Review by Avenger29
"In His World! Where bestiality is totally legal AND encouraged!"
Oh Sonic. Since 1994, I've been a huge fan of the blue one's adventures. Ever since getting my very first game system, a Sega Genesis, back then, Sonic had always been my fave game series. Flash forward to the 2000s. Ever since making a decent enough move to 3D with Sonic Adventure, the last three main games in the series (The highly disappointing Sonic Adventure 2, and the fairly enjoyable Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic Heroes.) have been, shall we say, shallow.
Now, let's make another flash forward to September 2008. After owning the latest, and supposedly greatest, Sonic game for about six months, I finally picked a PS3. My only experience with this game before that day was the store demo on the 360. Needless to say, I very much enjoyed playing that thing. Popping the game in, though, showed me something a little different than what I played at Wal-Mart all those times.
And thus, we begin the meat of this review. Let's start with what I consider to be the least important factor in gaming, the graphics. If this is the first next-gen game you actually see up close (As in, actually playing it as opposed to watching a trailer on Youtube.), then no doubt you'll be impressed. However, when you put it up against a powerhouse like Metal Gear or Gran Turismo, you'll see that the visuals are really no better than a high-end Playstation 2 game. Maybe slightly better than Final Fantasy XII, in that department. Granted, the last time the Sonic series was a visual masterpiece was Sonic 3. (Or Riders: Zero Gravity, in my opinion.) Anyways, this can slightly be ignored. An upside to the visuals, though, are some of the level designs. Flame Core isn't exactly fun to play, but, god, it's pretty to look at. Compared to the repetitive level designs of the past four games, this is a real breath of fresh air. Also, the town stages, while boring and unnecessary, are nicely designed and deserve an honorable mention. Character design is a bit of an unknown quantity though. While Silver looks cool enough, the new Robotnik is just laughable at best. Also, while I do think Elise's design is very nice, I don't think it fits in this franchise. Maybe Final Fantasy or some other RPG series, but not here.
Next, I was going to go into the story of the game, but I find myself mentally unable to do so without wanting to blow my brains out. Regardless, I still have a duty to fulfill, so... The quick and dirty version it is. Basically, take the season one plot of Heroes, remove all the good stuff from it, and add bestiality.
That's right. The whole thing is one big time-space clusterf*ck, where the newbie, Silver comes back in time to prevent Sylar from going nuclear, er, Sonic from unleashing (HO SNAP PUN) some sort of devil monster thing on a small country. Shadow is there to provide the angst and further confuse the situation, and Elise wants to get her yiff on, despite Sonic and the others obviously not having sexual organs. (Seriously fangirls. It's not there, so stop fantasizing.) Oh, and none of this happens. Seriously. It all gets retconned at the end, which makes me wonder why any of it had to happen to begin with.
Gah... Onto a more positive subject, the sound. I honestly believe that, when it comes to the sound, it's the best since at least Sonic Adventure 2. While the acting and script were terrible (Though kudos Pete Capella [Silver] and Mike Pollack [Robotnik] for turning in decent work.), the revamped sound effects and the music were brilliant. While your mileage may vary, I really believe the new sound effects for the springs and speedpads give off a nice feel of speed. The soundtrack is brilliant, and as I said above, the best since at least SA2. Ohtani and Nanba did an incredible job. The vocal tracks are great too, especially Silver's theme, "Dreams of an Absolution", done by the amazing Bentley Jones. (Great musician and a real blast to talk to, but I digress.) It's hard to pick just one stage theme to name as the "Crowning Music of Awesome", but if I had to choose, it be either "Flame Core: The Volcano" or "Aquatic Base: Stage One". Also, the final boss theme is just... Wow.
Now, for the most important part: Gameplay. This is where the real uphill/downhill factor of the game comes in full force. As such, I'm gonna break this up into four separate parts, to represent the different styles of play.
Firstly, Sonic. His gameplay is decent enough if you liked the past few games. Aside from some new abilities, made available by purchasing gems, nothing has really changed with his basics. I do have a problem with how the light dash works, though. It's not as reliable as it was in the past, and if you hit the button just a tiny bit too hard, Sonic will bounce instead of light dash. In the several sections where the light dash is your only way across, this can be unbearably frustrating. My biggest problem, and disappointment, with Sonic's sections are the Mach Speed Zones. After seeing countless videos of these areas, I was expecting them to be loads of fun. Instead, the end result is a needlessly difficult mad-dash where the tiniest little mistake can spell doom. They looked cool, but when you're going through them for a ninth straight time, after having a perfect run through the first parts of the level, the coolness definitely wears off.
Next up, every fangirl's favorite, Shadow. Now, my opinion of Shadow as a character is rather low. Sure, he was cool in SA2, and his fate at the end was touching, and one of the rare good things about that game. But, ever since being brought back in Sonic Heroes, he has been nothing but useless as a character to me. Even with that, though, I still found him as fun to play as. This time around, though... Not only is he completely pathetic as a character, but now his gameplay is broken as well. He's slower, his attacks are pathetically weak, and don't even get me started on the vehicles. I only played as him for about thirty seconds before I couldn't take anymore.
Next, Trunks! No, wait... Hiro! No, that's not right... Silver! There we go. While I admit to being a mark for the character (What can I say? Psychokinetics are always cool in my book. Plus, Bentley Jones does his theme. That makes him instacool.) I can also admit to not expecting too much fun from playing as him. Maybe it was my low expectations, but I honestly find Silver to be the most fun of the three hogs. While he has a couple glaring issues, (Rather slow, and sometimes his psychograb doesn't work as intended.) they really aren't as bad as Sonic's, and nowhere near as bad as Shadsie's. If they do decide to bring him back somehow as a playable character, he'll need a bit of tweaking, but as of right now, he's a decent secondary character.
And speaking of secondary characters... The newly dubbed "Amigo" characters. Oh. My. God. Never in my gaming life have I ever hated switching characters so much. When the game was first release, people were crying over the fact that you couldn't do separate missions as Knuckles and Rouge. Why would you want to?! When Tails is the only character that is even remotely playable in these situations, then you know you have a problem. If you're going to have so many useless characters, AND you're gonna force us to play as em, then dammit at least make sure it isn't mind-numbingly awful! Just another reason why Sega needs to commit a mass character genocide.
Now, onto one last little problem that the fanDUMB has complained about: Loading times. Now, I do tend to agree, but I'd rather term it a little differently. You see, it isn't the actual load times that bug me. They're pretty much the same as most other PS3 games I've played. No. The real issue is the number of load SCREENS. I'm sure most of you have seen the infamous Youtube video where it takes a guy 10 minutes to do a simple 2-3 minute town mission. For something like that, one, maybe two load screens total is all you need, but instead, you get bombarded with em for no reason. Luckily, that only happens in the mostly optional town missions, though.
Anyways, time to channel Springer and give my final thought. While I don't believe that this one is the "OMGZ WURZT GAYM EVAR", I do believe it's the weakest of the series since Sonic Adventure 2. There is a good amount of fun to be had with this, but those moments are few and far between. Add in the atrocious story, and you've got a disappointing effort from the crew at Sega.
A five out of ten.
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 10/27/08
Game Release: Sonic the Hedgehog (US, 01/30/07)
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