracks with different challenges, cups each being made up of 4 tracks and versus. Okay sounds straight forward and it is. The game can be played with the GamePad, Controller Pro, Wiimote (and various Wiimote accessories if you wish), my preference so far is the Controller Pro, using the GamePad sometimes causes me to be distracted about what is being shown on the screen (a map, unless you've sent the game to the Gamepad (swipe down)). The Controller Pro being lighter feels comfortable for a good long play session.
Anyway so as a few people have said the game supports 5 players, the 5th Player (or primary) always uses the GamePad, but the best thing about the 5 players is you can take all 5 of you online and do a Online 10 player race and the Wii U handles this all pretty well, granted there are moments of slow down but the truth is it's not bad enough to stop the fun and if anything it reminds me of Mario Kart 64 when 4 people use to play that and it appeared to grind to a halt, but the Wii U is managing 10 players, 5 people sitting on floors and chairs in the same room as me, 2 displays thanks to my GamePad and we are laughing, cursing and enjoying what a game is suppose to do, entertain us.
So lets now take my 4 friends away and strip the experience back to just me, billy no mates all of a sudden. Playing by yourself isn't what it's cracked up to be usually and there are occasions that you could be caught out or in trouble for doing so, but we are talking video games here. Anyway Sonic remains addictive and challenging thanks in part to a unique levelling up which happens when you play the game, every used character gets experience points which once you've reached a certain amount unlocks a different characteristic, for example Knuckles (my preferred character) his default driving style is more average speed, but better handling. The first unlocked enhancement, up'd the handling all the way up but reduced my top speed, the second unlock changed that by upper the speed, reducing boost and lowering handling. Basically it gives you the opportunity to tweak a character style to suit you all the more. It's great it keeps making me do the same tracks with the different styles to see if I can up my lap time etc... sad defo, fun most certainly.
The next thing is the graphics, there is so much going on that your eyes will want to bleed, blood really will want to run out of them as you try to take in every bit of detail as you hurtle along and shift your vision from your racer to the background, to the changing environment, to the hazards to the other racers, to the short cuts it goes on and on and on and every lap is different for the majority of tracks and you really need to just see this game shift... however (the big HOWEVER) it does get ahead of itself and sometimes as mentioned about the 5 player session can SLoOOOOooooW down, nothing major but you're not sure if it's because your going so fast that everything around you is slow or just the fact that all that screen candy is actually causing the Wii U to cry a little itself... THIS IS NOT A REASON NOT TO GET THIS GAME THOUGH.
This is NOT Mario Kart and for once I actually think that's a great thing, Sega and Sumo have done a great job at creating a game that is accessible to players young and old, with a great learning curve and challenge if you want to push it and a solid online component that just helps to propel the game up there with the great racing classics to me. For Wii U owners this really is a must and if you want to add me my Nintendo ID is mightyhorace now start those engines please!