PSP Fanboy hands-on: Sonic Rivals

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PSP Fanboy hands-on: Sonic Rivals

PSP Fanboy had a chance to play the upcoming Sonic Rivals at NYC's DigitalLife event. I had high expectations for the game because I hold a belief that the 2D Sonic games are much better than their 3D counterparts. With the impressive processing power of the PSP, I expected to see a vivid, colorful, living environment for Sonic and the gang to race through. The build I played (which felt very early: it didn't have music, or voice acting), didn't showcase the PSP's graphical prowess. Surprisingly, the game felt somewhat sluggish, with Sonic's notoriously fast speeds feeling somewhat subdued.

While the gameplay is in classic 2D, I couldn't help but be disappointed by the fact that the game is not a platformer, but a racer. However, Sonic Rivals seems to find itself in a confusing place because neither the platforming nor the racing elements seem to feel right yet. The controls didn't feel tight enough: there were context sensitive options to certain parts of the level, but it felt like many button presses weren't doing what they were supposed to. Hit detection between Sonic and his rival also seemed iffy. For the most part, the game felt uninspiring. All the elements for a good Sonic game appear to be present: there are enemies, there are branching levels, and there are environmental hazards. But without a real sense of speed, or an incentive for exploration, Rivals feels fails to inspire. I haven't had a chance to play with all the characters, or play multiplayer yet, but so far, I have to say I'm a little disappointed. Sonic Rivals speeds into stores in November.

See also:
Joystiq at Sonic's 15th birthday party

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