Review by Platinum Sonic 10
A swift step in a new direction
Sonic breaks through into the realm of RPGs, and for his first attempt, it was a valiant effort.
The storyline is simple. Bad guys do something bad, Sonic and friends go to save the day, and Eggman gets involved some how, but is not the main villain. The dialogue choices are interesting, though, since choosing certain options, which having no effect on the storyline, can add in little conversations later in the game, which is a nice touch. There are really not that many twists and turns in the storyline, but for a Sonic game, the story is pretty good.
The game play is rather difficult for a Sonic game. At the beginning of a battle, one of three things will happen: You are ambushed, you get to ambush, or the battle starts. If you are ambushed, each enemy gets to attack a character once, and vice versa if you get to ambush. For each POW move, you have to input a certain pattern on the bottom screen. If you are unable to put it in properly, you will do less damage or fail to execute it altogether. Also, you can input a pattern when the enemy is using a POW move in order to lessen or completely stop the attack. This can be extremely frustrating if you do not act quickly and accurately. The areas are drawn well, and movement is pretty easy. With each area, there's a new puzzle to solve in order to access a portion of the area. The puzzles get harder with each new area you access, but for the most part, they aren't too bad. Some areas can get a bit frustrating, but all in all, the game play is sound.
The graphics off the areas are absolutely beautiful. Playing on a hand-drawn area really is an innovative idea for a DS game, and it was executed masterfully. The character models could use a bit of work, but they're not bad considering it is on a handheld. The comic-like cutscenes inbetween certain times are drawn good, although they seem to have a loss of quality, which doesn't make any sense. The 3D model of the character you are controlling on the map sometimes conflicts with the areas on the map in terms of depth, which can be confusing. Nevertheless, the graphics are really good.
Usually sound is where a Sonic game excels the most, but for this game, it is the exact opposite. Being a long-time gamer, I appreciate the remixes of various themes in the previous Sonic games, and the nostalgia was nice, but looking with a non-biased viewpoint, the sound is dull. They may have been going for a retro theme, but even the old themes were orchestrated with more soul than the music in this game. The battle music is nice, and some of the tracks on the maps are good, but overall, the sound in this game is lacking in terms of creativity and polish.
Unless you are trying for 100% completion, there really is not much reason to play this game more than two or three times the whole way through. If they would have put in a feature to battle another individual's team over Wi-Fi, that would have added tons of replayability, but the only thing you can do in this game is trade Chao, and that is only with wireless, not Wi-Fi, so in this area, the game has very little replayability.
THE BOTTOM LINE: 8/10
If you're a Sonic mark, this game is a MUST, since there are a lot of memories and good times to be had. If you don't play Sonic games, then this game would be better off rented.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood (AU, 09/25/08)
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