Seventh Generation Reflection: Sonic The Hedgehog
As the 7th Generation of video game consoles dies down, I’d like to take a look at the good, bad, and ugly of some of the most iconic franchises of this console generation, starting with Sonic the Hedgehog.
In the beginning of this generation, SEGA tried to reinvent the series with the reboot title Sonic the Hedgehog in 2006 for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. The game was to feature a similar style to Sonic Adventure, with hub world maps and multiple storylines with different gameplay styles featuring Sonic, Shadow, and newcomer Silver the Hedgehog all in next-gen HD graphics. Unfortunately, the Sonic fanbase’s push for the game to come out before the holiday season caused it to be rushed, and the game came out a scattered, unpolished, buggy mess that turned many fans of Sonic away from the franchise. The game generally received scores of 3 to 5 out of 10.
In 2007, SEGA went a different direction with its Wii release, Sonic and the Secret Rings, an on-rails obstacle course where the player tilted the Wii remote to move Sonic left and right, jump, and homing attack. As the first in Sonic’s Storybook Series, the game took place in the Arabian nights. The game received better scores of 6-8 out of 10, with many critics saying it redeemed Sonic Team after the 2006 release of Sonic the Hedgehog.
Again the series was reinvented with Sonic Unleashed in 2008, released for Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, and PS2. The game took the behind the back style of Sonic and the Secret Rings, while massively improving the graphics and speed. The game also brought back a hub world system similar to Sonic the Hedgehog’s. To the game’s fault, it also included a different gameplay element called the ‘Werehog’, where Sonic becomes a wolf at night and plays like a sloppy God of War clone. While the game was praised for the daytime stages’ speed, beautiful environments and great music, it was hurt by the Werehog’s slow, pace-breaking gameplay and hub worlds. It received scores of 4 to 7 out of 10.
Sonic and the Black Knight was released for the Nintendo Wii in 2009, a sequel to storybook title Sonic and the Secret Rings. The on-rails style of the game was kept, but the controls were changed, where a nunchuk was added to control Sonic, and players swung the Wii remote to swing Sonic’s sword. This game was praised for its music and new concept, but many reviewers found the controls unresponsive, and the missions to be too repetitive and boring. The game received scores of 3 to 6 out of 10.
The next year, Sonic Team revisited the Wii with Sonic Colors in 2010. The game play was the same as the daytime stages in Sonic Unleashed, but added a new power-up element in the form of Wisps. Wisps were small aliens that Sonic could save and receive a different ability from for a short time. Colors also featured a two player feature where both players controlled a different Sonic and ran through levels together for the first time ever. Critics praised the game for its new focus on platforming and the new wisps that added a change to the gameplay, while criticizing the difficulty spike and the co-op multiplayer. Sonic Colors received mostly good reviews of 7’s and 8’s out of 10.
Sonic Team finished off this generation with the title Sonic Generations in 2011. The game featured modern and classic interpretations of Sonic. The modern featured the fast, behind-the-back gameplay of Sonic Unleashed and Colors, while classic Sonic featured 2D side-scrolling gameplay featured in Sonic 1 to Sonic 3 & Knuckles. It featured a modern and classic version one level from every main series Sonic game, from the original Sonic the Hedgehog to Sonic Colors, as well as bosses that were revisited from older games, such as Metal Sonic, Perfect Chaos, and Shadow the Hedgehog. There were tons of collectibles and challenges to increase replayability, but overall the main story was very short. The game received positive scores of 6 to 8 out of 10.
As this console generation dies down, and another one starts anew, we can only pray that the Blue Blur will be restored into the fame and following that he once had. Sonic Lost Worlds for the Wii U is to be released holiday season this year.
What did you think of this last generation of Sonic? Leave a comment below!
Image Credit: SEGA