Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed mixes up the kart-racing formula by adding vehicles that transform from cars into boats and planes. As in Sega's previous all-stars racing game, tracks are based on popular Sega games, such as Super Monkey Ball, Panzer Dragoon, and After Burner. Many of the previous game's favorite characters return along with a number of new ones, including Gilius Thunderhead of Golden Axe and Vyse from Skies of Arcadia. Even real-life NASCAR star Danica Patrick and the title character from Disney's Wreck-It Ralph make an appearance.
When racing through the World Tour mode users gain experience points that upgrade each character and unlock racing mods that alter each vehicle's abilities. Players can also gain experience in the multiplayer modes Grand Prix and Battle Arenas. Multiplayer supports up to ten players online or four players in local split-screen. A new weapon system has been developed as well that gives players a better chance at blocking and evading attacks from the opposition. ~ Jonathan Sutyak, All Game Guide
Activision's stewardship of North America's most popular brand of racing continues as players join all the real cars, drivers, and teams for full seasons of action in NASCAR The Game: Inside Line. Special challenges use performance data from real racecars to let players re-create actual moments from recent NASCAR history, while Career mode lets them take control of a rookie driver, acquire sponsors, practice, qualify, and race with the hope of eventually becoming the Sprint Cup champion. Multiplayer fans can also head online to join up to 15 friends for extra competition. ~ Christopher Brown, All Game Guide
The development team behind Burnout Paradise takes control of EA's long-running racing series to let gamers run from the cops and outrace their friends through the open-world of Fairhaven City in Need for Speed: Most Wanted. With no story mode, and nearly every vehicle available from the outset, players are encouraged to jump right into the action with high-speed races, police chases, massive billboard jumps, and car-specific events. Players acquire Speed Points and level up as they race, eventually earning the right to take on ten supercars driven by the Most Wanted Racers.
Cars can be upgraded with a variety of mods, including a reinforced chassis, re-inflating tires, and nitrous boosts, with each modification letting gamers do new things with their vehicle. Multiplayer in Most Wanted is designed to give users as much freedom as possible, with no menus to navigate or lobbies in which to meet. Instead, the Autolog 2.0 system keeps track of statistics and accomplishments, allows for cross-platform scoring, and recommends various events that friends have recently completed. This Limited Edition offers two exclusive vehicles in the Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale and the 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S, and gives gamers four hours of double Speed Points to level up more quickly. ~ Christopher Brown, All Game Guide
Dirt Showdown takes Codemasters' rally racing series on an arcade-style detour as players drive cars, trucks, vans, and even hearses through full-contact races, high-flying stunt events, and explosive demolition derbies. Frenzied crowds and pyrotechnics add to the atmosphere as gamers take on more than 50 events and four championships set in a variety of locations around the world, including Tokyo, London, Michigan, Colorado, and Miami. Multiplayer fans can join a friend for local split-screen competitions, head online for eight-player races, issue challenges, and upload videos.
Players can use nitrous boosts, navigate choke points, and soar off ramps in the various race events, while the freestyle "Hoonigan" events let gamers drift around huge, obstacle-filled courses. Demolition events take a variety of forms, including the King-of-the Hill-like "Knock Out" mode, in which drivers attempt to knock one another off a raised platform, and the contact-heavy "Nevada 8," where racers repeatedly cross paths. ~ Christopher Brown, All Game Guide
The Need for Speed series makes a significant departure from previous entries with "The Run," which has players on a high-speed race across the country. Your goal is to make it from San Francisco to New York City as quickly as possible while trying to outmaneuver those pursuing you -- from law enforcement to the mob -- and outwitting your competition. Each destination is broken down into a series of time-sensitive stages that has you completing specific objectives before you can advance.
You'll need to swerve to avoid spotlights and bullet fire from a pursuing helicopter, for example, or make it out of a city before time expires. For the first time in the series, you'll engage in on-foot sequences as well as driving missions. Your car will periodically crash during the course of your travels, at which point you'll have to continue on foot. Rather than directly control your character, you'll instead rely on scripted quick-time events to dodge bullets, leap across rooftops, engage in hand-to-hand combat, and more. Successfully tap the right button at the precise time to continue the action. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
Single-seat speed machines rip around re-creations of real-world racetracks in Codemaster's third annual F1 motorsport simulation. The game is sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile Formula One World Championship and includes all the teams and drivers of the 2011 season, including Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, and Michael Schumacher.
Put together part by virtual part, the Formula One racecars are designed to provide an authentic sense of handling and acceleration, based on several seasons of research, both on the circuit and in the garage. An extended "Be the Driver" career mode poses the multi-season challenges of earning success while on the track and managing it while off.
Building on previous years' releases, multiplayer options are expanded for competitive and cooperative racing, both online and in a split-screen mode. The addition of two tracks to the tour bring the 2011 game's total to 19. Technical improvements have been made to provide smoother play and enhance presentation, including the addition of a gradual transition from day to night racing. ~ T.J. Deci, All Game Guide
Just a bit player in the 1999's mission-based racing title Driver, the City by the Bay takes on the title role as gamers once again assume control of race car driver-turned-detective John Tanner as he continues to hunt crime boss Charles Jericho in Driver: San Francisco. However, the developers at Ubisoft Reflections have included a plot twist that throws the series on its ear: the entire game takes place in the fevered dreams of a comatose John Tanner.
The resulting freedom of movement allows for the aptly named "Shift" mechanic, which lets players exit their current vehicle, float above the scene, and switch to other cars in real time. Gamers can use this feature for any number of purposes, such as jumping from a pursuit vehicle into an oncoming car to cause a head-on collision, or making a 90-degree turn at full speed by simply shifting into a car heading in a perpendicular direction.
Driver: San Francisco makes several more departures from series tradition, beginning with the inclusion of more than 100 licensed vehicles inspired by classic Hollywood films like Bullitt and Vanishing Point. Gamers can speed around more than 200 miles of Bay-area streets in Alfa Romeos, Aston Martins, and even DeLoreans, but they can't get out of the car and run along the road, as was the case in some previous entries in the series.
And for the first time in a Driver game, players can head online for nine different modes of multiplayer competition. Driver: San Francisco also supports local split-screen multiplayer action, and the "Movie Maker" mode returns, allowing gamers to record car chases with Hollywood-style visual effects, and then upload them online. ~ Christopher Brown, All Game Guide
Based on Pixar's computer animated film, Cars 2 follows the exploits of car characters Lightning McQueen and Mater as they train in a secret facility known as CHROME, short for Command Headquarters for Recon Operations and Motorized Espionage. They are joined by Finn McMissile, Holley Shiftwell, and others as they attempt to become the car-equivalent of spies. Unlike the original Cars game, which featured an open world version of Radiator Springs with missions to complete, Cars 2 emphasizes weapons-based competition across 15 tracks.
Choose from over 20 vehicles, each individually rated in speed and power, before outfitting them with such spy-themed armaments as machine guns and oil slicks. Complete training missions and battle rivals in six areas across the globe, from London to Tokyo. Cars 2 also interfaces with the free-to-play World of Cars Online, allowing players to unlock rewards in both versions by completing specific tasks. In addition, Cars 2 includes local multiplayer support for up to four vehicles via split-screen display. The PlayStation 3 version of Cars 2 adds full 3D support throughout all play modes and menu screens for specially equipped television sets. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
Sony's extreme off-road racing series continues with MotorStorm: Apocalypse. The highlight of this installment is its dynamically changing urban setting. Bridges, skyscrapers, subway tunnels, and other structures can crumble, crash, burn, twist, or collapse at any moment. Drive and customize your choice of supercar, muscle car, chopper, and superbike while engaging rival racers across an earthquake-ravaged metropolis. More than 40 races are included, each challenging you to survive machine gun fire, rocket attacks, and the destructible environment. Up to four players are supported via split-screen display, while up to 16 racers can compete online in custom-created game modes. MotorStorm: Apocalypse also includes 3D support for stereoscopic televisions. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
The sequel to 2009's Need for Speed: Shift introduces a helmet camera view designed to re-create the experience of driving 200 miles per hour from the driver's vantage point. Also included are nighttime races, wear-and-tear on both cars and tracks, and a renewed emphasis on simulation-style handling and performance. The "autolog" system lets you share your racing milestones, such as pictures and videos, with friends online. You'll also receive in-game challenges based on your friends' top performances. Customize your vehicle's engine, body, suspension, and other parts to impress rivals and outgain the competition. The limited edition version of Shift 2, available exclusively via pre-order, includes three in-game cars that are instantly accessible from the start: the Lamborghini Murciélago LP640, Nissan Silvia spec.R Aero (S15), and Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV. An additional 40 career race events are included as well, from manufacturer showdowns to "old versus new" battles. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide