|Sonic Battle Review by: Singelli
A Knockout, or Should-be-Knocked-Out?
A review requested by james44028 :
OVERALL RATING: 6.8/10
For all those Sonic fans out there: Ever wonder what happens when someone tries to combine Sonic style platforms with rpg's and Super Smash Brothers? Play this game and you'll know exactly what happens.
I guess the level of enjoyment one gets from this game relates directly to how big of a fan they are for the little blue hedgehog addicted to speed. I personally did not find the game much fun at all, but I've also never been a huge fan of Sonic, and the only time I succeed in Super Smash Brothers is when I -attempt- to be pummeled. However, this being said, I can easily see why others might enjoy this whimsical game.
The plot starts off with Sonic finding a robot called a Gizoid on the beach. Trying to revive the creature through his powers, Sonic inadvertently links to the Gizoid and it follows all his commands. He takes it to Tails, who discovers that it can copy fighting moves and become more powerful by observing chaos emeralds. Sonic decides to give it more power and so he travels the world to collect emeralds. The problem is that Sonic seems to fight with more characters than get along with them, and he always solves his conflicts through violence (even beating up on evil bat girls that insist on crushing on him!). There are actually eight stories in this game which can be encountered through choosing one of eight Sonic characters as your sprite. Each character has the loyalty of Emerl, the Gizoid. The only problem with this is that the stories are very similar and can't be skipped, meaning you have to watch all the cut scenes all over again if you wish to see each plot.
In addition to the story plot, you can also play the game in a multi-player mode, battling other players in a manner reminiscent to Super Smash brothers. In this mode, there are ten characters to choose from, and each character has three moves, which you can designate as being an aerial move, a ground move, or a guarding move. This simply means one attack can only be performed while mid-jump, one can only be performed with both feet on the ground, and one can only be used to block damage.
In my opinion, the graphics are a bit cheap. Most areas on the map and unimportant graphics are 3D, but the characters themselves are only 2D. While Paper Mario was made infamous for its paper thin characters, the lazy sprites just don't cut it in Sonic Battle. It's not appealing at all to play a 2D character in a 3D battling map when the character can jump onto raised plateaus and attack mid-air. Everything creates a generic shadow no matter how many dimensions its made of, but movement and position can become quite frustrating, which makes it hard to appreciate the small detail. For example, many times when you try a mid-jump attack it will appear as though you are aligned to strike your enemy, but both you and your enemy will simply kick and punch at empty air, unable to do anything else until your feet are on the ground.
The graphics -are- colorful though, and there are a lot of textures and little details too look at. Disappointingly, the maps, the battlefields, and the game world seem rather small. Battlefields are in a limited flat world with a few raised plateaus. Although you can't fall off the map edges, nothing exciting exists beyond them, giving you a simple blue color to look at and distinguish your character's movement limitations. Also, the characters (in my opinion), are pretty poor representations and almost seem to be drawn by a non-professional artist. That being said, they are drawn better than I could ever hope to achieve.
Although I wasn't personally impressed, I didn't rate the graphics very low because they aren't horrendous on the eyes. They're colorful, the representations are moderate, and in the end the aesthetic details bring a lot to the picture.
The game offers little in the terms of sound. There are two or three main terms during game play, songs that play during cut-scenes, and sound effects that occur during battle. I wasn't found of the plot songs, but they weren't ear-burstingly horrible, either. They seemed to be of a poorer quality though and felt to be pretty uninspired. The song played during the battle with Rogue (and at other points in the game) was really the only one I felt to be worth my time listening to. It had a certain 'Sonic' quality that I enjoyed, and I also appreciated its upbeat nature.
During battle, players experience every sound effect expected during fighting games. There's the little 'whop' of fists flying through the air, the exclamations of success, and the grunts of physical exertion while trying to strike the enemy.
The most -annoying- sound is the buzzing sound as text crosses the screen. Aside from that, sometimes the characters will shout out an appropriate blurb like "What?" or "Yeah!", and I find the little statements to also be irritating. Other than the out-of-place sound made when regenerating health, these little quips of noise weren't unique at all.
Again, I'd have to say that how addictive you find the game completely depends on how much you worship Sonic games in general. For me, it seemed as though the creators of this game tried a little too hard to mix three genres of game play. The game would have been more successful with two types of game style in my opinion.
However, the game at least DOES have a story, which encourages fans to continue playing the game. The cut-scenes progress the story rather nicely, so that the player doesn't get too terribly bored with the generic fights. Also, the fact that characters can 'level up' is a huge plus. The robot Emerl is the most customizable since he can learn whatever moves he sees used during battle. Due to this neat fact, there are literally more than a hundred moves Emerl can learn, so you're guaranteed a unique robot each time you play.
If story mode were the only way to play Sonic Battle, I'd likely give this category a rating of 5/10. However, it's the "Battle Mode" which allows me to give a higher score when it comes to addictiveness. More than likely, the multi-player mode is the icing on the cake for most players. With the ability to duke it out between three other players, it's hard to put this game down when you're playing with friends. The battles are much more simplistic than Super Smash brothers, but the simplicity holds its own charm. Even if you can't find three people to play with, the game will give you NPC's to battle instead.
You can either play in survival mode where the first player to lose all their lives loses, or you can play in KO mode, where the player with the most KO's after a set amount of time wins. You can customize each fight in a number of ways, including choosing the battlefield, choosing NPC opponents and their difficulty, and who goes on what team if you choose to play in team mode.
As with most Sonic games, the key aspect to the battle mode seems to be speed. Health bars are so small that it's common for KOs to occur before a minute has even taken place. Attack moves are quick, sprite regeneration is (reappearing after a KO) is quick, and movement is quick. The only part of battling that doesn't seem quick is when you attempt to recuperate health.
The writers of this story did a nice job incorporating Sonic themes and motifs. Sonic's goal, as always, is to spoil the plan of evil Dr. Robotnik and his friends are more than willing to help him along the way. There's nothing all that confusing about the story and although cut-scenes are a little too frequent and a little too long, they do a sufficient job of keeping the player in the loop. There were only a few minor details I didn't like about the story. For one, the main world map is ridiculously small. Any time the story progresses and your goal is to move to a new location, you simply must move about the small grid and find a white circle to click on. There's nothing ever physically added to the map, no characters walking around, and nothing other than a white circle to designate the next part of Sonic's tale. Furthermore, most of the time there is only one circle to find, causing game play to be extremely linear. In the few cases there are two circles, this is simply due to the fact that one of the circles can't be fully completed at that point in time.
Due to this aspect of the game, it's hard to peg this game as an rpg. The only thing that gives the title some viability is the fact that the story is strewn throughout the game quite frequently. However, the game really feels more like a fighting game that tries to pass itself off as an rpg by using a favorite game canon.
The only other aspect of the game I didn't like is Sonic's arrogance. I know Sonic is supposed to be a confident character, but in my opinion his pride was a little over the top in this game. I especially disliked his spats with Rogue, in which he brags about having lines of women waiting for a chance to date him. It seemed ridiculously out of place for a game like this, and for a game designed for younger children. I suspect that younger children might get a small giggle from it, but they also might not understand the implications that Sonic is a 'lady's man'.
Although the story mode mainly consists of battles, there's a lot of time that can be put into it. Battles are separated by bits and pieces of plot, and the story is quite lengthy. Besides that, customizing Emerl is a huge part of the game. Since there's so much he can learn, players can spend quite a bit of time trying to get just the right specs and combination of moves. I'd guess that the most skilled players would take about 10 hours to fully complete the game.... which is not bad at all. For other gamers, I can see 25-50 hours being spent in the story mode.
In addition to story mode though, who can forget Battle Mode? All in all, there's enough to keep any level of gamer busy for quite some time.
This was probably the most difficult category to rate for this game. On one hand, battles in story mode or with NPC's seem too easy and Emerl quickly overpowers all enemies if set up correctly. On the other hand, controls can be finicky and positioning of your character in relation to a foe's can be quite frustrating. The fact that main characters can only have three moves is something to consider in and of itself. In ANY battle, you can not ever see your enemy's health, meaning you never know who's on top until it's too late.
If you can get the hang of controls though, even beating a group of game generated enemies doesn't take much effort. NPC's are not very intelligent and easily walk into any traps you set for them. They aren't very good at dodging your attacks, and oftentimes they spend too much time vulnerable because they are concerned with recuperating health. They -do- get stronger as the game progresses, but they don't ever seem to increase in intelligence.
The only way then, to increase the challenge, is to play against human characters. In this case, you want to play characters like Sonic and Amy who have a higher speed, because battles move along so quickly. There's not a whole lot to the battle aspect other than aligning yourself with your foe just right and then mashing a bunch of buttons. However, the liveliness makes up for the lack of variety in fighting styles, and I can imagine it being a blast to play with friends. This is really the part that makes up for all other shortcomings.
Overall, even though I'm not a -huge- fan, I would recommend this game to Sonic lovers. It's got enough plot to keep someone busy for hours on end, but the plot in and of itself can get wearisome. Therefore my recommendation is more geared towards people who like to duke it out on screen. If you enjoy teaming up with your buddies in game and throwing punches, Sonic Battle might be your kind of game. Players get to fight using epic moves like Spin Dash and Cream's chao pet, so I'm sure Sonic's fan base would be thrilled.
Graphics 7 Sound 4 Addictive 7 Depth 6 Story 8 Difficulty 4
Sonic Battle Box Description: Who would win in a fight--Sonic, Tails, or Knuckles? You determine the answer in Sonic Battle, a game that pits Sonic and his friends against each other in furious arena combat. The game features eight playable characters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, plus one mystery fighter to unlock. With three types of special attacks and ground, aerial, and defense fighting techniques, you can customize your character to suit your fighting style. Up to four friends can link their systems together using the Game Boy Advance Game Link cable for team battles, and then combine special attacks into devastating combos.
Sonic Battle Description: Sonic Battle is a fast paced pseudo-fighting game, akin to Super Smash Brothers from Nintendo. Rather than being 3D side-scrolling, this game employs a 3D isometric view- not a static, sprite-based field though, it is comprised of actual texture-mapped polygons. The character sprites are 2D though, and while you think it wouldn't work- it does :PYou can have 9 characters to choose from, 5 modes of play; Story, Battle, Challenge, Training, and Mini Games; you can link up 4 GBA's to fight your friends, each character has a bunch of moves you can use to beat the you-know-what out of whoever you're fighting. It has a system of selecting Aerial, Ground, and Guard based attacks, and depending on what type of attack you set for which area (aerial/ground/guard), you have a possibility of 9 total different special attacks to choose from (only 3 at a time in a match though) which you can change each time you lose 1 stock point.Among the other many features, Sonic Team has also made the game more dynamic with the addition of a trainable character whose abilities and techniques you can raise and add to. You get to pick and choose every aspect of the robot's style (running, attacking, jumping, dashing, etc etc etc etc etc).The game takes a moderate amount of time to play through as all the characters, and adds a longer lifespan to itself if you wish to play through and beat it completely (all characters, get all moves for the trainable robot, etc).
Loose Value: (beta)
Complete Value: (beta)
New Value: (beta)