on 4 January 2008
I bought this game hoping against hope that it would be good, that all the reviews I had read were wrong. This was a mistake, which I shall not be making again.
Sonic Adventure on Dreamcast was one of my favourite games, and still is. It was one of the games that really got me into gaming. I still play it every now and then; it really is that good.
When I first heard that there was going to be a proper Sonic game coming onto PS3 I was ecstatic - Since Sonic Adventure 2 there hadn't been a good Sonic game, and I needed a new fix of speedy goodness. This game was meant to provide it, with wonderful next-gen graphics.
This game has not provided it, for various reasons (although the graphics are very good indeed, this is probably the only really positive thing about this game).
1)It isn't very fast. For some reason, SEGA seem to have slowed Sonic down. It is so slow that I really thought at the start of the game that there would be some kind of upgrade coming along soonish to speed Sonic back up to his Dreamcast speed. None of the reviews I'd read had mentioned that Sonic was now relatively slow compared to previously, and I still haven't seen one that has brought this up. Well, I am. To be fair, that's not a major gripe, though it is vey annoying: I wanted next-gen speeds to go with the graphics (which are very good actually, but don't compensate for lack of oomph.)
2)The story is poor. it bears no relevance to previous titles in the series and is simply quite atrocious. Again, not a huge deal, but you'd have thought they'd have made an effort with theirfirst next-gen game. Sadly not.
3)The game is chock-full of glitches which are so glaringly obvious you'd have thought any idiot could have irooned them out. Not SEGA unfortunately. There really are some whoppers here. Sometimes, when you're going along, on foot or on a snowboard or however else, one (either after hitting something or not) stops dead still. To be going along (moderately) quickly, and then to suddenly stop, even if there's nothing that is visibly impeding one's progress, is very disconcerting and actually makes you think about just how little effort has been put into making this game. Other notable glitches include a character, for no reason, moving up a slope that they're supposed to be going down, and then it being impossible to turn them around again, hitting against a wall and falling into the scenery, losing a life (it's quite difficult anyway without the added handicap of being swallowed up without a trace for no reason at all)
5)The camera is godawful. This has been a problem in 3D Sonic games since the Dreamcast in 1999. That's eight years! And now the camera is even worse, somehow. It gets stuck very easily and generally conspires against you to make you fall into holes that are impossible to see until you are in them, etc. Not good.
6) To compensate for the general slowness of Sonci in the game, SEGA have put in special "Speed Stages" (I'm not joking, that's what they call them. The whole damn game should be a bloody speed stage. Sounds like "free speech zone", it's ridiculous). In these "Speed Stages", you can't stop or go faster or slower, do any of the moves you can normally do, and the sad irony is that it's not even that "Speed"-y. No more that you'd be expecting for the game as a whole.
7)Gameplay is generally OK, but not as good as in previous incarnations - obviously the whole thing's vastly slower (in previous games, other characters were almost as fast as Sonic himself, in this, Sonic's not fast and the rest are just slow). They kept the horrible vehicles form Shadow the Hedgehog, which are just unnecessary and really aren't fun to drive at all, and to add insult to injury Shadow now moves with a horrid waddling motion which is irritating to look at and, as mentioned above, isn't fast.
Tails has a little girl's voice - I don't know if it's the same in the Japanese voices, but the English one is the wrong gender and age. It sounds stupid. (Also, there's no lip-synching. This is supposed t be NEXT-GEN,the least they could do is taking the effort to lip-synch it for the English release. Anyway, Tails controls badly, can no longer hover and has lost the ability to do a normal attack as previously. What this has been replaced with is frankly a joke and I cn't quite bring myself to discuss it here. Rest assured, it's awful. All the other characters have their good points, but most are flawed in irritating ways that taint the gamelay. Some bits are so glitchy as to be virtually unplayable, for example, thre is a snowboarding section that is actually beyond my power to describe it, it really is that abysmal.
8) This may just be my copy, but pre-rendered cut-scenes judder and have slow-down (somehow) if anything is happening much. It sucks, but I'm guessinhg this may just be mine as I've seen it running fine elsewhere. Whatever, it's annoying.
9) Some bits just aren't well thought out at all. For example, loading screens are very numerous and often the game will, when one has decided to do a challenge within the game world, the game will spend twnety seconds loading, then maybe a line or two is said, then it loads for twenty seconds again. I knew about this before I got it, so it didn't get me annoyed to start with, but now, it gets me seething whenever it happens. They should have thought it through better.
10) Often, much of a level will simply consist of pressing forward on the analogue stick and not actually interacting very much. the majority of the game is either on a fixed, narrow track or on a rail, and in many areas, it's possible to just sit back and watch the game play itself, which actually isn't that fun.
To sum up, this game, while having some good points, fails in most categories to delier, and disappoints far more than it enthrals. To those new to SOnic, I'd say, if you're interested, get Sonic Adventure or Sonic Adventure 2 and a Dreamcast. This is not only cheaper, but you will be playing a much better game. To fans of the series, sorry guys, this is another stinker, I'd advise you not to buy it. This is dross, SEGA needs a kick up the backside for expecting us to go out and buy this crap.
To be honest, this game probably deserves 2 stars overall, but it isn't just any new game, it's a Sonic game by one of the best developers on the planet, and they've spewed out THIS. So it only gets 1 star.