E3 2018: Hands on with Team Sonic Racing
When Sega began to tease the next entry in the Sonic racing series, many people took notice, as the previous games were quite good. But now that the next entry is here, it’s not good news at all.
The demo at E3 consisted of a handful of characters and a single track, but with 12 racers on that track, most were just copies of the robot. In fact the demo, overall, felt much the same. The reason why it’s called Team Sonic Racing is that you need to race as a team; you and two other drivers have to work together. A solid idea, but the problem is that it means nothing in the grand scheme unless you’re playing with a good team.
When you race, two things happen that are different from older games: the first is that when you collect an item, you can use it as normal, or if you hold onto it, another member of your team may request it. In the same way that if you have an item, a member of your team might hold up the same item for you to take and this system is how you level up your weapons, by giving and taking from your fellow teammates. The problem I encountered is that, when racing with AI, they would never offer their items but if I offered mine, one of them would take it without fail, so it made levelling up my items somewhat difficult.
The other thing that the team racing impacts is the leaderboard. You still earn points based on where you finish, but it is the combined total that works towards your final standing. I can’t see many people being happy to rank first in each race, only to come last in the overall, cause their teammates were in the bottom two each race. Playing with a team, where everyone supports each other, could make the game truly incredible, but so far playing solo with CPU teammates is not fun at all. One aspect that I was unable to get an answer on, when I asked the question, was if you could play without the team mechanic, and sadly the person at the booth was not able to answer.
Team Sonic Racing looked great from a visual point of view, but the team racing mechanics could really hurt the game in the long run. But with many months until its December release, only time will tell.