Sonic Chronicles

If you haven’t played Sonic Chronicles yet, I encourage you to give it a try.

Although I work at BioWare I was not involved with the development of Sonic Chronicles at all. So assume me completely unbiased. The second disclaimer is that I’m not really a fan of the Sonics character at all, so I’m addressing the game as a game, not part of the “sonic universe”.

It is fun and there’s little like it on the Nintendo DS. You get to explore beautifully drawn backgrounds, collecting items and companions. The story is quirky, interesting and well written. The target audience is for children and the games does a great job of catering to that audience, but I think there’s enough depth for older players.

 

The Story

I’m not yet finished this… I have to fight for control of the DS with my wife and kids but I’m liking the story so far. The dialog is streamlined but still allows for some flexibility (and humor!) in the conversation choices. While some will find the story/conversation  too simple (especially when compared against the more mature titles BioWare puts out) I think it works well considering that its a DS game. The simplicity is important with a game you’ll be picking up and putting down often, sometimes with long lapses between play sessions.

The Combat System

I enjoy the turn based combat, its fun and though simple, I feel I am making valid (and important) decisions in battle. I know I’m showing my age but what I do dislike about it is the action system, where I have to press points flashing across the screen quickly. I’m not very good at that.

I really like it that I do get defeated in battle and have to reload a save and come back to it. This tactical decision making is important to have satisfying combat. Nothing wrong with making the player think occasionally.

Overall

Sonic Chronicles is definitely a solid game to add to your library of DS titles.  The review scores might be low, but many of them were were written by BioWare fans who wanted a more mature title and not the kid’s game that Sonic was designed to be. There’s expectations for BioWare to make a certain type of game and while Sonic has elements (strong gameplay, choice-based dialog, engaging story) it should not to be compared with Baldur’s Gate, Knights of the Old Republic, or Mass Effect. Apples and orange, eh?

Had this title been developed by another developer, it would have scored higher.

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