Friday, January 16, 2009

Sonic Chronicles Review

For Christmas, my brother-in-law got me a copy of Sonic Chronicles for the Nintendo DS. As a ridiculous fan of Sonic the Hedgehog games, and owner of each Sonic collection for the Gamecube, the Sonic Adventure series, and a strong proponent of Sonic and the Secret Rings, this seemed like a good choice for me. It was.

Sonic Chronicles is an RPG created by BioWare. BioWare were the creators of such RPGs as Knights of the Old Republic, Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights, and Mass Effect. Sonic Chronicles is a quasi-serious RPG about Sonic the Hedgehog taking plot elements and world setting elements from the Sonic Adventure series and Sonic Heroes. The game begins with Sonic in the Green Hill Zone with Tails getting in touch with him. Tails tells him that Knuckles has been kidnapped by some alien creatures who were going after the chaos emeralds and the master emerald. Sonic is then led on a quest to try to save Knuckles and figure out the agenda of these invaders.

The gameplay is entirely done using the stylus. Pointing and dragging the stylus around moves Sonic around the level. Combat sequences are fun, if not the most challenging. Super moves are interesting in that you follow a pattern sequence to complete them in Elite Beat Agent-esque format. It adds a level of challenge to make sure you can pull off the interesting attack maneuvers. The learning curve felt large when I first tried the game, but turned out to be much easier than anticipated.

The story is actually interesting and characters are developed better than one would expect from a video game based on a character such as Sonic the Hedgehog. Shadow is the most developed I've seen him in any game he's been in, and I've played Shadow the Hedgehog. Big the Cat is a lumox, but enjoyable. Amy and Cream are even amusing. Eggman's introduction into the game is also wonderfully crafted as far as I've seen thus far, I'm currently halfway through the game. The dialogue is cleverly written. One fun option is that Sonic is occasionally given options beyond the standard in conversation - being allowed to make snarky comments and those he's mocking act accordingly leading to some fun interactions.

All in all, if you like simple RPGs and Sonic the Hedgehog, try the game. It's a lot of fun and I'm looking for someone else to trade Chao with.

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