Review by shadowrocks
"Sonic's Finally Found Some Consistency with Colors"
Fun Factor: 7
Replay Value: 6
Aesthetic Appeal: 16 (Music/Sound: 9, Visuals: 7)
- Return to more balanced stage design in terms of speed and platforming.
- The Wisp Powers were all very fun and cool to use. They also expanded stages enough to allow for decent exploration.
- Finding the Red Rings and unlocking simulator stages were a great post game idea. It's too bad there's not much else besides that.
- The ranking system seems to more balanced this time. No more surviving till the end of the stage to earn S-Ranks.
- Creative and downright beautiful worlds to explore in!
- The game is much too short. It's about half as long as Sonic Unleashed was.
- Too much inconsistency in the quality of stage design. Great stages in this game are always surrounded by mediocre of plain TERRIBLE ones.
- Game is WAY too focused on 2D sections. It's about 75% to 25% 2D/3D in this game while it was 50/50 in Unleashed.
- Random bottomless pits and awkward jumping physics are still present in this game. However, they are improved over Unleashed.
Review: Could this really be happening fellow Sonic fans? Could we be seeing some consistency for the first time since the classic trilogy? Surely, with the reputation Sonic Team has built up in the past decade, there's NO WAY that they expand on the Unleashed formula, right? WRONG! Ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you to the spiritual sequel of Sonic Unleashed, Sonic Colors! Let's see if Sonic Team made any progress towards the ideal 3D Sonic game.
Visuals: I've got to say, I was a bit shocked when I saw the first gameplay footage of Sonic Colors in HD. I almost thought that the Wii couldn't produce such great cartoon graphics like Colors did. However, it still doesn't hold a candle to Unleashed graphics but I'm much more impressed with the effort this time. Taking just one look at the beautiful and lively areas of Tropical Resort and Planet Wisp truly shows how dedicated Sonic Team was in making these worlds feel unique and alive. Gone are the stereotypical areas of traditional platformers in and come some refreshing ideas that give me hope for future titles.
Anyway, I was also impressed with the CGI cutscenes in this game. Looks like Sonic Team still got it in that department even after 11 years of 3D Sonic games. The in-game cutscenes aren't that bad either but as expected, it still doesn't compare to the quality in Unleashed. The animations and lip synching are also well done and make said cutscenes feel more realistic. Overall, improvement has been made here and I look forward what else Sonic Team has in store for the 20th anniversary.
Music and Sound: Color's soundtrack is pretty good and remarkable. Although there are fewer worlds to explore in this game, there about 3 separate tracks for each world that are remixes of each other. To place this in the top three of my favorite soundtracks is pretty tough, so I'm going to have Colors and Unleashed share the three spot. Some of my favorite tracks in the game are Aquarium Park Act 1, Final Boss Phase 2, and Starlight Carnival Act 1. These tracks and many more fit their worlds quite well and are surprisingly catchy in some areas.
In terms of sound effects, they are pretty good this time around. None of them felt out of place and the sound they chose for Yacker was possibly the less annoying of the recent sidekicks. I also like the minor details like the grass rustling under Sonic's feet in Planet Wisp or the change in music tone/sound effects as Sonic submerges underwater. It just fits and I couldn't ask for anything more.
And now for the most controversial part, the voice acting. As you all know, Sonic Colors introduces a mostly new cast of VA's for Sonic and co. I have to admit that I miss Griffth's good performances in Unleashed and Black Knight, but I rather have the potential Smith has and his experience. For being his first time voicing Sonic, it wasn't bad at all. I disliked his slightly deeper voice and but loved his improved delivery on jokes/witty remarks. On the other hand, Tails is MUCH better than his previous VA incarnations. Higgins has the perfect tone and voice for our favorite two tailed fox, but she needs to improve on her different emotions. I couldn't really tell whether Tails was annoyed or bored with his voice alone. When the animations are emoting better than the VA's, that's never a good thing but I'm sure, like Smith, she'll improve over time. Eggman and his new robot sidekicks, Orbot and Cubot, did pretty well here too.
Gameplay: Alright! There's only one gameplay style to discuss here and that's Sonic. Of course, there's ALWAYS a defining gimmick for each Sonic game that comes out and in this case, we are introduced to a cute alien species known as the Wisps. These little aliens posses many strange powers that Sonic has access to throughout his adventure. One wisp in particular, the White Wisp, IMPROVED the boosting system by being tougher to find most of the time and providing about a fourth of the total boost bar. Plus, Sonic will NOT instantly hit his top speed like in Unleashed. The other wisps either provide the player with tools for exploration (Yellow, Orange, Cyan, Pink, Green) or just easier ways to proceed through a dangerous area (Blue, Purple, Cyan (to an extent)). Overall, they really do save some of the stages in the game from being very boring.
Everything else about gameplay basically stems from Unleashed. The 2D/3D transitions are as great as before and majority of Sonic's abilities from Unleashed are unlocked right at the start. The rest of his abilities have been integrated into the Wisp Powers, which seems like a cop-out to me because that's showing me that the developers are afraid that people will avoid the Wisp Powers if Sonic had his spin/light dash.
Flow: It's absolutely fantastic in this game! Sonic has the ability to jump around the worlds quite easily. However, Sonic must complete the world's acts (1-6) in order instead of jumping from one act to another freely like Sonic 4. I actually prefer this since I don't want to be spoiled with the great stages at the end of the worlds first and then not care of the stages leading up to them. The worlds also have a fair difficulty curve. Worlds 1 through 3 are pretty easy and it isn't until the player reaches Planet Wisp where the game really becomes decently challenging.
Story : The game takes place on Eggman's Interplanetary Amusement Park. This amusement park is supposed to be a big I'm sorry gift to the world for all of his past evil plans. As expected, Sonic and Tails visit said theme park to expose Dr. Eggman's obvious lives. There, they encounter the wisp race and one of its leaders, Yacker. Afterwards, Sonic goes around destroying the generators holding each of Eggman's planets into place while Tails gathers more info from Yacker with his newly invented translator.
Overall, the story follows the lighthearted and Saturday morning cartoon trend set by Unleashed. It's nothing remarkable and only exists to give each place Sonic visits a purpose. The humor in this game is also ridiculously cheesy and written for young kids. However, there were some moments I burst out laughing like pre and post boss cutscenes in Planet Wisp. The rest was just meh but at least I could tell the VA's were attempting to make it funny.
Overall Thoughts: This was another solid entry into the 3D Sonic era. However, it still has quite a ways to go to reach the excellence achieved by the classic trilogy. I felt my money was well spent as I played over 32 hours on it before getting bored. This game is also a step up from Unleashed as it removed the unnecessary fluff that plagued Unleashed (Werehog, QTE's, medal collecting, etc.) I seriously can't wait to see if Sonic Team keeps up this consistency and finally deliver an amazing experience that every Sonic fan craves today!
Final Verdict: 8 (Awesome!!!)
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 04/20/11
Game Release: Sonic Colors (US, 11/16/10)
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