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Sonic and the Secret Rings - WII - Preview

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Posted by: jkdmedia

E3 2006 Hands On Preview

Sega’s announcement to bring the next-gen Sonic to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 left many wondering where the Wii fit into their game plan. Sonic Adventure was a perfect fit for GameCube. Sonic Rush is one of the best action/adventures ever made, and it was created specifically for the Nintendo DS. Why then would Sega not bring their newest Sonic title to Nintendo’s newest platform?

We got the answer on May 9th during Nintendo’s E3 press conference. It was there that they unveiled another new Sonic game, one that was created exclusively for Nintendo Wii: Sonic Wild Fire.

The difference between Sonic on Wii and Sonic on 360/PS3 is that those are the next installment in a new series that’s based on the Sonic Adventure gameplay theme. Sonic Wild Fire scraps the adventuring in favor of speed. From start to finish, Sonic is running (the exception being one brief area where he had to carefully walk across the ledge of a structure). He can stop – you may slow him down. But the goal is to fly through the environment – a beautifully sculpted, next-gen-quality environment – as quickly as possible.

The Wii Difference

Whereas other Sonic games are controlled with the left analog stick (and before that, the D-pad), Sonic Wild Fire does not use the analog attachment. All you use is the Wii remote…turned sideways!

You hold the remote sideways and tilt it left and right to make Sonic move in those directions. At first it seems pretty generic – only one degree of movement each way. Once the game starts, the full control scheme kicks in, and the Wii remote becomes ultra-sensitive.

Prior to starting the game, the Nintendo rep told me to hold the remote as flat as possible. I tried, but inevitably screwed up from time to time. That didn’t seem to matter. Sonic didn’t falter for any reason other than my lack of Wii gaming skills. It was a new challenge trying to balance how softly or harshly I should tilt the remote, and how soon.

Add to that the element of frantically shaking the controller and you’ve got a bit of a learning curve for a level that doesn’t take more than eight minutes to complete.

The purpose of shaking the controller is to make Sonic speed up while flying through the air. Despite being a different kind of Sonic title, the blue hedgehog can still jump just like the old days. Press the A button to do so, but be warned: his speedy actions and sudden booby-traps might prevent the jump from being completed. In fact, jumping at the wrong time could send you slamming into a wall, slow Sonic down for a couple of seconds. I would imagine that doing that in the final version could cause some serious damage to the score, Sonic’s health, and possibly lead to him failing the mission.

Though the level was not as complex as the levels in other Sonic titles, the control style, super-fast frame rate, and impeccable speed make Sonic Wild Fire a contender for best new Sonic title. It has a lot of competition with Sonic Rush for PSP and the untitled Sonic title coming to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Based on this demo, it’s clear Wild Fire has what it takes to compete.
 

For All E3 2006 Previews

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