Review: Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric (Wii U)

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I must confess from the beginning that I have never been big into Sonic. I have only played a little bit of the Genesis games, Sonic Rush, and I got about halfway through Sonic Lost World on Wii U. Sonic Lost World was an inconsistent game that had you ready for more after one level and then wanting to chuck the Gamepad through your TV on the next. I don’t keep up with pre game release news because I hate being part of the Watch Dogs, Destiny, etc etc crowd that hypes up games just to be disappointed. I walked into Sonic Boom on Wii U just hoping it would be more consistently good than Lost World. What I ended up playing was not a typical Sonic game. Not at all.
Read the 3DS review HERE.
Content Warning: Mild action violence. Otherwise the game is clean and I can recommend it to all ages.

3

Story
I am going to tell this story to the best of my ability without searching it online. From what I understand, this is a spin off game from the regular Sonic games that is based/a part of a TV show. Eggman and Sonic are having a typical fight in the beginning when all of a sudden… OH MY WHAT IS THAT?! Shows up. His name is Lyric and he is a massive snake thing that has been trapped for a thousand years by, you guessed it, Sonic. Sonic has no idea he did this but oh well. Adventure time! Basically Sonic and friends (Tails, Amy, and a beefed up/dumb Knuckles) set out to stop Lyric. Eggman realizes that Lyric is stronger than him so he teams up with Lyric. My personal favorite part is seeing the almighty Eggman sweat over Lyric. All of the characters are one note and lack depth which is a tad disappointing for older folks however, I am not sure how many of us truly care about the Sonic story anyways.

4

Gameplay
“OH MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS! WHY ISN’T SONIC RUNNING 24/7? Do the developers not know he can run… fast?!” Sega handed off Sonic Boom to Big Red Button to develop (while I am guessing they work on the sequel or the next main Sonic game) and BRB decided to go a different route than usual. Rather than an old school Sonic, modern 3D Sonic, or a boost to win Sonic (my favorite), instead they chose a platformer. While an interesting choice for Sonic and the gang, it isn’t all doom and gloom like many make this out to be. Once you accept that Sonic is not running 24/7 and is doing a game style that I would actually expect on the GameCube, it is a solid game.
The game breaks down into a few different types of gameplay. First, you have the hub world which is kind of like Sonic Adventure 1’s but more barren. Second, is the “corridor, free running” sections, as I call it, where Sonic is running on a specified path and you have him avoid obstacles, collect rings, and even go alternate paths depending on how quick you can react. Next is the combat system. To me this is fairly new albeit a tad simplistic. You use Y for basic attacks and X for special attacks. I typically stuck with Tails as he can attack from afar. There are also boss battles which are fairly standard platforming boss battles. Nothing really special about them. Last, and the best part, is the 2D sections. The 2D sections mic platforming with typical Sonic speed running. Nothing stands out as especially great however, nothing is broken either. Where as Lost World would dazzle me one level then make me want to lay a hammer into my Wii U the next, Sonic Boom stayed consistently above average. I had wished that the hub worlds had more people/more to do but they looked good and were a good size as well. My biggest gripe, as is in most 3D Sonics, is the camera. I don’t know why but the camera in Sonic games range from “why even bother” to “this will do”. This time it is more along the lines of “this will do” due to the right stick letting you control the camera. The only time it caused me any trouble was when doing the corridor free runs and the camera keeps shifting to make things seem fast. I kinda wished it would just stay behind Sonic the whole time and boom (pun intended), problem solved. On that note, the camera stays behind Sonic whenever he runs on water (he gets this ability about a quarter of the way in) and this is by far my favorite parts of the game. Sonic running on water looks, feels, and controls just how Sonic should. You get a good sense of speed and I personally had a blast.

5

Graphics and Sound
The graphics, sound, and voice acting were the worst parts to me. The graphics and textures reminded me of 2007/2008 era of Xbox 360 and PS3 games. I was quite disappointed as this is a Wii U exclusive and the Wii U is more powerful than both the 360 and PS3, plus we are in 2014. The music is forgettable besides maybe the title track. However, even that is forgettable too. There wasn’t really any intense music to go along with the epic moments of the story and it made the presentation lackluster. I also noticed that the frame rate hung around 30 FPS except when things picked up speed and got hectic. I don’t know what it would dip to, but it dipped. I also notice pop in with shadows and even some objects that were not so far off. Quite perplexing that the engine was not optimized better. The game needed some more time to be polished for the Wii U. Voice acting was passable. That is all.
Conclusion
Overall, Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric is an above average platformer with some Sonic mixed in. Had this been released on the GameCube back in the day then it would have been a sleeper hit. Now what we have instead is a game that people are split on. You either hate it because it isn’t typical Sonic (like Star Fox Adventures wasn’t typical Star Fox) or you accept it as the game it is. It is by no means Sonic Adventure 3. I hope to see Sega and Big Red Button take the ideas they toyed around with in Lost World and Sonic Boom and make good sequels. Lost World when it was good, it was really good. Sonic Boom: Return of Lyric/Lyric Strikes Back/Just Lyric 2015 needs more time in the cooker than this game did. Sega, we know you guys have deadlines however, we are ok with games coming out later if it means they are polished products you and the fans can be proud of. I would actually like to see Nintendo give Sega a helping hand on the next Sonic exclusive (if there is one).
Side note – I encountered zero glitches throughout my entire playthrough.
Reviewed on Wii U.

The Bottom Line

An above average platformer that is worth a try for all ages.

 

6.5

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Wesley Wood

Wesley Wood is an aspiring film director. He would love to make GOOD films to help spread God's word and help Christians grow.

8 Comments

  1. Rumael on January 1, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Why isn’t “Extreme handholding” in the negatives?

    • Maurice Pogue on January 4, 2015 at 12:34 am

      I suppose that not everyone is annoyed by being told what to do.

  2. daniel on November 20, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    My main problem with Sonic boom rise of lyric was its all around bugginess. Certain sections would make sonic glitch through the floor, go through the backround in a 2d section because the game thinks it is still n a 3d section, etc. It isn’t the gameplay itself, just how TERRIBLE the games glitches can get at times. Not to mention the characters can be incredibly self absorbed at times (Which makes them annoying)

  3. BlackAceZero777 on November 17, 2014 at 12:46 am

    I saw some of the game and I have to say: This series needs to be on PS4 and X1. Why? This has alot of potential on the next-gen consoles. Now since this is a spin off series, I see more games coming. But one thing they could really make this game is open world. For a game that is based around exploration, this would work perfectly. As well, this game could use the Werehog fighting mechanic mixed with Devil May Cry style of “making your own combos.” As well with the open world, they wouldn’t have to limit his speed; the player could run as fast as they would want to, or take time to explore the world. With ideas like this, the PS4 and X1 could allow it to do so much and more!

    • Wesley Wood on November 17, 2014 at 1:46 am

      The game was poorly optimized on the Wii U. With more polish and time it could have been a much better looking title that could of also been on PS4 and Xbox One. However, this was part of the exclusive deal that Sega made with Nintendo.

      • BlackAceZero777 on November 17, 2014 at 2:17 am

        The contract with Nintendo I know about, and I think it was rushed due to the holiday deadline. I remember reading about them finishing it a week early. This must be because it was rushed for the holiday, but now since they are out of the contract, they have much more time to really work on the series. This series, personally, needs to be on PS4 and X1 for many reasons.

        • Jeremiah Jackson on November 17, 2014 at 8:29 pm

          Naw. Pee fore and eggs bocks wun are mainstream consoles. That means the violent and vulgar first person shooters and racing games are made at home there. The Wii U is basically a Classic Console for the current Gen. I though it was beautiful to go to walmart and see Mario, Zelda, and Sonic all side by side in the cabinet. Plus there’s next to no mainstream-style vulgar Games for it. To quote wesley, People who want the Xbox 1 and Ps4 aren’t the people who want to play Sonic.

          • BlackAceZero777 on November 17, 2014 at 10:48 pm

            But the same could be said for Ps3 and X360….Seriously, it could…Most of them have violent games and stuff like that but they still made some Sonic games for it that did very well. Besides, most agreed that this game should’ve been on something like the Ps3 or X360….Just because there are violent games on a console, does not mean it will kill the series….Sonic Generations did perfectly fine in this day and age of shooters and racing games….Even there is a Sonic game coming out for the PS4 and X1 called Sonic Runners (Could be a placement title, but it is coming to next-gen).



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