I'm in the minority of the Sonic the Hedgehog fanbase. I can see that. While the majority of players have lauded the series for its latest entries -- Colors
-- I find myself looking back at Unleashed
and saying, "What happened to that?"
Whereas I look to Sonic games for a single path of unlimited speed with little to no breaks in the momentum, games like Colors
have been doing the opposite by offering multiple paths that branch off before I have time to react and countless platforming sections that slow Sonic down to a molasses-esque crawl. This, sadly, seems the direction Sonic is going to be taking from now on as this, clearly, is what most of the rest of the fandom want from the guy.
Of course, this brings us up to Sonic's latest outing, Lost World
. One of the first things I'd heard about Lost World
that sort of put off my appetite for the game was that Sonic's default speed had been knocked down to little more than a leisurely jog, and to get him to go his previously-usual speed, you'd have to hold down a button. Now, that wasn't really all that off-putting for me. Surely, I thought, I can just hold down that button and be on my merry way.
Not surprisingly though, along with Sonic, the entire pace of the game has slowed down drastically. I've watched a few user reviews, a let's play of the first zone and many other videos covering the game, and let's just say I'm not impressed. Seems from everything I've seen, the game has taken the gimmicks of Colors
to the illogical extreme, as gameplay is focused no longer on speed but on platforming.
I understand that platforming is what the classic Sonic the Hedgehog games were about. I understand that's what the majority of the fandom expects from SEGA, and I understand that's exactly what they've given them. This still does not mean that I agree with them, nor does it mean I intend to give Lost World
a try. I simply don't.
Let's go back to Unleashed
for a second. Unleashed
is -- and if current trends are anything to go by, will probably always be -- my favorite Sonic the Hedgehog game. Despite its major flaws (and there are some big ones), I love it for what it is, and newer games like Colors
can't even come close to how much fun I think it is. Why? See bit above covering what I look to a Sonic game for. Unleashed
was a game that was focused only on one thing -- getting Sonic to the end of a level as fast as possible. Unlike later entries in the series, there's little to no branching paths or platforming sections that would dare turn an otherwise super-sonic hedgehog into a jar of molasses. I challenge you to pick one act -- just one -- from Unleashed
and find any of those things. Sure, you'll find one or two, but they're very few and far between. With Unleashed
, it seems the developers wanted to see how fast they could make Sonic go and how long they could let him keep it up, and in my mind they succeeded. Now, whether or not the fandom majority wanted that and whether Unleashed
is without flaw is another discussion entirely.
Even in the classic games, though -- thinking back on it... When I was just a dorky, scrawny five-year-old kid with a SEGA Genesis controller in my hand and Sonic 2
on the screen, my goal was never finding the best alternate path or figuring out how to get through a handful of platforming puzzles; my one concern -- as it is today -- was getting to the end of the level and bashing up Ro-butt
-nick's mech as quickly as possible. Point being speed is something I've always wanted out of Sonic, and Unleashed
was one of few games that actually gave it to me.Lost World
, on the other hand, has decided to chuck that out the window in favor of more platforming, more puzzling, and more crawling along at a pace that even snails and turtles would laugh at. It doesn't want to be fast; it only will if and when it "has to."
Before making my final argument, allow me to mention that among the previously-mentioned videos I've watched on the game, one was a collection of all the cutscenes that would usually interrupt gameplay. And, personally, I feel this and the previously-mentioned user reviews and first-zone let's play are all the experience I need to have with the game. Since the dissatisfying gamplay style has been covered already, I'm going to use this opportunity to instead cover the writing and characters.
Now, Since he started speaking in CD, Sonic has been presented as a brash, cocky snarker. If there's one thing he enjoys more than running, it's throwing up one-liners at his enemies before a battle. That character persists in Lost World
, but now Sonic seems to be more... mean-spirited. His insults come out of left-field and are more often than not uncalled for and unfunny; he even hits Tails -- his best buddy since Sonic 2
-- with bits of this new, mean-spirited attitude, and he just all around comes off as a kid trying to pick a fight rather than "Just a guy who loves adventure" (Sonic, Sonic Adventure 2
). This is a departure from how I've come to know Sonic, and frankly, I don't like it.
Despite all that bashing, I'm sure Lost World
is a good game for someone who wants a new Sonic platformer. Despite the character flaws (not the type that make a character good, but rather poor writing), I actually found the story to be a pretty good one, and there was one scene -- at least -- where they portrayed Sonic correctly. As for gameplay, I certainly don't care for it, but like I said, I'm in the minority here. If you're one of the many Sonic fans who want more platformer and less speed, go ahead and give Lost World
a try. Maybe you'll find it quite enjoyable. Maybe you'll find you disagree with my stance on the game, and that's okay. We all have our opinions, and if we all liked the same things, variety packs would be a stupid idea for potato chip companies.
So, to sum up in a tl;dr fashion: I don't like platforming in my Sonic games. I'd rather have another Unleashed, but that's just my opinion.
For those of you that made it this far, thanks for bearing with me, and here's a Sonic/Rainbow Dash race for your trouble -- courtesy of *AdamRBi