by Daniel Allison
previewed on PS3
Pieces Simply Fit (ctnd)
Part of the soundtrack was released for fans to listen to and it holds up to what Sonic is all about. It retains its sense of speed; sense of excitement and I imagine it will fit in perfectly with the full game. It just feels like Sonic; particularly Green Hill Zone.
Both the enemy and level design seems to be top notch as well. Once again, it fits in very well with the previous Sonic games. Most of the enemies revealed so far are simply returning but the few that are new definitely look the part. Fans will be happy to know that most of the levels look very familiar to the classics. In fact, Splash Hill Zone might as well just be Green Hill Zone HD but that isn’t really a bad thing. This is supposed to be a classic branding of Sonic and making it similar to the previous games is important but it can’t be taken too far.
Evolution of a Franchise
It does seem like Sega is keeping quiet about this and not trying to create an overwhelming amount of hype which will hopefully work in their favour. Of course, with a franchise important as Sonic, it’s essential they reveal something that will convince fans to buy it. There is a problem with this though. To please the hardcore fans, it needs to look exactly like classic Sonic but doing this would mean there would be no evolution in the series.
Sonic will have all of his classic attacks but he will also be able to use the homing jump attack which wasn’t introduced until the more recent games. To me this seems like a reasonable addition as it helps the series move forward but the black sheep of the Sonic fan base may oppose the newly implemented attack simply because it wasn’t in the original games. Additions like this are essential to ensure that it doesn’t just end up as a remake of the original.
They need to advance the series, that’s obvious but they also have a fan base hanging on a very lose thread. They’ve suffered many a disappointment and they may not stick around to see if Sega get it right next time so Sonic 4 needs to deliver. Care must be taken while changing a classic such as Sonic. It is important that changes are made but over-doing it could alienate the core fan-base; they know that taking too many risks isn’t a good idea.
Sonic’s Last Hope
I do have confidence in Sega though. Over the years they’ve had plenty of spin-offs with no direct sequel to the series. They must have a reason for finally making this direct sequel after 16 years of waiting. Surely, this suggests that they have confidence in the product which is, of course, a good thing. If they are wrong, however, well it’s bad news for the series as a whole. Bad spin-offs are fine, annoying and disappointing too, but at least fans have the knowledge that the main entries have been unaffected by the dip in quality.
In other terms, regardless of what Sega do with the 3D games, the 2D games still exist in all their glory. But, just imagine, Sega do make a mess of Sonic 4. Fans are going to be annoyed, very annoyed. Honestly, if this game fails, then the Sonic series may as well just rest in peace. Let’s just hope they get things right – it looks that way but we’ve all said that before.