Wednesday 27 November 2013

Sonic: Lost World

Hands up if you were a gamer in the days of the Megadrive/Genesis. 

Back then the sheer idea of a new Sonic game literally set the gaming world on fire. Much like the on-going console war between Xbox and Playstation, back in the 90's it was Nintendo and Sega that were the top dogs, with Mario and Sonic being their trusty mascots. Granted, without the Internet the console wars of the mid-90's weren't as... colourful in terms of language used by fans/haters, but it was pretty much the same deal. Back then Sonic brought in the customers and the promise of a new Sonic game could sell a console, but over the years something changed. Sonic changed. Since he moved into the realm of 3D there were problems, massive problems. These problems are still prevalent in Sonic: Lost World. You’d think Sonic Team would have learned what NOT to do by now, right? They haven't.

Sonic: Lost World continues the classic rivalry between Sonic and Dr. Eggman, the rotund moustached nemesis of everyone’s favourite blue hedgehog. After Dr. Eggman kidnaps some of Sonic's friends, Sonic and Tails go on their usual mission to defeat him, but all doesn't go to plan. After crash landing on the mysterious world known as Lost Hex, Sonic quickly foils Dr. Eggman’s master plan of having the Deadly Six, a dangerous bunch of bad guys from the Zeti race, under his command. However, with the dangerous Deadly Six no longer under the rule of Dr. Eggman, Sonic and his ultimate foe need to work together to not only protect the fate of Lost Hex, but also of Earth.

There are two types of levels; fully 3D ones that try to crack the elusive 3D Sonic problem, and levels that, while 3D, are played on a 2D plane and feel quite similar to the classic Sonic titles of old. The game-play in the 3D levels is unlike anything in the series so far, and is quite reminiscent of Mario Galaxy in its level design, which has a very spherical and wrap around layout. Granted this type of level design was first proposed when developing the ill-fated Sonic X-treme back in the 90s, but Mario Galaxy was undoubtedly a massive influence here. 

The problems arrive when the action gets too fast, which seems to be the case whenever Sonic is presented in 3D. Once the action picks up it just starts to fall apart, and the player will see the Game Over screen far more times then they can handle. With that said, there is fun to be had here, but you better have patience when trying to find that fun. It's different, sure, and while I can applaud that, it just doesn't work. The 2D levels are a bit of a tease too, but even still they just smack of Sega trying to play it safe. I don't blame them though, as these sections of the game are its saving grace from being a complete stinker.

Sonic: Lost World is yet another attempt at making nice with disgruntled long time Sonic fans. Since Sonic’s departure from 2D, Sega have done their best at cracking a 3D Sonic game. Whereas Nintendo could easily transition the simple plaforming game-play of Mario into 3D, doing the same for the speedy blue hedgehog was not so simple. With every 3D Sonic game so far, game-play has almost entirely been shattered by the one thing that defines the series - speed, and that's a huge problem. Sonic: Lost World is no exception. It's a failed attempt at something that will probably never work. 

Sonic: Lost World lags behind with a 4/10

Denis Murphy

Sonic: Lost World at CeX

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