I gotta be honest and admit that when Sonic the Hedgehog 4 was first announced, I was extremely skeptical. I mean there hasn’t been a good sonic game in over a decade. Am I really supposed to believe that all of a sudden Sega has found that special spark again?
After playing the hands-on demo at E3, I am now a converted believer. Sonic has truly gotten back to his roots, with a game that is sure to make all the old school fans of the series happy again. To find out why I am so pleased, hit the jump.
The greatest thing about Sonic 4 is that it starts with the original formula that made the first Sonic game so great, and only makes small incremental changes to bring it into the 21st century. This means that if you go back and play the old Sega Genesis version, and then pick up a Xbox 360 controller to start playing Sonic 4, you’ll feel right at home.
To put it in the absolute simplest terms, Sonic 4 is Sonic 1 wrapped and delivered in beautiful HD graphics with one or two extra moves thrown in. I really can’t think of a better way to describe it, because that’s exactly how I felt as I was rushing through the first zone, a level which is almost identical to the first zone in the original game.
That’s not to say that everything is the same. Sonic does have a new lock-on move, which essentially targets an enemy or item and allows you to zoom toward it with the push of a button. It’s a little bit tricky to get used to using at first and it doesn’t always lock-on when you expect it to. Hopefully this is a kink the developers will be able to work out before the game launched.
I did play the game on an Xbox 360 controller, and I can attest that it did feel a little weird using an analog stick to control Sonic. For some reason the controls just feel a bit sluggish, and it takes Sonic a while to really get moving. I’m not sure if this is a control related issue, or something deliberately designed in. It’s not that big of a deal, but I just don’t think Sonic should feel so sluggish.
I can tell you this much about Sonic the Hedgehog 4; old school 2-D Sonic gameplay, it’s got it; HD quality graphics, check. If you are a true Sonic fan and have loved the series for decades, that’s all you need to know. You can try it out your self though when it gets released later this year on XBLA, PSN, WiiWare, and the iPhone.