Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood Review

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The speedy hedgehog goes all RPG...


Having gifted gamers with some of the greatest RPGs of all time – Baldur’s Gate! Neverwinter Nights! Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic! Jade Empire! – you’d expect BioWare’s take on the Sonic legend to breathe new life into a franchise that’s always been big on action, but lacking in plot. Sadly, for the coder’s first Nintendo DS role-player, the vapid Sonic story is still driven by rubbish villains, two-dimensional characters and recovering those bloody Chaos Emeralds… again.

An action RPG that’ll appeal more to younger gamers than veteran role-players, Sonic Chronicles sees players taking control of a group of familiar Sega heroes and using their unique skills to solve puzzles and reach new areas of the candy-coloured worlds, all the time harvesting golden rings to exchange for special attacks. Beautiful presentation – including hand-painted scenery and heart-meltingly lovable characters – will charm players who haven’t spent time with the more accomplished RPGs on BioWare’s CV, and the chance to find, nurture and swop Chao creatures with other players potentially adds life to the experience beyond the main quest.

But aside from its asinine story, what will drive most players to distraction is how ridicously easy the game is; with a little practice the shallow and predictable combat is a cinch to master, meaning you can waltz through most of the quest without any hassle from the roaming monsters. And with linear action that forces you down a narrow, predetermined path – and side-quests that amount to nothing more than collecting useless objects – Sonic’s first foray into role-playing will be a disappointment to all but the most hardened Hedgehog devotee.