A Dimesion Too Far?
At an era now where 3 dimensional games are, and have been for a while the way forward, the time has come to ask the question; is it for the best? Now the obvious answer (and most certainly the correct answer) is simply yes. Unfortunately for some games though the three dimensional take over has caused one or two rather prodigious problems.
Sonic The Hedgehog: The game that was quite frankly one of, if not the biggest gaming successes of the early to mid 90’s. My childhood grew up around the humble 16-bit blue ball of fun, and enhanced my gaming future. The Sega Mega drive was in many means Sonic the Hedgehog. If you owned a genesis and lacked any of the prickly Erinaceinae’s games then you were considered imbecile, foolish and simply befuddled in the mind. It was a game appealing to all ages and in no time at all Sonic became a worldwide icon, a challenger to that well known short, podgy, Italian/American Donkey Kong assassin from the Mushroom Kingdom.
By the release of Sonic & Knuckles Sonic was immeasurable, Sega’s title had conquered the world. During this time 3-D gaming was beginning to take a footing in the gaming industry. While Sonic and his companions were on everyone’s television screens Sega felt obliged to follow the development in technology and produce a sonic masterpiece in the form of Sonic 3-D Blast, unfortunately the result was more of a disaster piece. Okay that is a little acrid of me, the game was passable, certainly tolerable but it is this change in dimension that has ever since been a burden on Sega’s Sonic franchise, with a steady loss in respect with each and every game that continued to reach the shelves.
This brings me to the newest instalment: Sonic Unleashed. Now for anyone who had played the previous instalment of Sonic will know, Sonic the Hedgehog which was released during 2006 for Xbox 360 was simply a shocker, a new low for the hedgehog. The game was supposed to showcase a new level to sonic, a high definition new. To reinvent the Sonic series. The end result was in fact broken. While the game showed an array of next generation colours and shades, with clean, sharp environments the game took a matter a minutes for players too realise this was where the compliments would halt. 20 minutes and boredom struck hard. The game was graphically a glitchy eyesore, with possibly one of the worst cameras within any of the Xbox 360 games, having an unchangeable, inverted mind of its own. Add to this frequent and lengthy loading times and the game threw misery at the once beloved spiky blue hero. A release seemingly putting an end to Sonics career.
Now to release a second instalment after such an appalling, even offensive first may to some seem brave, courageous and resolute but to others may seem barbaric, graceless and uncalled-for. I myself personally being of the latter opinion. Nevertheless Sega threw imprudence to the wind and set of on a course to save and rebuild whatever kudos sonic now had. This being the already mentioned Sonic: Unleashed. Now to set the hedgehog spinning in the right direction I will come out and say Sonic Unleashed is indubitably a much more sophisticated and superior game to the last release. Throw in a more accelerative game speed, more high definition goodness, a whole new dark side to Sonic, and some 2D gameplay and everything is hunky dory right?
Well, no not really. Some of the, in fact all of the were-hog (Sonic’s all new villainous side) stages are painfully arduous. Large stretches of the levels consist of constant banal combat based within the rather callow environments. Indeed the whole game seems very childish. And the one gargantuan factor which proved to be the final hedgehog slayer in the previous instalment had kept loyal and still remains. The once broken camera has now become somewhat mutilated. During awkward angles the camera appears to simply give up and hide behind a building which brings much distress during important parts of the game. While the game is much improved it remains annoying and bland in many places and can only be considered yet another missed opportunity to revive one of gaming’s elite. Will 3D Sonic ever reach the prowess 2D Sonic had? We can live in hope…