TSS@E3 – Hands-on: Sonic Boom Rise of Lyric

Sonic "Hey look! No Shadow!" Knuckles "The Hedgehog?" Sonic "No. On the ground."
Sonic: “Hey look! No Shadow!” Knuckles: “The Hedgehog?” Sonic: “No. On the ground.”

After your done reading, get a second opinion from Nuckles87 over at SEGAbits!

Big Red Button’s Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric is an odd duck. It’s a Sonic game that feels NOTHING like a Sonic game in almost every sense. At it’s core, it’s an adventure-based brawler with platforming and puzzle elements similar to other adventure games such as Tomb Raider, Ratchet and Clank or Uncharted and relies heavily on co-op. A Sonic game that’s not very Sonic-like in any way.

The E3 demo I played has four different levels. A mining level with Sonic and Knuckles, an underground toxic waste level with Sonic and Amy, a speed traverse level with all four and finally, a boss fight with Eggman. These levels are meant to show you samples of the gameplay you can expect from the game, but when put out of context like this, it kind of gives you a poor idea of what the full game is like.

The speed level is fairly simple with some boosting areas, simple jumps and places where you can grab with your enerbeam to swing around. I did go an alternate path from what was shown in previous videos and found an area with a fair amount of obstacles to dodge. It’s no Sonic Generations, but at least it’s something fun to do when going between worlds. Sadly the level was very short and stopped before we got to our destination.

"Well, we solved that! Now lets stagger around until we find some more switches to move this cart around and MAN! I'm already bored."
“Well, we solved that! Now let’s stagger around until we find some more switches to move this cart around and MAN! I’m already bored.”

Now, here’s where things get very different. I played as Sonic and Knuckles  as we traversed an old mining facility. There were robots and snakes around (at which point Knuckles does a bad Indiana Jones imitation) I couldn’t figure out how the gate opened, but fortunately, Sonic chimed in “maybe we need to use that mine cart up there!” So, I found a switch to drop the mine cart and had Knuckles push it to the gate by way of punching) and used the jump boost on top of the mine cart to get over the gate. During the level, I was constantly having to stop and figure out what to do next. Some of which was done by using each characters unique abilities. Sonic has a spindash that boosts him up into hard to reach places, while Knuckles can burrow or climb certain ledges. At one point, we used our enerbeams to lock on and pull the cart over to another path. That’s right, Sonic and Knuckles have “lock-on cart” technology.

…..Oh, come on! That was funny and you know it.

However, constantly having to stop and figure out another puzzle made the whole thing (up to getting to the mining robot) a real drag. At one point, Sonic sees Tails and Amy up above. They are talking about how what a blast they are having in this upper path. “Well, at least they’re having fun” Sonic quips. Too bad I’m not. I found this to be the most boring level in the entire demo.

"Run away much slower than the speed you normally can go!!"
“Run away much slower than the speed you normally can go!!”

The third demo was with Sonic and Amy in an underground toxic waste dump. At times they are being chased by a giant guardian robot while being assisted by a helper robot. There are a few chase scenes reminiscent of Crash Bandicoot. It seems odd that Sonic can barely run fast enough to get out of it’s way. He basically runs the same speed as Amy. Maybe he’s just slowing down to make sure she’s safe? Speaking of Amy, her gameplay is actually pretty good here. She’s acrobatic and can traverse thin pipes and does some difficult platforming along with swinging from bar to bar. I found using her to be much more fun than Sonic or Knuckles. Also, she sounds a lot more like her old Sonic X self rather than Minnie Mouse.

The final level is a boss fight with Dr. Eggman. He’s using an ancient machine and it isn’t going too well (the Eggmobile doesn’t fit quite right and keeps falling over). He’s also using old, used missiles that don’t hit the gang, but just drop to the ground. You can then grab the missiles with the enerbeam to throw them back at Eggman until he falls over and you can attack him head on. There’s plenty of teamwork going on here and the quips are pretty funny. That’s one thing I really gotta hand this game. The dialog doesn’t constantly repeat itself (except in some casual fights) and is pretty funny while moving the story along. It’s a refreshing pace from the poor dialog we got in games like Sonic Heroes. That’s good for those of you who love some Sonic games for their story.

"GAAH! No fair! What'd I ever do to y-oh yeah. All that stuff."
“GAAH! No fair! What’d I ever do to y-oh yeah. All that stuff.”

Sadly, that’s the best compliment I can give the game so far. The game just demos bad. Having it cut into chunks like this really doesn’t give you a full understanding of how the full game really is and instead gives you these dull puzzle sections that make the Werehog levels in Sonic Unleashed seem like a thrill ride in comparison. Also, if this is a co-op game, why are there no two-player demos out on the E3 floor? As I said though, it’s really hard to judge in the format it’s in here. However if I only had a choice between the Wii U version and the 3DS version (Hands-on coming soon), I’d definitely pick the 3DS version as it has more of what makes a fun Sonic game. This one seems to be more focused on telling a story rather than making a really fun experience.

Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric will be out this November and hopefully, we can get a better example of the full game’s experience before then.




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  1. I don’t feel very inclined to trust your judgement in light of your list of “overrated” Sonic games, which was one of the most crass, biased, and insulting things I’ve ever seen here. What we enjoy in Sonic games might be very different.

    1. Agreement there, Thomas. I’m sorry, I just can’t trust such judgement.

  2. Real pity, but sometimes they don’t really pick the best options to make into a demo. They should have probably done a full level, but alas, time constraints for people wanting to play it. I’m sure the game is much better in the complete package (although usually any game is). It’ll be something to look forward to when the hopefully better demo comes out on the WiiU.

  3. Why is it that Sonic games seem to be the only games held to the standard of the classic ones? Everytime one comes out, there’s always critiques that it doesn’t “feel like a Sonic game” in a certain way because it’s always compared to a 2D platformer from the 90s. Those comments also always seem to be paired with something like “if it was an original game or not a Sonic game” or something along those lines. For example: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say they’d love the Werehog stages of Unleashed if it was Knuckles instead. How and why does that matter? Do Sonic fans ever go outside their comfort zone and play something besides a 90s’ Sonic game? Sure other long running series get judged based on their original entries but most of their critics/fans don’t fly off the handle about it. Look at Mario: all of his 3D platformers (sans Sunshine, your mileage may vary) are a hit, but are nothing like the 80s classic. They keep the basic elements, but are independent successes and gameplay is different in almost each new entry. Not to mention his role playing, racing, puzzle, sports, and etc. games. I have nothing against any of you for loving the classic games as much as you do and I consider the fact this may have just been a boring demo. But I am honestly pissed at the fact that this piece starts off with “this is a Sonic game that isn’t a Sonic game.” It’s a mindset like that that for some reason really screws Sonic over but doesn’t affect other franchises this greatly. He gets no room to grow because his critics and very own fans won’t give him any.
    Some of you need to evaluate how bad nostalgia poisoning has affected you.

    1. Thank you! you understand it!
      Sega wanted to make a game that wasnt like any other sonic game, now people complain it doesnt feel like a sonic game… no really? thats because they are going out of their comfort zone and making something new. hell nintendo does it all the time and they dont bat an eye but sega does it and everyone loses their minds

    2. Yeah it doesn’t feel like a Sonic game… unfortunately it doesn’t feel like a good game either.

    3. What the hell does this rant have to do with the article? The writer’s impressions make no mention of Classic Sonic at all. He just says it doesn’t play like the Sonic games we’re used to and makes a comparison to Sonic Generations at one point to simply say the speed sections are less complex than that game’s.

      Even then, there is nothing “nostalgia poisoning” about saying “this new Sonic game is not fun – the old Sonic games were though”. If you say “Sonic Team should never experiment with the franchise and just do games like the old ones” then yeah you’re being a nostalgia fanboy, but you’re allowed to say “experimentation is noble, but this particular experiment failed to be fun for me”.

      1. “it doesn’t play like the Sonic games we’re used to and makes a comparison to Sonic Generations at one point to simply say the speed sections are less complex than that game’s.” I think you answered your own question there.

        The fact is that Sonic Boom is meant to be completely different from Sonic games we’re all used to. People need to approach this game with an open mind, and draw as little to the previous games as possible. Hell, that’s how people should approach all Sonic games IMO.

        1. If you dont juudge it as a sonic game all you are left with is a bad game.
          Also the speed sections in this game are almost identical to generations so yes they should be compared. When you compare them sonic booms attempt is worse, not different just worse.

        2. There is “approaching things with an open mind” and then there is “blind faith”. Guess which one you’re a part of?

          The game is a cluter-fuck of generic platforming staples mixed in with short vignettes of decent-to-ok Modern Sonic gameplay. Like if Sonic where ever to get a LEGO game, but replaced with bad claymation figures, doesn’t look as appealing, has no open world and was developed by an inferior studio and not Traveler’s Tales.

          You know what we call that? Shovel wear

          Jason is right, It DOESN’T feel like a Sonic game. It’s practically ISN’T a Sonic game. But that is not what matters. In the hands of a more competent studio that actually cares about the Sonic universe and doesn’t just see it as giant paycheck, a combat heavy, exploration based Sonic CAN work…IF you incorporate the elements and mechanics that EVERYONE expects out of Sonic. By EVERYONE, I don’t mean just fans, but ANYONE who knows about Sonic. There is no sense of SPEED, no sense of agility or movement in the actions: Sonic should be jumping around like frikiin Spider-Man or Dante, bouncing between foes while making yo mamma jokes. You should feel like you are beating everyone up as THE FASTEST THING ALIVE. The enerbeam is grossly overused and adds nothing that the characters aren’t capable of doing by themselves. And the most embarrassing part is the plodding pace of the platforming, something that should be second nature to a Sonic game. How can you follow up the poor execution of Lost World and make it worse?! AT this point, there is already a Sonic game that does most of what Rise of Lyric failed to accomplished, and it was called SONIC HEROES. At least Sanzarru and Shattered Crystal seems to get the point of a revamp: Creating a new, different experience and adding new twists to an established IP while preserving the core concepts that made the IP beloved in the first place.

          It’s obvious that Big Red Button seems incapable of creating anything but ps2-era action platformers, and now they and SEGA figure that kids won’t know the difference if they just slap SONIC onto a Jak model and call it a day. It is what it was intended to be: another of the hundreds of crappy games meant to tie-in to a tv show. It’s just merch, a cog in a bigger machine instead of something that stands out by itself. But I get it: Anything that will keep Sonic from fading into obscurity is an oasis in a dessert.With all this Sonic crap coming out, we should be happy and proud to be Sonic fans, defiant in the face of our detractors. And who am I to deny the sweet innocent children a chance to enjoy Sonic on a more casual level? It’s not like they deserve an actual quality product; they’re just kids, who cares right?

          Besides, people will be too busy playing Sonic in Smash 4 to care about this title’s march into the GameStop bargain bin, but you keep on fighting the good fight, kay?

          1. Well this is a different universe. You can’t expect the gameplay to be the same as previous games. Sonic team may have a sonic game you may like and have level design you may like, but that’s them. This is suppose to be different. If this was going to be like a boost to win sonic game with level design similar to something like generations, why change the character design? Why add new charaters? Why make a TV show out of this? Why is all this change necessary if the game itself is going to play like previous games? It so it can stand out from the pack. Don’t think of this as the past sonic you use to know, think about Sonic Boom as a New experience. Now i know what you are thinking, “Why even use sonic to begin with? Why not Jak & Daxter, or Ratchet & Clank?” Well ask yourself this, why would sonic team have DLC for sonic lost world based off games that are not sonic? People already say that the game feels more like a mario game, then a sonic game anyway. Why take away anymore of his identity? Well, because it’s a different experience, they don’t want to give you the same thing over and over again. Sure some people may like it, some people don’t, but at the end of the day it’s going to be something different, weather it’s from sonic team, or dimps, or BRB, or Sanzaru Games, or any other developer. You will just have to wait and see with game YOU think is going to appeal to you the most. Just like everyone else. If not this, then maybe a sonic game in the future

          2. I know which group I’m part of. The former. What group are you part of? Someone who wants to see a decent game, or a whiny little crybaby who hates everything he sees without even playing it?

            People like you are a CANCER on this fanbase! Some of us are able to approach new things with open minds. But people like you blindly hate with no backing purely for the sake of hating!

            Go back into your cave and cry over your copy of Sonic 1 (which isn’t even that good anyway) and let us enjoy what is new!

          3. A point everyone brings up is always speed when the original title wasn’t even that fast. Think about it: Sonic 1 was a regular platformer. Sonic did go a little faster when he was running, but the whole speed thing came from memorizing the levels and trying to beat it as fast as you could. Sonic 2 did have some more speed based levels, but the only time I can remember going “sonic speed fast” was chemical plant zone. The Sonic Adventure games did have a little more speed in Sonic/Shadows levels, but a lot of the top speed times were scripted parts like the truck race or the building run. I think Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Generations as spoiled some of us into this belief of “ultimate speed” of the sonic games when honestly the speed came from level memorization. If you’d ever held the run button in a Mario platformer it’s the same feeling, at least to me. Personally it’s always been the mechanics that I loved about Sonic. For all the fans in disbelief remember that everyone is entitles to their own beliefs and that most of us haven’t even played the demo yet, less alone the whole game. I’m going to try it when it comes out, and not judge it based on older games.

          4. As much as I would like to see this game succeed, but Falconkick is right, it really seems like Sega has just given up on making Sonic a viable series again and threw their hands up and said “well screw that, let’s just go the Skylanders route and turn this into a cash grab for kids.” Sonic Boom is to Sonic what Skylanders was to Spyro. If Sega had wanted Sonic to be good, they would’ve built on what they got right in Colors and Generations (I don’t know what Lost World was going for). Unlike when Sonic first debuted and let the awesome gameplay turn the series into something popular that led to cartoons and toys. This is taking the Transformers or My Little Pony approach, essentially making a show to sell games and toys in Sega’s desperate attempt to keep from going bankrupt.

        3. Yes but people who are Sonic fans will want to know how it compares. Hence he says from the start it is different from past games and, when there is something comparable, he compares it.

          All he is doing here is giving Sonic fans a point of reference, he is not judging this game by how it compares to previous ones, he is just saying “here is how it compares to previous ones, which we know you’ve probably played as Sonic fans, and thus will be a good frame of reference for how this one is – even if in this case, that happens to be “not much like the past ones at all”.

          There is no favouritism for the old games at all in this article, the brief mention of them is simply to illustrate using games that the writer can fairly safely assume the readers have played.

  4. “Wow. The critics of Sonic Retro actually thought this game was pretty decent. I bet that means the normal people at Sonic Stadium thought it was alright t-WHAT THE HELL

  5. There are two sonics right now. The modern and the boom. Different universes, different gameplay. At least sonic is trying to mix it up and develop a sense of growth and innovation. Sure from what we seen it’s not perfect and it plays weird from a different perspective, but it’s an effort and it’s still improving. The game is still in the works and if people who complain about it’s not this or that will try to be patient. We can see a definitive and possibly better project.

  6. something iv been thinking about – in the mine with knuckles he says “oh – dont worry, sorry to bring it up” … bring up what? was he talking about something thats sensitive to sonic?

    i like how in the toxic under water stage Sonic keeps going on about the water, saying he feels uncomftable and is worried about the glass strength ^^
    “oh god its cracking!”

  7. well I mean this is sappoused to be a new branch of sonic so I just it as it’s own thing, a 3D action adventure with some but not many sonic elements thrown in seems alright to me, as they said this is sappoused to be a NEW sonic unlike the main series NEW MEANS NOT CLINGING ON TO THE WAY THE OLD GAME’S PLAYED, I don’t know why everyone keeps thinking a new gameplay style is bad maybe it was a bad choice in levels or maybe the game was boring but if anyone’s bitching that it doesn’t play like the old sonic the get your head outta your ass and look at the fact that their treating this like a new franchises entirely, I don’t know if the game plays bad or if the overall game is bad but there’s no fucking way I’m getting the 3DS version, I’m sick of 2D sonic I’ve had enough 2D 2014 everything’s 3D why is sonic stuck in the past since he can play in 3D just fine on the 3DS so annoying, but I’m assuming and if you assume you make an ass outta yourself so whatever.

    1. There was only a Demo. Based on the demo that game is probably going to be very long since there was no full levels in it.

    2. The demo was 30-40 minutes long total. I can only imagine how long the full game is.

      1. yeah and that wasn’t even a full level and there are probably like at least 6 worlds and 4 zones in a world good god this will be long.

  8. Hey, by watching latest Nintendo Treehouse I noticed that Sonic is using “Super Peel Out” as his running animation in SSB, while in Boom he doesn’t 🙁

  9. Eh, don’t care what everyone says, this feels like SA mixed with sonic hero’s, i’m excited to play it, and if its bad then BRB will learn to change and grow on what worked right, because i know Mr. Frost, he actually CARES about sonic, unlike sonic team, so if this fails, no worries, because the next will be SO much better.

  10. Now about the first picture, it shows the difference between the 2000 games and the 2014 games, plus amy in the background, dont push it boys or else youll have that picture in your head, and yes I did look at amy in the background, that should prove simple enough for you guys.

  11. yea i kinda agree with someone on here who said lost some cred after the other article about overrated sonic games(funny how now people bringing up sonic 1 speed like its now notice)but i am gonna say i am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt as it does seem to feel like the demo was just all over the place

  12. The problem is that everyone goes into this game thinking of it as a sonic game. It’s supposed to have a different formula and different style of gameplay. I’ve seen all the reasoning and the gameplay does seem a little bland, but in order to give this game a fair judgement you have to treat as a new series. I’m not saying you have bad points on why this game isn’t as great as it shows, but I feel you’re being harsh on it because you expect it to be (using this term loosely) Sonic the hedgehog.

    1. Sorry if I’m being really mean, but the first caption doesn’t work because they’re in the shade. I don’t have a shadow when I’m in the shade.

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