We're just weeks away from another Sonic the Hedgehog game reaching stores which means that guarded optimism is reaching the peak of the Sonic anticipation gauge. Just as so many times before, I want the new Sonic Unleashed to come closer to capturing the fun and feel of the original Sonic games that recent attempts just haven't been able to hit. This sort of hope is nothing new for Sonic fans, but Kombo's Lucas DeWoody lays down just how Sonic has slipped the tracks in several key ways.
[A]bove all else, Sonic Adventure (and more so in its sequel) started a disturbing trend that has since uprooted everything the Sonic series was originally about. After the rushed transition to 3D, much of the game simply played itself. Shuttle loops (a franchise trademark) were hard to execute in 3D, so Sonic Team had the entire thing automated. You just hit the ramp, and "ZOOM". The camera pulls back and the game completely takes over. With each successive sequel, more and more gameplay elements that you controlled in 2D became automated since Sonic Team couldn't figure out how (or was just too lazy) to make these Sonic staples work in 3D. In retrospect, these "automated high speed" moments should have been dropped entirely for something that worked better in 3D. Super Mario 64 made similar compromises to the old formula when Nintendo went 3D, but Sega mistakenly placed an emphasis on speed over platforming—the entire foundation of the original Genesis-era games success.
And so once again I'm ready to go exploring with Sonic like we used to in the good old days of blast processing and minimal involvement from annoying so-called friends (both his and mine). Am I just setting myself up for disappointment one more time? Maybe so, but when I see video clips like these from the upcoming Unleashed...
... I start to think that maybe this time they finally got it right.