Review: Sonic 4 Episode I

Over the past couple of weeks I have attempted to play Sonic 4 to completion. I fully understand that Sonic 4 is a game and that there are objectives and obstacles. These obstacles almost proved to be too frustrating for me to continue to play the game. I am no spring chicken and am quite familiar with Sonic’s origin and introduction into the gaming world. However I do not recall past Sonic games being as difficult and expletive inducing.

Sonic’s latest sequel begins with music that feels uninspired. Of course this could be due to the double-edged sword called nostalgia. Unfortunately this lack of inspiration can be felt though the whole game. The levels just didn’t feel right. I am no Sonic expert or fanatic but if memory serves Sonic games are fun because of the speed and quick action. The sense of speed is still present but it’s not as instant. The HD graphics look quite good but the additional frames of animation cause our favorite sneakered mammal to appear to accelerate much slower. Once things are moving if you don’t use the new(for 2D Sonic) lock-on correctly you could find yourself stuck and your progress impeded. If I can fall in some sections and have more chances to progress could I get some assistance with sections where I need to defeat enemies that I can barely see let alone lock-on to in order to reach platforms? These annoyances coupled with getting items in locations where they are anything but useful just made me want to hurl something. Beneath the layers of questionable level design, awkwardly placed items and enemies, there is a fun Sonic game to be had. I just wish I had more of it and less of an urge to kill after dying repeatedly due to bad design and cheap end game boss battles. The game is by no means horrible. The casino level, in particular,  is one of its best moments. The few bright spots do make it worth a look but certainly not a blind buy.

Ups

– great graphics

– save system

– it’s Sonic in 2D!

– lock-on

Downs

– in-game physics can be a bit wonky

– cheap boss battles

– awkward enemy and item placement

– lock-on

Bottom Line

Try the demo

Full Disclosure

– GameEnthus.com received this game from Sega for review