Sonic Boom Rise of Lyric Review

Posted: May 17, 2015 in Game reviews
Tags: , , , ,

Greetings mortals, I am DracoJames102 and I am here to give you a review. Sonic Boom Title Card lighting

I never thought that this game would be the first Wii U title I would review, but I wanted to review this game at some point or another so let’s get on with it. This game is considered a prequel to the new Sonic Boom television show that aired in October 2014. The game was developed by Western Developers Big Red Button (which consist of a few former employees from Naughty Dog who made Crash Bandicoot, Jak and Daxter and the Last of Us). Now Webmaster Tom actually borrowed the game from me for a while and played it, so I figured since we are both long time Sonic fans he could voice his opinions of the game along with me. But before we get into the game itself, let’s talk about what we thought of the game before it came out and what sparked our curiosity to play it.

Sonic_Boom_Rise_of_Lyric DracoJames102

When the first trailer for Sonic Boom was leaked on the internet, I didn’t really know what to think. Sonic and the gang had different designs? They live in a barren desert land? What the hell did they do to Knuckles? But over time I slowly warmed up to the new designs and I liked that they were giving us the option to play as different characters again (which we haven’t had in a long time in a Sonic game). I tried out a demo at Eurogamer in 2014 and while there were a few oddities and questionable design choices, it wasn’t that bad. After the game came out, what really sparked my curiosity was everyone saying that it was the new Sonic 2006. Wow, was it really that bad? After I purchased my Wii U earlier this year, I managed to get myself a copy of Sonic Boom (after getting Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros. and Super Mario 3D World of course). Then shortly after I’d beaten it, Tom asked me if he could borrow it.

Webmaster Tom

When it comes to Sonic I’m generally quite open minded towards them and try and be positive when playing them, so upon hearing Sonic Boom being announced and seeing what it would look like I was thinking “This is different, but it could still be good”. Going by the trailers and game demos told me that it would be a different game, and of course fanboy logic dictates that it’ll automatically suck. Trying out the Demo at Euro Gamer got my hopes up. It could work if the finished game was a little more polished, and being able to play as more then one character which hasn’t been done since Sonic & the Black Knight could’ve been a potential insta-sell for me. However when the game was released gamers reviled the game and said it was worse than Sonic 06 (and we all know how well THAT game turned out). So now let us discuss the game.

Story

The story starts with Sonic getting massacred by enemy fire (that’s always a good start). Then we go back to a day early to see that Sonic, Tails, Amy and Knuckles are chasing Doctor Eggman and Metal Sonic. After losing them, they come across a temple where it was actually a sacred prison for a snake in a robotic suit named Lyric, who wants to conquer the world using the power of the Chaos Crystals. Now it’s up to Sonic and friends to gather the crystals before Lyric does and stop him once and for all.

Sonic_Boom_Rise_of_Lyric_-_Launch_Trailer

DracoJames102

For a story that takes place in a different universe than the mainstream series, it really doesn’t do anything to differentiate itself at all. There is no world building, significant character development or backstory for anything in this new world for Sonic to explore, not to mention there are a couple of subplots that go absolutely nowhere such as this robot assisting you who actually helped Lyric in the past and Shadow was absolutely wasted in this story. I can praise the character interactions though so that’s something I guess.

Webmaster Tom

I didn’t get to see much of the story unfold but it seemed to be the typical standard affair for Sonic stories. Whilst I did like the writing and the cartoon appeal of Sonic Colours story I do miss the stories of the Sonic Adventure games with their epic plots and cinematic elements. Sonic Boom’s story really doesn’t do anything for me, but at least it’s not as overly-convoluted as Sonic 06’s story was.

Gameplay

DracoJames102

You can only use the game pad to play the game. You use the left analog stick to move, the right stick to move the camera, the B button to jump, the Y button to attack, the X button to use the special attack, the D-pad to switch between characters, the Start and Select buttons to pause and the L and R buttons to evade. The A button allows you to use the new enerbeam when you get it, which allows you to move obstacles, grab and throw enemies and pull switches. The touch menu allows you to use this seeker mode where you can discover hidden goodies such as treasure chests and princess crowns. The crowns are really only needed to complete a side quest and the parts are used to rebuild buildings and discover more secrets. Sonic can move a little faster and use the spin dash and homing attacks, Tails can glide and use range attacks, Amy can triple jump which makes her incredibly useful for platforming sections and Knuckles brings the extra power and climb these red walls.

Sonic_boom enerbeam

Sonic Boom Rise of Lyric plays more like your traditional platforming game. There are these speed sections which are really only there because the developers wanted to make a “Sonic game”, but the rest of the team, you’re going through platforming sections and travelling through the hub worlds to get to the next area. If you can do all of that, then this game will mean nothing to you. You have unlimited lifes, you have a health bar so you can afford to take multiple hits and you start back at the point you died so that all challenge from the game is removed. The hub worlds can be just as bad as Sonic 2006’s hub worlds. There’s barely any people to talk to and you can’t even run at a fast pace in these big worlds that can be easy to get lost in. The only people you can talk to do offer you side quests in order to acquire Power Gliph upgrades, but after equipping them I didn’t feel any different so there’s no real point in collecting them as you can handle yourself just fine.

sonic boom hub world

Aside from the glitches and the fact that this is nothing like a Sonic game, I also really don’t like the rip tide boat sections. You use the L stick to move the boat, the R stick to rotate and fire the weapons and the L and R buttons to switch weapons. Sonic uses a water cannon which is weak but has a fast firing rate, Amy uses a freeze gun to freeze enemies (insert Batman and Robin ice pun here) and Tails uses the weapon that you should always use which deals the most damage. Not only does the boat control rather awkwardly but the section contains a lot of turrets that you have to defeat in order to proceed. The most baffling thing though is that the game introduced hydro dashing before you get to the rip tide boat so why the hell are we taking this boat again?

sonic boom boat

Webmaster Tom

Now I didn’t play the game for as long as James did so I won’t be able to talk about it as much, however I will try my best to describe my experience. The game has two main gameplay aspects, the running sections and the non-running sections. It has a similar feel to Sonic Unleashed in that the running stages are over far too quickly and the non-running stages drag on forever. The running sections feel like Sonic and the Secret Rings, and trust me that is NOT a good thing. They are mostly restricted to one track with the occasional steering to dodge obstacles and the amount of boost pads and springs can make these sections feel too automated. At least in Sonic 06’s mach speed sections you could actually (oh I don’t know) do something.

sonic boom speed

The non-running sections can consist of either platforming or combat. The platforming sections feel slow and drawn out, not only that but they feel like a waste of time. Most of the early sections had some “Puzzle solving” elements to it, and I use that term loosely because the game’s idea of a puzzle is getting to a button, pushing it, getting to another, pressing that, opening up another, lather, rinse, repeat. This isn’t good puzzle solving, this is just padding. Now you want to talk about the combat? Well lets just say it’s sticky, watered down and just very sluggish. You have a basic attack, a jump attack and an ener-beam (think Ratchet and Clank). I think people might want to apologise to the Werehog gameplay in Sonic Unleashed, because at least that had deeper combat and more fun platforming, this is just button mashing tripe.

sonic boom combat

One last thing I have to mention about Sonic Boom is the glitches, yes glitches. Did SEGA not learn ANYTHING from Sonic 06? I can’t help but feel if Sonic Team had developed the game they would’ve had the foresight to take their time and test the game. Well there occur glitches where you can clip through walls and break boundaries, walk on water early and the most amusing one by far is a glitch where Knuckles can do an infinite jump by continually pausing and using his jump attack. This allows for major sequence breaks and game skipping. That particular glitch has been patched now though so if you still want to experience the marvel turn off the internet before installation. Me and my mate didn’t get too far in the game because we got so bored we just didn’t want to play anymore. Are we ever going to touch it again? Unlikely.

knuckles jump glitch

Graphics

DracoJames102

The graphics look pretty nice…for Playstation 2 standards. The environments are visually pleasing and the character models are structured nicely but as a Wii U title released after Super Mario 3D World and Mario Kart 8 it definitely doesn’t compare. The cutscenes are well animated but the in-game character animations are horrible. There are also frame rating issues when it comes to the speed sections and entering new areas.

Webmaster Tom

The graphics are acceptable enough. The character models look fine and I actually quite like the redesigns. The environments and areas you explore all have a Sonic feel to them. However I feel Sonic Colours had better graphics and that was a Wii game. Also the game is plagued by framerate issues which I haven’t seen that bad since Sonic Unleashed.

Music

DracoJames102

Aside from possibly the main theme, none of these songs are catchy or memorable in the slightest. That’s really disappointing considering that the Sonic series has always delivered on great music. Even Sonic 2006, as horrible as that game was, at least had good music to listen to. The voice acting is some of the best I’ve heard in a Sonic game, but in-game they never shut up. They comment on everything they do whether they are running through loops, touching bounce pads or collecting rings.

Webmaster Tom

The music takes a very different approach to other Sonic games and goes for an orchestral approach. Now this worked very well for a lot of the Sonic Colours themes, but here I found none of the songs to be memorable. They try to suit the atmosphere better but it lacks the catchy melodies you’d come to expect in a Sonic game. Even games such as Sonic & the Black Knight (one of my most personal hated Sonic games) had some awesome tunes that stuck with me. It baffles me why they decided to go this route and deliver an incredibly forgettable soundtrack in a game series that usually has kickass music. Going by James’s comment on the characters constantly talking throughout the level it’s like they made them all Omochao, another decision which baffles me considering how generally reviled that character is.

Control

DracoJames102

The control is reliable enough, but the real problem is that it’s too basic for its own good. There’s no combo potential for all of the moves you can pull off and you don’t get that much sense of control during the speed sections. If something is too easy, you don’t really find it fun anymore and that’s never good when it comes to gaming.

Webmaster Tom

I’ll be frank here, the controls are bad, but it’s that special kind of bad that’s hard to explain, because you can’t really tell unless you’re playing the game. The controls work but feel too floaty when moving and jumping, like the characters have no weight to them. It does not have the fluidity or precision of the Sonic Adventure games or Shadow the Hedgehog (yes, I said SHADOW the Hedgehog). Also having the occasional button lag doesn’t help matters.

Final thoughts

DracoJames102

Is it safe to assume that this game is the reason that Sonic’s console career is dead? The game isn’t unplayable and the writing isn’t bad but the game itself has no identity. I firmly believe that you can replace the Sonic characters with anyone else and it wouldn’t have made any difference. Aside from the speed sections, this doesn’t even try to be a Sonic game. Even Sonic 2006 was a Sonic game at its core. The game isn’t bad for the young demographic but that’s still no excuse for such a sloppy execution. If you want a top notch plat forming game for the Wii U, just play Super Mario 3D World.

Webmaster Tom

This game just saddens me. I was hoping that despite being different the game would still be good and I was really looking forward to have Sonic’s friends playable again, and yet I found very little to enjoy about Sonic Boom Rise of Lyric. Maybe it isn’t as poorly glitched as Sonic 06, but I would still rather play that game than Sonic Boom. That game had a lot of poorly executed elements, but at least you could get something out of them and it could be fun (when it wasn’t glitchy). This game however is boring as sin, monotonous to sit through, and doesn’t even manage to keep me hooked with a good soundtrack. Personally I think I’ll stick with the TV series.

DracoJames102’s rating: 3/10

Webmaster Tom’s rating: 3/10

Advertisements
Comments
  1. me says:

    how old are you?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s