With SEGA’s recent announcement of Sonic the Hedgehog 4 to hit XBLA/PSN/WiiWare and one other unannounced platform in episodic fashion later this year, many Sonic fans have been hyping themselves up for what seems to be Sonic’s glorious return. Just because the game is back to the series’ 2D roots, however, does not necessarily mean the game will be good. Presented is a list of factors that can potentially spell demise for Sonic the Hedgehog 4, in no particular order.
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 will be released as a downloadable game through the way of episodic content – think Tales of Monkey Island and the Strongbad series. While this could be a good way of building hype for future episodes and give no real “end” to the game, it also has the chance of being very bad: particularly for gamers’ wallets. As of right now, we don’t know how much content will be in each episode, or how many episodes there will be. If each episode takes players through one specific area, say, “x” amount of levels in Green Hill Zone for episode one, then there could be a possibility for a lot of episodes if there are many different areas – and in effect, a lot of money spent. For example, imagine if Nintendo released New Super Mario Bros. Wii
as episodic content via WiiWare. Each world in the game would be a different episode, and each episode would cost $8 - $10, for a total cost of up to $90 including the bonus world nine.
Classic Sonic Wasn’t That Spectacular
Since it will be 2D and a return to the classic Sonic formula, Sonic the Hedgehog 4 is likely to play exactly like the first few Sonic games. Now, taking a look back at the first Sonic titles to hit the Genesis, particularly Sonic the Hedgehog 1 and 2, did those games actually play well? Sonic has been a series known for going super fast and speeding through loop-de-loops. However, in the first few Sonic games that are renowned as being good, players aren’t going fast all the time. Whenever Sonic picks up speed and goes through some loops, there are usually chasms filled with spikes that Sonic falls into or enemies that stop Sonic’s progression. Furthermore, there are some levels that required platforming over lava and other obstacles similar to classic Mario games. If SEGA can deviate away from the obstacles that slow Sonic down and bring him to a speed and game pacing seen in Sonic Adventure, then there won’t be any problems here.
SEGA Loves Giving Sonic Gimmicks
Whether it’s a group of friends or a werehog transformation, for whatever reason SEGA absolutely loves to give Sonic some kind of gimmick when he stars in a new game. The latest was a sword in Sonic and the Black Knight, and it didn’t work well at all. Everyone who’s anticipating Sonic the Hedgehog 4 is likely hoping SEGA doesn’t throw some crazy new gimmick into the game. Members on the NeoGAF forums have dissected the initial trailer for Sonic’s latest console outing, and have found an interesting sequence shown in the image to the left: Sonic is using a zip line to cross some sort of chasm. Why does Sonic even need a zip line, though? In theory, Sonic should be able to get an excellent running start and leap over almost any chasm. This brings another type of speculation: if zip lines are a common occurrence in Episode I, then what other types of gimmicks will there be? There’s a chance that SEGA will have a new one for each episode – maybe in one episode Sonic will step in concrete so he can’t run fast anymore.
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 is easily one of SEGA’s more anticipated titles for 2010. While this is just a list of things that SEGA could potentially do to lower the quality of the episodic game, it would be rather unfortunate if these speculations were to come true.
Are you excited for Sonic the Hedgehog 4? What are some of your worries and hopes for the game?
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