September 26, 2021

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Team Sonic Racing is another arcade racer that wants to reinvent the genre

2 min read
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Okay let’s get the big one out of the way first, seeing as it comes up every time there’s a Sonic racing game. Why is Sega’s mascot, renowned for his breakneck speed, reduced to sitting behind the wheel of a car every time him and his crew get together for a racer? Well, if you’d been paying attention you’d know the answer already; it’s because Sonic’s so fast, if he was to go on foot it’d be plain unfair. So, there you have it in black and white. Let’s move on swiftly, shall we?

Team Sonic Racing is Sumo Digital’s third racing game built around Sega’s characters, though it is a clean break from the previous two games. Unlike Sonic All-Stars Racing and its exquisite sequel Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed, Team Sonic Racing doesn’t delve into the wider world of Sega characters. There’s no Alex Kidd, no Ryo Hazuki, no Segata Sanshiro, no tracks culled from Skies of Arcadia, Burning Rangers or Billy Hatcher. The focus is firmly placed on the world of Sonic and friends.

It’s a disappointing place to start, really, given how so much of the thrill of those games was the fan service, ladelled on in thick, sweet dollops. Maybe it’s because Sumo realised they didn’t have many more places to go, seeing how deep Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed ran (and it ran pretty close to perfection, too – for my money it’s up there with Mario Kart 8 at the very pinnacle of the genre). Maybe it’s because Sega needed a Sonic game this year, and doubled down on this particular enterprise.

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