E3 2010 First Impressions: Sonic The Hedgehog 4 (Xbox 360/Nintendo Wii)

One of my personal most anticipated games for E3 2010 is Sonic The Hedgehog 4 and Sega had it playable at their booth for Nintendo Wii as well as Xbox 360. Gameplay-wise they are identical, with the Wii version controlled via the horizontal WiiMote config. The only difference is in graphical fidelity – with the Wii version seeming fuzzy compared with the ULTRA crisp 360 version.

The demo had three regular levels and a boss level immediately chooseable and playable. Two of the zones were classic “green hill” style zones, and the third was a sunset zone with richer reds and oranges. The graphics are stunning, with Sonic, the environments and the enemies all ultra detailed and pretty. There are a few odd animation choices, such as the charged spin attack, where it seems like animation is missing or its an aesthetic choice to make it seem cartoonish.

The gameplay wasn’t as crisp as I would have liked, although they have months to tweak how it feels. Sonic feels sometimes like he is floating on the platforms rather than running, and in the levels demoed at E3, there were too many abrupt stopping points that slowed things down. Even at max speed, the game didn’t seem to move at the breakneck speed of the 16-bit games or even some of the modern games (in the good levels).

I’m still optimistic, as the game looks amazing and is very fun to play. The speed and floating issues seem very fixable, although they are the type of tweaks that can make or break this game.







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