Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed - Limited Edition PlayStation 3
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Released on 16/11/2012
Sonic and the All-Stars cast line up on the starting grid once again to battle for supremacy in the ultimate race. Compete across land, water and air in incredible transforming vehicles that change from cars to boats to planes mid-race. Master your driving skills as you drift, barrel role and boost to overtake your rivals, or use your weapons tactically and unleash your All-Star move to gain the winning advantage.
It’s not just your fellow racers you need to watch out for, as the road falls away beneath you, or the river runs dry, new routes emerge and your vehicle transforms to take advantage of the terrain. Discover alternative routes and short cuts as you perfect the course in this adrenaline fuelled dash to the finish line - racing will never be the same again.
Take to land, sea & air as you race through 16 dynamically changing courses inspired by SEGA’s illustrious gaming history. Discover alternate routes, find new power-ups and avoid emerging hazards as you race to victory – every track feels different.
- Utilise an arsenal of devastating weapons which require skill to aim, shoot, evade and block.
- The All-Star Moves also return, this time the more daring and stylishly you race, the more your All-Star meter increases allowing you to unleash carnage on your opponents!
- Old rivalries can be settled and new ones created in up to 8 player online. Journey through the All-Stars’ world to take on a huge range of modes and challenges, including Grand Prix, Battle arenas and an incredible world tour.
- Transform into a Car - Boost and drift your way around the track.
- Transform into a Plane - Take to the skies to barrel roll and dogfight to victory.
- Transform into a BOAT - Tackle dynamic rapids and huge waves to beat rivals.
Board game company USAopoly has reached out across the digital divide and will be bringing some of our fave video game properties to the world of dice and plastic pieces.
Among the upcoming titles are Trivial Pursuit: World of Warcraft, Monopoly: Skylanders and Risk: Plants vs Zombies. The most promising of the bunch would seem to be a "Galaxy at War Edition." of Risk: Mass Effect. For old school retroheads, there'll also be Yahtzee: Pac-Man and Jenga Space Invaders.
This isn't the first time USAopoly has dipped into the digital realm for variations on beloved games. You can already get Risk: Halo and Risk: Starcraft, not to mention Monopoly: Sonic the Hedgehog. The new games will be launched in America later this year before hopefully making their way around the world.
What do you think? Would you switch off your console to play Mass Effect around the kitchen table?
It wasn't so long ago that suggesting the family gather around the TV to play a video game together would have been greeted with grunts of confusion, if not howls of dismay. That all changed when the Wii came along, and suddenly mums and dads, grannies and grandpas all understood what the fuss was about. Today, putting on a game to pass the time before the turkey is done is just another part of the festivities, so with that in mind here's our pick of the five best party games of 2012.
If you want to be at the cutting edge of communal gaming, then Nintendo's Wii U is the must-have hardware of the season. Its touch-screen tablet controller, combined with the traditional Wii remotes (you can use the ones you already have) mean that multiplayer games can venture into areas never seen before. For the perfect illustration, pick up Nintendo Land, which offers twelve mini-games ranging from competitive action to cooperative puzzling. Luigi's Ghost Mansion, for example, has one player playing as a ghost, using the tablet controller to escape from up to four other players who are chasing them around a maze. With racing games, shooting games and rhythm music games, it's a brilliant showcase of what can be done when one player has their own screen, and it'll keep you playing together well into 2013.
Maybe you're not quite ready to take the leap into Wii U? Don't worry - there's plenty of life left in the original Wii, as Mario Party 9 proved earlier this year. Reinventing the evergreen virtual board game series, you'll travel with the other players across various zones in dinky vehicles, rolling a dice to see how far you'll go. There are multiple routes through each area, cooperative boss fights at the end, and with eighty mini-games to try no two games will ever play the same way. Of course, you can play any of the challenges separately if you want to practice, or if you just don't have time for a full game. Bright, breezy and effortlessly entertaining, it's a game that everyone can enjoy.
Perhaps your family and friends are a little more game savvy, and prefer a more focused experience? In that case, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (PS3, PS Vita) should keep everyone happy. Played one-on-one, it's a thunderingly good fighting game (as you'd expect with former Street Fighter man Seth Killian in charge), but with more players it becomes a manic and hilarious romp as characters from SONY's biggest and coolest franchises run, jump and duke it out in wild interactive arenas. If you ever wondered what it would look like if Nathan Drake and Kratos had a fight with Sackboy and Parappa the Rapper, here's your chance.
All that fighting might go against the spirit of the season, so why not try a competition that's a little less in-your-face? Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, 3DS, PS Vita, PC) is another massive character crossover game, but this time you'll be battling in cool vehicles that shapeshift from cars to boats to planes depending on the environment. There are weapons, but it'll take more than crazed aggression to win these races around the glorious arcade-bright tracks. No matter who's playing, there'll be a character you'll love - whether it's Sonic himself, Shinobi's ninja hero Joe Musashi or movie star Wreck-It Ralph.
Finally, dancing games are still the default party game and with good reason. From sprightly kids to game-for-a-laugh grannies, everyone can have a laugh with Just Dance 4 (Wii, Xbox 360, PS3). There's a dance battle mode for those who want to prove their moves, a deep "Dance Quest" system for those who want a solid gameplay structure, and a track list that offers something for all tastes. The kids can get down to Justin Bieber, Jessie J and Carly Rae Jepsen, while mums can wiggle their posteriors to timeless hits from Rocky Horror Picture Show and Dirty Dancing, as well as pop classics from Rick Astley and Britney Spears. There's even pomp-rock classic The Final Countdown, which might tempt brandy-sozzled dads off the sofa for a quick shimmy.
Whichever game you choose, you're guaranteed a great time and great memories. Just remember to share the embarrassing pics on Facebook, OK?
Sumo Digital, the studio behind breezy kart racer Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, has engaged with fans on SEGA's forums to decide which characters should be added to the game via downloadable expansions.
"I'll set you a challenge," read the post from executive producer Steve Lycett. "Without any policing from the Sumo or SEGA crew, if you can all agree on three characters by the first of December and prove there is sufficient interest of at least 1000 unique people per character, I will present the result to SEGA," Sumo's Steve Lycett told SEGA forum users. "I can't promise anything will happen as a result, but since you're starting it, let's see if you can organise yourselves in the next few weeks to pull that off."
Fans have already risen to the challenge, organising an online poll and marshalling votes. Among the characters up for vote are retro favourites such as Axel and Blaze from arcade beat-em-up Streets of Rage, to more modern SEGA-published icons like Bayonetta and Welkin from PS3 strategy game Valkyria Chronicles.
Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing Transformed already boasts appearances from real life NASCAR racer Danica Patrick and Disney movie character Wreck-It Ralph. It's out now for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Versions for Wii U, 3DS and PlayStation Vita will be released between now and December 7th.
We've never been short of racing games. The past few months alone have seen heavy hitters like Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Forza Horizon and WRC 3 all scream onto the tarmac. There's one sub-genre of racing that hasn't fared so well, however. The karting game.
Once, these nimble little knockabout racers were everywhere, with practically every game or TV show that could muster enough characters to fill the starting grid getting its own branded kart racer. Mario Kart and Crash Team Racing led the pack, but few will remember Woody Woodpecker Racing or Pac-Man Rally. And the less said about Star Wars: Super Bombad Racing the better.
Mario Kart sequels aside, the karting genre has dropped off the radar in recent years, but it may be about to stage a triumphant comeback. No less than three karting games are due out this month, and they're all looking pretty great.
Play. Create. Win!
First off the grid is SONY's LittleBigPlanet Karting, on sale from November 9th. Developed by United Front Games, the studio behind ModNation Racers, this PlayStation 3 exclusive is a cuddly romp through various hand-made courses as Sackboy races to defeat The Hoard, an alien race that grabs the bits and bobs that make up Sackworld, and then sits on them rather than making fun stuff.
Making fun stuff is a large part of the game, however, as collecting prize bubbles during races means you can customise your personal game pod with stickers and patterns, while the Create Mode brings together features from both LittleBigPlanet and ModNation to allow players to quickly and easily put together their own courses. If you want to get really fancy, you can even use the track designer to create entirely new game modes, such as tower defence challenges.
There are all the community features you'd expect from LittleBigPlanet as well, with options not only to race against each other, but to tackle story races co-operatively and share the things you make and find.
If you prefer your racing with a crisper arcade outlook, rather than lashed together out of wool and cardboard, then SEGA's Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed will soon be here. The sequel to Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing, it once again finds a collection of classic SEGA characters - some legendary, some utterly obscure - taking to the track. The twist this time is that every vehicle will automatically transform to adapt to the terrain. Drive into water and your car becomes a boat! Launch yourself off a ramp and it becomes a plane!
Each character has its own unique vehicle, depending on their personality. As well as characters from Super Monkey Ball, Golden Axe, Shinobi and other classic SEGA games, real life NASCAR racer Danica Patrick joins the pack, as does Wreck-It Ralph, the star of the upcoming Disney movie about the secret life of video game characters. If you pick up the Xbox 360 version, you'll be able to use your Avatar to join the gang yourself.
Developed by Sumo Digital, the Sheffield studio behind the recent superb Out Run revival, you can expect the racing model to be absolutely rock solid, while SEGA's iconic blue sky approach to visuals means it's a colourful and characterful joy to play. It goes on sale from November 16th for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. A Wii U version will follow on November 30th, when Nintendo's new console launches.
The Winning Formula?
Last, but certainly not least, is F1 Race Stars from Codemasters. This companion game to the long-running and critically acclaimed F1 simulation series isn't nearly as interested in realism as its big brother. You'll race as cartoon versions of real F1 drivers such as Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel, around tracks loosely inspired by the actual 2012 F1 season. It's not such an outlandish idea - after all, real life kart racing is often the first step towards an actual F1 career - but as this is a game for all the family don't be too surprised if famous tracks like Monaco have been enhanced with a few ramps, loops and stunts, all served up with social multiplayer fun in mind.
The game came about after Codemasters realised that there was a wider Formula 1 fan base that wasn't up to the stiff challenge of a full-on simulation. "It was very much our vision from the outset to create an F1 game that everyone could enjoy, be that kids, family and friends, or mates before and after the pub," senior producer Chris Gray has said. F1 Race Stars will be available for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC from November 16th, with a Wii U version to follow.
So it seems that go-karts are more like buses. You wait ages for one, then three turn up at the same time. The good news is that each of these games pushes this evergreen genre into interesting new directions, playing with the proven Mario Kart formula to serve up distinctive experiences. Whether you play one of them, or try them all, here's hoping we're seeing the full-time return of this fantastically entertaining genre.
Wreck-It Ralph, the star of Disney's upcoming animated movie about a videogame villain who decides to go straight, will join a host of SEGA favourites on the starting grid for Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed.
Also in the game are characters from Super Monkey Ball, Crazy Taxi, Shinobi, Golden Axe, Skies of Arcadia and Space Channel 5. Real life NASCAR racer Danica Patrick also appears. The sequel to the 2010 hit Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing, in Transformed the vehicles are able to switch between land, sea and air modes during each race.
Wreck-It Ralph, voiced by John C. Reilly, is just returning the favour by appearing in the game. Sonic, along with lots of other classic gaming icons, cameos in Ralph's CGI comedy movie, which opens next February in the UK.
Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed is out for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, PC and Nintendo 3DS from November 16th. The game will also be a launch title for the Nintendo Wii U, on sale from November 30th.
Mario Kart may the king of kart racing game franchises, but it's one that has been given a run for its money over the last few years by ModNation Racers, and from a recent hands-on session it appears that Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is now ready to crash the party too. Colourful, accessible and packed with SEGA fan service, the ambitious game takes racing beyond the track by also giving you vehicles to cross the sea and sky.
It features a cast of 20 characters from popular SEGA series including Sonic, Tails, Eggman and Knuckles from Sonic, AiAi from Super Monkey Ball, BD Joe from Crazy Taxi, and Ralph from the upcoming Wreck-It Ralph movie, each of whom has unique racing attributes and vehicles. The tracks, which are arguably the real star of the show, are inspired by franchises like Sonic, Panzer Dragoon, Samba Di Amigo, Jet Set Radio and Afterburner.
The key features that make the game stand out from the competition are its transforming levels and vehicles. As players tear around courses chunks of the track crumble away or are destroyed, and the majority of stages include sections where the road drops off into water or launches you high into the air.
You have to contend with these challenges as well as environmental hazards ranging from roving whirlwinds to pillars of lava and awkwardly placed trees, and that's not forgetting the business of racing other players (ten can compete online) and avoiding their attacks.
Passing through large blue rings called Transformation Gates morphs your vehicle Transformers-style into a speedboat, an aircraft, or back into a car. Sprouting a rudder which lets you take to the sea, or wings and thrusters which allow you soar through the sky, delivers plenty of racing diversity.
All-Stars Racing Transformed features a different driving model for each of the three terrains - corner drifting on the ground in karts feels familiar, but on water the pace slows and wave physics can be used to knock competitors off their driving line, while the robust flight mechanics reward daring players with speed boosts.
Thrown into the mix is a fun set of weapons, from short-range shockwave attacks to guided missiles, with early favourites including ice blasts that turns opponents into ice cubes and tornados that flip them upside down. Hit fellow racers with these items and you're rewarded with gold coins, which are also littered across tracks. These can be gambled in a slot machine mini-game between races; strike it lucky and you'll be given a speed boost or some other form of bonus.
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed builds on the classic virtual kart racing formula with morphing vehicles and tracks that offer plenty in the way of surprises as well as pleasingly varied gameplay. It's also a title that's accessible from the outset but will take some time to master, meaning it should appeal to players of all ages and skill levels. In summary, we're very much looking forward to getting back in the driving seat when the game launches next month.
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