Which obviously is awesome, but don’t think that I am super excited just yet, there are a few hurdles, and dead luge racers to navigate first.
Hop on over to find out exactly what they are…
To most Sonic fans Sonic and Knuckles was regarded as the unofficial Sonic the Hedgehog 4, despite being Sonic the Hedgehog 3 ‘Part II’ essentially, this seems to have now been made redundant and the episodic nature of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic and Knuckles seems to have provided an inspirational platform for Sega who are planning an ‘episodic’ adventure for Sonic the Hedgehog 4. This is the first thing that troubles me somewhat. I want to play all of the game when I buy it, I was similarly unimpressed with the strategy undertaken by Traveller’s Tales with the Monkey Island/Sam and Max and of course the concerns are not helped by Valve’s constant torture of how they have handled the episodic parts of Half Life 2. If the plan is to release a game that has an episodic sequel system then fine, but I have heard rumours that there are plans for a three part series which will then be released at retail as the Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Trilogy. Now this would suggest somewhat that the game will essentially be one part or a bigger whole, and I am not keen on that. The whole point of the Sonic games, classic specifically, is that they were self-contained. Sonic and Knuckles may follow on directly from the events of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 but it is still a game in it’s own right. I simply hope that this is the case here.
Similarly I can’t shift the mobile gaming releases of the first Sonic game that was released in bite size chunks. That was ‘episodic’ and frankly reeked of cash cow milking cunt-baggery.
The other main concern is the fact that despite being a ‘Classic Sonic’ sequel the early teaser clearly had ‘Blue-eyed Sonic’ from the more recent games as the main Sonic avatar. This is fine, I have no real issue with ‘new Sonic’ but is seems a bit of a jump from one design to the other for no other reason but to satisfy the current generation of Sonic fan. Those who started from the Ps2 era will only really know Sonic in his lanky legged form, and would probably find short, squat podgy Classic Sonic a bit odd, but if you are going back to an earlier series it would surely make sense to keep with the older asthetics in terms of his character design. Either that or have the transformation made canon in the opening sequences of the game… either way there is an online petition (not that they normally make a damned difference eh Pc Left 4 Dead fans??) asking for the Classic Sonic to be a playable skin in the game, which makes for a great idea actually, giving the gamer the choice from the off.
Much is being made of the ‘return’ to two-dimensional gaming, and I must say I am loving the HD reworkings of the 16bit era, but is is easy to skirt round the fact that the 2D games never really went away, most recently the Sonic games on the Nintendo DS, prinipally Sonic Rush and Sonic Rush Adventure gave deep gameplay via a 2.5D design. For me personally these games carried the torch of Classic Sonic gameplay, even if they did add in some more extended universe characters rather liberally. Essentially the 2D gameplay never went away from the less powerful platforms, but obviously the more hefty machines could do so much more, so that’s what was done. I can’t say I detest the newer Sonic games, I found Sonic Unleashed to be a lot of fun but we have all wanted a proper sequel to the old series and now we are getting it one way or another.
With no confirmation of plot, characters or the rumour of a return for Metal Sonic, this time in an alpha cyber form it’s hard to be overly excited, but I am trying.
/excited hand clap and giddy foot stamp
Whatever the game shapes up to be I assure you I will be first in the queue, fake money in hand, to download it, but I am under no illusion that this will be the Messiah-like return to form of the 16-Bit days… best case scenario we get a New Super Mario quality update of the series in a familiar style, but there is always room for a complete arse of a game dressed up as something more decent.