I was originally planning to make a video review of Sonic Lost World in the same style as my Wonderful 101 review (watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-01fiHzPa8), but I’m pretty busy with other projects at the moment, and I don’t think I’ll get around to it. So instead, here’s my thoughts on Sonic Lost World (Wii U version) in written form.
Sonic Lost World is the first Sonic game in several years to ditch the “boost” formula found in games like Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Generations. It appears much more ambitious, with a gameplay system utilizing parkour and a greater emphasis on platforming than just blazing through levels. So does it pay off? Let’s see.
Very nice. Extremely vibrant and colorful, good enemy designs (better than I expected from trailers and screenshots) and overall just plain fun to look at. That, and the incredibly solid 60fps is fantastic to see in a Sonic game. Though I will say that the environments seem a bit too….trope-y at times. Like they don’t go too far beyond “beach world” and “lava world.” But then there are other moments that get more creative. All around very good.
Hit or miss. There are some great songs, like Tropical Coast 3 and the first two Desert Ruins songs, but then there are some incredibly lame and generic songs that fail to impress, like Tropical Coast 1 and Desert Ruins 3. Though there are some standouts, overall I would have to call this soundtrack a bit weak compared to previous entries. Sonic’s music has almost always been awesome, and this soundtrack doesn’t quite live up to that standard.
Shallow. I’m sorry, but I just do not see a big improvement here. Most of the Deadly Six (the new team of villains) are incredibly one-dimensional cartoon stereotypes, there are a bunch of scenes that don’t go anywhere, the writing has its ups and downs, and there just isn’t a whole lot that got me invested. It’s a shame, because there are plenty of scenes that had the POTENTIAL to be good, but end up falling flat because the whole thing feels rushed. On top of that, there are several plot points that are never explained, and the ending is ridiculously abrupt and inconclusive. After Colors and Generations, it doesn’t seem like the story writers learned anything. I don’t know how many people agree with me on this, but personally, I think the writing team needs new blood. It’s their third try, and I see no signs that they have gotten better.
The very definition of a mixed bag. First off, Sonic’s controls are just decent. Running around feels alright when he’s not pitted against complicated obstacles. Spindashing is fun, and jumping generally feels good. But once the complicated level design sets in, things get ugly. It is next to impossible to get Sonic to keep his momentum going once speed has been achieved. If he’s not stopped by an obstacle, he’s stopped by the complete halt in momentum when he parkours up a wall. He even slows down when he’s making a sharp turn of any kind. There are a few moments when a sense of flow is apparent – mainly involving the wall run and challenging yourself to skip large sections with the spindash – but these are unfortunately buried beneath frustrating level design and the game’s insistence on keeping Sonic at a clunky stop-and-go pace.
Bosses are hit or miss, much like the levels. They are definitely more interesting than Colors’. Though the controls can make some of them frustrating, and others are over too quickly, they were, for the most part, fun.
The Wisps (the special power-ups from Colors) make a return, and, for the most part, aren’t as horrible as people have mentioned. I had fun with the Eagle and the Drill items, and the others just felt pointless. Hover didn’t need to be here, Laser didn’t need to be here, Asteroid is boring, and Rhythm is pretty much the most pointless power-up ever. They made sense in Colors because the game was built around them, but here it seems like they just plopped them in levels at random points for no reason. None of them destroy the experience, but they just feel unnecessary.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
This game has a very promising core experience unfortunately marred by frustrating level design and a disappointing lack of flow. It is not a horrible game, but I’d be lying if I said I thought it was way above average. It takes one step forward and…….about nine steps back. It tries to be more varied and complex than Colors and Generations, and as a result ends up being a much more inconsistent experience than either of those titles – and, sadly, less fun.
If you love Sonic, then I’d say it’s worth checking out, but just barely. There is fun in there, but it just doesn’t maintain high enjoyment levels throughout, and as whole, is just underwhelming. If SEGA wishes to continue with this gameplay style, then it needs some MASSIVE overhauls.