Team Sonic Racing is fun but it’s lacking that special something
When Sega teased a new Sonic racing game earlier in the year, I was extremely excited. The last two Sonic racing games (Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing) Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed) were absolutely fantastic and were great fun to play alone and with friends.
However, my excitement turned into worry when Sega showed off gameplay for Team Sonic Racing it looked slow, clunky and it felt like something was missing. I’ve watched several gameplay videos of Team Sonic Racing and it still felt like something wasn’t there, something that was in the previous two that isn’t in this one.
When EGX revealed that Team Sonic Racing would be playable at EGX 2018, I thought that playing the game myself might help me put my finger on what exactly was missing. The result? I came away feeling better about the game, yet I still couldn’t figure out what was missing from it.
Teamwork is essential
One thing that is different from the All-Stars Racing games is the teamwork aspect. In the All-Stars racing games, all you have to do is to race against your fellow competitors and finish in first place. Team Sonic Racing is different, finishing first doesn’t always mean that you win.
Team Sonic Racing has a huge focus on cooperation with your teammates as it is essential for success. You can finish first and yourself would win but if your teammates finish in second to last and last place, then your team wouldn’t win. If the said scenario happens and let’s say Team Dark achieve second, third and fourth place then they will win the race. Each position rewards a number of points, the higher up on the leaderboard you are, the greater the number of points you will receive.
The points system in Team Sonic Racing works really well and I quite like it. It makes me think about how I’m racing and how to help my teammates so that they finish closer to me and end higher up on the leaderboard. I can’t just zoom off with reckless abandon and shoot every other vehicle on the track with a weapon.
I have to work with my team in order for not just me, but for my team to win. I have to decide whether I want to let one of my teammates use my slipstream to gain a temporary speed boost, to decide whether I want to use a weapon or give it a fellow team member so I can fill up my “Team Ultimate” meter.
It brings a new perspective to “kart” racing genre and I really like it, as I have to rethink my entire gameplay strategy.
Handles well but not like it used to
When I first saw the gameplay for Team Sonic Racing a few months ago, it looked slow and it didn’t look as fun as the Sega All-Stars Racing series. Now that I have played it, I can safely say it’s fun, it plays well but, it’s lacking something.
Cars do feel slower this time around and I’m putting that on the reliance of teamwork this time around. If the vehicles were quick or had varying stats then it could potentially ruin the teamwork aspect of the game. It felt like everyone is going at the same speed sometimes and that honestly felt quite weird. There was never a time during my time with the game that there wasn’t a car right behind me and/ or in front of me. It felt like I was always next to someone whether it be my teammates or opposing racers.
Drifting pretty much works the same as it does in the All-Stars Racing series. You drift by applying the brake when going around a corner and if you hold the drift your exhaust will charge up and change colour. When you let go of the fully charged drift you will get a small turbo boost.
The overall handling of the vehicles feels good but they feel clunky, sometimes sluggish and it lacks that something that I can’t put my finger on. It’s good and it was fun to play but the controls and the cars didn’t feel as good as they did in previous Sonic racing games.
Looks cool, lacks flair
While I was at EGX, I overheard some people saying that they didn’t like the vehicle design in Team Sonic Racing. This echoes a similar sentiment that appears to be echoed by many online. I think the cars look rather cool, yes they aren’t as creative and as flashy as the ones in All-Stars but I like them.
Sadly though, I did find the course to be a bit boring and a bit uninspired. None of the tracks that I raced on popped out at me or was memorable. It’s been a couple of weeks since I was at EGX but I honestly cannot remember any of the tracks that I played on other than, one was icy and had shipping containers.
A lack of memorable courses is bad as they are just as important as the cars. The case may be that the tracks on offer in the demo were simply the weakest ones, at least that is what I am hoping. I hope there are tracks in the game that I can remember for months and years to come like Curien Mansion’s Deadly Route, Sonic’s Seaside Hill and Jet Set Radio’s Graffiti City from the All-Stars games.
Another thing I wanted to mention was the music and sadly none of it grabbed my attention. It didn’t pump me up with energy whilst I was racing but the music did match the race tracks which is something at least.
It’s good but it lacks that special something
I had fun with Team Sonic Racing and from what I can gather, I had more enjoyment with the game than others. It’s a fun game and its focus on teamwork in racing is very cool. I like that I have to change up my play style from the All-Stars racing games, it felt fresh and again, fun.
There are several things that I am not sold on like the track design and the overall feel of the vehicles but this demo did get rid of my biggest fear, that this game was completely bad.
Playing the game has alleviated most of the worries I had for Team Sonic Racing but as I have mentioned throughout this article, the game is good but it lacks that special something that I can’t put my finger on. I hope that when I play the full game, I can finally find out what exactly is missing from the experience.
Team Sonic Racing is scheduled to release later this year on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC.
(I played the demo for Team Sonic Racing for about 30 minutes, so I didn’t get to experience everything and to spend a decent amount of time with the game’s systems to get to know them properly. This game will have offline and online multiplayer but I wasn’t able to try those out at EGX, for those wondering how the multiplayer feels.)
Are you excited for Team Sonic Racing? Let me know in the comments below or you can tell me on Twitter – @ThatGreenDude95