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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Sega
Developed By: Sonic Team
Genre: Action, Adventure
Players: 1-4
Rated: E10+ (Everyone 10 and Up)
Release Date: March 3, 2009
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Noel Del Pilar

June 12, 2009 Sonic Team, when it came to the next generation of consoles, thought of taking Sonic in a completely different direction in order to utilize the strengths of the Nintendo Wii. With this comes Sonic and the Secret Rings, a spin off to the franchise that takes place in the story of the Arabian Nights. The game puts the player in control of Sonic in an on rail perspective where you can only move on forward running through the stage like a roller coaster ride, with no possible exploration. It was a great concept for Sonic as it made the character go distances at high speed. It was a successful venture, so they decide to create a new sequel to the Secret Rings known as Sonic & the Black Knight. In Sonic Unleashed, Sonic had the ability to transform into a Werehog, whereas in Black Knight he now wields a mighty sword, something that also didn't quite sit well with fans. After so much controversy of Sonic using a sword, was it really as bad as many thought it would be? Read on and find out!

Within Sonic & The Black Knight, Sonic travels back in time to the world of King Arthur. King Arthur has suddenly become an evil king that is ruining the lives of his villagers and when there is no possible hero to save them, a magician called Merlina casts a spell for aid of a hero. Bringing then forth our favorite blue hedgehog Sonic to the rescue! Sonic then will take on the quest of finding the King to stop him with the help of his trusty talking sword that will make him become a legendary knight. Along the way he will confront the greatest knights of the king including Lancelot; who will be represented by other sonic characters such as knuckles, shadow and blaze. The story is actually really unique compared to the previous ones outings because this one does not have Eggman in it at all. The story is really well presented with different type of cinematics ranging from 3D to storybook style, however this time the storybook cinematics are of a high quality than in Secret Rings.

The game includes a variety of places to travel to, each featuring several distinct missions however unlike Secret Rings, this time around you only do the story missions. No need to do any extra missions to get a specific amount of stages done to proceed in the story. The gameplay still shares itís similarities to Sonic and The Secret Rings with the perspective of only running forward and moving to the sides. Yes, you can move backwards but not as freely as a Sonic Adventure title would allow. Now, since we have Sonic with a sword, the gameplay is more action oriented rather than just a simple platformer (jumping and avoiding obstacles). Due to this gameplay design, you might say, "well then the game is not as fast a sonic game should be", however donít be fooled.

While you will get interrupted when running around with Sonic, you can choose to attack can or avoid the enemies. Unfortunately, for that you will need to learn to be more precise with your actions and getting to know the speed of the game. Yet, sometimes the gameplay can get a little bit repetitive as the game focuses in throwing you so many enemies in your way, and while it has his obstacles to complete, they are not as exciting as you might expect. They are a few basic Sonic elements removed in the game like the crazy loops, which didn't sit well with some fans.

The sword allows you to perform many different moves even when jumping in the air or running at the same time. There is also a special attack where you can freeze your enemy for precision attacks, allowing you to take out enemies one by one. However, even if the homing attack is featured in the game, itís completely useless as the enemy never gets hurt by it or dies with it. So, all your moves are basically with the sword and you feet to run. All of the moves you can perform with the sword can be done easily by just moving the controller around. You donít really need to perform the move with great precision or anything to make sonic swing his sword in a specific way, you can swing slow or fast and Sonic will swing the same way. So, the motion abilities here are not quite as intuitive as other Wii titles, but still deliver something fun besides a little bit of pain of swinging so much. You can however upgrade sonic abilities with items you win after beating a mission or buying at Tailís shop.

The boss fights in the game are quite exciting and pretty intense, however feel as if they were a little incomplete. For example, when battling one of the great knights of King Arthur, you donít get any tutorials or help on how to really defeat them. You have to analyze their moves and make your own strategy of how to swing, but then again its better that way as it makes the battle quite more intense and surprising. There are other fights that may include a chase or reaching a dragon, however avoiding all the obstacles along the way presents quite a challenge and pressure for the player. The worst boss fight is one with a dragon on the tutorial stages, so again, donít be fooled with that really badly done first boss fight, the other ones are so much better.

In terms of the visuals, this is by far the best looking Sonic game on the Wii yet, beating Sonic Unleashed. The graphics are outstanding with really well done vibrant colors, spectacular level design, great blinding of realistic abd cartoonish graphics and a pretty good looking framerate too. The cutscenes are really exciting as the storybook sections look like beautiful works of art and the 3-D realistic ones really do look very spectacular too like all the previous Sonic games. The camera can sometimes get in the way at certain sections, however it isn't really that noticeable.

When it comes to the sound, Sonic Team finally returns to their great Sonic soundtracks with this title. While Sonic Unleashed took a regular basic soundtrack, Sonic and the Black Knight maintain that unique soundtrack of Sonic like his predecessor Sonic and the Secret Rings. You get some nice tracks with the band Crush 40 who returns once again to create the official song of the game. The other musical pieces really fit in well with the epic story of King Arthur and also give you the sense of speed mixed in with action. The voiceovers are all pretty well done, none way too strange for their character. And the sound effects do their job with the theme of King Arthur with those classic sword clashing sound effects.

The game features a lot of missions after you finish it that will definitely make you comeback. Plus, if you want to keep upgrading Sonicís skills then might as well do them too. You can also play some of the stages with the other three knights: Knuckles, Shadow and Blaze in which each of them has their own unique sword or swords and different way to attack, some faster or stronger than others. There is also a multiplayer, which is poorly executed as the stage is really small to play around but itís playable and features other characters including Amy and Tails. And it features an online ranking system of the top scores in each mission from players around the world. Again, not really an exciting online feature, but it adds something to the total package.

Overall, Sonic and the Black Knight is a game that has been taken the wrong way due to the fact of being quite unique in terms of its gameplay style to other Sonic titles. However, this game is clearly a spin off exclusively for the Wii and not an official canon title like Sonic Adventure, Sonic Heroes or Sonic the Hedgehog. For those who want some of the classic sonic gameplay style there is Sonic Unleashed in which unfortunately also features the Werehog character which has more stages that Sonic, and for those who are looking for a different take on Sonic but maintains some of its original style then there is Sonic and the Black Knight. If you liked the changes done to Sonic in Sonic and the Secret Rings then you should give this title at least a rent and itís also for those looking for a game focused on fast paced action, particularly one that involves a sword. Itís not a disaster game as many thought it would be when they heard Sonic was going to have a sword, itís a great title to spent some time with but one that may not last you as long than expected.


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