Tuesday, October 15, 2013

NYCC 2013: Sonic Lost World Impressions

This past weekend at New York Comic Con, Nintendo made their presence known with panels, gaming tournaments, and many playable games for the Wii U and 3DS. One such game is Sonic Lost World for the Wii U. I’ve been a Sonic fan for a long time, but as many others have said, Sonic hasn’t always had the best track record. This is especially true when it comes to games that take place in a 3D plane. Of the 3D Sonic games I’ve played, I always felt like the games have a strong start, but as you get further into the game, the cracks start to show more and more. The question then becomes whether or not the game ends before it falls apart. Even Sonic Generations, a game I really enjoyed, had some problems toward the end of the game. My hope is that one day I get to play a flawless 3D Sonic The Hedgehog game.

Sonic Lost World may be that game.

The demo Nintendo had on the show floor showcased four different stages from the game. There were the traditional Green Hill and Casino stages in 3D, a Dessert World in 2D, and a fast paced speed stage in 3D. From what I saw, the stages all looked very nice. It looks like the game will encourage replaying the stages in order to travel alternate paths and obtain all the hidden red rings. The art direction also looks very nice in HD and the colors really popped on the TV screen. It’s a good looking game. It’s been said by others that the game takes some inspiration from Super Mario Galaxy. After playing the game, I certainly agree with notion. While not all the stages looked like Galaxy, the stage I played clearly was inspired by Nintendo’s mascot. The stage featured running around the circumference of round land masses and scenes of Sonic bouncing on small planetoids. It’s clear Nintendo rubbed off on Sonic Team for this game.

Even though there is some influence from Mario, the demo still felt like a Sonic game through and through. You still collect rings. You still run around at fast speeds. You still roll into a ball and attack enemies in the air. The big difference with this game is how it feels when you are doing all of that. When I was playing the demo, I was really surprised with how tight the controls felt. I was in complete control of Sonic the entire time and didn’t feel like he was too wild with him movements. Perhaps the best thing I can say about the controls is the ability to control Sonic’s speed. By default, Sonic only walks when you move the control stick. If you want him to run, you have to hold the right trigger. This gives you more control over Sonic’s movement, especially when you are in areas that require more platforming than speed. It works really well. Also, Sonic can run up walls and do parkour. This makes a lot of sense to add to a Sonic game and seems to work well. In addition to the new mechanics, the Wisps from Sonic Colors make a return as well. From what I played, they were fun to use. It was a very fun demo to play.

This demo for Sonic Lost World has really sold me on the game. Maybe it’s because Nintendo is involved with this one, but SEGA and Sonic Team appear to really know what they’re doing this time around. Like I mentioned before, it is entirely possible for the game to fall apart since most Sonic games start good. That said, if Sonic Lost World is as good as the demo was, it will be the best 3D Sonic game SEGA has ever released.

Sonic Lost World will be released in Europe, Australia, Japan, and North America (in that order) by the end of this month. Looks like we won’t have to wait long to see if the game holds up.

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