E3 2013: Sonic Lost World hands-on
Sonic the Hedgehog had been on some hard times. He’s got the need for speed, but lately all most of his games can do is crash and burn. His recent failures are highly subjective. Some Sonic-oligists consider the post-Dreamcast era brought the blue hedgehog to ruin, but only recently with games like Sonic Generations has he been able to clear his name. Others say there hasn’t been a decent Sonic game since Sonic CD‘s chart topping hit ‘Sonic Boom’ showed his audience what next-gen audio was really like.
Sega is back to fix both perceptions with a new, Wii U exclusive to make Sonic relevant again. Sonic Lost World is a new step forward that borrows ideas from its classic predecessors as much as it utilizes concepts from its competition. Unlike Sonic Heroes, for example, this release desires to be both functional and fun, as opposed to being neither.
“The focus is speed and maneuverability”It all starts from the level design, which can be easily compared to Mario’s galactic romps. The stage that was presented was composed of separate sections. Complete one part and a bumper, instead of a star, will readily launch you to the next. But Lost World doesn’t settle on borrowing alone. It builds upon the idea using a concept I thought to be lost: multiple paths. As I raced through the level I noticed ledges I didn’t climb on and paths I didn’t take. It’s hard to tell what kind of reward these alternate paths offer without seeing the bigger picture, but it’s worth mentioning that the design does not restrict you to a singular path.
Camera controls have been a major problem, ever since the blue blur stepped into the 3D realm. This game corrects the majority of those problems by using a fixed perspective, following Sonic as he races forward. The focus is speed and maneuverability as you’re pitted against a variety of traps and monsters littered in your path.
And for the first time in a while it feels like Sonic moves fast, and that you’re in control. It’s classic in the ways that matter most, and inventive enough to do what the last decade hasn’t: build a stable future for the franchise.