The previous entry in this series, the excellent Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed, left some pretty big shoes to fill for the next installment. Does Team Sonic Racing (TSR) competely fill those shoes? Well, not 100%, but it can definitely wear them comfortably.
TSR's biggest asset is definitely the team-based racing mechanics. Not only should you try to get the best placement you possibly can, but you need to think about your team's position on the track as well. It won't do well for your team to have one person come in 1st and the other two come dead last. You need to pass items back and forth, and stay steady for your teammates to use your Slipstream for a boost. Sound confusing? Not to worry; not only are these mechanics simple and intuitive to learn, they're more complex than they initially seem, and a little experimentation can yield great results! For example, getting a Slingshot boost and launching ahead of the teammate in front of you grants them a Skim Boost. Rinse and repeat and you'll be in the lead in no time!
Controls are buttery smooth, as to be expected from Sumo Digital at this point. Driving the cars will feel natural after a few minutes, and then you'll just need to learn how to properly control your favorite characters based on their stats. Some have better speed, others better handling, etc.
Speaking of the characters, I feel like the roster is a bit of a mixed bag. A lot of the character's inclusions feel like an obvious choice, like Sonic, Knuckles, Amy, Rouge, Shadow, etc. Then there are characters like Chao and Zavok that feel a little out of place. I know I'm not the only one upset that Cream was passed over for the exposition overlord Omochao. Hopefully there will be DLC with additional content. I'd like to see more characters enter the fray, and more stages too, although the tracks we do have are all excellent in their own ways.
And of course, what would a Sonic game be without a killer soundtrack? The talents of Crush 40 w/ Jun Senoue, Hyper Potions, Tomoya Ohtani, Tee Lopes and more all combine to make for one of the most amazing soundtracks in a Sonic game (or any game IMO) from recent memory. I have the soundtrack CD, TSR Maximum Overdrive, preordered - it's that good. So far, some of my favorite tracks are Sand Road, Lost Palace, Roulette Road, and Sky Road. I highly recommend you look them up for a sample.
All in all, this is a fantastic title. It could do with some more content, which is why I'm knocking a star off the score. It's not as good as Transformed, but that game's not available for the current console generation, and there's enough content here to easily justify the price. With Amazon's current price sitting just over $30, this is an amazing deal, and it's highly recommended to all racing game enthusiasts looking for something new, which the Team Racing mechanic easily supplies.
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