Today we’re looking at the upcoming Team Sonic Racing, which marks the return of Sonic Racing and the first time we see it on today’s console generation.
What we know
Due out for release at some point “this winter”, Team Sonic Racing is Sumo Digital’s sequel to the excellent Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing and Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed, games that came out on nearly every platform between 2010 and 2012. That included even arcade and mobile versions, but Team Sonic Racing is a bit more selective for now – it’s currently scheduled for Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch.
Building on the previous games, Team Sonic Racing features all the tracks, power-ups and iconic characters you’d expect. There will be more room for customization, there will be a story mode, and obviously there will be an emphasis on team-based racing. And there will be local mutiplayer using 4 player split screen!
What we saw
During Gamescom, we got to play a couple of races on different tracks – all featuring team-based combat racing. All of these races were played in single player mode, so with AI teammates and not using split screen – which is probably the feature we’ll be most excited about once the game launches.
What we thought
Instantly familiar due to many hours that were invested in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, Team Sonic Racing’s biggest novelty is that you’re now dealing with team dynamics as well as winning your own race. The recent-ish indie racer Trailblazers made sure it’s not as novel as it would have been a year ago, but this is a racer where it’s not all about coming in first. In fact, I came in second place in both my races, but still won the second one because my teammates ended up being in 3rd, 4th and 5th place.
The way this worked is by helping your buddies boost/slingshot ahead, trading power-ups and eventually using your big “Team Ultimate” move. There is also constant chatter between teammates and opponents in Team Sonic Racing because of all this, which can get a little overwhelming audiovisually. The tracks themselves are still as colorful as ever, with a ton of stuff going on all around you – though the visual jump isn’t too great from the PS3/X360/PC versions of the previous games on account of the cartoon-like style that’s still being used.
Being thrown right into the game showcased how easy it was to play for veterans of the Sonic racing games, but didn’t really allow us to learn much about the intricacies of team-based racing. That’s something to figure out later, but what was instantly clear is that this game is geared more towards multiplayer than the first two games ever were – even as a solo player, your AI teammates play a significant role. That may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but we’re getting excited thinking about trying this with a 4-way split screen already.