Thursday, October 14, 2010

Game Review | Sonic 4

After much waiting, I finally downloaded Sonic 4: Episode 1 from Nintendo's WiiWare on Monday. I had been looking forward to this moment for quite some time and I honestly was not unimpressed. The game has the same side-scrolling charm. The enemies look quite similar to their classic counterparts, but they have been updated with better rendering. Even the rings are looking shiny and new. For the full review, please hit the jump.

The best part of the game is being able to replay the stages you have been to before. I used to enjoy some of the levels in Sonic 2 and it was sad when you completed it unable to return again. These newer levels are much more dynamic than the older ones. You can go in so many directions that it's almost more interesting to explore than to beat the level. The item boxes are still around (I used to think of them as televisions when I was younger), so you can grab invincibility, shields, speed shoes and more. The Special Stages are fun and much easier to get into than they were in Sonic 3—finding those rings was so annoying. With the ability to replay levels, you can easily snag a chance to try for an emerald (that's nice but a bit too convenient).

However, with the good often comes the bad. While this new Sonic is new and wonderful and filled with nostalgia and charm, it also is a bit easy. I've only gone through the first Act and boss battle, but it seems like the Sonic Team was afraid of letting players die. First of all, there is this targeting ability. If it is active—indicated by a red, flashing target—you can press the 2 button and automatically zoom onto whatever it is. This could destroy an enemy or attract you to a bumper of some sort. Either way, it makes it simpler to get through the level quickly. Secondly, the only challenging enemy in the game thus far is the chameleon that manages to rob you of your coins by suddenly appearing and shooting a ball of fire at you. 

In terms of music, it is similar to older Sonic offerings. It gets you through the game and is appropriate really. The graphics are nice, but they don't really match up. In some ways, the background graphics don't seem as fresh as Sonic or the rings that you gather. The invincibility stars could have been handled better as well. However, you don't lose yourself in the game, so that's a plus.

So, I know that you want the skinny. Should you get this game? Well, if you are an avid gamer and a Sonic fan, why not? If you are not as passionate, it's probably not worth the $15. This is episode one, so you can expect future Sonic games, so if you want a series of games that don't require much of a time investment, this might be perfect for you. In other words, I would suggest that you only buy this game if you enjoy the series or you are a casual gamer. Otherwise, I'm not sure it's worth the money.

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