It’s taken them the better part of a decade, but it seems like Sega is finally listening to fans. Not only has Sonic returned to the 2D platforming scene in Sonic 4, but Sega has decided to release a game that takes everything that was good about Sonic Unleashed without all that “werehog” business.
But does it break the dreaded “Sonic Cycle”? Hit the jump to find out.
The outset of Colors paints a very optimistic portrait of Sonic’s future. Not only is the game flashy and fun, but it seems like Sonic Team has finally knocked one out of the park. If you were a fan of the speedy daytime levels from Sonic Unleashed, you are in for a real treat. The first half of Colors takes everything that was great about Unleashed and cuts out all the crap.
While a clear juxtaposition of fun and frustration is dispersed throughout the game, the tail end of the game definitely has more than its fare share of aggravating moments. In fact, much of the later portions of Colors lack any of the fun that first makes the title so fun and evocative.
Gone are most of the 3D racing levels that made the earlier portions of the game so fun, only to be replaced by poorly designed 2D platforming stages. It’s almost if Sonic Team had a real winner on their hands, and then realized they needed to rush production for a holiday release.
In addition to the atrocious 2D platforming stages, the usual suspects and trappings of poor 3D Sonic game-design are all here as well. The most noticeable of which is pitfall deaths. The game ratchets up the difficulty to the point that I threw my controller across the room more than a few times. However, it does this through cheap kills, often instant deaths that are completely unforeseeable.
Speaking of throwing controllers, don’t even bother with the Wii-remote on this one. Ditch the motion controls for a Classic Controller, Wavebird, whatever. I made the switch to the Gamecube controller and never looked back.
Sonic Colors is not without its gimmicks and new friends. However, for once these are done well. The Wisps add some variation to the racing and platforming of the game with short bursts of special abilities or speed boosts. These power-ups can really make portions of the game much easier, and will keep you somewhat sane when the game is doing its best to test your patience.
The plot is what you have come to expect of Sonic games. It’s forgettable, trite, and trying way too hard to be funny. It’s obviously targeted towards younger audiences, and maybe I’m jaded, but I doubt even kids would find the story terribly enjoyable. At least, they’re skippable.
Visually, Sonic Colors is absolutely breathtaking. It’s easily one of the best looking games in the Wii library, or even any game of this generation for that matter. Imagine if the Super Mario Galaxy graphics team got their hands on the Sonic franchise. Everything is crisp, clean and colorful. You won’t find yourself missing HD in the slightest.
The soundtrack is also a big selling point for the title. Personally, I’ve always been a huge fan of the series’ music since the Genesis originals and Colors doesn’t disappoint. The music is exciting, uplifting and catchy, which makes the fun racing levels all the more enjoyable. My only real complaint about the soundtrack would have to be that there wasn’t more of it, with each world having only two individual tracks.
Also, the tunes in the menu areas are pretty terrible. Actually, I have nothing terribly good to say about the menus and over-world. They exist and I have come to terms with that.
Overall, Sonic Colors is a pretty decent game. It’s far from the realization of the ideal 3D Sonic title, but it’s pretty good nonetheless. That is, when it’s not maddening. Fans of Sonic Unleashed’s daytime levels should be pleased, but this is an incremental improvement. Maybe in a year or two they will finally manage to hit the nail on the head. Maybe… Probably not.
Graphically, Colors is absolutely gorgeous. The story on the other hand...
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At times, Colors can be amazingly fun. It can also be extremely frustrating, disheartening and just plain unfair.
The soundtrack is great. Too bad there isn't more of it.
The game is several hours long and includes level rankings, as well as challenge stages. Replaying the fun racing levels is also extremely fun.
Colors is a definite improvement on Sonic Unleashed. By no means is Colors the 3D Sonic you've been waiting for, but if you can get through all the frustration, there is a lot of fun to be had in this package.