Sonic’s 23rd birthday is today so in celebration let’s look at what Sega has done right for this iconic franchise over the last couple years.
Sonic has had some major hits to his reputation in previous generations. Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 were regarded as the last great Sonic games before his fall with Sonic Heroes and onward (though I have to admit that I actually liked Sonic Heroes). It was a rough going to the Blue Blur, Sonic ’06 and Unleashed had many gamers grimace about gameplay issues and terrible plots. During this time the only truly good Sonic game was an under the radar RPG Called Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, which was made by Bioware and not Sega and was released on the DS.
Enter Sonic Colors. This game fixed everything that Sega was doing wrong with Sonic. Like the more recent Mario games, Sonic Colors plays in both 3D and 2D with smooth camera transitions and clean controls. The plot was not an overly dramatic fiasco, no irritating new characters were introduced, and most importantly, the game was a blast to play. Sonic Colors brought Sonic back to his roots in the best way while still retaining the new ideas brought on from Sonic ’06 and Unleashed.
Sonic 4 was released in two episodes and once again was a great return to Sonic’s roots. This game was done completely in 2D with 3D rendering and uses all the tropes found in classic Sega games. Though the first episode felt a little but slow and introduced some frustrating puzzles that took the player away from the fast paced feel of the rest of the game, it was still a great experience that lacked all the problems of recent Sonic games such as glitching or an overwrought story. In fact, the story for this game is practically non-existant. Eggman is up to no good, go stop him. Thats it. No cutscenes aside from a brief ending one, no dialog, just Sonic and loop-de-loops. Pure joy.
Sonic Generations was also a fantastic title. The game is played half in retro 2D (as Classic Sonic) and half in the hybrid style we have seen from Colors that integrates both schools of platforming while playing as Sonic’s current incarnation. The plot was funny and light, the game itself didn’t take itself too seriously, and there were plenty of easter eggs and nods to side games that hardcore fans of the series will appreciate. The boss battles were also seriously fun and included many iconic enemies from previous games. Sonic Generations was easily the best game they had made since Sonic Adventure 2.
Sonic and the Lost world has also gotten fairly positive reviews and shows that Sonic is continuing to keep the right pace for his long-standing franchise. The game introduces a cast of new, colorful rivals called the Deadly Six that plague Sonic through his adventure. These enemies are actually funny in their own weird, wacky ways. The game also brings back the Wisp power ups from Sonic Colors, taking a nod from that game’s success, while also feeling a little at times like a Mario Galaxy game which is in no way a bad thing.
Sonic’s next game has its own tie in show in Sonic Boom, which features some redesigns series cast. While many fans are not too excited about the redesigns, I’m not so picky. Characters in franchises need to grow and develop or else the series gets stale. If that means Sonic gets a bandanna, thats fine by me. We will just have to wait and see how the game fairs, but I am excited to see what Sega has in store for its mascot and its faithful fans.
Happy 23rd Birthday Sonic, and heres wishing that you keep those red shoes on the right track. Finally, here is a little video Sega released for the occasion, and check back again for game news, editorials, and reviews here at APG!