Day one. First impressions:
- Press Start and you're in — no cutscenes, no Walls Of Text, no screwing around... Zone 1, Act 1, GO. F__king OLD SCHOOL. It says something about newer Sonic entries that they stopped doing this. Equally significant that they've now returned to it.
- Story a little thin? Same could be said of the first few Genesis games: "Eggman/Robotnik experiments on defenseless creatures, wants to rule the world, stop him." Do you need more than that? None of the usual extraneous junk.
- My wife hasn't played a new Sonic since the Genesis died. First time she's heard any of these characters speak... she thinks the voices are perfect. IMHO, Roger Craig Smith is getting the short end of the stick; I think it's a leap forward for characterization — where past Sonic actors have overemphasized either the "hero/nice guy" or "cocky bastard" aspects of his character, RCS manages to strike a good balance between the two.
- Script: Sega has seen that their recent approach doesn't work — thinking a series about a BLUE HEDGEHOG WHO CAN TOP SEVEN HUNDRED MILES PER HOUR ON FOOT needs to be taken seriously. This game is better for NOT taking itself seriously; the script was always going to be a little hammy... why not make it intentionally funny? Granted, most of it's grade-school humor, but that's fine; it's aimed at grade-schoolers. Most of us were that age when we first became Sonic fans. But however corny the story or the dialogue, clearly, some thought went into them.
- Gameplay isn't unnecessarily brutal, either. Controls are intuitive enough for younger players, but the actual difficulty doesn't condescend any more than it has to. The game strikes a satisfactory balance between 3D and 2D, and manages seamless transitions between the two.
- Graphics... Incredible. Probably one of the best-looking non-Nintendo games on the Wii. Mercifully, the design team have desisted from misguided efforts at "realism". Leave that limited-palette crap to Modern Warfare.
- Sound? Hell, this is Earworm Grand Central. Maybe the best soundtrack of any Wii game ever. Just wish we had sliders in options, to keep Eggman's P.A. lines from being drowned out.
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