Up Up Down Down: Sonic Lost World
It's no secret that Sonic the Hedgehog games haven't been able to find their footing over the course of the last several years. Despite essentially being Sega's baby, the blue mascot's high-speed escapades have delivered fluctuating results, with some folks truly enjoying a lot of the games, and others being utterly disappointed by them. I can go on about Mario fatigue all I want, but the fact remains that at the very least, Mario's adventures are consistently revered by the majority of players. So where does Sonic Lost World, Sega's latest release, fall?
Here's the thing: I actually enjoy most Sonic games. I never played the the widely despised Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 or Sonic and the Black Knight, so I can't comment on those. Still, as far as the more recent Sonic and the Secret Rings, Sonic Colors, and Sonic Generations are concerned, I genuinely had a great time with those offerings, and Colors is easily one of my favorite Wii games. Lost World is no Colors, and it's no Generations, but you know what? I like it! So let's take a look at what Sega and Sonic Team did right, and what they could've done better.
Up Up: A beautiful collection of worlds to visit
Make no mistake about it, Lost World is an absolutely gorgeous game to behold. Sega has actually managed to stay consistent with the luster of the Sonic games as far as graphics are concerned. Colors looked extremely great on the Wii, and Generations utilized bold colors and smoothness. Sonic's latest romp looks mesmerizing, and it's great to see the Wii U's HD capabilities being equipped properly. Bright lighting, an explosion of color, and wonderful art make up the many worlds that you can visit and run through.
Down Down: Too many cutscenes (What is this, a Saturday morning CG show?!)
I expected the opening cutscene in Lost World. If you've played any of the more recent Sonic games, you're aware that Sega likes to draw out its cheesy dialogue and uninteresting storylines. That said, do there have to be so many freakin' cutscenes?! Seriously, there's no need for this level of cumbersome storytelling. All I wanted to do was go from one level to the next and experience the magic of each stage, but it seemed that whenever I would get totally into the experience, a cutscene would break my immersion. Not cool.
Up Up: A different kind of Sonic game
This isn't your typical Sonic experience. While most of the blue blur's adventures are frantic, frenetic, high-speed affairs, Lost World takes a risk and slows things down at times. It's actually kind of commendable that Sega and Sonic Team went in a slightly different direction, and this time around, you're encouraged to explore more than ever before. The rotating worlds are highly reminiscent of Super Mario Galaxy, and just like the Italian plumber's space-stastic romps, you're often compelled to stop and enjoy the bold lands and discover the many secrets and rewards they have to offer.
Down Down: Not quite Sonic Galaxy
Unfortunately, not everyone will take too kindly to the overall lack of speed and new gameplay style in Lost World. While there are plenty of sequences that are joyously fast-paced, the insane sense of speed that was so prominent in Colors, Generations, and the old school 2D Sonic games is pretty much absent here. As previously mentioned, if you're into taking in your surroundings, that won't be too much of a problem. Even then, however, the game never truly reinforces the idea of exploring like Mario Galaxy did, so the mystique and wonder seen in those games isn't apparent here.
Up Up: This is essentially what Sonic X-treme would've been (Well, kind of)
People often look at Sonic X-treme as Sega's lost treasure that could've been a blessed gem. Well, that game never came to fruition, but now we have Lost World. This game is clearly influenced by that scrapped retro project, and it turned out quite well. Mario Galaxy references notwithstanding, it's instantly noticeable to most Sonic fans that Lost World is a successor of sorts to the original X-treme concept. It's nearly two decades late, but hey, at least it's a thing now, right? And honestly, it's a pretty darn good thing.
Down Down: Sonic X-treme was probably never going to blow your mind
Time for a reality check: X-treme was never going to be an amazing game. Admittedly, the prototype videos blew my mind, and they still tug at my nostalgic heartstrings when I randomly watch them, but I can't let my Sonic fandom blind me to the fact that X-treme just didn't look all that great. The game seemed to run on the same engine as Sonic 3D Blast, a generally bad game that was sluggish and slippery to a fault. So yeah, X-treme was most likely never going to be good, but thankfully, Lost World is, and I'd argue that it's better than Sega's unreleased project would've been.
Left Right Left Right: Sonic Lost World is something different, for better or worse
The weird thing about Sonic games is that that the vast majority of opinions are too mixed to offer the easiest insight to follow. Lost World is yet another polarizing entry in Sega's long list of blue critter-themed platformers to warrant opposing views. I mean, GameZone reviewer Mike Splechta was largely underwhelmed by the experience, as evidenced in his review, while I genuinely had a blast playing. Ultimately, it's up to you to decide if Lost World is a solid outing or a failed attempt. One thing's certain: Sonic's latest quest is a vast departure from his previous capers, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.
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