Review by Dave521
"This game should break the hearts of anyone who has enjoyed a Sonic game"
Watching Sonic games these days ripped into in terms of quality is like witnessing your best friend completely falling apart. It's painful, heartbreaking, and it almost makes you want to cry. Ok, so maybe it's a stretch to cry, but Sonic has seen way better days. After the solid Sonic Adventure 1 and 2, the series started to slip with the forgettable Sonic Heroes, and the failed fanservice known as Shadow the Hedgehog. After that game, many thought that Sega couldn't go any lower than that game. Sadly, Sonic Team found a giant steam shovel and started to use it, because the Sonic the Hedgehog for the Playstation 3 may be even worse than Shadow's adventure.
Sonic's story usually is not very important to the game, and you can pretty much ignore the convoluted plots of the old games. But this one takes it to a complete extreme to the point where it sounds like a B-Movie. Somehow, our blue hero lands in the country of Soleanna, where the fair Princess Elise is having a parade in honor of their god, Solaris. Suddenly, Dr. Robotnik (I will not call him Eggman, get over it) attacks demanding both Elise and her Chaos Emerald (that she somehow got from somewhere) in order to awaken the Flames of Disaster that will allow him to rule over everything. How do these things get around? Well, anyway, Sonic saves her, Robotnik kidnaps her again, and Sonic goes on a quest to stop Robotnik's plans. Unfortunately for Sonic, there's a hedgehog from the future named Silver who is trying to kill him. And as if things couldn't get any more wacky, our princess starts to have the hots for Sonic, which leads me to believe that the writers pretty much read about ten to fifteen Sonic fan fictions and threw them together. Everything in this game seems to happen for no apparent reason whatsoever, and there's no reason that the Chaos Emeralds should be in Soleanna. Those must be some bored Emeralds, if they want to travel all the way to another country. There's also some time travel, and that's kinda cool, but nothing we haven't seen before.
Ok, now to the game, where things really start to get bad. It works similarly to the first to Sonic Adventures in terms of its game design. You start the game only being able to play Sonic's story. As you progress, you'll unlock new episodes for Shadow and Silver, and when you complete all three, you'll have one final episode that ties everything together. Each episode plays between action stages and town missions that advance the plot, and each hedgehog proceeds through the action stages differently. Sonic is typical for the series, running around until he hits the goal, and Shadow for the most part isn't too different, except he drives around in vehicles and can use Chaos Boost in order to enhance his skills. Silver, on the other hand, is unique. He can use psychokinesis to levitate objects, as well as throw items such as boxes and enemy projectiles around. The town missions have you going around Soleanna in order to advance the story and go between action stages. As you play through these action stages, you'll play as other characters, but one or two aside, none of them are really fun to play as. You'll also be able to complete mini missions, usually along the lines of run through rings, kill enemies, or solve some brain teasers. These missions, as well as the action stages reward you with rings depending on how you do, and you can use them to buy new items for your hedgehog. Very few of the town missions are interesting, however, and you'll run into many different types of the same mission as you progress.
The formula should work, but sadly, it doesn't. The major issue with Sonic the Hedgehog for the PS3 is that the game is not done. There are so many technical issues with the game, the testers had to have been fired. You will encounter slowdown constantly throughout the game, and you'll encounter it in some areas that slowdown has no business happening. In a part of Soleanna where there are no people around, you'll see your hedgehog chugging through the city as if he had lead weights on his feet.
The camera is god awful, and this hurts Silver more than anyone. It moves wildly around, never is in a good spot, and the control you have over it doesn't work when you are near a wall. For Silver, when he has to be able to see what he's throwing stuff at, this can be irritating. The controls are almost as bad, if not worse. Sonic and Shadow control very loosely, and you will die a few times because you pushed slightly too far to the side. Silver suffers in controls due to a lack of a targeting system, you have to place yourself in a spot to get an accurate shot, and the camera will fight you almost every step of the way.
The saddest part of the problems for this game are the speed segments for Sonic. Throughout Sonic's episode, half of his levels end in an area where Sonic is running incredibly fast, avoiding obstacles as you steer him left and right. Sounds like fun, but with incredibly loose control, it becomes an exercise in frustration. Other times you'll attempt to jump over an obstacle, only to have pushed too far to the side and fly right off the edge. There are no checkpoints either, you die, you start the whole segment either. The one part that everyone wanted for this game, just Sonic to run fast, is ruined due to poor controls.
These aren't even the worst parts of Sonic the Hedgehog. The absolute worst is the atrocious loading times that baffle in their placement. This is especially true during the town missions and boss fights. For boss fights, after the cutscene, there's a loading screen before and after the boss is introduced. Thing is, the introduction takes something like 5 seconds, and the loading screens are nearly twice that long. The town missions load up when you accept the mission, just to load up THE SAME AREA WITH DIFFERENT WORDS. After that, you complete the mission, load, the person thanks you, results, load. This is worse for missions with multiple parts, where each part has two loading screens. Failing these will make you not want to play the game at all, because the loading is so terrible. The pacing is just awful, and it shows that the game is not done.
Sonic the Hedgehog actually looks pretty nice in technical terms, glitches aside. Characters are colorful, worlds have some nice technical areas, and the cutscenes look amazing. But it's sad that from an art standpoint, the levels are just bland. There's a post apocalyptic city (yawn), a beach, a base, and just incredibly generic levels. Soleanna is a town that should be brimming with personality, but the city and people are incredibly boring. The voice acting is from the show, so if you like that, this shouldn't be an issue. The music, as always, is top notch, but it's the only thing that is.
But with all the technical issues, this game just can't deliver. It's abysmal, bland, and an insult to its namesake. If you thought it couldn't get worse after Shadow, it did. It's truly sad to see Sonic like this, even though I grew up with Nintendo consoles. You can get it for $20 if you really want to try it, but don't be surprised if you feel saddened and heartbroken over what's happened to our dear friend Sonic the Hedgehog.
Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 04/14/08
Game Release: Sonic the Hedgehog (US, 01/30/07)
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