Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood Review - 13/10/2008

Sonic the Hedgehog is synonymous with the more arcade style of gameplay, on both 2D and 3D formats. With Sonic Chronicles BioWare, from Knight of the Old Republic and Mass Effect fame, has taken the iconic character and placed him and his friends in one genre that they really do excel at, RPG.


Personally I wasn't sure that the Sonic could make the jump from linear adventure to modern RPG, but there is some great play to be with the Chronicles.

The story begins when, heading back from his vacation after defeating egomaniac Doctor Eggman once again, Sonic is called by his Tails and told that Knuckles has been kidnapped. Sonic immediately travels to meet with Tails. This is where you pick up the story, arriving in the iconic Green Hill Zone; an area of normal, peaceful creatures has changed with its inhabitants attacking anyone who enters.

Any BioWare game was sure to attract a lot of hype.


The story isn't groundbreaking like that of Mass Effect or KOTOR but still keeps you glued to the stylus, after all this is predominately a children's game. Of course Sonic's travels takes you through some of the series' best know zones, like the aforementioned Green Hill Zone, Central City and the Mystic Ruins.

Using the isometric view allows for a much easier and straight forward mode of play; the bottom screen shows Sonic and use of the stylus is required to guide him around the 3D map. Pushing further ahead of Sonic makes him run faster and pushing closer to him has the opposite effect. Of course the biggest thing about RPGs is the battle system and Sonic Chronicles' system works amazingly well for what it is. Exploring the map can lead to unlocking the special talents needed to reach higher sections, with each character you encounter that is able to join your party sporting a particular talent.

It may not be up to the standard of Mass Effect or KOTOR, but it's a traditional Sonic-style storyline.


For fans of the blue haired hedgehog most of these talents are pretty obvious like Tails can fly, Amy can smash crates and rocks with her hammer while Sonic can hit supersonic speeds to spin around loop-the-loops. At points it can be a bit of a task to figure out how to get to some places on the map but you will never get lost from where your mission objectives are as the top screen shows a map of the area you are in at the time with stars showing where each objective is.

The combat is turn based with faster characters having multiple attacks each turn. Each character has a variety of special moves as well as normal straight-up attacks, each of these requiring PP to perform but more importantly each also needing a special set of on screen instructions to be completed before the move can be successfully acted upon. Think a cross between Elite Beat Agents and Project Rub. To pull off the moves can be hard at times, particularly if you're lacking in quick hand-to-eye coordination. You are also required to do more touch screen movements to block or evade the enemy's attacks. Combat is also split up by chase sections. If a creature tries to run from you your characters will give chase. These sections are a nice break from the normal battle system, but are never really trying.

If you like Sonic you should still really dig the Chronicles.


One place there is no doubt that the game shines is in the graphics department. For a handheld console not exactly known for the power of its graphics BioWare has really pushed an amazing amount out of the console. Sonic Chronicles looks great, the style is very much cartoony but a realistic art style really wouldn't have worked for either the game or the characters.

BioWare has created another high-quality RPG from one character that you wouldn't think that would translate well to the genre. Sonic Chronicles isn't amazing in the style and only offers a small challenge in the boss battles, but it is something that you can really have fun with, just immersing yourself in the world, regardless of your age.

- Alec Hilton

   

A fun RPG adventure.

 
   

It's made by BioWare.

 
   
Good use of control systems.
 
   

Graphics look great for the DS.

 
   

Can be a little too simple.

 

7

   
     

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