Sonic Heroes Review

Developer: Sega Publisher: Sega
Release Date: January 6, 2004 Also On: GCN, PS2 and Xbox

Sonic has been a strong franchise since the Sega Genesis in the early 90’s. The transformation from 2D to 3D has been more than rough for the Sonic series. While its competitors’ franchises, such as Mario, have faired well, Sonic has fuzzed over the past few years. Sonic Heroes is truly a make or break for Sega’s flailing series, if it can’t do well now, it will most likely spell doom for the franchise.

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Sonic Heroes is the first wholly 3D original Sonic title since the Dreamcast’s so-so Sonic Adventure 2. Whereas in Sonic Adventure 2, you played as either two teams, you still only controlled one character at a time. In Sonic Heroes, you have four teams; Team Sonic, Team Dark, Team Rose, and Team Chaotix. There are three characters on each team, making a total of 12 combined characters.

The team-based battle system works well, because it seamlessly allows you to swap between the characters with the X and Y buttons. Even though you have three characters on your team, you always control one at a time to lead the pack; they will work together to attack enemies, reach heights, and more. Signs are posted and players even tell you who should be taking the leading position.

Each of the characters have their own unique strengths. Sonic is of course the fast character and has an overall sense of usefulness in most areas. Knuckles is the fighter and as such, he can defeat enemies with heavy armor. Tails is weak on attacks, but he can be used to fly to high ledges and attack enemies that are in-flight. The “team attack� is useful for areas which require mass amounts of destruction, especially in boss battles.

Many times, who is in control doesn’t matter, since the game will take control for you. It leaves you feeling that you are watching and not affecting the action on-screen. Sonic Heroes does force you to strategically use and choose characters; you need Tails for height, Knuckles to break certain crates, and Sonic to keep a steady pace. Rarely, if ever, will you die from enemies. Instead, you will find that you die more from the level design, than the difficulty of the enemies.

Heroes has a few basic modes, including Story, Challenge, and two player modes, such as fighting, racing, and more. The story comprises of 14 uniquely designed stages and differ slightly for each team, especially for Team Chaotix, which is more adventure and mission-based, than the rest of the game.

The levels, like I said earlier, are well designed from a graphical perspective, but sometimes are overly deadly and confusing; you might even fall through a wall or the floor at times. On the other hand, the levels are colorful, destructible, and have a large amount of interaction, but still, they don’t seem to be that much of a step from the Dreamcast. Another down-turn is the over-abundance of boxes and the under-use of shadows and lighting affects.

Sonic Heroes, like Sonic Adventure 2, despite high expectations, leaves you feeling that you anticipated more excitement and a more reliable system. The implementation of the team-based gameplay was well done, but at the same time, it takes the traditional sense of the Sonic series away. Sega once again added players that weren’t necessary, in the form of Big or Amy, who really left a bad impression on the Dreamcast’s Sonic Adventure. While the series is improving ever so slightly, I feel that it is going in the wrong direction, however, a rental isn’t asking too much, give it a try.

Graphics: 7.5
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 7.5
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 6.5
Final: 6.9
Written by Kyle Review Guide

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