By GunstarRed 7 Comments
Part of the reason I bought a Wii U earlier this year was that I could play Sonic Lost World. I still get excited about Sonic games, and although I'm disappointed every time Sega puts out a Sonic 4 they remind me about why I loved the original Mega Drive games with games like Colours and Generations.
I fully understand why some people have such a distaste for the series, I played Sonic 06 earlier this year (almost at the cost of my sanity... It'sno use....itsnouseitse...just...fucking...jump...JUMP it's no use...fuck!JUMP you piece of shit!) and if that was a reason to never want to play anything Sonic Team put out again I'd know and understand why. But really... Sonic is back on track... sorta.
I have played about six hours of the game and am about two levels away from beating the last of the Deadly Six so this is probably a pretty short game if you are just playing through the story. Maybe there's more than one final world, but I have a teeny tiny teensy suspicion that Dr Eggbotnik will be the final boss. The biggest change from Generations is that there is far more of a focus on precision platforming with the new parkour system that automatically makes you climb scenery if you're holding down the run button and the double jump first seen in Colours. When they first started showing videos of the game it looked suspiciously like Sega had just tried to turn Sonic into Mario Galaxy, and the game doesn't really feel like that at all. It still feels very much like a Sonic game in the 3D sequences, but the 2D sections that rotate seem to have taken more inspiration from Donkey Kong Country.
The things I like about the game are that it is a visually great looking game that runs at 60ish frames and it has a collection of Jazzy-poppy-upbeat music that fits Sonic really well. There are four levels in each world and very few of them look alike. One level in the second world looks like a bunch of desserts and another looks like a honeycomb jungle for instance. The other thing I like is the increased focus on exploration for little animal canisters as you need to have collected enough to progress with the story. I think the run button was a good move as it allows Sonic to walk around without sliding off the level to his death and the spindash is a great inclusion for the people that still want to do speed runs. They have also added a new move in the kick which functions very similarly to the homing attack and is good for taking out bigger or armoured enemies which sometimes requires you to follow up a small pause with the homing attack. It's simple, but a nice change from just spamming the attack button. That said, occasionally there will be long chains of enemies that you can combo really quickly by mashing the homing attack and that is almost as satisfying as eating a long ghost train in Pac-Man CEDX. The colour powers which require various uses of the pad including tapping musical notes and steering a Sonic-eagle to aiming a rocket at other floating land masses (possibly the most Galaxy-ish thing I have encountered in the game... possibly a little more Ratchet & Clank.) You can tell that the developers have tried to include a lot more variety into the levels by giving you little tasks before you can move on from an area.
Not all of the ideas work though. Some of them feel like they have been copied from other games, but don't quite understand what made the similar thing in another game work. I still think that Sonic works best when he is running at top speed. And running around with an awkwardly physics-y giant pineapple trying to squash robot chickens just feels awkward and a little boring. The run button also feels a little too slow, but that might just be me missing the boost from the past games. I find the speed sections in the newer 3D games to be exhilarating and Sonic in Lost World it feels more like he's going for a nice jog at times.
The difficulty curve in this game is also bizarre. I found myself unchallenged by any of the first three worlds only to have the first two levels of the fourth spike into a really frustrating experience, and then return to being even easier than earlier levels. The bosses are an inconsistent joke also. You get bosses every two levels and they mostly fall into a predictable wait for attack then homing attack their face pattern, but every so often you can just spam the homing attack on them and get three hits in quick succession and the boss is over in seconds. all of them look good and seem like they had some effort put into them, but they mostly fall flat due to them being a a complete pushover. Another thing of note is that I find myself flying off of the world a lot more than I'd like, something I thought the last couple of retail games had fixed, but it occasionally feels like a step backwards.
Overall I think it;s a fun game that doesn't really live up to its potential. It really isn't a must have, and definitely not a system seller for the Wii U, but it's a good platformer with a lot of style, charm and good presentation. It's one of the good ones and even if I haven't finished it I know it's not the game that will bring everyone back and forgive Sonic for past mistakes. If you're expecting Sonic Galaxy prepare to be disappointed.
Oh yeah, there's a story or something. There's monsters and Robotnik is like good, but not and Tails gets kidnapped and lays in a canister doing a seductive pose while Chris Redfield is an annoying douche while one of the boss monsters talks about pounding your butt. It's a thing and there's probably a little more of it than I'd like.
The map screen music sounds suspiciously like a tune in Yoshi's Island.
Edit - I just wanted to update this to say that the final few levels of the game are a frustrating mess. Not only do they highlight a vast majority of the games faults, but also bring even more problems into play such as homing attack targeting that just decides to not work and annoying floating levels where you have to hold the button down to sort of float around a mess of fast enemies all while taking away a huge amount of Sonic's movement.
I'm ok if I am challenged by games, but the lives system in this game makes no sense whatsoever. It just puts a collection of loading screens in the way of me progressing. So much of the end game is ridiculous trial and error, often punishing you for not hitting something you had to react quickly to with little or no warning. The first sky world level had me fly off of the stage over twenty plus times and funnily reminded me of the similarly frustrating trial and error Crisis City stage in Sonic 06. I'm a fucking pro at that stage now and don't feel the slightest bit of satisfaction.
I'm pretty conflicted right now as I want to defend a huge chunk of this game for not being the abomination some people seem to think it is, but some of it makes me want to contact Sega and repeatedly ask them WHY DID YOU THINK THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA!?!?