Sega is bringing Sonic the Hedgehog back for an encore to last year's pair of new adventures in Sonic and the Black Knight for the Nintendo Wii, another storybook game that follows in the tradition of 2007's Sonic and the Secret Rings. This time around the blue blur is armed with a sword in addition to speed and must... oh, the details don't really matter at this point. MTV's Stephen Totilo spent a little time with the game recently and offers up some details on how the adventure unfolds.
Sonic wielding a sword is an odd gimmick, though arguably less odd than Sonic turning into a were-hog as he did in last fall’s “Sonic Unleashed.” In one level I played of the new game, I had to run Sonic down a path dotted with apples (instead of rings). I had to time swings of Sonic’s sword to knock down targets propped up along the path. A stampede of cows charged toward Sonic. Pressing Z generated a shield that bounced them back. As with “Secret Rings,” Sonic will earn powers, but I only saw these basic abilities in my brief time with the game.
Sonic appears to gain experience points for completing levels in a skillful manner. This earns Sonic extra “followers” who manifest themselves in the game’s town, a feature I was told about but didn’t see. Sonic’s “friends” also appear in the game, though I didn’t see Knuckles or any of the rest.
After experiencing two flavors of Sonic Unleashed I think I'm done with hopes that Sega can rediscover what made Sonic so much fun back in the old days. At this point I'm just taking each new Sonic game on a case by case basis and hoping for the best, yet prepared for anything but. I'm looking forward to trying Black Knight when it releases in North America next month, but all that I'm really hoping for is a few hours worth of enjoyment before I move on to the next new release that demands attention. Consider it an attitude of Sonic and the Realistic Expectations.