This is it. The moment that I'm pretending you've all been waiting for - my honest and unbiased review of Sonic Boom. "Elkin, why would you play such a piss poor terrible game?" Good question, random reader. Why would I subject myself to this? It's quite simple, really; my rule is that you can't judge a game until you play it. I also was genuinely curious. The Internet says that it's the worst thing to happen to humanity since the Holocaust, but it also said the same thing about Duke Nukem Forever and Devil's Third, and I legitimately enjoyed both games (even if for mindless Steven Segal-esque violence). Would Sonic Boom be a similar story? Would I enjoy it despite the Internet's persecution of the game? Well, yes and no.
Sonic Boom is a tragic tale of missed potential and identity crisis. Let me address the latter first. "Identity crisis" was my big gripe about Sonic Lost World; it didn't know if it wanted to be a 2D platformer or a 3D platformer. Sonic Boom is like that on steroids. Part of it is a 2D platformer. Part of it is a 3D platformer. Part of it is a puzzle game. Part of it is a beat-em-up. Part of it is an awkward rail shooter. Because it tries to do everything, it ends up doing nothing well. I've never been a fan of 3D Sonic games (I haven't played them all, but from what I have played, I just feel like he works better in 2D), so I wasn't crazy about that, but I expected it. The 2D parts were good enough and definitely constituted my favorite part of the game. The rail shooter segments were extremely few and far between, but they played a little like a bad Space Harrier in terms of controls. The beat-em-up element, while the closest thing to a redeeming element for a lot of people, was actually my least favorite part. It just felt clunky and unpolished with extremely shoddy hit detection.
Now what do I mean by missed potential? Truth be told, there's a good game buried beneath the unmitigated disaster that is Rise of Lyric. There truly is. The problem is that it's a broken mess riddled with endless bugs, and that's AFTER a 1.2 GB update. This truly could have been a good Sonic game, even with its inability to figure out what kind of game it wants to be, if it actually worked. As it is, though, it just...doesn't. You randomly fall through platforms. Certain mandatory flags don't trigger unless you step on the EXACT spot it wants you to, and some don't trigger at all unless you close the game and reload it, causing you wander aimlessly until you think to try that. Other times it DOES load what you're supposed to do, but because the game gives you zero instruction on a certain mechanic or environmental object's purpose, you THINK that it's glitched again and get pissed off and throw your phone across the room, almost smacking your friend in the face with it (sorry Paul).
The frame rate is also....atrocious. It's legitimately unacceptable. I know that the Wii U's hardware is underpowered compared to its peers, but Sonic Boom isn't exactly pushing the limits of graphics, and the game still drops to single digit frame rates in certain places. The thing is, though, I didn't notice frame rate drops in battles. It would be when I'm just walking or something, and usually at a specific place. I'd walk through one doorway, and it would be a fine 30 fps before I walked through the door, but EVERY single time I walked through, the game would stutter. Characters will also just randomly appear from the ether. I'm casually strolling to my next objective (because Sonic doesn't run in this game except in certain 2D places and when he becomes Jesus and runs across water, also only at certain places), and it's like "Oh, okay, it's raining pink hedgehogs and red echidnae."
Speaking of Knuckles, this game butchered his character. I mean, they straight up murdered it. As I'm sure most of you are aware by now, Sonic Boom portrays Knuckles as a fairly happy-go-lucky guy with an IQ of approximately 6. Now I've only played through about half of the Sonic series, so correct me if I'm wrong, but I've always thought Knuckles to be a pretty bright guy, even if a bit stubborn and impatient. Certainly not so stupid that he literally doesn't know right from left (that's in one of the first cut scenes in the game). Given that Knuckles has been my favorite Sonic character since I was little kid, that REALLY bothers me.
I'm not lying when I say that Sonic Boom was almost a good game. I haven't played the 3DS game, so I can't compare the two, but it really was almost good. If it just...worked. The fact that the game IS an insanely broken mess is a real tragedy because, even with the meh story and ruined characterizations, the game's legitimately fun the few times it actually works like it's supposed to. If you're a big Sonic fan and can find the game for less than $10, it might be worth picking up just to add to your collection and experience once, but even though it's not as bad as the Internet makes it out to be, it's still pretty damn horrible. Not the WORST game ever made, but still a solid 1 Nep out of 5.
My Rating - 1 Nep
I'm a teacher.
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach high school history; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.