TSS Discuss: Sonic Boom… After E3


Following E3, tons of new information regarding Sonic Boom was released in all areas of this franchise launch, with that in mind, we here at TSS decided to share our thoughts on what got shown.


Hogfather – Boom Wii U: (Primarilly based on the E3 B-Roll video). Now… it hasn’t gone unnoticed by a lot of people that if anyone has a negative criticism of the game, regardless as to how well justified it is, they’re then subject to a barrage of “Well you shouldn’t” or “Well it’s just early” or in some laughable cases “You call yourself a fan!?” So let me deal with a few of these as I go on.

“You shouldn’t judge a game at this early stage.” Why not? This is a product, Sega want people to buy. They want people to pre-order the product, if the product put out does not look very good, give me one reason why anyone should stay silent on problems with it? You put out something which people don’t consider to be up to scratch… you can bet people will respond to it.

So with that out of the way let’s talk about the problems it has right now.

“This isn’t like other Sonic games! It’s different! You should expect a different type of game” NO!? Really!? You mean when they announced that this would focus on combat and co-op, it was actually going to focus on combat and co-op!? This excuse is really wearing thin, and it’s not an excuse, it’s desperation, take out the characters, slap in random new IP’s in place of Sonic, you still have lifeless speed sections with no enemies, traps or anything inspiring other than boosters and jump pads followed by automated sections everywhere. Gone are the homing attack chains, now we have ener-beam swing, so once again we’ll get homing attack esq segments of gameplay.  You still have button mashing fight sequences confined to arenas which open up once all enemies are defeating, combat so far has shown nothing interesting other than hammer the button an point the stick in said direction.

This was becoming a tiresome trend in the middle of the last gen, now, we should expect more and be demanding more from games which have a form of combat within them.

Here is how every boss fight shown currently works. Use the beam to grab something, throw it at the boss. Then use a finish move. I’m playing as Sonic why am I not using a spin attack to weaken the boss? Oh wait not normal Sonic game. All right switch to Knuckles punch that boss to weaken, oh wait, not a normal… Amy! She has a hammer go on smack that… oh wait… Tails! Use your… beam to throw a robot/missile/object at Eggman/Giant drill thing/other boss… you see the problem? Why should I get excited when the boss fights we’ve seen are all dealt with in the same manner?

Dialogue is great, but it needs toning down, every 5 seconds someone feels the need to say something. Go play Puppeteer on the PS3 and see how long you can cope before you are rolling your eyes at the sun fairy who constantly comments on your actions and you’ll see how quickly it becomes annoying.

With regards to the ‘new footage’ which shows textures and lighting effects in place, and I agree, this makes the game ‘look’ a lot better. You certainly can’t dismiss it as ‘looking’ like a PS2 game when it ‘looks’ fine.

However, there is a problem with this footage, it’s from the same build, or at least it’s from a very similar build, you can tell by several elements within it. This means that all what Big Red Button did was the following… ‘they change the value of the effects within the code from 0 to 1.’ Do not be under some illusions that this game will somehow undergo a transformation in the next 3 months, this is what we’re getting, and based on what’s been shown so far, it feels like it was designed as every stereotype movie license game.

Finally… there is this….

“Call yourself a fan!?” Grow up. Fans are not nor should they be mindless drones who must support every product or decision made by the owners of the IP. This mindset is degrading to your non argument and a pathetic attempt to try and hide or re-direct criticism. You should not instantly rush out and buy or support anything just because you are a fan of something, you are free to criticise something so long as there is grounds to support what you are saying, just as you would if you wish to praise something.  Otherwise, we can apply that criticism to the movie. Since the majority don’t like the sound of a live action Sonic movie made by the people who brought you The Smurfs 2!? But who knows it’s early and it’s not like any other Sonic game so… oh… Yeah exactly, doesn’t exactly work when it’s something you’re not looking forward to does it?

TlDr: I like the character designs, I like the idea behind what Boom is (to a point), and I like the world that they’re trying to create… however, it all comes down to gameplay. Boom looks like it’s a painfully average game. If stuff comes out between now and release date which really shows it off, or if Sega wants to send me a preview copy and it’s amazing, I will gladly change my stance on it. But right now, based on that disastrous E3 B-Roll footage and the fact the gameplay looks so generic and dull, just looks painfully average, and this angers me, because I really wanted to like it.

Boom 3DS: Looks great, full of action, lots of variety in the gameplay modes, looks far more engaging than the Wii U version. Would like to see a lot more from it, we’ve seen how the different characters can be used in each stage, really want to see more of the game.

Cartoon: Main attraction for me. Looks absolutely fantastic, verbal and visual humour, the animation actually looks really good for a TV Show.  Roll on Winter season so we can see more of it.

d039243d0917679ed9762e415af2f9e8Brad – I wanna start off this with saying that unlike the majority (and completely shockingly for me personally), I think Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric is still looking like it’s going to a be an enjoyable, completely new take on the franchise. I went into Boom expecting a completely different gameplay experience, and that expectation is true. A mix of puzzle solving, platforming and combat are all key elements to RoL, and especially the latter has surprised me with how fast paced and enjoyable it looks. What I fear most is that RoL is trying so hard to depart from the conventions of Sonic they’re afraid to dip into his identity – springs lack their signature star design and are instead replaced with boring, glowing blue circles without even a hint of the classic noise there. Jumping has no classic sound to it, and the spin dash lacks its famous rev. These little touches would just add a little injection of Sonic identity into RoL which I think it could really use, since the character dynamic and dialogue is all on point. Even if it’s sounding a tad repetitive at times.

And I share the unpopular opinion on Shattered Crystal. I think the game looks dreadfully boring. Absolutely nothing about the title stands out for me. It feels like it’s poorly imitating the classic games while trying to inject the floaty, boosty ideals of the Rush games. The visuals are nothing special and while the focus on exploration may be nice, there’s no sense of challenge in the platforming footage I’ve seen and the speed is nothing like Sonic Rush or the classic titles. Also, Amy being a damsel in distress? After Rise of Lyric so brilliantly defines her as a confident new woman who don’t need no Sonic? It’s a little frustrating to say the least. I have no interest in picking up this version in the slightest.

The TV show stands as a highlight amongst all three however. Though we haven’t seen much footage yet, I can already see the top notch production values there. Character models are spot on and the animation is stellar and smooth, almost like actual top quality CG cutscenes from the Sonic games themselves. The characters, like in RoL, seem to be written perfectly in line with their characters, and the humour genuinely made me chuckle at times. We can’t really get a real grasp of the plots themselves being interesting or not (though we know each episode is stand alone) but it’s looking like a fun, uplifting romp. This is the one I really have my eye on and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

doctormkDoctor MK – It’s been a few months now since Sonic Boom’s initial reveal and, while the uproar over the new character designs has significantly quietened down, this new branch of the franchise still remains a controversial one – and E3 only really added to that notion.

Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric for Wii U is a game that I simply cannot decide how I feel about. On the one hand, I’m thrilled that we’re going to be seeing a return to a more story-driven Sonic title after the wafer-thin plots of Colours, Generations and Lost World, and the characterization on show for the main cast is far beyond what we’ve seen from Sonic Team’s efforts in recent years. Plus, the talented voice cast working on the series at the moment finally get a real chance to shine with plenty of dialogue and some genuinely well-written lines – however, it’s something that will need to be handled with care. In just the couple of levels shown in the E3 demo alone, voice clips were heavily repeated and recycled – hearing the same old grunts and “nice kill, Sonic!” every few seconds over the span of the entire game could grow tiresome, no doubt about it. But it’s the gameplay that is arguably holding Rise of Lyric back the most. Speed has been thrown out of the window (aside from in specific, often automated sections of levels) in favour of exploration and combat, making this a mish-mash of the Sonic we know and love and something not unlike Sonic Unleashed’s Werehog stages, all at the same time. It has potential and I’m by no means writing it off yet, but I need to see more before I can truly get on board with it.

Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal for 3DS, on the other hand, looks more initially promising on face value. The characters are still slower and the focus still remains on exploration, but the level design is much more familiar to what we’re used to from a traditional Sonic game, and that ultimately might be the deal-breaker for many fans. Again, it’s difficult to form a solid opinion on it just yet, but it’s one to watch for now at least.

And finally, the cartoon. Unless the games seriously impress upon release, I’m certain that Sonic Boom’s TV series will unanimously be the best part of this new approach to Sonic. The animation is smooth, the voice cast are in full force, and there’s some brilliantly memorable scripting (even if it is somewhat random at times!). So all in all then, Sonic Boom as a whole is shaping up to be interesting, that’s for sure – it just appears to be a question of how far you’re willing to accept “this is not a normal Sonic title” if you are to get the most out of the tie-in games.

jbJason the Jackass – As one of the few on staff who has played both games, I can honestly say that the Wii U version is not looking the best right now. Not like, Shadow  or “06 bad, but I’d put it up there with Sonic Chronicles. A game with a pretty good story and easy to get through, but very bland gameplay in the middle. There were some fun spots such as traversing as Amy with her gymnastic moves and her Hammer that can clear away a ton of robots, but playing as Knuckles and pushing a mine cart around for a puzzle was tedious. But as Stephen Frost has stated before, these are small chunks of the game that don’t quite represent the overall product. Hopefully, before November, we can get a better idea of what the full game is like.

That said, there’s something about the 3DS version I really liked. Yeah , the traditional gameplay is so-so. Feeling closer to Sonic 4 than Sonic Rush and the speed isn’t super fast. However, I did like the exploration aspects and the extra levels were pretty fun, especially the rivals race. You’re gonna think I’m nuts, but the game has a bit of a “Sonic Colors” vibe to it what with the overhead map and returning to older levels with new characters who have different abilities. It almost makes the other cast feel like Wisps in a way. I mean, Knuckles is definitely like the Drill Wisp what with his burrowing. This is the most excited I’ve been for a Sonic 3DS game yet.

 nucklesisannoyed Nuckles87 – I think the new Sonic Boom franchise is looking decidedly average, which considering how awful Sonic games and cartoons can be, is almost something of a relief for me. The new trailer for the cartoon that they were playing ad museum at E3 actually looks cool, and I was digging the character centric humor it was hitting at. I will also confess that I couldn’t help but chuckle a little every time I heard Eggman talk about building a new, superior robot that will bring him “evil ham”. Maybe my sense of humor is just lousy? Either way, rather than taking a neutral attitude towards it I’m actually starting to look forward to it now.

As for the games, well, I wrote two whole previews for them at E3. You can find my impressions of the Wii U version here and my impressions of the 3DS version here. Long story short, I found Boom Wii U to be a decent Sonic themed brawler, free of many of the graphical issues the pre-E3 demo apparently had. I will admit, after being blown away by Lost World’s creative level design last year, Boom is disappointing in comparison, but where Lost World’s final game had high highs and low lows, maybe Boom Wii U will at least provide a more even experience. The 3DS version, on the other hand, seems to be a good game hampered by a poor interface.

For the games, I continue to take a wait and see approach. Will they be awful games? I really don’t think so. They probably won’t be great games, though. I think that, at the very least, they will probably both be decent. By the way, as a quick last minute plug, go check out my interview with Sonic Boom producer Stephen Frost over at SEGAbits.

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  1. Interesting, the game sucks but the show might be good. I might check out a few episodes and just look at it like Sonic Underground.

  2. I’m actually pretty interested in the show. I think it’s shown some real potential, and even if the gameplay in the games suck their at least seems to be some carry over from the shows focus on the characters. I like Sonic best as a character when he’s a complete smartass, and so far just about everything we’ve seen from the Boom franchise has been that plus the potential for actual character development when/if he takes things too far.

  3. Hogfather, I shouldn’t be surprised at people saying stuff like ,”You call yourself a fan?”. The Sonic Fanbase is pretty bad and it’s not uncommon to comments like that. In fact, that’s one of the reasons why I quit reading comments on Sonic Boom-related stuff. Also, just because something looks average dosen’t mean it will be. I mean, hey, look at other games that had mixed reception pre-release and got positive reviews upon release.

    1. Like what? ….I’m not trying to be cute with some comeback, I’m actually slightly clueless on the subject and would like to know about these games. ^^;

        1. Metroid Prime got hit with controversy, it was never called a bad game during development though because of it’s obvious innovation, it was just different. Sonic Boom is showing us mediocre gameplay that will be comparable to that of a PS2 game. Metroid Prime was WAY ahead of its time, while Sonic Boom is taking notes from mechanics that were successful and cool in the past, but have since been played out and over used. So no, that Prime argument is stupid.

          1. Any game can have any kind of gameplay RenyNoise. Sonic Boom Wii U can be compared to any game even if it’s not on ps2. And the only example of games that had bad reception pre-release but got good reception upon release that I know of from the top of my head is DmC: Devil May Cry.

          2. I never said Prime was a bad game during development. It got hit with negative reception because what it was based off of in its initial release, a first person shooter. It turned around when the game out. Axx asked what game had mix-bad impression to positive reception during release, I gave him an example. Your feelings with Boom and Prime has nothing to do with what is being discussed.

  4. I think the game looks amazing, I personally didn’t care about it before. Show looks like a fun ride as well.

  5. I don’t know, to me the Wii U version still looks to be the most promising. It’s put in the most new elements while maintaining some small resemblance of what we’ve gotten in the past six years. It’s taking the largest leap in terms of reinventing the franchise and the whole speed, adventure, and action brawler combination thing is really interesting me. The 3DS version, while still a little interesting to me, doesn’t seem AS interesting or daring as the Wii U version. It’s in 2D perspective, so it’s EXACTLY like the classic games, right? No, it’s not any closer than the Wii U version…probably a tiny bit further away actually. The speed is pretty slowed down, going pretty much for the Lost World route where you need to hold down a button to go fast at all. Well the level design is pretty close, right? No, it actually feels a little more boxed in than the previous 2D sidescrollers. Despite what most people are saying, I’m still getting a serious metroidvania vibe from this level set-up. It still seems to show some variety I guess, but in the adventure level alone, which I assume these are going to take up around 70 percent of the game (maybe more, maybe less), it kind of feels more like an empty and hollow experience than what people are saying about the Wii U version. I still see promise from this game, what with the possibility of some adventure levels being more catered to some characters than others and this one being a tutorial level, the tube runners at least providing some more of that beloved sidestepping runner challenges, and the rival races being far FAR closer to the Rush games than what everybody keeps saying about the adventure puzzle solving sections. But in terms of doubt, I have a little more towards this version of the game, as to me it feels like it’s trying to APPEAR like a more traditional Sonic experience while being something entirely different, and even the different parts aren’t that phenomenally spectacular. It looks OK to me, but that’s about it. Here’s hoping more months of revealing things will slowly change my opinion into a slightly more optimistic one.

  6. I am a bit iffy in terms of the Wii U version’s gameplay, as it seems very slow. I don’t feel like the speed sections add to the pace either, because it makes me realize just how odd it is that Sonic & friends decide to slow down and fight badniks. I hope there is a lot more depth to the combat than there was in Unleashed. I think the Wii U version has lots of positives like multiple characters and pretty beautiful environments, but we’ll have to see. The 3DS version looks like a very fun time to me, and I am curious to see what else will happen with it. The music we’ve heard from that version sounds much better than the generic music we have in the Wii U version. I’m sorry. But I do have to agree that overall, the most eye-catching thing is the show. I am very much looking forward to bringing my inner child out and waiting every premiere day for Sonic Boom… it just looks like a very fun show for Sonic, and it looks to me like it is succeeding where Sonic X failed.

  7. Brad, thank you for pointing out the Damsel-In-Distress mode Amy’s got going in the 3DS version, because it’s super worrying to me and seems counterproductive to what they’ve been building up. Then again, Frost mentioned that Sticks is in the Wii U game, just not playable, so perhaps when we get our hands on those cutscenes things will make more sense…. hopefully.

  8. I think I’m with Brad on this one. He put everything I feel about the series into 3 paragraphs.

  9. I hate that the fanbase has to go through this song and dance everytime a game comes out. For once, I’d like to see an oncoming Sonic game where the majority were on the level with each other. It doesn’t help that it doesn’t matter which side you’re on because both sides tend to say some really embarrassing or needlessly harsh stuff. I’m grateful for those who are actually being level headed about their opinions whether they be positive or negative though.

    It’s a shame the series is still so screwed up and unsure of what it wants to be. Otherwise, the fanbase wouldn’t have such a radically different opinion on what they want to see make a comeback either.

  10. well whatever I liked the look of it I don’t care what anyone else thinks, hell why bother caring about a bunch of nerds opinions, (even if you are a nerd yourself) if you like it fine you like it if you hate it bashing on it is just insulting to the people who do care, post your opinions where they’re supposed to be posted, here’s where you can post your opinion no bash the hell outta some game play footage like a ****ing dub hater.

  11. I intend to still get the WiiU version, since honestly, I’m not bored easily. Seeing as I greatly enjoyed Shadow’s game (I like making things explode…), I’ll likely like this one. I also really value story too, so even if the game play is nothing new, the plot holds promise. I love the characters and how they have been written so far, too. I’m one of those, apparently odd, gamers that hold story as high (or even higher) than graphics, and at least on the same level as game play. XD

    3DS…I don’t have a comment other than I’m disappointed that Amy is a damsel again, so yes, I see that argument.

    And I can’t wait for the cartoon, ha ha. It looks adorably hilarious.

    1. I really liked Shadow The Hedgehog game too, for some odd reason that I’ve yet to figure out yet

  12. I actually like what I’ve seen so far. I’ve watched a bunch of footage from people like ProJared playing it at E3 and it looks like it’s not just a bad beat-em-up. There are parts that require you to search around, and there’s some puzzles in there too. I do agree that the bosses so far all look to be defeated the same way though 🙁

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