The Completionist Explores the Troubled Gameplay of Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric

Over two years have passed since the hundredth episode of The Completionist, where Jirard Khalil did the inadvisable and went on to complete Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 at a great personal cost. Since then, the game has been dethroned by another, one which has drawn more ire and infamy than its predecessor ever did: Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric. Naturally, Jirard went and did the unfathomable… or he almost did.

The troubled development process behind Big Red Button’s project—stemming from both SEGA’s exclusivity deal with Nintendo, and incompatibility between CryEngine 3 and the Wii U—led to an incomplete and bug-ridden November 2014 launch that even a one-plus gigabyte patch couldn’t fix. Jirard dIves into depths never explored of just how broken Rise of Lyric is, as a game that likely cannot ever be 100% completed. Check out the latest episode of The Completionist below, presented in a brand new format!

If you’d like to keep track of Jirard’s completionist exploits, you can follow his YouTube channel at That One Video Gamer (or his relaunched personal channel), like his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter for more beardy goodness. Those feeling like going the extra mile can also donate to TOVG via Patreon.

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Unparalleled Canadian greatness! Jeffrey is a writer for TSS and Gamnesia, a pianist obsessed with video game music, and a recent university graduate majoring in Communications. Loves all things Sonic and Nintendo to a fault.


    1. This isn’t a statement in jest or anything so I apologise in advance should it come across that way.

      Sonic as a series and a franchise is close on to 25 years old. Within that time, we have been given a main character, a plethora of side characters, plenty of world lore and a few spin-off continuities. From my perspective it would seem that people gain an interest in sonic from whatever point they’re introduced to it, normally at a young age in the midst of a reboot or a similar situation, enjoy a few outings, grow up and then find it’s not for them anymore for a multitude of reasons.

      I would say that what you’re saying is completely fine in regards to the video or the series as a whole but think about how it comes across. “Sega still insists on making Sonic into something its not”. What is Sonic? A blue hedgehog of short stature and recognizable persona that as his name implies can run at the speed of sound and beyond. Every main entry game I believe has made use of that main aspect of his character. Once the new characters come into the picture, Sonic team varied each characters game play styles while still keeping speed as a factor for the most part.

      I realize this is quite long but the idea I’m trying to portray is that Sonic of himself is a character. The developers (Sonic Team) under the guise of Sega have made it into a huge media franchise. We as consumers will tend to like certain parts of what they do but will not accept it as a whole because there are key aspects we don’t like about it. I think it is important to realize not all tastes or interests are the same for everyone however it is undeniable that within this franchise everyone has found something to like.

      I don’t like the comic continuity tending to prefer the canonical parts of the games. You may not like (I’m just assuming here) Boom because it doesn’t line up with what we’ve been presented with so far, or it may just be the game because at the end of the day, Rise of Lyric was undoubtedly unfinished. Yet contrary to what Jirard is stating there are more than likely children who do like what’s presented in the game or the boom continuity (granted that wasn’t mentioned in the review). Chances are these children may look back years from now and think they had poor taste or still like it for what it was because at the end of the day it’s an experience good or bad that they’ll remember, as we all do.

      Sonic has been and still is being marketed to different kinds of people, especially more recently with the game announcements, because Sonic has an audience of all ages. I may be wrong and be going against the grain of what the majority of fans or people in general think here but, I honestly believe that we should be firm but positively critical when it comes to how Sega manages their franchises, because we’ve all found something to like about this company’s products. As I said, I may be horribly incorrect but I think Sega in conjunction with its developers are the only one’s who can really manage Sonic. I apologize if this takes up your time or if its meaningless, I really just felt I should speak out on this matter. Thanks for reading if you did though.

      Keep on running fellow fan.

      1. I consider Sonic to be a franchise that can’t seem to be consistent with the original Genesis and Sonic CD titles. The Sonic franchise has been having problems ever since 3D Blast 20 years ago and Sega still hasn’t seemed to get the hint with all the problems with RoL. I know we won’t ever completely get what we had with the first four titles but I don’t think a 3D game that’s close to what we had with the original titles is too hard to ask for.

        1. A lot of what your saying isn’t not true but at the same time the original trilogy and CD while most definitely brilliant games also have their fair share of problems. We know now the first game was more or less a tech demo, much like nights was for the saturn and 06 being a reboot was for the next then systems of that time. Sonic was designed as a rival to Mario and Naka did state he just wanted him to be faster than him at first. Being their first time developing levels for such a character sonic encountered varying types of gameplay which would slow him down. This was also present in his later titles where to quote the good doctor, it was “time for a change of pace”. As with any game there were glitches but you would have ti mea up totally to exploit them.

          I like the chaos as much as the next guy but other than Sonic’s attitude he didn’t really furniture himself from Mario for me until the 3D titles came along. For starters he could talk, which definitely brought the personality home for me, second the transition to 3D have is the going attack. Super Mario 64 revolutionary as it was made it difficult to actually jump on your enemies unless you mastered it, Sonic’s programming made this easier reflect and the trademark spin attack required less positional preparation since it causes damage from any direction.
          As I’ve said all titles have their fair share of problems but we’re not doing the developers any real favours by complaining and calling titles bad. Sega have admitted their mistakes, I don’t honestly know when saying sorry was not enough. Forget about how many times they mess up, we should just continue to forgive but add onto this and say, don’t be sorry, be better.

          You can see that this is manifesting in what their Trying to do by appealing to both sets of fans while keeping the timelines semi-separate. Even if they do screw up. Sega is just a company at the end of the day, I can tell you without a doubt that the publisher is more at fault if a game doesn’t do brilliantly because titles as ambitious as 06 and others require much more than a year to develop. Sonic team are giving us their level best with the time they have, and they’re small enough a team as it is. I can’t Change your mind and it is not my intention EDX but my hope is that you’d try do what I do. Look at all the (subjective) junk and see where the treasure is, have some faith in sonic team.

          On a more friendly note, I’d recommend a look at the fan game Green hill paradise act 2 in regards to capturing classic style gameplay in a 3D environment. It’s worth a download but it requires quite a powerful pc to run properly. Darkspinessonic’s playthroughs will give you a good idea of how it operates.

          I thank you for being respectful of my statements too by not swearing or anything in your response. It reminds me that respect is still prioritised by most people, plus I understand what you’re saying greatly.

          1. Yeah they’ve all had their problems but the 3D games didn’t have the consistency that the earlier titles had that made them successful which is all I’m asking for. You can excuse the 3D games all you want, but that is where most of the current problems began and I don’t see why we can’t have a 3D game that’s similar to what we had before instead of wasting time with RoL, especially since someone was able to make a fully functional 3D fan demo that had the physics of the earlier titles.

            I’m seeing fans make demos that are more consistent than the games we’re getting now and even Sonic Mania was outsourced to a fan, so why can’t Sega come up with these themselves?

      2. What Sonic isn’t: Smug and stupid.

        What Knuckles isn’t: Someone with an IQ of a mushroom.

        What Amy isn’t: A Women Are Wiser Team Mom.

        What Shadow isn’t: Some prick who antagonizes people for no justifiable reason, and whose presense is made with little build up.

        What the supporting Sonic cast aren’t: Leftover rejects from The Wacky World of Tex Avery.

        Sonic Boom violated all these things. Rise of Lyric is trash. That is all.

        That. Is. All.

  1. I haven’t seen the video and I likely won’t but it sounds more of the same idiocy here. That Rise of Lyric is a broken unplayable mess and is worse than Sonic 06. I can’t take people who think that seriously. It’s just so baffling to me.

    1. Well I wouldn’t go so far as to say that, but seeing as few people went about trying to go for a max completion run—and as Jirard notes in the video, very few walkthroughs actually exist and those that do aren’t really up to snuff—I felt that his video gives a whole other take on the game that I haven’t seen from other critics.

      Granted, he’s not going into the game and coming out of the experience thinking favourably of it, but you might be able to get some enjoyment out of his completionist review nonetheless. ? That’s just me though!

      1. I mean, I completed the game 3 times already but I never felt it was as painful as Jirard made it seem like. Granted, it wasn’t exciting either but certainly not the worst experience I had playing through a game in this franchise. And besides, I can only recall some collectibles being pretty difficult to find; only a few. Some I’m honestly kinda impressed how well-hidden some of them were. Granted, I got some online help for some of them but for the most part; I found all of them on my own just fine.

        I don’t know, I found it very off-putting how harsh Jirard was towards Rise of Lyric. I mean, I get that there is no excuse for the condition it’s in but I honestly never really felt any sort of hatred for the game. It was just very disappointing, it could’ve been a perfectly serviceable but ultimately very bland licensed game for the Boom cartoon but it’s just not finished.

        And frankly, Rise of Lyric is much easier game to beat than 06. Granted, it’s really obvious that it’s aimed at kids; no doubt. But honestly, I’ll take that over doing things like Silver’s Ball Puzzle in 06.

        I don’t know, I was just annoyed on how Jirard was in this video. I get where he’s coming from but frankly, Rise of Lyric isn’t worth the rage because it doesn’t do anything remotely rageworthy.

        So he wasn’t able to get the 1 star in Crater Lake Extreme Mode is that really worth calling it just as bad as 06? The game that pretty much sums up everything wrong with Sonic at that point?

        I hope I’m making sense here because I’m not here to defend Rise of Lyric, I don’t like the game but I don’t hate it either. It’s not worth the effort, it didn’t piss me off as 06 did.

        And I guess this is the case where whether people would get some sort of reaction rather than no reaction but quite honestly, if people honestly think being bored is WORSE than pulling their hair out, it’s absurd. I can’t see that, it’s baffling to me.

        I was always thought Jirard was one of the more level-headed people when it came to outsiders for Sonic. I wasn’t expecting him to embrace Rise of Lyric but to say it’s just as bad as 06, just more than anything shows how people forgot how really bad that game was.

        Maybe, he might come around when he gets to playing Fire & Ice but whatever.

        1. ^^^^ This. ^^^^

          I normally think Jirard is really fair when it comes to Sonic. He seems pretty chill and doesn’t get so clogged up with hating every little thing some later games have to offer. But from the minute this one started, it just kind of looked to me like he was playing it up, over-blowing it. Dramatic reactions, yelling, groaning, and overall just seeming to not be that fair towards the game because of its pre-determined reputation.

          Again, I never expected him to go off and say it’s some underrated game, but I don’t know, this review kind of came off to me as him just trying to play into the “cool” crowd.. and make the game look as dramatically bad as possible over some really minor incentives (like not being able to get a star on Crater Lake. Is it really that big of a deal?)

  2. Blegh. No offense to Jirard, I really love the guy, but this review is just another fest of overreaction to me. Lots of yelling, lots of fake anger simply on the merit that it’s “not Sonic” (when it’s not trying to be), lots of small problems blown up to be huge issues, and just so much more negativity that I thought we were really past by now, in the wake of Sonic Mania and Project Sonic 2017, two years later.

    It’s fine to hate this game, never would I want someone to be forced to change their opinion, but I’m personally just sick of the attitude that “Sonic is dead unless it constantly appeals to us Classic fans.” Even if that’s not the direct message intended here, it sure can seem like it. I’m just done with the negativity. The over-saturation of hatred based on one spin-off game meant to support a TV series, ranking it up with ’06, which was an anniversary game that was not a spin-off, and also tried to take Sonic in a radically different direction… except it could have been permanent. What I’m getting at is that Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric is just so overplayed at this point because it’s new and cooler to hate than the 10-year-old Sonic ’06, even if it’s not at all as offensive to the core franchise as some other games (not even just ’06.)

    1. Your Comment is exactly what I have thought of Sonic Boom Rise Of Lyric for a while now…

      1. I’m glad to see I’m not alone. In fact, I’ve seen a lot of people lately share the same sentiment.

    1. If you want to live a 1GB lie and blow your brain playing this title, by all means, go ahead.

      After all, it’s your world, but not all of us want to live in it.

  3. Between playing 06 and RoL, it’s not even a question; 06 is infinitely better because it’s not Sonic Boom basically.

    I’m not even a little bit interested in RoL, especially after seeing that boss fight with Shadow, talk about a million steps backwards.

    Maybe because it’s not my first language or just personal preference, but the voice acting in 06 is really enjoyable to me, whilst the voice acting in Boom makes me want to punch a hole in the wall.

  4. I don’t know, I’m kinda just burned out over all the Sonic Boom-related scrutiny. Yeah it’s a bad game, but to go as far to say it’s abominable is not really accurate. To me, RoL is just kinda boring. I prefer it over 06 because RoL never had moments that I felt were annoyingly tedious. I just went from point to point beating the game, seeing a hilarious glitch every so often, but often times I just went along as the game intends. Not to mention that the game’s story is way easier to digest and follow, along with the fact that it does not take itself too seriously. There’s plenty of humor, so at least there’s sections of reprieve in between the gameplay.

    06 is peppered with irritation, and on top of it the story and dialogue are both atrocious and take themselves way too seriously. That’s probably why I had such an easier time with RoL, because I was genuinely entertained at some sections. It’s not enough to call the game anything other than bad, but I don’t think it’s the worst thing I’ve played. I think the game community is steadily getting worse, overreacting to any semblance of inadequacy in games and deeming it unplayable. Games that are moderately well-made are lampooned by critics by simply passing around buzzwords that the internet absorbs and tosses back out. I’ve played garbage that should’ve never been released, and RoL is definitely not one of them. It’s not good at all and is butt-ugly, but it’s definitely not the worst. If you want the worst, you should invest in a little game called Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust. That’s the disaster that everyone seemed to forget about.

  5. In response to EDX. no reply button for whatever reason.

    You raise an interesting point in regards to what makes fan games better in some ways. I could write a fair amount on this in a detailed format, but this is just a comment section and my last posts have been pretty long so I don’t want to take up much more of your time or annoy the moderators or anything.

    The most important thing to consider in terms of difference between fan made games and those produced in-house by sonic team is time management. In terms of big releases of fan games you have Christian whitehead, Ozcrash and supersonic98 I think as developers for games. Christian whitehead built remakes of the classic games using an engine he recreated based on the original physics of the genesis games. Ozcrash used the blitzsonic engine which I believe he made to create sonic world, which encompasses the entire universe that sonic team have built up so far in game canon. Then you have supersonic98 who built green hill paradise act 2 using unreal development kit.

    My emphasis is on the UDK because it was sonic team who outsourced those assets themselves, challenging people to make their own games out of it. Now supersonic98 has done a good job of this as have the developers mentioned above bringing the mechanics of the original games into a modern 2d ala Christian whitehead or 3d ss98 engine and gameplay format. However, the main difference between them and sonic team as I said is time, they can spend as much time as they like refining these games to create the vision that they have for their game. Officially recognised developers don’t have that option.

    Look at the release dates of the original games you’ll notice a pattern of about a year inbetween each release. When you mentioned 3d blast earlier, the development of that game was impacted by the desolving of Sega technical institute around 1996 who were working with sonic team on the unreleased game sonic extreme. Sonic was eventually meant to transfer into 3d anyway much like rayman did but behind the scenes activity resulted in a game where only the barebones of sonic gameplay made it in.

    The development cycle for sonic worked until after the adventure era mainly because sonic team being underneath Sega developed their games on systems they made and understood their limits for those systems. Sonic’s first real fall if you can call it that was sonic heroes because it was a multi-platform release, and since sonic team had no experience developing for another system save for the game cube for sonic adventure 2. As technology, design techniques and system requirements moved on Sega and their developers just struggled to keep up. A good development cycle for one game nowadays is at least three years. Most people see 06 for the first time and just see bad all over but it was meant to be a whole lot more, however it only had a year of development which is not enough for a game as ambitious as that was. I’d recommend a look at that development cycle.

    Back to the point anyway. I can understand if people don’t like 06 or boom but I would never say it impacted how they developed their other games because they’ve been doing the same thing for years but were too limited to go beyond that one year cycle.

    There’s no doubt in my mind if sonic team wanted to design a game similar to their originals that they could probably do it better. That’s more of a possibility with hlthe more recent changes and sonic team members haven’t changed much in the 25 years they’ve been active. Anyway, I’m just suggesting we don’t focus much on the past because what’s happened has happened. Each set of fans are getting what they want at the end of the day starting next year so we shouldn’t complain. I think looking from the outside just about anyone would think we’re the most disjointed set of fans in games history.

    In terms of making a 3d game in line with the classics I’d be pretty interested in what you think that should consist of. If I made a sonic game I’d always thought it would be similar to the [prototype] series of games in terms of movement. The average 3d sonic level takes around 2 minutes to complete. That’s about the same time it would take to cross the length of Manhattan island at mach 5 I believe. It would be interesting if that could be incorporated into a flame since the team were heavily inspired by American cities.

    It’s been nice talking to you EDX.

  6. I would rather go to sleep in my bed just to ignore Sonic Boom Rise Of Lyric of it’s thing in the world.

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