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A taste of speed — Team Sonic Racing hands-on at E3 2018

Sonic racing games have become popular in recent years. While Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed received favorable reviews by critics, it has actually been 6 years since its initial launch, leaving a large gap for the hedgehog that’s gotta go fast on the racetrack. At E3 2018, I had the chance to play Team Sonic Racing, and there is definitely an emphasis on the team part for this title.

Upon starting the demo, I had to choose between different teams, the options being Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles, or Shadow, Rouge, and Omega. Within each team is a Speed type, a Technical type, and a Power type. Of course, I had to start with Sonic.

Each type felt different enough from each other for someone playing for the first time to notice a difference. Sonic, the Speed type, had a better boost of speed, but had difficulty rounding corners with control even while drifting. Tails, the technical type, had better handling on his vehicle, making it easy to cut corners to get ahead of opponents, and Knuckles, the power type, had weight to him that helped me push opponents away if I could manage to catch up to them.

Team Sonic Racing plays similarly to Mario Kart, but it has one main twist that sets it apart from its competitor: the team mechanic. During the race, players pick up rings to increase their team meter, sticking with the character they initially picked. Once this meter is full, the Team Ultimate is activated, which in my case, gave me and my team a tremendous boost of speed.

Like previous Sonic racing games, Wisps make a return as power-ups to attack foes or boost you ahead. In Team Sonic Racing, these Wisps can be traded amongst each other or requested, as you can see what Wisps your teammates are carrying. This helps you manage items if you don’t have a use for a particular wisp, but you want it to benefit your team as whole. It’s important to aid your team because at the end of the race, you’re given points as an individual, but your team is also awarded points collectively. Meaning, if you placed first, but Knuckles was last, your overall standing could be destroyed.

From the few races I played, Team Sonic Racing was a blast. It was easy to pick up, fun to play, and had very useful, if not too simple, team mechanics that sets it apart from its competitors. It will be released this Winter for $39.99 on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PC via Steam. For more hands-on experiences coming out of E3 2018, stay tuned to Gaming Trend.

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