Sonic The Hedgehog
I am a huge fan of Sonic the Hedgehog. The series has made quite a few breakthroughs in gaming; yet, has really gone downhill the last few years. Today, I am going to analyze what went wrong and how they can correct their course.
The first 2D Sonic games were amazing. Before this, nobody even imagined creating a game based off of speed, due to the limitations of computers. Sonic Team found a way, and made an awesome game in the process. They also made a very successful transition into 3D. The Sonic Adventure series on the Dreamcast console is one of my favorite sets of games of all time. The gameplay was pretty smooth and the story was interesting. I even enjoyed playing as other characters. While they weren’t as fast as Sonic, they maintained an element of speed that kept their roles interesting.
Things started getting bad once Sonic Heroes came out. This blunder in the series can be attributed to one element: creativity. Originally, Sonic was marketed as a punk hedgehog who only wanted to go fast. What added to this image was his sense of justice, but even that element was minor in his overall character. These traits reversed in ‘Heroes.’ I don’t know what Sonic Team was thinking, but Sonic lost his attitude and became a cutesy hero. The only difference in the team I can find is that the voice actors all changed. There was some contract with the American version of the Sonic anime that forces all of the old voice actors out of a job. Perhaps this has something to do with the changes.
I can’t review Shadow the Hedgehog because I haven’t played it, but what really made me angry was the new Sonic the Hedgehog. Let this be a perfect example that naming a catastrophe after something spectacular does not change the fact that it is still a catastrophe. In addition to missing on Sonic’s character, the gameplay just sucks. Sonic Team was trying to make the game more realistic for some reason and completely destroyed the flow. Everything just feels awkward and slow. The game was rushed out of production; so many gameplay elements were missing. It’s fun to read through the manual and see what isn’t in the game. How they managed to forget to put shield orbs in the game still eludes me. Also, there are way too many loading screens in this game. There should not be separate loading screens for words to appear over a character, the level itself, and then for that character to “say” something again. We are on the 7th generation of consoles for crying out loud! So, not only is the gameplay slower, but the entire game is slower.
I can’t believe what has happened to Sonic over the years. If Sonic Team would just go back to Sonic Adventure 2 and work from there, everything would be fine. Bring back the old voice actors, darken the stories, make Sonic cool again, and make the mechanics like a video game (the way it should be). Maybe, just maybe, Sonic can make a comeback.