Sonic 2006 – My HONEST thoughts.
WARNING: The following review is not what you would expect. Please read with an open mind.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2006. Everyone has talk about this game in extensive detail. Most of the things said about this game…are not pleasant. “It’s the Worst Sonic Game of all time” “This game is terrible” “The graphics looks awful” You get the idea. I played Sonic 2006 or Sonic 06 as it’s known nowadays and, to be honest, It’s not that bad. I know the sonic fanbase is probably screaming their heads off at this but allow me to explain WHY I think this game is ok.
First off let me get the bad things out of the way: The story is convoluted and has some major flaws say for one story line, The controls can be slippery at times and hard to work with if you can’t get behind them, there are countless glitches throughout the game which is a bit of a problem and some of the voice acting is sub-par at best. Also the Elise and Sonic relationship…I’ll get to that later in this review. Also I don’t like the re-design of Eggman in this game.
Now for the good elements: First of all while the gameplay is slippery it isn’t broken by any means. You still have all the elements of Sonic gameplay intact. Running fast and bashing enemies as Sonic or Shadow, Flying with Tails, gliding with Knuckles or Rouge, all those gameplay elements are still present and they work fairly well. Also the game does allow for some variety with its main characters. With Sonic you have the gems that you can buy at shops to give him different abilities such as a speed boost or a brief time stop. They aren’t required to beat the game but the option is still available if you want to try something new. With Shadow you have different vehicles that are placed throughout the levels that are required to traverse certain obstacles. These vehicles change the pace of the game briefly and serve to add a new element of gameplay. Besides Shadow had vehicles in his own game Shadow the Hedgehog so its not a foreign concept. With Silver you have the psychokenisis which allows you to pick up objects and enemies and toss them for attacks, float over certain obstacles etc. While the mechanic isn’t perfectly implemented it does function and it can be fun to see how many objects you can pick up at once. My one gripe with the psychokenisis is that the meter runs down a bit too fast when you’re floating. If the meter went down at a slower pace you’d be able to traverse more obstacles.
As I previously stated the story is NOT the best Ive seen and is in fact convoluted and confusing especially with the time travel being placed around and the paradoxes caused because of it…All except for one characters story. That character is Silvers. Don’t get me wrong his voice acting is terrible! Downright awful even! BUT where Silver shines is in his story and his bond with the character Blaze. Silver and Blaze both live in an apocalyptic future and as such work together to make a life for themselves. In their battles against Iblis they attempt to seal it but are incapable of doing so and try to think of a way to accomplish that goal. When they encounter Mephiles (the villain of the game) he informs them that Sonic is the cause for their future being the way it is and sends them back in order to kill Sonic, not aware that Mephiles tricked them. Silver gets separated from Blaze and has to find his way around the world hes been transported to. This is done well because it shows Silver learning how to interact with other people and that interaction builds Silver up as a character. Meanwhile Blaze is doing the same thing trying to find Silver. In the end of Silvers story the fight Iblis in the past and its ultimately decided that the flams of Iblis will be sealed within Blaze since her powers will readily accept Iblis. Silver objects to this because he doesn’t want to lose the one true friend he has. In the end however the sacrifice is made. Silvers story offers good character development for the character and we see how he adjusts form the dark future he lives in to the peaceful past hes brought to. We also see how the bond between him and Blaze is grown over the course of the story and when shes sacrificed to seal the flames its surprisingly dramatic and sad because of the development given to the characters. I feel this story is ignored simply because of all the bad elements found in this game and its sad because its honestly a good story.
Another good thing about this game is its music. I’m not going to lie I think the soundtrack to this game is some of the best in the Sonic franchise. The music in the game is atmospheric and fits in well with the stages, Soleanna’s theme nice and calming, Mephiles’ them is chilling to the bone creepy and the theme song His World…its badass. His World by Cruch 40 pumps you up and gets your excited to play. It eases you in with the orchestrated intro and then the rock music kicks you into gear! I know it sounds like Im fanboying but lets compare it to a song like Live and Learn. Live and Learn did the exact same thing. So did the intro to Sonic Heroes, Sonic Adventure, Even Shadow the Hedgehog and its darker sounding intro got the job of hyping you up to play done. The point I’m getting across here is that while it isn’t the best Sonic 06 has some beautifully composed tracks in it just like the rest of the franchise and it deserves more attention that its received.
What about the stages? While I think the stages are imperfect their still fun to explore and play through. The Mach Segments in Sonics story take some time getting used to but it can be fun with some practice. The over-world also has a lot of scenery to admire and side missions to complete. Some are more fun than others but there are always side quests that are more fun than others no matter what game you play. For example the one hundred gold skulltula hunt in Ocarina of Time, wrapper collecting in Lollipop Chainsaw, Costume collecting in the Tales games and so on. Now just to clarify I don’t hate any of the games I have just listed. I actually love each of those games but my point is that in any game you play there will always be some sort of side quest that will annoy and frustrate you. Just because Sonic 06 has some annoying side quests doesn’t make them all terrible by default.
What about the graphics? Well the character models aren’t the best I’ve seen on the 360 but they get the job done just fine. Sonic and the other main characters look as they should say for some bad lip animations. Stage graphics look nicely made as well. A few flubs here or there but overall they look pretty good and they do create the atmosphere they are trying to get across. Soleanna also looks good but I think a few more textures could’ve been made to make the city look more polish. I do enjoy the Venice style architecture which for the Sonic universe is unique. Also enemy textures look very well done and polished out nicely, especially on bosses. As for CGI cut scenes…These are easily some of the most beautiful cut scenes in a Sonic game. Period. The intro cut scene alone is like a mini movie in terms of graphics and shows off what the 360 and PS3 can do for the time it was released. Overall the graphics are decent and just need a polish here and there.
Now for the 2 things that I greatly dislike about this game. First off the redesigned Eggman in my opinion is ugly. The way his suit looks make it looks like he got his clothes at a flea market for villains and I don’t think he looks good with weight loss. Eggman has always been a round fat villain since the very first game. Changing that image of Eggman doesn’t work in this game or any other. I mean Sonic Adventure 2 had a thinner Eggman but he still had his egg shaped body even with his thin legs and arms. I’m glad that Sega chose to go back to the original Eggman for later games because had they stuck with the Eggman from 06 I think the franchise would suffer more because of it.
Now for the second thing I greatly dislike…the Sonic and Elise relationship. This relationship has been universally panned by multiple websites and critics and Im on board with them. Putting a human female with an anthromorphic hedgehog just doesn’t work from either a story telling standpoint or an ethical standpoint. Also Elise as a characters is barely fleshed out. All we know about her if you really think about it is that at a young age the flames were placed inside of her and shes has to not cry in order to keep those flames in check. Her development as a character is seen in the cut scenes with Sonic and all it shows is that he and her are supposedly in love with each other. And then in the final act when sonic is killed its her kiss that revives him…I’m sorry but NO! This. Does not. Work! At all! If you wanted to go down the kiss of life route why not have it be the kiss of one true love that brings him back and have Amy Rose, the girl whose madly in love with Sonic, be the one to bring him back and therefore have those two characters finally admit their feelings for one another? Or if you really want Elise to be the one kissing Sonic why not make her an anthromorphic hedgehog as well? That way its at least the same species! I’m sorry if this has turned into a rant but theirs so many ways this could be fixed it upsets me that more thought wasn’t put into it. Make the citizens of Soleanna different animals like in the comics, Make Elise a hedgehog or a fox girl like Sally Acorn. The point is a human with an anthromorphic hedgehog just doesn’t work. Just to clarify I don’t have a thing against furries but I don’t think a relationship between a human and an animal can work. No offense.
Now I originally said 2 things ticked me off…there’s ONE more thing about 06 that’s needs to change…The ending. I HATE the ending to this game for one reason…Everything goes back to the intro ceremony. WHAT. THE. HELL?! Taking this route to end the game was in my opinion lazy and not thought out. Take for example Sonic Adventure when Chaos nearly destroyed the world. The city didn’t get restored after Chaos was defeated it remained the same and destroyed. Going back in time after going through hell or high water to defeat an evil villain like Mephiles and Iblis makes everything done in all stories irrelevant and voided. The only good thing about this is I guess is that Sonic and Elise will never get together. But even so I hate the ending of Sonic 06 just because it’s a lazy way out of creating a better ending.
Overall what do I think of Sonic 06? I think the game is definitely, positively, undeniably…worth giving a play at least once in your life. Im not gonna lie the game has flaws and it has its problems but that doesn’t mean the game is as bad as many people make it out to be. It is fun and there are a lot of good things in it like the music. The game in a nutshell is an experience and everyone will see it differently…much like any video game. Some will like it some will hate it. Personally I think there are some changes that could be made to 06 to make it better but for what we got…its not all that bad really.