With the upcoming Sonic Frontiers currently in development, and the mixed reaction to the trailer from fans, it reminds me of how most of the modern Sonic the Hedgehog games received similar backlashes. At times, the reactions were downright embarrassing.
But were these games as bad as expected when they were finally released?
Shadow the Hedgehog (2005)
Released in 2005, Shadow the Hedgehog divided the Sonic fans, with one main criticism of the game being that it was too dark and edgy; the use of guns was severely panned, as was the unexpected character deaths if you didn’t time the homing attacks carefully.
Despite the criticism, I enjoyed Shadow the Hedgehog‘s replay value. Depending on which side you choose, you can get different endings but if you play through all of them, then you will receive the real ending which was epic.
Also you can get to do cool stuff in that game which is not present in your typical Sonic title, such as driving vehicles. It’s a pretty memorable game!
Sonic Riders (2006)
Another game is Sonic Riders which I played in on my PC. A complicated racing game where you ride on anti-gravity vehicles, it can take a while to learn all the tricks and controls that are needed if you want to get the maximum experience.
Also the Babylon Rogues (Jet, Wave and Storm) don’t appear in other games other than the two sequels and they are not well-liked. Despite all that, I found it really enjoyable.
To start off, the game has guests characters coming from other well known Sega franchises such as Super Monkey Ball, Nights into Dreams, etc. Each character has different stats which demonstrate strength and weakness which makes it more fun to try different characters and see how they race. Speaking of the race, the sense of speed is amazing and the reward for doing tricks is really breath-taking.
Also, this anime style opening and the song of it is really awesome that I now tend to repeat it over again a few times when I watch it on YouTube. Despite the average review that it got, I really have to give credit to Sega for really trying out something new.
Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)
On the other hand, there are some modern Sonic games that I completely are really bad.
One infamous example must be the 2006 reboot, supposed to celebrate the series’ 15th anniversary, instead ending up being a complete disaster. I played it myself and I never completed the game. The loading time was so long, the story was all over the place, there were glitches everywhere and then there was this infamous kiss scene…
Looking back now and checking the YouTube videos and reviews that I have seen since, I still don’t regret my decision not to finish this game.
Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric (2014)
Another infamous example is Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric. I haven’t played the game but when I heard about the reviews of the game and I looked at the awful character designs (with the exception of Tails), I was glad that I hadn’t played it.
The game is even worse than Sonic 06. As well as the common problems faced on Sonic 06, there were also a lot of glitches as well as the (in)famous glitch known as “Knuckles Jump Glitch.”
Honestly, even the TV show that it has was way better than the game itself. This really made me think as to whatever happened to the Sonic franchise, as I never would have thought that it would fall so hard after its success in the 90s and early 2000s…
Modern Sonic games: some good, some bad
Overall, I think that the modern Sonic games aren’t all that bad. While there are games that are downright indefensible them, there are several that I had enjoyed despite their various shortcomings.
With the announcement of Sonic Frontiers coming up, I really hope that Sega can make a great modern Sonic game by learning the lessons of its past mistakes and listening to what the fans want. Even if it doesn’t turn out to be hugely successful, I will make up my own mind as to whether the game is enjoyable or not.