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Sonic Colours Ultimate Review - Has the dashing blue hedgehog finally done his dash?



 

Developer: Sonic Team

Publisher: Sega

Reviewed on: Xbox Series X

Also available on: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Release: 7th September 2021

Rating: PG

Price: $59.95

 

Sonic Colours Ultimate is a remaster of the 2010 Wii title Sonic Colours. Sonic Colours was quite well received at the time, mainly due to Sonic's history trying to dip its toe into the 3D market and with games like Sonic 06 failing, hard!

This latest instalment of Sonic, features both the title character and Tails as they investigate Eggman's intergalactic amusement park to figure out what he's up to, because well, he's always up to something. Whilst there, they uncover Eggman's diabolical plan to exploit a race of aliens called Wisps, to power both the amusement park and a secret space laser. Relatively simple, this story thrives on not taking itself too seriously and just tries to be fun; and for the most part, it absolutely is.


Growing up, I was a huge fan of the Sonic franchise, playing just about every game so far. However, this tradition is getting increasingly tasking, when for years, game after game Sonic has delivered sub par outings with bad graphics, clunky gameplay and just a sense that Sonic Team don't really know what to do with the little blue hedgehog. It's clear that there is a place for Sonic in the gaming landscape, but where? These days, I tend to get a real sense of deja vu when picking up a Sonic game, especially when that game is a remaster of an 11 year old title. So while the novelty of playing Sonic in 4K was great for a while, it did get old real quick. This feeling was exaggerated when watching cutscenes. Funnily enough, these cutscenes look much worse than they should. While the gameplay itself looks remastered and crisp, as do the menus and subtitles etc, for some reason these cutscenes look completely untouched and way below the standard I'd expect in 2021.


I mean we go from gameplay looking like this...


To cutscenes that look like this...


Gameplay wise, I am personally starting to think that this rinse and repeat format of super fast side scrolling or forward scrolling gameplay is becoming very dated. I just think that Sonic Team could branch out a little more in terms of a 3D game, in the same way Nintendo did with Super Mario. I get it, Sonic is fast, but that shouldn't still be all he is about. Now of course this is my personal opinion, and others may disagree with me entirely. However I'd much prefer if they released another 3D Sonic in the same vein as Sonic Adventures etc.


That being said, Sonic Colours is classic Sonic, given a somewhat modern reboot. So if that's what you want, then you will probably have a blast. Don't get me wrong, while I have stated all the things I don't like about the game so far, there were still some things I did enjoy. As stated above, the actual gameplay itself looks great, fortunately for Sonic Team, the fast paced nature of the game probably hides a lot of the imperfections in the graphics, so what you end up with is a rather crisp, clean looking final product. The levels are cleverly designed and the nature of the game makes you want to try again and again, to beat your own previous best and the levels' predetermined goals.


The gameplay is exactly what you'd expect from Sonic. That classic run and boost control system remains largely the same as always, meaning for very fast paced, hectic gameplay. This fast pace however is broken down at times by random little speed bumps in the course, that when run into take away all of Sonic's momentum, meaning you have to rebuild that speed from scratch. This can be quite jarring at times, and while I suspect they are for the more hardcore speed runners of the game to add an extra level of skill, for the more casual player, it’s just a bit annoying and break down what is otherwise quite fun.


If you're looking for a casual, fun 3D Sonic game, then there is no doubt that Sonic Colours Ultimate is in fact probably the best one available currently. However, if you're looking for something new, then I'm afraid you might be left feeling the same way I did.

To be honest, I think a lot of my problems with this game stem from the fact that I played it on the Xbox Series X on my LG C1 TV (weird flex, I know). Coming straight from playing truly amazing looking games like Ratchet & Clank on PS5 in 120FPS, or Metro Exodus in 4K 120FPS to Sonic Colours, a 11 year old remaster with cutscenes that would be lucky to be 720p, the whole thing fell a little flat for me. Maybe this would have felt a little more natural playing it on something like the Nintendo Switch - who knows? This is more of a reflection on the current state of gaming as a whole, rather than Sonic Team in particular. We have a new generation of consoles yet still, we sit here playing remasters from 2010 on them.


Had Sonic Colours Ultimate been a brand new title, with current gen graphics and something different in terms of gameplay, I'm sure I would have enjoyed it a lot more. Instead I sat wondering about all the ‘what if’s’...







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