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Friday, January 3, 2014

Sonic Lost World Review

I'm sorry to say this, but Sonic the Hedgehog isn't quite what it used to be. Back in its prime it rivaled Mario. Today things are a bit different. Generations was the 20th anniversary game for the series, yet it didn't sell as well as it should have. That was in 2011. Some thought that was it, because the series laid dormant for awhile. You see, in 2010 SEGA kind of rebooted the series for a new generation (i.e. young kids.) with Sonic Colors. In my day, the games had deep storylines with compelling characters and even some mature themes. SEGA had changed all of that starting with Colors. Lost World continues that trend, but it does try to be a more cutscene-driven and story-based game than Colors and Generations. It's the first Sonic game in two years and the first one for the Wii U. It isn't bad, but not particularly amazing either.

The story follows Sonic and Tails who are en route to stopping Eggman. Soon the heroes run into the Deadly Six, which Eggman controls due to a special conch. Led by Zavok, the Deadly Six manage to escape Eggman's control due to Sonic indirectly helping them. With them now taking charge, Sonic will have to team-up with his longtime nemesis to stop these guys. On paper the story doesn't sound too bad. Execution wise however, you can see SEGA is really aiming for that younger audience.

A lot of the hype placed on the game was the Deadly Six. The only particularly interesting one is Zavok, the rest are stereotypical villains you would find on an average Nickelodeon show. We have the girly girl who cares nothing about other than her nails, (because the writing can't think of anything better) the generic strong but dumb one, and a zany but falls flat crazy one. There's also Zor, who parodies...depression? Seriously, this guy's lines were painful to listen to, not to mention that there are people that actually do feel like that. The writing could have been interesting, but his dialogue doesn't go anywhere.

Zavok is the only one with good dialogue, a cool design, and is an actual threat. There's also Master Zik. He isn't bad, but despite being the master, he loses in 1 2 3 to Sonic and is never seen again. Sadly, after you defeat Zavok, the Deadly Six are thrown to the side in favor of Eggman being the final boss. For so much hype, the Deadly Six won't be leaving a lasting impression. Eggman himself has sunk to Team Rocket level, which is a disappointment. Love it or hate it, the 2006 game made Eggman a legitimate threat. Lost World has gone backward with that. Sonic isn't too bad, but noticeably less smart than his pre-Colors days. Like Spongebob, he gas seemingly gotten younger instead of maturing. At least Amy Rose had some decent lines, it was nice to see her acting serious and not the I'm-in-love-with-Sonic persona.

I've been talking a lot about the story, but the core of mostly any Sonic game is the gameplay. It's interesting because it tries to balance fast 3D gameplay with classic 2D sidescrolling. It's not bad, and I do like Sonic's new 3D running animation. Unfortunately, in making these levels challenging, the word 'fun' has been lost. Some of these levels are very challenging, but aren't particularly fun. Some go on for way too long and having to start over again is more infuriating than enjoying the challenge. There is a nice amount of levels and if you're a completionist, collecting the red coins will prove adventurous. The boss fights are alright. The final one wasn't the best, but not bad either. The soundtrack seems to be mimicking the original games. It isn't too memorable, but it blends in with the stages beautifully. Unlike Generations, there is a two-player mode. Sadly, like Colors, the second player controls a different-colored Sonic. It's just lazy.

Overall, Lost World doesn't quite rank in the top 5 and I would even go as far to say top 10 Sonic games. There is a story with quite a few cutscenes. The problem is that it's just too light and the writing is aimed at a very young audience. It's like SEGA forgot the people that grew up with Adventure 2 and up. The game is very challenging, one of the most challenging Sonic games. It's sometimes more infuriating than fun though. After you beat the game, you unlock the Hidden Worlds. Sadly you don't get anything for beating them. (I was expecting SOMETHING after facing the trials and tribulations of Hidden Zone 4.) Lost World isn't the best, but it's still definitely a solid Sonic game nonetheless. (And definitely download the Yoshi's Island DLC Zone, it's awesome!)


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