Review by mickomoo
"Heroes here to deliver relief? Not!"
I am a sonic fan, though I got into his games with the ports made on gamecube. Naturally I was excited when this game was announced and bought it immediately. I didn't instantly like it, and as time progress, I began to slowly deplore the experience. This review will elaborate on Sonic Heroes' flaws.
Sonic Heroes is an interesting game. From this point on, Sega began to experiment with the 3d series formula, resulting in oddities such as this game, Shadow the hedgehog, and the more recent Sonic '06 which I have yet to play.
Heroes has a very unique formula, but its execution leaves a lot to be desired. The idea is that you have 4 teams of 3 and each team has 3 types of characters: power, speed, and flight. Throughout the levels, you'll encounter obstacles that each member has to deal with. IE: Knuckles, a power type must break down giant boulders in sonic's path.
While it is indeed somewhat irking an troublous to constantly switch teammates to create new formations, I have little problem with it. Though it is interesting to note, that since the Sonic series has always been considered one relating particularly to speed, many people are annoyed by having to "stop on the road and smash boulders" instead of simply playing through the level.
A bonus of having teammates is the "team attack". Every team performs a different team attack that is directed at all enemies on the screen. Some of them, like Team Dark have after effects, such as temporally freezing time in addition to damaging opponents. Sadly each team performs only one team attack, so it does get boring seeing the same actions over and over.
The first and most major problem comes in. While you do have 4 teams, they all have exactly the same levels, give or take minor alterations and a difficulty change. For the most part their missions are the same. With the exception of the unique team chaotix, who consist of Charmy the bee, Espio the chameleon, and Vector the alligator/crocodile. This isn't their first appearance, as they were in older game knuckles chaotix. Since they're detectives, they're given missions relating to finding things.
Their absurd tasks range from finding 10 objects on a particular stage to running through an entire stage without getting caught. And it's extremely difficult, it by far is greater than the difficulty of the emerald stages for Knuckles and Rouge in SA2, at least you had hints then.
In comparison Team dark and Heroes' missions are easier, but not by much. Later on in the game, the stages get more difficult, and some times you find somethings not being effective, like Sonic's homing jump, which is sometimes a necessity, I distinctly recall falling off stages due to it. In regards to the camera I don't recall any particular problems, many others do though, except for a few, like the time the camera shoved its way up Tails's ass when I was flying. Or when I awkwardly had trouble seeing in front of me.
As mentioned above, this game is very repetitive, the same stages and missions for most of the game. Even though there are good extras, like extra 2 player games you can unlock, there's little incentive, due to the fact that the game will get boring, especially if you try to do everyone's missions simultaneously (like I mistakenly did). The only way to get to the final story though is to actually beat every teams file, and collect the chaos emeralds. The bonus stage for this is really difficult though. The objective is to "out race" the emerald. But is far faster than you'll ever be, and the various mines all over the place, while adding a challenge, just make it outright impossible to catch it for most people.
While most video games, let alone a simple Sonic game, aren't known for their elaborate stories, the weakness of the plot is staggering, especially for a 3d game. Heck the older games probably had a more logical plot. Each team has a different story that ultimately gathers into the overall bigger picture.
Sonic is running in his desert and his friends randomly appear next to him and they decide to beat up Eggman.
Shadow apparently surived the fall from space in SA2 with no explanation, lost his memory and Rouge discovers him. She accidentally activates a robot, and they all decide to attack Eggman.
Cheese looses her chao, Big looses his frog (again, when will he learn that it must not like him), and they decide to team up with Amy. Surprisingly their missions have nothing to do with searching.
Team chaotix is hired by a mysterious person and they go do missions for that person.
Some of these teams are so adhesive. I don't even understand how they lasted for so long. There could have been some depth if each team had their fair trials of dealing with one another. The teams didn't even have a direct goal to achieve together. Sega, plot wise, didn't elaborate why the characters have to work in teams. Couldn't they chase after Eggman individually like they always have? How would these teams even last?
Sega didn't consider these questions obviously, and simply slapped on the teams as a "gimmick" and called it that. And it shows plot played a second to the weak gameplay in the game, as there was nothing. Since the plot was so weak, it could have actually been better to simply start the game and add no cutscenes, considering it added little to nothing to the game.
In all, most consider Sonic games "mediocre", In my opinion, this doesn't even deserve to be called that. It's below average. If you're a fan, rent it, possibly buy due to the time it's been around. Shopping online is the best way to get games cheap nowadays.
Had Sega expanded on the idea, removed the gameplay flaws, and made a slightly better plot, I'd be more inclined to give it a better score. But as it stands now, this game is and will always mark the low point Sonic reached in 3d gameing. That's not to say that he couldn't, or hasn't turned around. But this game will in my mind be a memento of how things get when a series goes in the wrong direction...
Reviewer's Rating: 2.0 - Poor
Originally Posted: 10/30/07
Game Release: Sonic Heroes (US, 01/05/04)
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