by Max Keogh
reviewed on WII
Sonic is back... with the almighty sword
Back in the nineties, Sonic the Hedgehog was one of the biggest and most popular gaming mascots in the world, in a good way. Now, he arguably is still one of the biggest and most popular gaming mascots in the world, in a much less positive way. You see, those beloved Sonic games on the Sega Genesis were treated with some real TLC and because of that, the games found commercial success. Now, Sonic games seem to be treated with a halfhearted attitude from Sega and Sonic Team. Sonic’s most recent outings have resulted in dated, tired gimmicks that Sega bizarrely thinks will increase the longevity of the blue hedgehog.
Both fans and gaming critics have voiced their dismay with these “gimmicky” Sonic titles. One would think that Sega would have learnt that the gimmicks simply do not work anymore. Alas, further ignorance ensues and now Sonic is wielding a sword in Sonic and the Black Knight. Sigh... Okay, enough complaining, on to the review!
The story of Sonic and the Black Knight starts with Sonic being zapped onto an Arthurian hillside. There, Sonic notices that a young sorceress named Merlina is in trouble. A mysterious Black Knight, backed by his minions, has her cornered and is quickly closing in. Sonic comes to Merlina’s aid and, of course, manages to save her. Merlina tells Sonic that the Black Knight is really King Arthur, cursed by an evil scabbard named Excalibur that is placed around his neck. It is up to Sonic and his sacred sword: Caliber to save the kingdom.
Sonic games are known to have stories of little poignancy and this game is no exception. Sonic and the Black Knight’s story has a lighthearted, sweet, and saccharin script and it is told in the tone of a Saturday morning cartoon. It features harmless, if not amusing, cameos of popular Sonic characters such as Shadow and Tails. They all play roles of “King Arthur” characters with, for instance, Tails as the local blacksmith and Shadow as Sir Lancelot.
Is any of this a bad thing? No. The great thing about Sonic and the Black Knight’s story is that the writing is completely comfortable with itself. Not once does the game pretend to be something that it is not. The story and narrative ooze with charm and the banter between Sonic and his sword Caliber is genuinely funny. It feels like two bickering buddies on a big adventure and Sonic’s interaction both with old and new friends in the game is written appropriately, with the fitting sprinkles of Sonic’s famous one-liners. The game smoothly involves most of the Sonic cast into some well-conceived, silly and lovable plot twists to keep the game’s structure flowing well.
Sonic and the Black Knight can’t be played with classic controllers. It requires the controls of the Wii Remote that is used for Sonic’s swordplay and the Nunchuck to control Sonic’s direction. The game features a map detailing the world of King Arthur. On it you can find the various locations that you will visit and each contains a specific quest for Sonic to complete. If you garner four or five stars after completing a quest you will receive new items and equipment that you can either tweak at Tail’s blacksmith shop or equip to help with a particular task. The rich variety of content and mission objectives is impressive. The game always seems to have something different to do and the content is surprisingly consistent. The game even sports a multiplayer mode and Wi-Fi connection that can be used to exchange treasures with fellow players. So far, so good.
No Pros and Cons at this time