Well now Sonic fans here we are, at the precipice of witnessing yet another incarnation of the Blue Blur, the mascot that has time and time again not received the attention he deserves. Granted not all past games featuring this particular Hedgehog have been well received, but he is nevertheless an icon of gaming. But what of this newest rendition? Will it serve to strengthen the franchise, or will people be left wanting? Well, from my brief interaction with the title, I will attempt to answer this from my perspective.
Featuring brief snippets of gameplay, the Sonic Boom demo featured three selectable levels: two running tracks and one bossfight. How about we talk about running first, it is Sonic after all. As with the more recent games in the franchise, Sonic Boom takes the 3D, over the shoulder perspective when in these levels. Sonic and his companions, who rotate depending on the level, do what one of them does best and run towards the end of the course, dodging all manner of obstacles. Jumps, walls, all those classic annoyances. But there is a new friend/foe in town: the EnerBeam. Utilising this new piece of glowing technology, you are able to tether onto specific points throughout each course, opening up new pathways towards the end. Though, should you miss such an opportunity, there is generally still a way for you to continue onwards. Even with this new element, gameplay is still the same as it ever was: Go fast. Do your best to dodge everything and don’t lose your sense of speed and flow. It makes the game way more enjoyable. Although I will admit that at one point in the game, and I hope this is due to it’s pre-released status, Sonic did fall through the graphics and die on one fateful run. Nothing will put a stop to your groove faster than the game failing around you. So yeah, that wasn’t too fun.
Jumping over to the bossfight demo, gameplay was noticeably different. Yet again standing against Dr Eggman, Sonic and friends were placed inside a circular ring, so no running. In this forced arena, characters are able to attack utilising a single button which, whilst not the most in depth combat system ever created, it isn’t expressly bad. At least the animations were different for each character, such as Sonic utilising rapid punches. The EnerBeam also made a reappearance, this time allowing Sonic to lob heat-seeking missiles back at Eggman’s dumb moustache. Once sufficiently stunned, these same tethers were able to bring Eggman crashing down. It’s a lot similar to the thorn mechanic in the upcoming Freedom Wars game, only slightly less complex. Once this pattern was established, it was a matter of rinse and repeat until Eggman cracked and flew away to wreak havoc another day. He also insulted Sonic’s new scarf. Not cool egg dude.
So there you go, two sides of the Rise of Lyric. Speed and combat. Run and battle. Fast walk and fight. Though it was admittedly only a brief glimpse of the game, it still provided a decent look into the components of play. As with some of the more recent titles, Rise of Lyric appears to be a slightly muted version of more complex game styles. The EnerBeam mechanic in combat is certainly cool, but it isn’t as fluid as it could be. The same goes for combat. Though, as I mentioned before, Sonic fans are a fairly dedicated bunch, ever hoping for the game that will recapture the charm of the old school Blue Blur. That being said, I definitely believe that this game will offer more to a younger audience. Perhaps giving rise to a whole new generation of Sonic fans.
While you’re in the mood, why not check out the rest of our articles for EB Expo 2014?