Review by BillytheKilly

Reviewed: 03/06/06

Good game, but maybe not for non-sonic fans

Sonic Riders Review

This game has been long awaited by die-hard sonic fans, with people on the sidelines curiously waiting to see how it is. I bring you this review by a person who is one of these people who stood on the sidelines to see how it is. I have only touched 2 sonic games in my life now, this being the second.

I went to the store on opening day to see what game a could get, and this game caught my eye. Thing is, it was already completely sold out at 4 in the afternoon on release day. So now to the review:

This game is a racing game. But not just the average racing game, it has other things thrown into it too. When being played, it feels like a mix of F-Zero and SSX. Basically, these mysterious Babylon rogues show up on “air boards” when sonic and his friends are tracking a chaos emerald. Then one of them gets knocked off his board, and sonic grabs it and starts chasing him. The plot then unfolds from there.

In Sonic Riders, you play as a host of characters from the sonic universe as well as some new ones, and some characters from other Sega published games. Each character has a trait, either speed, flight, or power which will greatly vary how you play the game. Speed characters can grind on rails, which are useful shortcuts, Flight characters can go off of accelerators and start flying through hoops, and power characters can knock certain obstacles out of their way, as well as flatten opponents when they boost over them.

When first picked up, this game feels great. You have a nice sense of speed, cool tricks to do easily, and some sweet tracks to play on. But as you get further and further into the game, you will find it more and more frustrating. There is only one difficulty in this game which leads to a major challenge, like in Starcraft. The AI have a tendency to be very cheap, and get to shortcuts that you would never dream of reaching. Also, in many races, you'll face off against robots which have the abilities of all 3 classes, making them very hard to beat.

The game also has a whole unique air system in it. When you boost or hit something, your air goes down, while when you do tricks and your character related ability (e.g. Grinding rails) your air goes up. When you run out of air, you are forced to give up your flying position, and continue on foot until you hit something that'll bring you back up (e.g. a jump) Also, as you speed along, you'll leave a path of “turbulence” behind you. This acts much like the feature in Mario Kart DS, where if you go behind someone, it'll speed you up. Only thing is, these trails can be deceptive, for they are basically automated, once you get in them, it'll just follow the person in front of you. The problem is that sometimes, these trails can lead off of the edge, as well just end abruptly.

This game offers a variety of modes, there is story mode, which follows the path of Sonic and his friends, or of the Babylon Rogues. Then there is normal race, which includes free race, world gp, and Time trial. Then there are the more multiplayer friendly modes which include tag battle, where 2 teams race and each team shares 1 air tank, Survival battle, which throws you into a pit with 3 other players, and you must get the others down to no health, and finally, Race mode which makes you race against the other players, and pick up a chaos emerald and drive it through 5 gates before anyone else.

Overall, this game delivers a fun, challenging experience that keeps you coming back for more. It may not be right for some people, but if you are a sonic fan, or a fan of the genre, this game is right for you. If not, then try renting it first.

Sound: 7/10
The announcer can be annoying as heck and the voice acting suck, but fortunately they can both be turned off.

Graphics: 8/10
The graphics are great for the gamecube with good visual effects.

Controls: 6/10
The controls are ok, but there are many flaws with the automatic accelerating system. Also, at certain points on levels it'll require you to spin your control stick in a circle, in order to gain air as well as momentum. Problem is, if you don't do this well, you are likely to lose, and if you do it well, your hand will hurt like heck.

Gameplay: 7.5/10
Obviously, the most important part of the game, the gameplay is excellent but leaves much to be desired. And the cheap AI lead to much frustration.

Replayability: 9/10
With tons of unlockable gear and characters, that are nearly impossible to get, this game will stay in your gamecube for weeks. Unless of course you give up after a little while of playing.

Overall: 7.5/10.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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