Archive for the ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ Category

Sonic Mania review: 16-bit return breathes new life into struggling series

August 14th, 2017

Enlarge (credit: Sega)

Sonic Mania has finally made what various arms of Sega, including the official Sonic Team staff, haven’t pulled off for decades: a great old-school Sonic game. That’s a monumental thing in and of itself, considering how long Sonic has struggled as a series—and how many times his major contemporary rival Mario has lapped him, in both modern and retro flavors.

With that hindsight in mind, it’s tempting to overlook some of Sonic Mania‘s shortcomings. This is a lean game, weighing in at around 3-4 hours for a first playthrough—which, to be fair, is comparable to how much you’ll find in a Genesis or Mega Drive Sega game. A few peculiar design decisions (and, at launch, bugs) can hinder the fun you’ll have in your first playthrough. And this game has no interest in holding your hand, so don’t expect a relaxing reintroduction to the blue bomber.

But having a good Sonic game again means having a platformer that emphasizes the word “speed” and all it implies—including level density, tucked-away secrets, pitch-perfect controls, and satisfying run-and-jump pathing. Many games have tried to recapture Sonic’s magic over the years (including Sega itself, with 2002’s Sonic Advance 2 worth a shout-out). But this week’s Mania combines the familiar and the new to declare that maybe, just maybe, only Sonic can do it best.

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Sonic Mania is already so good, I’d buy its incomplete version as-is

August 12th, 2017

We have good news and bad news ahead of Sonic Mania’s launch on Tuesday, August 15 on various consoles. The bad news? The game’s PC version has been delayed until Tuesday, August 29. The good news? While our full review of the PS4 version is embargoed until Monday, you can read whatever you want into the fact that we’re resurfacing this June 8 preview for now.

LOS ANGELES—Sonic Mania is far from Sega’s first stab at returning to the blue, spiky bomber’s good ol’ Genesis/Mega Drive days. Every time we’ve heard Sega’s nostalgic promises, they’ve been followed by the series’ handlers coming up high and dry.

Over the past year, I’ve reluctantly enjoyed promising demos of the company’s latest 16-bit Sonic homage. Everything has played smoothly so far, but I’ve bitten my tongue, lest I hype something that ultimately turns out as unevenly as Sonic 4.

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