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 PLATFORM: XBOX 360
NEXT GEN OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS, LEAVES

he latest Sonic the Hedgehog game opens with an impressive evening CG festival in a city reminiscent of Venice. Realistic humans dance around, and the princess lights a classy pyrotechnics display. All of a sudden, wacky Dr. Eggman kidnaps Princess Elise and a three-foot tall cartoony blue hedgehog zips in to save the day.

This ridiculous mix of realistic fantasy and ultra cute characters permeates the entire game. There are several scenes of lovebirds Sonic and Elise prancing through idyllic green fields like Anakin and Padme. But the story later delves into some cool time travel twists and differing perspectives on the same events.

Over the course of the main quest, you can unlock Shadow and the all-new Silver, who can levitate objects for projectile and platforming purposes. These alternate character options provide a nice relief after several camera related deaths with the anthropomorphic mammal you were previously using. Speaking of cheap deaths, why does Sonic survive a dip in liquid hot magma, but dies instantly when he touches water or sand? Sand, people!

Nonetheless, there’s a whole lot of game for the hardcore Sonic set to check out. Three separate quests and a special bonus quest will keep fans busy for quite a long time.

In the end, Sonic nuts will love it. Everyone else should stay away.

  -BRYAN VORE

MATT HELGESON   6.25
I’ll give Sonic the Hedgehog this: it’s ambitious. Featuring dramatically improved graphics, yet another new playable character (Silver the Hedgehog) in addition to the old “favorites” (quotes to indicate irony), a new RPG-style overworld, and a handful of vehicles, there’s quite a bit of game here. However, at this point, Sega’s a bit like a homeowner who is busy installing a new patio and hot tub while the foundation is crumbling. The basic play control is still erratic and frustrating (especially as Shadow), and the camera is fairly amazing in its ability to take the action out of your view. To be honest, I think the time spent adding new content to this franchise would be better spent working on the fundamentals of gameplay.
6.75
CONCEPT:
Throw in some RPG and romantic elements to the same old Sonic formula and see if it sticks
GRAPHICS:
Sonic and his pals look better than ever, but environmental textures are a little flat and bland
SOUND:
Featuring the unnecessary celebrity voice of Lacey Chabert as Princess Elise and standard cheesy music and voice acting
PLAYABILITY:
xpect to fall off a lot of cliffs due to the persistently horrible camera. That is, when you’re not sitting back watching Sonic run through loops on his own
ENTERTAINMENT:
The story, though outlandish and nonsensical at first, eventually incorporates an interesting mix of interweaving time travel, pathos, and all-star teamwork to defeat an ancient evil
REPLAY:
Moderately High
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