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Sonic Lost World preview

Hedging bets to get high on the hog

Similarly, a new item that transforms Sonic into something caught between a Monkey Ball and a Bomb - activated by navigating a neat little drop-down menu on the GamePad screen - is perfect for steamrolling a group of enemies in 3D, but just slows the pace and leaves you vulnerable on a 2D plane.

The fact that these systems seem so disjointed is a worrying trend for a game that strives to be the best of both platforming worlds. Even more worrying is when it offers up the worst of each. The newest level included in this build, Frozen Factory, takes on the classic Sonic casino stages in 3D and, through its various gimmicks, fundamentally fails to evoke either that speed or platforming heritage.

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Going Bust

In this garish neon flashback to Sonic 2's ace Casino Night Zone, floor-mounted lasers fence off dangerous, twisting tracks, but Sonic's sprint is bad at sharp turns, meaning any cornering slows you to a crawl. If you want to take the stage at speed you have to steer him up onto the walls. Easier said than done. Sonic's free-running may crib its 'one button does all' idea from Assassin's Creed, but he doesn't have the athletic grace of a Kenway quite yet. After the nippy straights of Windy Hill, Frozen Factory is far more of a stop and start experience.

Likewise, exploration. Such a joy in Windy Hill, it's limited here to picking one of three 10-meter-

long corridors to funnel you to the next open area containing a tiny bunch of enemies to bop. Instead of platforming, the team seems focused on cramming in gimmicks. Not content with his usual ring haul, Sonic now hoovers up coins (they swarm like glittering flies) to deposit for a points payoff later in the level. It's goofy, but relatively harmless, which is more than can be said for the giant pinball tables that interrupt the action. Pitched as nostalgic nods to Sonic 2's own tables, these clumsy intrusions drain lives for every ball you lose. In a blink of an eye they go from a goofy distraction to a major hurdle. Sonic Spinball is, er, spinballing in its grave.

Sonic Team's dedication to wanton creativity is admirable, but, the fact is, the stage fails at platforming and speed. When end of level ratings evaluate us for time taken, rings collected, Red Rings found and Flickies freed we're reminded how Windy Hill managed to make the same individual goals that much more fun. In Frozen Factory, we were happy just to survive to the finish line.

The real question is whether the rest of the game will be capable of treading that precision/speed line more carefully, and whether players will engage with two radically opposed ideals. Having seen both the light and dark sides of Lost World we await review code with trepidation.

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  1. jawafour Sunday 8th Sep 2013 at 11:06

    I had high hopes for Lost World but this report presents a disappointing view. With development close to completion, I can't imagine that the required improvement in quality will be made. I'll wait for reviews to see how it ends up.

  2. ploiper Sunday 8th Sep 2013 at 11:13

    this game just looks and sounds awesome to me, I cant wait to get the wii u and 3ds versions the day they come out

  3. GAMEazan Sunday 8th Sep 2013 at 12:22

    After 6 years of no HD, any game on Wii U looks STUNNING! Except for Planes of course.

  4. SuperNintyFan333 Sunday 8th Sep 2013 at 13:17

    I'm not going to give up on lost world yet but it seems that both sonic and mario are starring in two disappointing 3d platformers this year. Sonic lost world is going the creative route but with fundamental gameplay problems (again) and mario 3d land is going to have solid gameplay with very little creativity. It's a shame because ever since super mario 64, 3d platformers have become one of my favourite genres :x

  5. Darkblizz Sunday 8th Sep 2013 at 14:14

    And this preview hasn't mentioned the general consensus of people who played it at SoS, which is that controlling the Wisps is a pain in the backside.

    Maybe the 3DS version will turn out to be the superior one?

  6. GrapeSoda Sunday 8th Sep 2013 at 16:31

    I saw a play through of that casino area and it looked like alot of fun, The person that was playing was using Sonics parkcour moves on walls and double jumping, that pinball area looked like alot of fun too. Sega also mentioned that the frozen factory stages are for the later half of the game where it gets a bit harder.

    I have also seen new people who played this game and use that kick attack like nothing, I think it depends on the player, The casino area seemed more like, staying alive and collecting coins to get to that pinball area (nostalgic reasons) then anything else. I have a feeling this game will have a bit of everything. Even IGN said how tight the controls were, I think you were looking too hard into that one casino level, And for the bomb wisp thing, It seems like its mostly optional, so use the wisps at the right spots and whenever its convenient.

    I really don't see a problem, I think seeing so many people play it and say how good it felt and how amazing it looks, that speaks for itself.

  7. WOLFENFTW Monday 9th Sep 2013 at 11:36

    At the moment this game is balancing good and bad for me. The gameplay looks brilliant and the level design is beautiful. I've heard a lot of complaints about the controls but lets face it, all Sonic Games have difficult controls, they're just something we'll have to get used to. On the other hand the lack of characters, return of colour powers and so far poor looking multiplayer are giving me worries. Hopefully Sonic Team can pull it off and put Sonic back in the race with Mario and Rayman for King of Platformers.

  8. ShadowofPain Friday 13th Sep 2013 at 08:52

    What bothers me with this preview is that it slanders this game when it tries certain gimmicks and doesn't stick to its conventional Sonic platforming, yet a game like Mario Galaxy is praised for doing exactly the same thing. I love Galaxy and its sequel, yet one cannot deny that a very significant number of the levels/stars in that game do not follow the conventions of Mario platforming. Mind you, I haven't had the opportunity to play this game yet so my view doesn't really have much of a basis, just thought I'd point that out. Apart from that I'm still pretty excited for this. A refreshing change after the boost oriented gameplay we've had between Unleashed and Generations.

  9. MatthewONM Friday 13th Sep 2013 at 09:39

    What bothers me with this preview is that it slanders this game when it tries certain gimmicks and doesn't stick to its conventional Sonic platforming, yet a game like Mario Galaxy is praised for doing exactly the same thing.

    THing is, Mario Galaxy executes its ideas almost perfectly. Lost World doesn't. You don't get bonus points for trying something cool - you have to be able to do it.

  10. Mariostar222 Friday 13th Sep 2013 at 19:05

    I WOULD KILL FOR THIS TO BE OUT NOW!

  11. Mariostar222 Friday 13th Sep 2013 at 19:06

    matthew,can I borrow a wispa bar

  12. Mariostar222 Friday 13th Sep 2013 at 19:07

    After 6 years of no HD, any game on Wii U looks STUNNING! Except for Planes of course.

    true.....and smurfs2 looks bad

  13. Mariostar222 Friday 13th Sep 2013 at 19:08

    What bothers me with this preview is that it slanders this game when it tries certain gimmicks and doesn't stick to its conventional Sonic platforming, yet a game like Mario Galaxy is praised for doing exactly the same thing.

    THing is, Mario Galaxy executes its ideas almost perfectly. Lost World doesn't. You don't get bonus points for trying something cool - you have to be able to do it.

    Can I have a wispa bar?

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