Boring. If there is one word I had to describe Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, it would be “boring.” How did this game become so dull despite the announcement trailer looking so cool? Well, it all began on May 17, 2013, when Sega made a deal with Nintendo to have three of their Sonic games exclusively for the Wii U. Here’s the problem.
This game wasn’t being made with the Wii U in mind.
It was being developed for next-gen hardware. The reason why the announcement trailer from June 10, 2014, looked so good was that it was running on a powerful PC and not the infamous Nintendo console. So Big Red Button, the development team behind the game, had to port the game to the Wii U. Since the game was meant for next-gen hardware, the team had difficulty porting it.
Despite this, the game was released on Nov. 11, 2014. “How well was it received,” you ask? Well, take a wild guess.
It did terribly.
Ever since the demo at E3 2014, it has received tons of negative reception due to its glitches, story, gameplay, etc. IGN, for example, called the game “disappointing and unpolished.” It even got worse reviews than Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)! So, do I think this game is worse than Sonic ‘06?
Let’s find out.
The game begins with Amy, Knuckles, Sonic, and Tails chasing after Eggman. After they are almost defeated by Metal Sonic, they retreat to a temple. As they explore the ruins, they accidentally awaken Lyric, a snake-like cyborg, who is the last remaining member of the Ancients. His goal is to gather the eight Chaos Crystals to power his robot army and conquer the world. The main goal for Sonic and company is to gather the crystals before Lyric does.
As you explore the game, you will encounter many characters like Sticks, Cliff, Old Tucker, etc. A lot of these characters (including Sticks in this game) didn’t seem interesting to me.
While we are on the subject of characters, let’s talk about the main cast. The characters of Team Sonic are actually pretty okay with the exception of Knuckles. Knuckles has now become an idiot who cannot tell what’s left or right and is the muscle of the team. This is very inaccurate for this character as he is pretty intelligent and maybe a tad gullible but not stupid.
Another complaint I have for Team Sonic as a whole is that they never shut up. They will say anything if you do a certain thing like pushing a button or collecting rings. One time, I predicted one of the characters was gonna say “Bounce pad!” And I was right. We had a good laugh out of that one. What’s worse is that they also give away the answers to every single puzzle you encounter (not like they were hard or anything though).
Now on to the villains. The game’s story tried to juggle three villains at once. Dr. Eggman is incompetent despite being a genius scientist, Lyric is not interesting at all, and Shadow…..alright, let’s take a brief moment to discuss Shadow in this game. Sonic Boom turned the edginess of Shadow up to 11. In this game, he talks about how useless friends are and calling Sonic weak because of those “pathetic friends.” What’s worse is we get to fight him only once at the beginning fo the game and we don’t get to see him again till the end of the game and even then he just stands there and leaves.
Overall, the story is very simple; but the main problem with the story is the characters. Team Sonic never stops talking and the characters aren’t interesting. I give the story a C+.
In the game, you can play as Amy, Knuckles, Sonic, and Tails. Each one has special abilities to do certain tasks. With her acrobatic abilities, Amy can triple jump and use her hammer to swing from poles. Knuckles is able to climb on walls or the ceiling. Sonic is able to spindash and can reach certain places with the homing attack. And Tails is able to use his gadgets to get through small holes and can fly with his…tails.
The combat is very dull to me. All you really need to do is spam the X button and you get through the battles quickly. There are so many battles however that I feel that it’s quite tedious. Even the characters you play as will occasionally complain about how long these battles can be.
In order to get from place to place to collect the Chaos Crystals, you will have to travel by ground in two hub worlds. This would be fine if it weren’t for the fact that controlling Sonic and the other characters are so SLOW! This slow speed discourages doing the side-quests which make you wander around the hub.
“But wait for a second,” you say, “Sonic is all about going fast. It doesn’t make sense to make Sonic slow in a Sonic game” and you would be right. So the developers of Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric decided to make speed sections at certain portions of levels but even that has a few problems. The first problem is that most of them are in a straight line. You can only go forward and cannot explore other parts of the level at this speed. The other problem is that they are way too easy. Most of the speed sections I just placed my Wii U gamepad next to me and watched Sonic and company go through the linear simple speed sections.
The gameplay overall is slow and dull due to its repetitive combat and extremely easy difficulty. I give the gameplay a C+ as well.
The Sonic franchise is famous for its music. Actually, that’s probably the most consistent part of it. Every Sonic game has great music.
Well, almost every single one of them.
Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric happens to be one of those exceptions. This game has no vocal themes unlike almost every other 3D Sonic game, a lot of the music is ambient, and it reuses the main theme for almost all of its speed sections. The soundtrack isn’t bad per se. It’s just disappointing and forgettable. I give it a C+.
To conclude, I did not enjoy this game. It’s boring thanks to its combat. The characters are annoying. And the soundtrack is disappointing. I give the game a 5.2/10.
At a Glance: Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric
Summary: Stop Lyric from gathering the Chaos Crystals and save the world from his army of robots.
Rated: E 10+ for Everyone 10 and Up: Cartoon Violence
Price: $17.99 (Gamestop)
System: Wii U
Release Date: November 11, 2014