Review by Horigan

"Move over Mario, a new kind of racer is in town!"

First of all let me say that I've really disliked recent Sonic games, I didn't have much hope for this one. And I've played the past two Sonic racing games and alternating between being disgusted and mildly amused. This is different.

Graphics: 9/10

Very nice. Much better than Heroes, and things actually move fast, yet never slow down! This is the best looking 3D Sonic game to date.

Sound: 7/10

Why oh WHY does Sonic Team feel that horrendous voice overs are a required part of a Sonic game? If you could tolerate the voices in Heroes and others, these aren't any worse, maybe even slightly better, but still terrible. Fortunately you'll only really here them in cutscenes, so it's easily dismissed. The in-game announcer can get a little repetitive, it acts like a play by play sports caster calling out everyone's actions and judging the tricks attempted (more on that later.) But really it's not too bad, and you can turn it off in most game modes.
The music on the other hand is excellent! Wonderful stuff here. Seriously, if you like techno, buy the soundtrack. In fact, I'm not usually into that music, but I think I'll buy the soundtrack, it's that good.

Story: 3/10

It's Sonic + it's a racing game. What do you expect? Of course it doesn't really matter, story shouldn't be very important, and it isn't. Really, you won't care about the story, you'll care about the game. The way a racer should be.

Gameplay: 9/10

Wow, much better than I expected. I've played other Sonic racers, I've played Mario Kart, I've played Kirby's Air Ride, I haven't played F-Zero, but as far as I know this blows them all away. It keeps you on the edge of your seat with lightning speed, frequent twists and turns, obstacles to dodge, short cuts that actually take skill to take... wonderful. This game has a lot of innovation in it, from the trick system to turbulence... too much to describe here really. Suffice it to say, this is a whole new kind of racer, and it works wonderfully! The one main problem is controls. The controls are wonderful, very responsive, but they take some getting used to. Once you do there great, for the most part. Flying is tricky for the characters that can fly, such as Tails, and some short cuts are very hard to take because of the need for precise timing, but it's not too bad, and you don't want it to be too easy!

Replay Value: 8/10

A lot of the replay value is there for multiplayer. It's a great racer, of course there is great multiplayer value in that, especially with several modes you and your buddies can play on. For single-player there are all those modes and many more. There is a shop you can use to trade rings gathered in races in for new vehicles, and there's several other unlocks to be earned. The two problems, and the only things keeping this score down from a 10, is 1: no difficulty setting. It starts out easy, and gets a lot harder as you progress through the challenges, but in some areas, such as multiplayer, that just isn't enough and you wish you could choose the difficulty for yourself. 2: There are only 7 really unique tracks with 7 more variants of those tracks for 14 total, plus a few maps just for certain modes. That doesn't seem like quite enough to me, and that hurts. But what tracks are there are wonderfully designed, and all are quite different in look and play.

Verdict: If you like racers buy this game. Rental won't be enough, buy it. If you're like me and sorta like racers but aren't really passionate about them, try renting it first to make sure you like it, but you should probably buy it as well. This is the game that can finally make me proud to be a Sonic fan again!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 02/27/06

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