Monday, 21 October 2013

Sonic: Lost World (3DS) - Final Round Review

It’s no stretch to pick up a new Sonic title and fear for the worst, and Lost World is no exception.  Releasing on both the 3DS and the WiiU, I can only comment on the 3DS version.  Sonic as a handheld is both a blessing and a curse, and the new powers and reminiscent levels add to the feeling.

To be completely honest, I’m not sure whether I love or loath Lost World.  Moments of gameplay are flowing, fast and a pleasure to play; powers can be fun, the story has a hint of new flavour, and things occasionally just work.  But this is not the entire game, it’s not even close.  Other segments of gameplay feel convoluted and unnecessarily difficult, and that’s not even considering the graphics or controls that also bring this title down.

The thing that grates on my nerves the most with Sonic: Lost World is most definitely the visuals during cut scenes.  They are blurry and unfocused; the closest I can come to describing them more accurately is that they look like old school VHS footage, which has then been re-recorded with an even older camcorder.  The 3D capability does nothing to compensate this either.  But perhaps the worst thing of all is that the story is kind of interesting.  Sonic, Tails, and Eggman have conversations and banter that any age can enjoy, and the one-liners are truly to die for.

The levels are where the true confusion takes place.  As with most adventure platformers, there are a few different areas for these levels (Ice and Water are amongst my most hated, ever), and with each new area there is a new power to take control of.  Sometimes I have come across these new powers without learning how to use them first, and am stuck figuring it out for a minute before continuing.  It is near impossible to complete the level or section of map without using the power correctly, but thankfully (and annoyingly) if you die enough times the game takes pity on you and gifts you an RV to power around your obstacle.  Too bad they didn’t really teach you how to use that either.

There are occasionally multiple paths to take on your never ending quest to save the little creatures Eggman likes to capture.  Sometimes these different paths don’t actually mean much (take the left or right path), but other times you will be gifted with added lives, more coins or a faster route.  The only real way to tell the difference is by completing each level numerous times, though, and I am not sure I like it enough for that.

The special levels also fall under the love/hate category.  You are turning in circles moving your 3DS all which ways, all just to collect some orbs and a Chaos Emerald.  Unless you are in a private, or not too public, and with room to move these levels can be inane, frustrating and annoying.

Controlling Sonic is what truly kills the game.  Out of the numerous buttons and the countless possibilities of the touch screen, there are roughly 5 buttons to use at any one time.  Jump and Spin both take 2 buttons each, and also double as attack, bounce, summersault and boost.  It doesn’t seem too bad, but it can be a massive inconvenience that you can easily lose a life to.  The touch screen has some functionality as a button, but not much.

As a 3DS title, it’s not too bad.  It is easy to pick up and play for short sessions, but any longer and the issues become incredibly irritating.  It is easy to look past the flaws in design while not playing, but they come crashing back as soon as you pick it up again.  It could be an amazing game, but unfortunately Sonic: Lost World on the 3DS lacks the final polish that it needs.

Final Round Rating  -  5.5/10

 - Steff Webb

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