Tag Archives: Sonic

Sonic Forces review

The little blue hedgehog really needs absolutely no introduction does he? If you don’t know who Sonic is then google it because you really have led a sheltered gaming life. Like Mario did for Nintendo, Sonic has been an icon for Sega since 1991. Sonic has seen over 45 different adaptations over the years and appeared on console and mobile. Sonic Forces is the latest to feature the little ring muncher so how does it fare to the previous incarnations?

In usual Sonic Fashion, the start of the game gives you an insight of what to expect, the brightly coloured intro and tutorials set the scene, if you survive the first stage and tutorial without having some sort of seizure then you will be good to carry on. Simply put, it’s so fast that it is near on impossible to see exactly what is going on on screen, that for me isn’t a good thing because I like to have a look around to check out the finer details and collectibles… if there are any.

The story is the same as it always has been, the evil Dr Eggman is trying to take over the world only this time he has recruited a super hedgehog type thing called Infinite to help him on his quest. I’m not sure if I have missed something but where did the Robotnik name go, I liked that better than “Eggman” which sounds ridiculous. Anyway, it’s not important because ultimately you’re going to bounce all over this dude like a drunk adult on an inflatable castle.

There are some quite cute little cutscenes to watch before you continue on your speedy adventure, they introduce you to characters old and new including Knuckles. You play the part of the “The Rookie” who you get to design with some basic outfits. Each stage or challenge you complete rewards you with more cosmetic items to add that more of a personal flair to your creation. You also get an offensive ability that really does come in handy and these are called Wispons, they offer a long range attack that wipe out numerous enemies all at once. Wispons can be difficult to deploy at times purely because of the speed you are traveling, they are better used in slower sections and in a third person view because that way you know exactly where you’re shooting and what at.

You also get to play with the updated Sonic who has a double jump but classic Sonic also makes an appearance and his abilities hark back to the original version with a single jump and spin attack. A handy addition to the classic Sonic is the drop dash ability this can get you out of some tight spots assuming you saw them coming in the first place that is. As with most other Sonic games, you get through the game stage by stage, the levels are thankfully pretty short and offer a third person and also side-scrolling element, as to which I prefer? well, the jury is still out on that but it did offer a touch of nostalgia revisiting Green Hill with the classic Sonic. I did have some difficulty adjusting from the 3D to the 2D view when it changed halfway through a stage but I’m putting that down to age.

I got bored quite quickly with Sonic Forces purely because of its repetitive nature, I remember playing the original Sonic and challenging myself to play through each stage without losing rings and of course back then it was die and game over. Now though, Sonic Forces just isn’t engaging enough to play any further. I’m not writing it off though because I don’t think Sonic Forces was aimed at a 38-year-old man and more an 8-year-old child with lightning reflexes and sharp eyesight.

I’m not going to slate Sonic Forces for its visuals either but you simply can’t see them because things are moving that fast. Sonic Forces is basic in terms of graphical quality but when all said and done Sonic wouldn’t look right using the latest Unreal Engine or 4K HDR would it? Cool as it sounds. Sonic is a cartoon and this game portrays him as it should. Musically though I did find myself tapping my feet, there are sections where the action would pick up and all of a sudden in true anime style a rock song would start with proper lyrics, riffs and solos, I liked that lots.

Playability though, Sonic is basic and when things are moving as fast as they do, all you really need is a jump and a dash button with the odd attack thrown in if you get time. If you finish with max rings or in a good time then you can expect an excellent level rating too. Using the C,B,A and S ranking system you do find yourself replaying levels to try and beat your previous time. Along with the ranking, there are also challenges for you to complete, which offer their own reward, giving the fact that Sonic Forces has 40 or so stages (some optional) then there is plenty of challenges to keep you going.

Overall Sonic Forces offers nothing different to any other Sonic game, it’s merely a fast linear race to the finish line while being careful not to lose your rings as you go. Boss battles are just a case of working out a pattern and beating them and the rewards are simply generic offerings in a bid to make the game have you thinking you actually have options when in reality you don’t.

Sonic Forces is great for little ones and with the Nintendo Switch also getting Sonic Forces, which is the perfect platform for this type of game. As for playing on an an Xbox One, then I think there are better games to play than this. I’m trying to stay objective here and if you’re stuck for something to get the little gamers – but would like the occassional bit of nostalgia – then maybe Sonic Forces would do, with that said, wait for a sale or buy second hand because £30 or more for this is bit daft as it’s simply not worth it.

Thanks to SEGA for supporting TiX

Sonic Mania review

Sonic the Hedgehog, that cocky spiky blue hedgehog caused me so much pain my younger years. The frustration at making the slightest mistake and losing all those precious rings I had worked so hard for and yet Sonic Mania comes along and I find myself wanting to jump straight back in and start all over again.

There have been many attempts to bring Sonic back, upadating his image and diversify his gameplay, ultimately though none of them became hits with the fans. With Sonic Mania however, we might have just found a return to form, the game was built by fans of the game who were well known for modding & hacking Sonic titles.

When you first load the game, it looks like the Mega Drive games of old, but because of the work done and the console you are playing it on, things look even more impressive, constantly running at 60fps and full of bright vivid colours.

From the off everything feels very familiar, starting at Green Hill before playing through the greatest hits of Sonic levels from the Mega Drive games.  Sonic 2’s Chemical Plant Zone is there too, and it still gives me nightmares as the toxic material fills the level as I desperately try to escape. The and new areas like the Wild West-themed Mirage Saloon Zone and TV-filled Studiopolis all feel like they have been plucked from the original game, which is an excellent achievement. Even in the original levels, small improvements have been made, such as extra jumps and pads that allow you to stick to ceiling.

Of course, the best thing about Sonic games is that they instantly feel familiar, although it took me a while to remember to let the game do most of the work, you forget how fast the original Sonic games were, so you can’t help but be a bit twitchy as he flies round the level when you first begin to play. It’s all down to the fantastically designed levels, and once you finally get into the swing of things you’ll need to keep your wits about you. Some of the boss fights are excellent, I’m not going to spoil them for you, because it’s all part of the experience but they are such fun to play.

On occasions the difficulty spikes can be a bit much, especially if you are new to the Sonic titles, but having said that if you were too young or not interested in playing Sonic games, this is a great game to have your first experience with. Sonic Mania is only a short game, lasting around four hours, but it does include a Time Attack mode and a Multiplayer versus mode. There are also some 3D levels that you can unlock during your play through that give you a chance to hunt Chaos Emeralds, which add an extra challenge to the game.

Because of the speed we expect from Sonic, you’ll tend to want to get around the levels as quickly as possible, but it’s worth slowing down and really taking in the levels, sometimes there are multiple ways around the level, or there are parts of the levels you may never have noticed before.

Despite all of the previous attempts, Sonic Mania is the only title that will really capture fans new and old, it feels like you have just discovered your old Mega Drive.

Thanks to SEGA for supporting TiX

Sonic the Hedgehog: Excursion Rumoured for Next-Gen Consoles

sonic_the_hedgehog

Wintos, known to some as the worlds best leaker of Sonic related information known to man having accurately leaked out every Sonic the Hedgehog title since Sonic Unleashed according to ‘Gaf readers has leaked again! The latest Sonic related bombshell has dropped with a new title supposedly coming from SEGA as ‘Sonic Excursion’ which will see our best-loved blue spikey ‘hog join forces with Tails once again.

A few snippets of edited information that is said to relate to the game is given as follows. The first level is called “Shattered Heights” and is similar to the Sonic Generations incarnation of Speed Highway. Very New York themed. Most of the level consists of Sonic and Tails breaking through the windows of buildings and running through apartment hallways, office buildings, and hotel suites with Pixar-like humans gasping and shouting in surprise. Sonic and Tails communicate throughout the level with each other similarly to the conversations in Sonic Heroes, both commenting on their surroundings and giving you advice on how to play the game. SEGA are said to have really wanted to make a Sonic Generations title that played more similarly to the Genesis titles where different characters could play the same levels with the only difference being their personal abilities.

Wintos, who has attended a SEGA presentation quotes:

After this demonstration was complete, we watched a powerpoint presentation with screenshots from the game. We were told how the story would focus on Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy Rose, and Dr. Eggman with a couple of appearances throughout the game, but those appearances would have less importance to the plot than Amy Rose’s role in Sonic Unleashed. For example, Amy Rose’s story once you unlocked it would begin at Cream’s house, where we see Cream, Vanilla, Gemerl, two Chao, and some Flickies. Outside of that scene, none of those characters make an appearance outside of one more scene with Cream in it. Emblems will be making a return, and will be earned in various ways with ten emblems per level. They can be earned for completing levels with each character, getting an S rank with all four characters, collecting all red rings with any character, and completing side missions for the level.

The release date for Sonic Excursions is rumoured to be November 2013 for both current and next-gen consoles.

Via NeoGaf and SEGABits

ThisisXbox Top Ten: Video Game Companions

After having spent some time playing the astounding Bioshock Infinite (which we scored a staggering 10/10), it got us thinking about about Elizabeth’s character. Is she the perfect companion? We thought we’d run through gaming’s most extravagant companions to see how she would stack up to the rest. We define a companion as either an AI controlled partner or just someone talking down a headset to help enhance the story and your objectives.

Let’s run down the top 10 right now.

 

10. 

Rush (Megaman 3, 1990)

Rush

 

Rush is Megaman’s trusty robotic dog who would appear to help Megaman get past tricky obstacles by using his ability to transform into a submarine and by using his springboard coil to bounce extremely high. Rush has appeared in almost every Megaman game since and has also made a handful of cameos in several Capcom fighters.

 

9.

Captain John Price (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, 2007)

Captain PriceIf you were ever asked to name one Call of Duty character, 9 times out of 10 you would name Captain Price. A former member of the SAS, Captain Price is a no-nonsense soldier that alongside Soap MacTavish, goes through hell to stop the man who initiated World War III, Vladimir Makarov. Captain Price’s quick quips and charming British narcissism makes him a favoured companion amongst this list.

 

8. 

Cortana (Halo: Combat Evolved, 2001)

Cortana

 

Cortana is a digitized clone of Dr. Elizabeth Halsey, who became centric to the Halo universe since the beginning. Guiding Master Chief on his journeys through thick and thin. Even having something of a starring role in 343’s Halo 4. Cortana is a fan-favourite amongst the Halo fandom, and it seems that she will be for a long time to come.

 

7. 

Claptrap (Borderlands, 2009)

ClaptrapClap Trap (CL4P-TP) is a Hyperion manufactured general purpose robot that you will often see slumming around town in the Borderlands series. His particular brand of humour which involves outdated pop-culture references and pushing dubstep upon the player, has made him accepted annoyance. Borderlands fans often speak highly of Claptrap, and it’s clear that with the unavoidable Borderlands sequels to come, Claptrap will definitely be involved.

 

6.

Miles “Tails” Prower (Sonic the Hedgehog 2, 1992)

TailsTails appears to be some kind of genetically mutated fox with two tails (hehe, I get it) that give him the ability to fly. He is one of the most famous sidekicks in history, next to Robin and Luigi, he may be THE most famous sidekick. If you weren’t aware (which I astonishingly wasn’t until I was way into my 20’s) that his name is actually a play on words meaning ‘miles per hour”, you may facepalm yourself into oblivion, much like I did. Tails wormed his way into our hearts with his annoying cries of “SOOOONIIIIIIIIIC”, and he will forever live there. What a guy.

 

5.

Garrus Vakarian (Mass Effect, 2007)

Garrus VakarianGarrus Vakarian is the popular Turian from the Mass Effect series. A former C-Sec soldier and the most badass member of the Normandy crew, Garrus had military training at fifteen and is the crew’s resident sniper. A character so awesome, that he brushed off horrific facial scars with a witty comment like  “Ah probably for the best. They were all ignoring you and hitting on me. ‘Bout time you got a fair shot.” when referring to the lovely space ladies. Garrus is cool, calm, collective, funny, and extremely badass. It’s a shame he couldn’t be higher up the list.

 

4. 

GLaDOS (Portal/The Orange Box, 2007)

GLaDOSWell this is a first. An antagonist making it as a top companion. GLaDOS is the central core to the inner working of Aperture Science. The Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System lives solely to test. When the protagonist Chell awakens from a coma, GLaDOS is ready and waiting to throw test after test after test at the newly awakened mute. It is truly GLaDOS’ humour that makes this machine a top companion, the writing staff at Valve truly have created a character for the ages in this machine. They certainly couldn’t top it. or could they?

As an added extra, check out this amazing post credits song performed by GLaDOS herself.

 

3.

Otacon (Metal Gear Solid, 1998)

OtaconHal Emmerich, code-named Otacon is a scientist and chief engineer of Metal Gear REX. Also best friend of Solid Snake. This relationship makes for some of the most hilarious codec conversations in the entire series. Listening to Otacon’s conversations with Snake about being trapped in compromising positions and even about Otacon urinating all over himself, means that the bond between the two makes for one of gaming’s best relationships.

 

2.

Elizabeth (Bioshock Infinite, 2013)

ElizabethElizabeth didn’t quite make it to number one, even though she is gaming’s most perfect companion. Her relationship with Booker DeWitt develops as the game goes on. Her frail naivety develops into a strong independence. Her knack for not just being a damsel in distress is what makes her interesting. Booker wouldn’t survive his journey in Columbia without Elizabeth, and it’s easy to see why she is one of the most popular new characters in the last few years. I would hope that her story doesn’t end with Infinite, and that there are at least some glaring references when 2K make the next installment in the series.

 

Well after all that, who made the number one spot? It’s tough to find a character as whole as Bioshock Infinite’s Elizabeth. But the number one isn’t even a good character, he makes it there for the sole reason of being the funniest character in the history of gaming. So, let’s check out who it is…

 

1. Wheatley (Portal 2, 2011)

WheatleyWheatley is hands down the funniest character in gaming history. Voiced by lanky Western English comedian Stephen Merchant, all of his country charm is transfused with the robot nature of a Portal robot. In Portal 2, GLaDOS is still the villain, but Wheatley is the hero that saves the day. Bringing you through several of Aperture Science’s most rigorous tests to help you defeat GLaDOS and end her reign of terror. But don’t take my word for it, just check this out.

 

Thanks for checking out another ThisisXbox Top 10, come back next week for our next installment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ThisisXbox Top Ten: Xbox HD Re-Releases

HD TV

Over the past few years, it has become apparent that a new fad has come into fruition. Dressing up our old beloved games in a new high definition gloss, and releasing it out to the world once more. Today’s gamers have accepted these releases at a huge scale. Accepting them rather then scorning them. It’s a great idea, take something everyone loves, repackage it with more content, make it better looking, let people relive their past loves. Here at ThisisXbox, we have painstakingly gone through the list of HD re-releases and picked the best ten of the bunch to share with you. Continue reading ThisisXbox Top Ten: Xbox HD Re-Releases