Review by Child of Ashes

"Sonic Team starts to listen to us... a definite step forwards."

Well, here we are. I was tremendously excited by the announcement of Sonic Heroes, and that the prospect that the series was returning to the roots that allowed it to grow and expand so well. The beauty of this game is that, in truth, we seemingly have returned to the roots. We are back in the familiar territory of blinding speed and incredible action that fans of the series are so familiar with. The flaws are still there, many of them still lingering from Sonic's first real foray into 3D, Sonic Adventure. But the simple fact that Sonic Team endeavored to make this game different signifies a huge step in the right direction. We aren't there yet, but we are so much closer...

Graphics

This game looks much better than it's glorified Dreamcast port forefathers. The levels have much more detail, and seem more alive than the Sonic Adventure levels, filled with all manner of moving object. They aren't the best I've ever seen, but they are quite breathtaking when they need to be. The character models are nice and shiny, and the strange choppiness of the animation present in the previous two Sonic Adventures has lessened signifigantly. Now, most story-telling cutscenes are told in CG, FMV, or whatever you want to call it. The models look somewhat odd, however, because of the way they speak out of one side of their mouth. Still, I suppose the minor flaws are somewhat forgiveable in the presence of such improvement.

Overall: 7/10

Sound

Cheesy rock and roll tracks galore. Similar fare to the previous Sonic Adventures, only now, instead of character based, the rock themes are Team based. Nothing overly spectacular here. Sometimes, though, you just can't help but sing along in spite of the cheesiness of the lyrics, simply because so many of the tunes are just darn catchy. The background music is also quite catchy, at times, though you won't find as many lyrical tracks (NO MORE RAP!). The tunes are instead quite suiting to their respective environments. The voice acting, however, is still awful. Good lord, how awful it is. If Sonic Team would fix this, these games would be SO much more enjoyable. Argh. Oh well. I give extra points for nostalgia, however, because of certain effects used. In the Casino stage, the sound effect when you bounce off bumpers is the same effect used when you bounce off pinball bumpers in Sonic 2. The Mushroom-bouncing sound effect used in the Jungle stages is intact from Sonic 3 and Knuckles, and those are just a few examples. You will suddenly find yourself remembering the good-ol' days, which is almost never a bad thing.

Overall Score: 7.5/10

Story

Please. The story is just there to give you a reason for going level-to-level. Nothing more than the standard fare here, but I suppose Sonic games have never really been known for their outstanding stories, now have they? Shadow is back, though, which is bound to push the number of theories behind him just over the number behind the Lincoln-Kennedy coincidences. =P

Overall: 6/10

Gameplay

Here we go. Here we go. Welcome back to Sonic the Hedgehog. The point of this game (at least, in most of the levels) has returned; you go FAST. You go REALLY fast. Occasionally, you must slow down a bit to navigate a flying section, or do battle with some enemies, but unlike in previous 3D Sonics, it doesn't really detract from the speed or pace of the levels. The controls are an improvement over the Adventure games in nearly every aspect. The team aspect is actually quite cool, and surprisingly well done. The only real issues are the issues ever present in 3-Dimensional Sonic Games; the damnable camera, and the collision detection agency. The camera is abominable at times, though it is not quite as hate-inspiring as its predecessors. It does however, have a tendency to ram itself up your lead character's ass from time-to-time, however. Forgiveable, overall. The collision detection is sometimes annoyingly buggy, however, such as when you are supposed to hit a zipper than sends you straight into a grindable rail, only to mysteriously miss said rail by a milli-milli-milli-meter and fall to an untimely death. The boss battles are also... strange. O_o Meh. You have to see it for yourself. With a bit of tweaking, this game could have been really great. But the tweaking is nonexistant. Alas, we must live with this.

Overall: 7/10

The Final Verdict

Better than Sonic Adventure 1 and 2, we finally seem to be getting through to those thickheaded designers at Sonic Team. This game is not perfect, by any means, but it is beautiful for what it is: a shining ray of hope for Sonic fans everywhere. We have started moving towards a true 3-D replica of Sonic's 2-d outings that were so lovable. The day may come soon when Sonic Team finally gets just what they need to do to make these games truly great. And then, they will do it. Until then, take this game for what it is worth. Buy it, and reminisce of days gone by, which hopefully, are not too far off in the future.

FINAL SCORE: 7/10


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 01/11/04


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