|System: X360, PS3, Wii, PC, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Sumo Digital||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SEGA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 23, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
There are lots of characters and tracks to unlock, which you do by accumulating "miles" and spending them. You can play all the tracks just by working through the Grand Prix mode, but you need to unlock them to use them in single and split-screen races. Like the tracks, the available characters are a little Sonic-heavy, but other franchises are represented too: Super Monkey Ball, Jet Set Radio, Virtua Fighter, Banjo-Kazooie, among others, all make appearances. If you're particularly egotistical, you can even drive as your favorite Mii. The racers also have a good range of styles, so however you drive, you can find a character to match.
We do have some complaints, however. One is that while the Wii Wheel controls are handled well, the game does nothing to reward you for using the peripheral the way Mario Kart Wii did. Given, Mario Kart Wii's reward was just a gold wheel, but still. Another is the aforementioned lack of Gamecube pad support, and yet another is that you can't steer with the Classic Controller's D-pad (to be fair, you couldn't in Mario Kart Wii, either). Finally, depending on when you play, there aren't always enough players online, meaning that the matchmaking system has to fill some slots with CPU racers. Another multiplayer problem is that you can't play through the Grand Prix mode in split-screen. For those who buy the game primarily to play with friends, this can make unlocking all the Grand Prix cups a little bit of a drag.
Perhaps the biggest flaw, however, is the announcer. You can turn him off, but he's on by default, rattling off gratingly obnoxious lines like "one lap in the bank; let's deposit another!" mixed in with terrible jokes about the racers' names and personalities. It's hard to imagine what the developers, in the middle of such a polished and well-rounded production, were thinking when they approved these comments for inclusion. This reaches Burnout 3 levels of awful race announcing in a video game, and that's not a charge we throw around lightly.
Despite its flaws, though, Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing will endear itself to Mario Kart Wii's legions of fans. It's not a must-buy on Nintendo's console the way it might be on the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, but it's a good purchase that will provide kart-racing fanatics with hours of fun.
CCC Freelance Writer