Review by Neh_Nekojin
A lot of hype, a well-known RPG company, and an iconic mascot? What could go wrong?
Ever since this game was announced, I looked forward to it. I was a huge Sonic fan back in the day. Not to the, er, extreme lengths some fans are, but I definitely enjoyed the games. Unfortunately, once I finally got my hands on the final retail copy, I once again found myself experiencing the disappointment that many Sonic fans have grown all too used to experiencing when playing the newest Sonic games. Here's a short review touching the most salient points.
For a DS game, the graphics are mostly good. The animation is a bit stiff, but the actual characters look good and the hand-drawn backgrounds are, for the most part, good.
Truly horrific and disappointing, for the most part the world themes are tinny and unremarkable, and the sound effects all sound like they were compressed with technology a decade out of date. Much worse than telephone quality. Some of the themes are better (like the battle theme) but for the most part, this is extremely disappointing. Especially for a Sonic game, which are normally known for having memorable music.
Forced stylus controls. You don't even have the option of using the DS control pad and face buttons. Stylus movement and you can optionally use the L or R button to interact with the game's context sensitive actions. Would have rated a 7, but the touchscreen controls aren't even that responsive.
Unremarkable. As far as the world map goes, you run around with your party and perform context sensitive actions that only certain party members can do (Fly, Speed, Climb, etc) while interacting with NPCs to find quests and run into enemies to fight battles. The battles themselves are part of the games major failing, as any good RPG lives or dies on the battles and this one just doesn't measure up. For the most part, the battles consist of standard 'Line up and hit each other' turn-based fun. Unfortunately, every time you opt to use a super move, you must play a minigame of sorts in order to perform the move. If you have played Ouendan or Elite Beat Agents, the games will be familiar to you. However...they aren't fun, at all. They're the same every time, and worst of all, you are forced to keep your attention on the game at all times. If you miss even one input, the move usually fails completely. The battles aren't engaging at all.
Also, sometimes randomly during a battle, the enemies will try to flee and you'll be forced into yet another boring minigame. It's not fun at all.
Well, I admit I haven't kept up with the Sonic mythos since S3&K, but the story doesn't seem all that remarkable to me. Standard RPG fare for the most part, only with Sonic.
Extreme Sonic fans may get something out of this game, but the casual role playing gamer and the casual Sonic fan probably won't get anything but frustration and boredom. Worth a rent, but save your money for games that better deserve it.
Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Product Release: Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood (EU, 09/26/08)
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