First look: Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (PlayStation Vita)

We play test the handheld version of Sega’s latest racing game

PC World already had the opportunity to go hands on with the sequel to 2010’s Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing for consoles, though the PlayStation Vita edition of the game was released several weeks later. This marks the first time the series comes to a Sony handheld, as the original Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing never made it to the PlayStation Portable. Even if it had made the transition to the PSP, the game would have likely been significantly scaled down or reworked to run on the handheld’s modest hardware.

Sonic and his friends

The added processing power of the Vita means that the developer, Sumo Digital, is able to bring essentially the same experience from the console to the handheld. There was much to like in the console edition of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, and it has made the transition intact to the Vita. The quick and furious racing is all there, and the graphics and controls do the game justice on the handheld.

Loading times of Vita games, much as on the PSP, can be a hit or miss, with some games taking significantly longer to load than others. Fortunately, that is not an issue with Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, as the game is quick to load races and put you into the fray on the racetrack. As in the console version of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, there are a lot of things to do in the game to ensure that it will remain in the system for a long time.

Tough competition

Since Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is designed to provide a console quality experience on the Vita, that means most of the issue from the console version have transitioned to the handheld edition. Despite its colourful exterior, the game is quite challenging and is not for the faint hearted. The intermediate level races are quite tough, with the AI sometimes having the tendency to gang up and continually attack the player in races.

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed on consoles was a nice looking game and the same is true for the Vita edition, though the framerate drops when there is a lot of action on-screen. While the Vita version is nice, comparing the graphics of it to first party Sony titles such as Wipeout 2048 shows that there is still room for third party developers to do more with the handheld.

Pros

- Console quality experience on a handheld.

- Fairly quick loading times.

- Lots to do in the game

Cons

- Quite challenging with aggressive AI.

- Framerate drops when there is a lot of activity on-screen.

- Could have looked better considering how much better wipeout looks

Bottom Line

Like Super Monkey Ball Banana Splitz, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed shows what high quality Sega gaming can be like on Sony’s handheld.

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Patrick Budmar

Patrick Budmar

PC World
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