Review by Da_GTA_Masta
"For the Sonic fan."
It's hard to recommend Sonic Racing games. You'd think that Sonic the Hedgehog would be great for a racing game. The Sonic games have been all about speed. Therefore, Sonic should pratically own the racing genre. However, in the past, Sonic Racing games have not been on the top of many gamer's list, and unfortunately, Sonic Riders isn't going to be high on your list either. It's much better than the previous attempts at a Sonic Racing game, but plenty of small things keep it from being the overall joyful experience you'd want it to be.
First things first, the plot is just about the same as it is in every Sonic game. Sonic and pals are on a hunt for the Chaos Emeralds. This time, however, they're after the Babylon Rogues to retrieve or something like that. A racing game really shouldn't have to have a plot other than to race. Not to mention it's very identical to many other Sonic games in the series. As you begin the game and all, you'll quickly forget about the storyline. As I said, a racing game doesn't need one to be good, and in Sonic's case, it almost hurts the game.
The gameplay is when I'm absolutely left at a standstill. It's great to be able to pull of some tricks as Sonic and company. They look really cool. It's easy to get into the gameplay, but just as easily, you'll soon find yourself frustrated. You race on hoverboards. Throughout each race you've got an air meter that you can use to boost yourself. This sounds really great, and it would be if you didn't have to use it so much. And once you've used up all your air meter, your character goes at it on foot. I wouldn't have a problem with it, but perhaps they should've done the air meter to the point where it begins to gradually refill. There are pitstops, but going to them takes the fun out of the race, and ultimately slows you down. This is Sonic, I don't want to go slow. Speed is what Sonic is all about. To make up for this, however, you can ride off of another player's turbulence, which will ultimatley give you a boost. The only problem being you lose control, however in some cases it's not a problem, and it's rather helpful.
Likewise, some of the track designs are poor. Combine that with a few loose controls and there's a problem. For one, taking corners is frustrating. Especially because they come so sudden, and sometimes you might be faced with a pit right around a corner. If you're riding on someone's turbulance while you round a corner, you lose control and ultimately go off course, and then you've got to wait to be reseted. Likewise, I find myself constantly going into walls while taking a corner. Again, this slows you down considerably. I don't have this problem in most other racers, and with Sonic Riders it's much harder to learn how to take corners. There's just no perfect way to do it.
There are also a lot of objects in your way. This is to be expected of any racing game, so I won't penalize Sonic Riders here. It does take a while to get back on track upon running into these objects and it uniquely adds to the challenge. However, the game isn't that challenging, really. Most of the computer players race in a fairly predictable manner, and while you'll end up having to use your boost at the beginning, you'll get the computers pattern down quickly.
Luckily there's multiplayer in this. And multiplayer is a very satisfying experience in Sonic Riders. It's a lot more fun to race against your (most likely) unpredictable friends than it is the predictable computer. The game also gets credit for it's unlockables. More extreme gear, and some hidden characters. Some of them classic characters that Sonic fans know and love. So the unlockables are kind of cool and worthwhile.
The game also looks good. There are times of slowdown, but that's no bother (at least in this game). For the most part, it's colorful, vibrant, and detailed. While some of the courses are frustrating, they've definitely got a good look and feel to them.
So to put it simple. Sonic Riders is for the Sonic fan. If you love Sonic, chances are you'll like this game. It isn't the best racing game out there, but it is the best Sonic Racing game out there, and so hardcore fans might want to get a hold on to it. There are moments of frustration, but not so much you shouldn't by the game. If you're more serious about your racing games, then Sonic Riders probably isn't for you.
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 03/02/07
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