Review by KyonFumo
"Shock! Bad idea makes worse game."
Ever since this game was announced I knew it was going to be a colossal disaster. And yet I persisted. I got it when it came out and hoped for the best. Of course, I was disappointed.
Basically, Shadow still has the amnesia from Sonic Heroes and want to find out the truth behind his existence and whatnot. When he sits on a hill, pondering it and having some flashbacks, the sky goes blood red, aliens jump out of nowhere and start smashing everything up. Then their leader (the creatively named "Black Doom") pops in and tells Shadow to get him the 7 Chaos Emeralds and goes away. And in the ultimate boneheaded decision, Shadow agrees and starts looking for them. Basically, the story is unremarkable, and cliche, nonsense.
I'll give Shadow the Hedgehog one thing. The FMV videos look amazing. Each individual blade of grass and even the individual stitches on the characters' gloves are visible and detailed. Fur textures are realistic and in extremely high detail and the environments look stunning. And then the game begins. I wasn't expecting a graphical powerhouse at all but the drop of quality after the gorgeous FMVs is horrendous. The textures look fuzzy and stretched and the character models are blocky and poorly animated. In some of the larger, open levels the shoddy design work really shows. Not to mention that the framerate drops constantly, especially when you really start picking up speed. And the camera often gets in the way, resulting in some really cheap deaths.
The sound is a mixed bag. The sound effects are classic Sonic fare, but the gunshot effects are irritating at best. Then there's the music which ranges from 80's rock, to techno, or a mixture of both. But perhaps one of the most controversial issue about the game is the voice acting.This was the first game to make the switch from Sega's in-house cast to the 4kids actors from the English dub of Sonic X. With that switch, Shadow now sounds like Clint Eastwood, Sonic sounds really dorky and Tails sounds like a girl. But those three suffered the least as all the other characters (with the exception of Espio and Eggman) got absolutely atrocious voices. In whole, the sound is mostly unremarkable (aside from two or three cool songs) so the mute button is your friend here.
What is the most important aspect of any game? Being able to play it of course. Which bring us to more problems. Shadow tries to mix mission based shooting and driving gameplay with high-speed platforming and fails. Miserably. So, Shadow the Hedgehog consists of running really fast, stopping to shoot enemies and then dashing off again. This blatant start-stop pace really ruins the experience, to say the least. Plus, said guns and vehicles are almost completely useless. Every gun is basically an exact replica of each other with minor additions, such as rapid-fire or slightly higher damage. And the vehicles, on the other hand, are 100% useless. All the vehicles go slower than Shadow himself, ruining the point of using them in the first place. And then there are the missions. Shadow relies on a "moral system" (and a rather poorly-implemented one) to keep the story flowing and to select a path you are given three mission objectives in each zone. Hero missions often require you to kill all the evil aliens whereas Dark missions are mostly about killing the good guys. And then there are the Neutral objectives, which are all about getting across the zone really fast in classic Sonic fashion. In addition to the branching paths there are various special abilities that come with taking sides. Act evil and you get access to Chaos Blast, a hilariously overpowered explosion that can be used multiple times, making the whole thing far too easy. Act nice and you get Chaos Control, which consist of Shadow dashing through the level really really fast. This works well in Neutral missions, but in any other mission it can often lead to you missing a mission objective. Lots of backtracking ensues. Boss battles are ether too easy or too hard and can be beaten in 10 seconds or 10 minutes, depending on the first move you make. In all, the gameplay is sloppy, poorly-done and ridden with ideas that might have worked but were pulled off horribly.
Lifespan, Replay Value
There are 11 different endings and over 360 paths to getting them all, which makes way for great replay value, but getting every single path is incredibly tedious and won't give off any rewards. Getting each ending might take a while but the game itself is incredibly short, clocking in at about an hour. Beating a path brings special weapons but nothing else. And once you've reached 100% completion there's nothing left to do as getting all A-ranks is fruitless labor as well. There's lots to do, but no motivation.
Lifespan, Replay Value- 2/10
If you're really curious, rent it. Do not waste your money on this unless you reeaally like it.If you're given it as a gift you should exchange or return it.
Overall, Shadow the Hedgehog is a shoddy mess of ideas that are pulled off horribly. Not unplayable, but close.
Reviewer's Rating: 1.0 - Terrible
Originally Posted: 07/17/08
Game Release: Shadow the Hedgehog (EU, 11/18/05)
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