Sonic Chronicles preview

                             

On the 19th of June 2008 I was kindly invited to come and try a few levels from the upcoming Sonic Chronicles videogame at a Sonic fans exclusive taster. As I had been following the title closely with much excitement it was an opportunity not to be missed so I could try it. The event took place in the swanky Wii Flat in London and our hosts from SEGA had a few surprises up their sleeves.

The event actually started off by being told that before the actual play test everyone would get a chance to try the hilarious carnival fun otherwise known as Samba De Amigo. As I took a chance of playing it for the first I will go more in depth on that in a separate entry. After everyone was done shaking to the Latin rhythm it was time to play the main game in question. The build we had a chance to play on actually was already very impressive and we were allowed to play about 2 chapters worth of the game.

                                          

To start off the game definitely has certain reminiscence to other games done by Bioware. As the game starts off it goes straight to the point by introducing a complex story which embarks players on a rescue mission. The story advances through a mix of comic style panels and dialogue boxes. The latter in keeping with Bioware tradition have branching options which shape the experience of the player throughout the game. The response options given for each conversation are quite imaginative and range from polite to rude. The script for the game is very captivating and there was even a time when older players may notice mentions of other Sonic games.

 

                                            

                                                                 

The game also tries to include all the Sonic characters he met up with in the last 17 years but does it with a certain flair. In this taster Sonic teamed up with Tails, Amy and the glamorous Rouge. As most RPG the game has set an unique ability for each character such as using Amy’s piko hammer to destroy certain boulder or having Tails fly across platforms. There is levelling up along with the usual moves, special moves and item usage. What sets this aside from most other RPG would be how special moves are performed in that on screen movements must be followed to maximise damage. The battling in the game also propped up a few quirky ideas to make it more interesting than the usual RPG battle. I was surprised to come across an enemy that started running when it spotted me. This action prompted a sort of mini game in that the stylus had to be used to jump over boxes and I imagine other objects as the game processes. This sort of idea makes the game more fun and works very well in practise.

 

                                             

 

When not battling our hedgehog is exploring the lush environments created both around Sonic levels like Green Hill along which we all tried along with original concept worlds.
The hand drawn background of Green Hill or so it seemed was a complete pleasure to look at. The wind swept grass as clouds moved in the background with a splash of lively green and brown. In the level objects such as springs and the famous loop made an appearance throughout the play test. As for the character animations they worked well but I got the feeling that they were still a tad unfinished somehow at the end of battling. As mentioned there are also comic book style animations at certain points of the story which reminded me a lot of this mega drive game appropriately titled Comix Zone.

                                              

 

The best aspect of the game was also how well the controlling scheme worked for the game. The stylus is used to move characters around and interact with objects on the level with the option to use R/L buttons to get items. In battle the stylus is used to both navigate the menu and to get through the running mini game and special moves actions. In the first times special moves actions were quite hard to get a hang of as timing needed to be very precise to make them work. But overall I was pleased with how it all worked because once getting the hang of those special moves going through the game was a real treat.

                                              

I can’t really comment much on the sound side of the game at the moment as the crowd noise made it hard to listen. I did laugh at a few character move sounds such as when Amy swung her hammer in battle. I am sure the game will have a score appropriate enough either way coming from Bioware.

At the end of our play test we were treated to a new trailer for Sonic Unleashed which managed to raise my expectations of the game by even more than normal which is a lot. As for Sonic Chronicles I never doubted it as I absolutely love RPG games and some of my favourites happen to be developed by Biware such as Jade Empire. In getting the opportunity to try it though I could see just how well it is coming and this is with a few months before release in September. I could not get any videos or pictures of the game at the time but hopefully it will happen at the right time.

Thank you to the SEGA folks for inviting me and to the Sonic community that has come so far. I hope you liked reading this preview of the game and that at least it gives you hope for the game.

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