Sonic The Hedgehog - 360 - Review

It feels oh-so long ago when Sonic first made his debut on Sega’s own console with Sonic the Hedgehog and quickly our little blue friend rolled right into our hearts. I mean, who didn’t love his brand of platform gaming action? Now Sonic Team is looking to the future of gaming and that’s a good thing but so far its offering for the next-generation isn’t quite stellar. Coming from the lukewarm reception of Shadow for the original Xbox, Sonic Team now sets its sights on reinventing the classic for the Xbox 360. Sonic the Hedgehog is a new twist on the classic but somehow this one fails to capture the addictive nature of the classic original.

 

Once again, that nasty Dr. Eggman is up to no good and he has set his sights on the young Princess Elise, ruler of the peaceful city of water called Soleanna. On the night of their Sun Festival, the evil Doctor abducts the Princess to set in motion a secret plan to destroy the city. Thankfully, Sonic answers Soleanna’s call for help and arrives in time to meet a new ally named Silver who tells Sonic that the blue hedgehog is really Iblis Trigger … a hero of old. The mystery behind the Princess’ abduction and what is the Flames of Disasters? Together with Silver and a collection of familiar friends, Sonic sets out to save Princess Elise and the fair city of Soleanna.

Sonic the Hedgehog’s single-player game is composed of Episode Mode and their two distinct areas. Town Stage, for example, allows you to freely explore Soleanna and talk to its town people. Aside from RPG-styled conversations of the long-winded variety, certain town folk will offer mini-quests and many others will offer juicy bits of information to help you along on your quest. Then there’s Action Stage where you set out to complete objective-based missions to advance the story. The Action Stage mode contains a number of Acts as well as Boss Stages where you face off against level bosses. There’s even a Trial select mode that allows you to replay a certain stage, often allowing you to switch between characters.

 

The Action Stages are ripe with all the familiar Sonic basics like rings and medals to collect, springboards, dash panels and even some power-ups. You can even upgrade Sonic’s skills via a shop in town such as your familiar sliding attack, bound jump or even your light dash. These upgrades do come in handy, especially in the super-speed stages where Sonic zips through the stage in lighting fast speeds. Sonic isn’t the only character you get to play in this game. Making his debut is Silver, a mysterious hedgehog with telekinetic powers. Silver levitates and use psychokinesis to lift objects with his mind and send them flying. Then there’s Shadow, only this time he trades in his guns for vehicles like his motorcycle. There are other supporting characters as well but I won’t spoil the surprise by revealing who they are and the role they play in the game.

Sadly, Sonic the Hedgehog is a flawed game that doesn’t even come close to touching the addictive nature and excitement of the original classic. You will die a lot in this game but it’s not due to the level design or the difficulty setting but rather due to the awful camera. Oftentimes the camera doesn’t reveal a dangerous cliff or where a platform ends. Secondly, the controls are a bit unresponsive at times and a bit awkward, especially when Sonic is sliding. These glaring flaws are inexcusable and make the game frustrating to play.

At least the game’s visuals are decent and as you’ll see from the introduction this game’s character models will not fail to impress. Sonic, Tails, Shadow and Silver look good during the game’s action or during cutscenes and even the human characters, like Princess Elise, look good. The visual effects are also pretty decent, and the game is good at displaying a sense of speed when Sonic moves thanks to the cool motion blur. The environments, however, don’t look very next-gen. In fact, the environments often feel like Ok original Xbox visuals.

 

The sound also lacks some punch, although the game’s score is not bad at all despite being on the repetitive side. The sound effects are familiar Sonic effects throughout the game so just about the only thing that stands out is the sound of Shadow’s motorcycle as well as the engine sounds that come out of the other vehicles. Actress Lacey Chabert (of “Party of Five” and “Mean Girls” fame) is just about the only celebrity voice and brings life to Princess Elise. The rest of the voices are handled well enough.

Sonic the Hedgehog for the Xbox 360 lacks many of the elements that would have made this a good next-generation platform game. Thanks to the awful controls, poor camera and the occasionally uninventive level design, this game just doesn’t contain enough platform gaming goodness to keep longtime fans wanting to keep playing this game for very long. Even the involvement of Tails, Shadow and Silver can’t save this game. Sorry but this is a game you’ll want to skip altogether.

Review Scoring Details for Sonic the Hedgehog

Gameplay: 4.0
Plagued with camera and control problems, this Sonic just doesn’t feel like the classic platformer and even with multiple character types and a hub world you can explore, this game just isn’t as fun as it could have been. 

Graphics: 7.0
Sonic and his friends look great on the Xbox 360 and the way they move is a real joy to watch. Sadly, the environments just don’t look as great as they should have looked on the next-generation console. Still, it’s cool to see Sonic interacting with human characters.

Sound: 6.5
The music can be a bit repetitive but at least it isn’t completely bad. Meanwhile, the sound effects aren’t anything we haven’t heard before. At least the voice acting is pretty good.

Difficulty: Medium
This is certainly a challenging game and you’ll die a lot but not because of the level design but rather due to the bad controls and camera that obscures your line of sight. The later levels do show some promising level design and some boss battles can offer a challenge.

Concept: 5.0
Shadow, Tails and Silver are great additions that offer some variety to the gameplay and the hub world of Soleanna is a nice touch. The story isn’t good and while there is a co-op multiplayer mode, you won’t be sharing this game with a friend.

Multiplayer: 4.0
The game includes a two-player co-op called Tag Mode and a split-screen competition mode called Battle Mode that’s so-so.

Overall: 4.5
Sadly, Sonic the Hedgehog doesn’t make a great debut on the Xbox 360 and its problems really make this a platform game that falls short on so many levels. Even dedicated fans of the blue hedgehog will long for the classic controls that made this platform game such a joy to play. Hopefully next time Sega will bring us a Sonic game worthy of the next-generation.

Below Average

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