Review by Megame91
"I'm gonna hit YOU with Sonic Speed!"
When I first saw Sonic Riders my reaction was something along the lines of: "Meh, looks cool...kinda like Mario Kart for Sonic and with skateboards or whatever." I expected to rent it for a week, say it was ok, and then probably never play it again until it was $10 in stores.
Sonic Riders is an intense racing game that really brings stuff into the genre of racing that hasn't been done before. I'll be rating Riders on 5 things: Graphics, Sound/Music, Gameplay, Replayability, and Learning Curve/Difficulty, with the last one not affecting the overall score.
As with a lot of the Sonic games before it, Sonic Riders has very nice FMV scenes. You can see the quill lines on Sonic's head and the light and texturing are just beautiful, especially when the Babylon Rogues jump out of that building in the opening movie. The gameplay cutscenes are ok; nothing special, nothing terrible. But when you're playing the game: OH! Things really look good! I love the character's new tall versions, they look so much better than the Shadow the Hedgehog or Sonic Heroes models. Knuckles looks a bit...lanky...but he's the only one. Shadow, I must say, looks the best like this. Also all the (girl) characters have different clothes on, which I think suit them better. (Except perhaps Cream, but I never liked her.)
Nothing fancy here. I love the opening theme. Mostly you're gonna get a lot of techno music, and not much rock, which might be what Sonic fans are used to. I prefer rock, but this music sits in well with all the levels and the theme. As for sound again, nothing fancy. The sounds fit pretty much perfectly with what's going on, I really can't think of any real problems with it. The announcer gets kinda annoying sometimes, but you'll get used to it.
The key factor in any game: is it fun? Hell, yeah it is! I don't think I've play a game quite like this. Basically the board works like a snowboard. It moves forward by itself and you do the steering. You press A to jump (surprise, surprise), B to boost/attack, and R and L to do a few other functions. L or R, when you move the control stick in the desired direction, allow you to slide around sharp corners (quite a lot of them). If you press R or L without turning, you brake. Unfortunately, if you don't move the control stick before pressing R or L, you might inadvertently brake, which can be annoying. If you press R and L at the same time, you create a tornado of air behind you to leave for people on you tail, but this seems to slow you down quite a lot so I don't use it that much. When you come up to a ramp, hold the A button to charge a jump and release it as you fly off the ramp to go much higher, while in the air, you can perform tricks with the control stick. You get graded on your tricks; the more you do, the better your grade. Getting the landing right is also essential in getting a good grade. The turbulence system is extremely innovative. Basically, when you start going really fast, your screen will have a slight, blur effect, and you will be leaving turbulence in you wake. Turbulence is a half pipe of air that other players can ride on and even do tricks off of. When you (or anyone else) are in turbulence, then you will be going much fast than normal, which gives a sort of explanation to the old "if your in first, everyone else goes faster than you" thing. One last thing (there is so much more, but I can't go on) which I should've stated earlier. You boosts and slides all run on air, which has a little meter on the side of the screen. When this air runs out, you'll be running on foot until you can find an air pit, which will refuel you. Doing tricks, getting item...things...and doing certain other tricks will net you air as well.
Basically, with all the stuff you can unlock in this game, it'll last you a long time. There's mission mode for extra unlockables, plus you have to buy everything at the shop. A man oh man is the multiplayer addictive! Even when you fully (which will take a while) beat this game. you'll still have fun playing a 4 player battle with you and three friends. This is the sorta game that will last you a long time.
Learning Curve/Difficulty: 8
Wow, this game definitely surprised me here! This game is hard! At least at the beginning it is. I'd say the learning curve is about an hour maybe a little more, and even then, the CPUs will be wiping the floor with you occasionally. Speaking of CPUs, they are difficult, not like the average race AI. I'm not quite sure how long it will take to be so good you win every time, because the game is so unpredictable. The key is to not play it for 20 minutes of frustration and give up. Persevere through at least 45 minutes and you'll be doing good.
Wow, SEGA really surprised me here. This is definitely a great game!
OVERALL SCORE: 8.75
So there you go!
As for buy or rent, I'd say buy, but (as I always say) if you're really not sure, go rent it and try it out.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 02/27/06
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