Certain genres are defined by its biggest successes, making it harder for new games to get any attention. When it comes to kart racers, it takes something truly special to break out of the huge, portly shadow that Mario and his friends have cast. Thankfully for Sega fans, Sonic and Sega All Stars Racing was the exception, with enough depth, fan service and fun to stand out for racing and Sega faithful alike. With Transformed, the developers at Sumo decided to take things a step further by taking what worked in the first game and adding transforming vehicles. Now, before you pass this up as a clone of Mario Kart 7’s morphing karts, you’d be wise to read up on what’s possibly the best game in the Wii U line up.
Following the premise of the first game, Transformed features a cast of the who’s who in the Sega universe, (and Amy.) From no brainers like Sonic and Eggman to fan favorite surprises like Vyse of Skies of Arcadia fame, years of history are represented pretty well with the roster. Even special guests like Ralph from Wreck-It Ralph fame, (YES!) and real life racing star Danica Patrick, (What?) made the cut. While each character obviously plays different, giving each one more variety through racing mods helps gamers unlock different racing styles through a basic RPG like level up system. So if you like characters with great handling but want to use Shinobi star Joe Musashi for example, rather than eternally sucking with him, just unlock his handling mod and have at it!
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to level up thanks to a huge variety of modes. The standard Grand Prix pits players against CPU opponents, unlocking new stages along the way. Unlocking new characters is done through the main campaign, which offers a mix of races, special challenges that force players to perfect their drifting, boosting or traffic dodging for example. Even boss battles make an appearance. The standard time trials and developer ghosts also make an are here too, but if you’re tired of racing against the AI, Transformed features a strong online mode. In each of my races on the Wii U, I never had any significant problems, with each race playing as if I were racing locally with a group of friends. If this is what we have to look forward to when it comes to the future of Nintendo’s online service, it appears as if they’ve finally caught up with the times!
With so many ways to play, you better hope the game is fun enough to want to keep playing. So it’s great that the game play is as addicting as it gets. Acting as that sequel to Diddy Kong Racing we never got, Transformed has vehicles that switch between cars, air crafts and hover crafts mid race. Each one handles with its own physics and feel exactly like they should. Some stages even get destroyed mid race and change from lap to lap. So that road you were just racing on? You’ll have to fly over it next go around. Outside of that, the typical kart racing features are all here. A focus on drifting, boost drifting, picking up items and using them against your foes. They’re all here. And best of all, there’s no blue shell to ruin your precious friendships.
However, the items are where one of my gripes with the game comes into play. For being a Sega themed game, there’s little in the game aside from the cast that has to do with Sega. I mean come on, I’m sure we could have got some Shinobi shurikens instead of snow balls. Or Jet Set Radio skates for boosts instead of a generic super engine. Even the all star attacks that featured Super Sonic transformations in the last game have been reduced to most cars transforming into planes and shooting generic weapons. The all star attack is supposed to identify with the character, but when each one feels as generic as the next, this is an obvious problem. Even the cast has some hickups for as big as it is. I mean, we get no Virtua Fighter or Shenmue characters, but we get Pudding and Gum respectively. Heard of them? Probably not. Even if you have, you’ll have to admit that such obscure secondary representatives aren’t as important as Ryu Hazuki.
Aside from this, the game is pretty glitchy. I’ve lost many a race because I’ve backflipped through a ceiling or never transformed back into a car from a boat and aimlessly floated around the track until I had to quit. Exclusively to the Wii U version are a series of glitches that range from annoying to game breaking. Some challenges don’t give checkpoints, making them impossible to finish, but none are worse than the last challenge that starts with the boat on land, making the game flip out because you can’t float. This challenge is needed to unlock the last character, so missing it is unforgivable. (Since this writing, the Wii U exclusive glitches have been fixed. Still annoying nonetheless…)
Glitches aside, I’d argue that Sega & All Stars Racing Transformed is one of the best racers to come along in years. While Mario Kart has struggled to evolve, Sega’s newest effort takes things in an exciting direction with the innovative use of transforming vehicles. For Wii U owners, playing on the game pad is nearly seamless and allows up to five players locally. Best of all? Your friends can join you in both the campaign and GP modes, so no one is left out. At a low $40 price tag, if you want a kart racing game, Transformed just might blow you away. Don’t let it leave you in the dust.
- Addictive, fast paced racing.
- Transforming vehicles are each unique, yet play incredibly well.
- Versatility in the cast’s racing statistics.
- Incredible multiplayer, both online and off.
- Numerous glitches that show a lack of polish.
- Generic weapons
- Questionable cast picks.
8 out of 10.
Article from Gamersyndrome.com