Sonic Free Riders: New Screens, Videos & Reviews

Sonic Free Riders: New Screens, Videos & Reviews


More reviews for SEGA’s first Xbox 360 Kinect title Sonic Free Riders have rolled out to join IGN’s 7.5/10, GameInformer’s 5.75/10 and G4’s 3/5 that we reported about yesterday. GameTrailers put out the above video review, scoring the game 4.5/10. Elsewhere, Kotaku, a site that doesn’t give scores, called the game’s controls broken, but said if SEGA could fix them he would recommend the game. Joystiq put out the game’s lowest scored review yet, with a painful 1/5, but there has been another higher score from the U.S. Official Xbox Magazine that matches IGN’s score of 7.5/10. The main complaint among the reviewers is the controls and how poorly they work, especially the steering. Check out the reviews at the links provided and share your thoughts in our comments section.

In other news, SEGA Japan updated their official Sonic Free Riders website with fifteen more screenshots from the game and two images from later unlocked tracks Final Factory and Metal City. You can check out those screens and images below.

Finally, we have some new gameplay videos from Kotaku, Giant Bomb and GameTrailers:
GameTrailers gameplay video:

Kotaku gameplay video:

Giant Bomb gameplay video part 1:

Giant Bomb gameplay video part 2:

Thanks to SSMB member Woun for the YouTube conversions and for obtaining the images and screenshots.


  1. Yeah, those videos there look incredibly frustrating. I can’t see many people buying this game, let alone playing it again after the story mode is done.

    Sega has made a really pretty game, and I think it would have been incredibly successful, had it been one of those titles, like the Harry Potter game, which said “Better on the Kinect”. We’d know it was a lie, but at least the controller option would be there. Making this a Kinect-only game was a huge mistake, and it will kill sales.

  2. I hope it’s not too late for Sega to give this game an Xbox Live Update patch that gives you classic controller gameplay.

  3. Gee willikers, an xbox 360 Kinect game that sucks? Didn’t see that one coming.
    What CRAZY things are they going to say next? That the Playstation move is nothing but a copy of Nintendo’s wii remote? Gosh, I can’t imagine ANYONE accusing Sony of stealing idea’s.

  4. Euughh…

    So much for cleaning up Sonic’s image.

    The sad thing is, this game looks like it could have been great, if Sega managed the controls better.

  5. Does any of u played the game yet? I’m so waiting for a review by a true sonic fan to hear if the game really sucks that hard as the above reviews are saying.

    I mean, with that leaning back problem, isn’t it possible to just jump 180 degrees and lean forward?

    Just looking at the menu, how many complains they got. And one video here shows that it just works, so is this racing game really that broken or didn’t they just take the time to find out just because it’s another sonic game…..

    So if anyone, and I mean anyone really played the game, I would love to hear if u liked it or not.

  6. Many people say that the controls are fine if you actually play the game well. Look at IGN’s review, then at Kotaku’s gameplay footage.

    They might’ve just played the game for a few minutes and deemed it crap because they can’t control it since it takes getting used to.

  7. All these scores really tell me, if I were a consumer, is nothing short of ‘Some people transitioned into the Riders’ Kinect control scheme a lot better than others’. It’s hard to say whether this game did -good-, or did -bad-, because there’s such a radical shift between all of the numbers.

    It’s really a “Play and see for yourself” kind of situation.

  8. I cant see how anyone can blame sega for this, its designed to run on the hardware which is controllerless.
    Its cus the kinect is ass, I guarantee you’ll have the same problem with any skating or snowboarding game

  9. The first review…. I want to smack that guy….so.hard. It’s ok if you want to bash the controls. I mean, 95% of games get freaking bashed for some control or other. But then,’random wins not as good as Mario Kart’? For pete’s sake, there is nothing more ANNOYING than when you’re about to win and darn Waluigi cuts in front. And then, fading mascot? You wish! Sonic’s not doing as well as he used to…. but there is no way he’s fading yet!

    The other videos didn’t seem to have as much troubles with the controls. How do you explain that? The first review is extremely biased. I mean, I wouldn’t buy the game per say, but that does that mean they have to complain over every last detail in the game?

  10. Fans all over the world don’t fear if Free Riders does not succeed. This is simply a spin-off title.This title is not all that important to begin with. I feared the criticism of broken controls since the very beginning. But I don’t blame Sega this time. The Kinect is a brand new concept in console gaming. gamers and critics are not familiar with the idea of controllerless gameplay. Sonic’s image is still going strong and Colors is coming out within more than a week. The Sonic Cycle will be broken.

  11. @ Crystal there’s only one thing that can stop gametrailers bias in favour of microsoft and that’s a Sonic game, for some reason its still the “in” thing to bash any sonic product that comes regardless if they only played the first level lol

  12. As somebody who has the game, I can say that I initially thought the controls were pretty awful. I took a break and came back later and found that I wasn’t having quite as much trouble. The controls are definitely not perfect, but I’m getting the hang of it nonetheless. I think that some of these lower scores are unwarranted, since I think the controls seem fairly good. The game could definitely use some patching, but nothing drastic.

    I’ve had a lot more fun with Kinect Adventures so far. It’s a lot easier to pick up and play. You can pop it in for the first time and you’ll be ready to take on the challenges, whereas Sonic Free Riders takes a few hours of getting used to.

  13. Another Sonic game with an awesome soundtrack but mixed up gameplay and controls, it seems. I’d still like to give it a try, just to see how it is, but to purchase a Kinect and a 360 just to play this one game? I’ll wait.

  14. The reason people are bashing this game is not because it’s a bad game; it’s because it’s not what they expected. They expected some pick-up-and-play game like Kinect Adventures. This game wouldn’t have been bashed so much if it hadn’t been a launch title. When a consumer goes to the Market to try out some new system, they want some quick, easy fun. So these reviewers went through and played each Kinect launch title and, because it takes such time to learn, it wasn’t fun when they played it. So out of the games, Sonic Free Riders wasn’t a fun game. It failed at being just a toy. And the reviewers failed to see that it wasn’t trying to be.

  15. @ SonikkuZaHejj

    I agree. It wasn’t what I expected, and I was initially disappointed. After giving the game more time, it’s really starting to grow on me. If I had no fascination in the Sonic series, and only played a bit of the game at a Gamestop or something, I’d probably brush it off as a mediocre game and never try it again. In that kind of scenario, this game fails. You’ve gotta give it some time!

  16. The critics are probably just lazy and just want to move their fingers. That’s probably why the Kinect games are getting really low scores.

  17. Wow, no wonder the guy didn’t get the controls right. It’s like he wasn’t even trying. O: I mean, I’m sure the kinect is gonna have some flaws… which SUCKS since it’s only for kinect. -_-; But at least TRY to put effort in it instead of blowing it off before even starting.

    And that second vid with the menu I thought was gonna be worse. But the difference between when it worked and when it didn’t looked more like the player’s fault as well. XD

    Not to defend the game or anything. I wish it had better controls to at least make it worth it. But I’m just saying. =p

  18. @Brianzilla2004

    Thanks for ur review. Glad to hear from a real person that checks out the game, then a 5 minute tryout business guy.

    I’m just wondering what I should do. I do want Kinect Sports or this sonic free riders. Do u think that sonic free riders is the right choice for a sonic/sega fan, or do u think it’s better to wait and hold for lower prices?

  19. I really think reviewers are not accepting the fact that there’s a steep learning curve with this game. They really should take the time to get used to the game’s controls before coming down to a verdict

  20. well it’s not like i was going to get a kinect anyway. anyway i lol’d at the gametrailers comments! seriously read those comments. it’s as if they haven’t even heard of sonic colors. all i hear is:”Why can’t sega make a good game?” or “Sega will never make a good sonic game!” seriously it’s like they’ve numbed out the pretty successful sonic 4 and all stars racing AND the upcoming sonic colors game and just focused on this game. when you take all those games and the rumored games for next year does this(free riders) really outweigh those games?

  21. @Tentor
    like i just said just because 1 game out of the whole year of GOOD sonic games(and games to come) is bad doesn’t prove the sonic cycle is back.

  22. Something tells me the controlling of this game*was going to say controllers >.>* could be very difficult to get the hang of. Practice practice!

    @just4lolzz I highly agree with this one. It’s new technology,so of course there’s going to be some complications with learning the movements and stuff. So,just take that out of the equation of how they rated the game,and it adds up to be pretty good.When they say not casual friendly,casuals like just plain easy games I think…still unsure on the term casual. We just need to remember:new technology will always have one or two setbacks.

  23. I’ve never understood this “Sonic Cycle” thing. How is it that this silly idea has grown into one of the most persistently brought up lies on the internet? I mean, do you guys actually READ the criteria of the Sonic Cycle? It’s essentially a breakdown of the general public’s thoughts on Sonic 2006 from it being revealed to it getting released. That’s one game.

    I’ve looked into following Sonic games, and none of them fall into all of the bullet points that are presented in the cycle. Sonic Free Riders, regardless of whether it’s considered a failure or a triumph in the long run, simply doesn’t meet with the Sonic Cycle:

    – Free Riders was never shown as a Sonic-only game
    – Hopes seemed low among the fans
    – Few people, if any, thought Free Riders would be a “triumphant return”
    – No new friends have been introduced in Free Riders
    – Fans don’t seem disappointed, since most had a low opinion of the game to begin with

    So, no, Sonic Cycle NOT here. Sonic Cycle nowhere, because the Sonic Cycle doesn’t exist. It’s the Sonic One-off.

  24. hmmm, IGN says this game is “pretty fun” whereas Gametrailers bags on it non-stop like it is the worst game ever made.

  25. Isn’t it ironic how although Kinect is CLEARLY aimed pretty much solely at a casual audience (none of the launch titles have much in the way of depth) yet it’s in reality pointlessly complex and inaccessible?

    For example, let’s take this game for example. It is claimed by pretty much every reviewer that “the controls take a lot of time to get used to”, but considering that this game is aimed for the casual audience (like all of Kinect’s launch titles), shouldn’t the controls be accesible and more easy to pick up? Let’s take the Wii’s launch as an example. The Wii launched with Wii Sports, a game that is easily accessible to the casual audience. Anyone can pick up and play Wii Sports without any trouble at all.

    Also, if we think about what exactly the “casual” audience is, it consists mainly of young children, adults with a lack of gaming experience and eldely people. This game doesn’t seem to cater very well to any of these groups of people. The controls are too intricate and complex for a young child, and they require too much movement for adults and the elderly. What do you do if you have a back problem or are disabled for example? There would be no way to play the game.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not really targeting this game specifically, but more Kinect in general.

    But about this game anyways, I agree with Brainzilla2004. This doesn’t apply to the Sonic cycle at all since it’s not a platformer. Even if this game was good, it wouldn’t be “Sonic’s legendary return to form”, since it doesn’t cover his main genre that made him great in the first place. And anyways the Sonic cycle is now a pile of steaming crap thanks to Sonic Colours.

  26. @sonicdudefan1996: What you’ve said is so true! Im not planning on buying Free Riders nor a Kinect but I just come to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter how many good Sonic games there are, there will always be ignorant people who will focus more on the bad things in the series rather then the good. Sonic and Sega All Stars Racing did really well, Sonic 4 got mixed reviews and most of the critics seems to love it and even SONIC COLORS is getting good reviews. People ignores them and only focus on the games that isn’t doing so well. And not many Sonic fans were expecting this game to be great anyway so it’s all good.

  27. I mean, not that many Sonic fans were looking forward to Free Riders and expecting it to be a good game since it’s not an important title and it’s only a spinoff game for the Kinect.

  28. @sonicfan1984
    i am though a little bumed out now that i cant do my life long goal of completing all the sonic games on xbox though.(sigh) i guess when the price for kinect drops to $100 i’ll pick them both up. 🙁

  29. Wasn’t to surprised in the reviews of the game, its based off the kinect not the sonic free riders..

  30. @ Burning_Blaze

    No, as in the controls are actually bad. Sure, all games you’ll eventually adapt to the controls; the obvious excuse for fanboys. We must understand a few things. Firstly Sonic Rider’s series controls have always been awful. Secondly is that it’s a new game for a just released piece of control tech, therefore control issues are likely. Lastly that this is a spin off Sonic game; since when have they been good?

    We still have Sonic Colours (Wii and DS) coming out this year which we can be optimistic about, considering early playtests and footage actually look promising. This is the opposite of Sonic Free Riders which has always looked bad.

  31. “Lastly that this is a spin off Sonic game; since when have they been good?”

    Does Sonic and Sega All Stars Racing counts as a Sonic spinoff? If so, then that game is awesome.

  32. @SiLeNtDo0m

    Actually, the Kinect ISN’T needlessly complex. Just this game. You say that “the Wii launched with Wii Sports, a game that is easily accessible to the casual audience.” Well, Kinect launched with Kinect Adventures, which is also a game that is easily accessible to the casual audience. It’s also more content-rich, supports online multiplayer, has better visuals, and controls better. I had a little bit of fun with Wii Sports, but after my initial run through the different games, I only pulled it out for when an old person came over (they really like their Wii…). Two of the games in Wii Sports are broken anyway, so that just about cuts the game in half.

    I also played a demo for Kinect Joyride, which is more like Mario Kart than Sonic Free Riders is, and while I couldn’t say which is better, since I only played Joyride’s demo, it’s clear that Microsoft’s 1st party racer was built to be an easy game to jump right into. I’d imagine that Kinect Sports (they didn’t even bother trying to mask what this is…) and Microsoft’s other 1st party titles follow suit. Kinect isn’t perfect, but the controls have been more responsive for me than any of the motion-controlling on the Wii, and the controls have been simplified with the exclusion of buttons (my grandma could NOT figure out how to bowl in Wii Sports because she couldn’t wrap her head around releasing buttons at the right time).

    I don’t know how well the Kinect will do, or if it will ever amass a truly impressive library of games, but I can tell you that even if Sonic Free Riders takes a bit of getting used to, Microsoft seems to have intuitive, pick-up-and-play gaming down.

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