I have looked at many of Sonic’s major 2d games now (with the one of 3 and Knuckles oddly getting continuous good viewership I’m told) But it’s time to move to his 3d entries… Well we would but this isn’t a game starring Sonic, but his dark doppelganger who is allowed to have character development Shadow.
From what I’ve been told the story of this game’s conception was Sega got asked by a few people “Why not give Sonic a gun” and in one of the few wise cases of what they have done with Sonic, said that wouldn’t work – it’s not in his character. BUT they do have other characters that they could and so we got this spin off game allowing them to tackle darker subject matter than they normally would, which is honestly a good idea if you have a large roster of side characters.
Set after Sonic Heroes which had seen Shadow seemingly come back from the dead (though implies he might be just a robot duplicate) after apparently dying in the end of Sonic Adventure 2 (which he was meant to but was just popular). He’s contacted by a mysterious alien called Black Doom claiming he knows who Shadow is and something about a deal. Aliens then invade and Shadow sets out, ether to aid the aliens, stop the aliens or just not bother… Also Eggman shows up but he’s more a side villain.
So let’s get the first big thing out of the way, using guns in this game is actually ok, it suffers from nothing that standard game play in 3d Sonics suffer from – and on some of the later levels, can be quite fun.
No what messes the game up is the mission system. You see each level has different objectives you can complete, sometimes only 2 sometimes 3. A dark A Hero and A Neutral. These can range from just getting to the end of a stage, activating a bunch of markers or killing all of a certain enemy. Problem is all but that first one will result in you having to stop playing the level to search through a level painstakingly to locate the 1 thing you missed. Oh and if you kill the wrong kind of enemy it affects your point total at the end. Made worse if doing the hero missions, and you get your hero bar to max it’s a bad idea to use your super move as you will then probably miss one of the key items you were needing, so you get to the end of the level and then have to go all the way back.
Completing a mission in story mode will send you to the corresponding level on that path, so completing a dark mission will send you to a different level than completing a hero mission. Resulting in one of 5 different final levels each with 2 different missions and a final boss connected to those with a different end of the story. Of course if you complete all 10 of those final bosses you get the true ending level complete with obligatory super form fight against true final boss (just like most 3d Sonic games)
Now as for my statement about points earlier, some may think OH that doesn’t matter about the rankings they are just nothing. Well yes and no. By getting the A rank on every mission you unlock Expert mode that has you run through harder versions of all the levels while also serving as a bit of a epilogue since characters will talk a little about things through them. Fortunately these are just run to the end of the level style levels so none of that annoying missions. Shoot things to your heart’s content.
So is this the worst Sonic game ever?
Well no. It was them experimenting in a way that they should do more often, rather than throwing Sonic into game styles that don’t work try using some of the others. What’s more the parts of the game that do work are fun – yes vehicles aren’t really needed (never even bothered to talk about those). But it told a tale that the Sonic games normally wouldn’t while not feeling out of place, and yeah Shadow gets to grow something many long time mascot characters don’t (Mario and Sonic are both guilty of this)
I wouldn’t say it’s anything great and the bad bits really get annoying, but trust me there’s A LOT worse 3D Sonic games. It’s quite telling that the most stable part of the next game in that franchise after this one was the bits based on this game.
NO I’M NOT GOING TO REVIEW THAT ONE.