Honestly, the best thing Sonic has done lately is take from Mario Galaxy.
I don’t say this with no respect either. I love Sonic. The first games I ever fell in love with was the Sonic games way back on the Mega Drive, but whatever the Blue Hedgehog brings out lately, I kind of dismiss and not look. In the past few years we’ve had werehogs, stories set in the Arabian Nights and if we want to look back a little further…back to 2006 maybe, we had Sonic The Hedgehog. Eugh. For a while there, I’d thought Sonic was gone. At E3 we saw a new game in the Sonic series announced to the public, called Lost World and was to be exclusive to the Wii U and 3DS. We weren’t sure what we were getting into, but after a hands on with the 3DS version of the game, I feel like I might be picking this one up.
I was thrown into the classic Sonic staple, the Green Hill Zone stage, but with a bit of a twist. It felt more like I was on a planetoid of some sort rather than the usual 2D or 3D planes. Right away I’m running and jumping, with the controls feeling all too familiar and comfy. The first set of enemies that appear before me, I’m jumping and attacking like I’d never left the series. It felt great to be able to jump right back in where I left off and not have to deal with tutorials or troubles.
With this new game though, we do have some new features, but unlike other newer Sonics, the gimmick or gameplay hook doesn’t feel shoehorned in or “edgy”, it feels like a perfect fit into the series. Sprinting along the bright green grass, I encounter a walled area, two either side and pretty tall to boot. With a quick button press, I’m running alongside the wall, transitioning from either side to keep my momentum going. It felt so satisfying to keep the speed up and not falter so easily.
Back on an old episode of Potaku, one of our guests, Ben Nobes, presented an idea about Sonic I’d never thought of before. “Sonic is a platforming game at it’s heart” he said “but the thing with Sonic is his speed is a key aspect. Navigating and traversing a course with perfection with speed is your reward.” I think that point holds really true here. With the parkour elements and the streamlined ways you tackle not only obstacles but also enemies, SEGA have finally seemed to incorporate something that fits right and in place with the Sonic Universe.
My demo finished with me tackling a boss, something the Sonic series has, but I felt has never gotten right with the 3D games. Quick jumps and movements always made the camera go nuts for me, but Lost World’s camera never seemed to run into this problem so that’s always a plus. The boss fight was over quick and even though it felt like I’d been playing for at least 10 minutes, the timer flashed at me. 2 Minutes and 13 Seconds. Damn. It was short but it was a blast to play.
I have to say I went into the game to begin with with a bit of skepticism, but was thoroughly happy with the outcome I got. Hopefully the Wii U version of the game is the same deal, but I’d more than happily look at picking up the 3DS version at launch.