Sonic Origins is a bit of a disappointment. As a massive Sonic fan, it kills me to say it but it’s true. Sure, the games collected here are undeniably great titles in their own right. But they are no better than the originals which can be found for little or no cost elsewhere already. Sonic 3 and Knuckles is considerably worse both in gameplay as well as its new soundtrack and most of the unlockable content in the Museum can be found easily via other means. For gamers that have never played Sonic and are averse to obtaining these titles on other platforms, you likely will not be as disappointed as I was, but I think SEGA and Sonic Team could have gone a little further and given these titles the proper Sonic Mania treatment. In fact, if you are new to Sonic go for the Mania instead.
Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition is an interesting package; despite doing a number of things fairly well such as gameplay tweaks and refreshed visuals it’s hard not to feel a little let down. When you consider all of the possibilities or additional improvements that could have been made, it just feels like Rockstar could have gone further and created some truly memorable remakes or high-quality remasters. All of the games here do look better and play better than the originals, which technically does make these versions the definitive ones, but it feels like a missed opportunity at the end of the day. A few patches will likely take care of some of the more obvious issues, but at this point it is hard to recommend to anyone other than the GTA faithful.
Hot Wheels Unleashed delivers on what it promises, high octane toy car thrills, drifting and boosting around gravity-defying tracks set in high definition great looking environments. It just lets itself down when it comes to the structure of the solo campaign and there aren’t enough unique hazards or variations in the tracks to keep you coming back for more. It would have been nice if they went a step further and thought outside of the box with the designs of the tracks themselves, but at least it delivers a boost of nostalgia for the kid inside all of us.
Monster Jam Steel Titans 2 almost gets there but it’s just not consistently fun enough to warrant ongoing play. The open worlds are large and some of them are well designed, but there just isn’t really anything to do other than drive around. The races themselves are too much of a mixed bag, mixing some exciting races with other tracks that would better suit a Rally Car rather than a Monster Truck.
Cyber Shadow is one of those rare retro-inspired titles that does not pale in comparison to its references or feel like a cheap knock off. Pretty much everything about Cyber Shadow is on point and executed flawlessly. From the visuals, to the sound, to the precise and responsive gameplay. The game gets the difficulty balance right the majority of the time. It’s tough enough to be challenging but rarely hard enough to be considered unfair. The addition of well-placed checkpoints and infinite lives definitely make the challenge more palatable than its ancestors. It is a really solid action platformer and a really good game that deserves some play.
Inertial Drift is an impressive effort from Level 91 Entertainment especially for a debut game. They really delivered on the visuals and atmosphere across the board, even though it will take some practice before you are able to take some time to enjoy the scenery. The varied vehicles all require very different approaches to racing which adds replay value. Drifting may not be my thing, but Inertial Drift is well worth a drive.
Battletoads is an excellent return for the series. It has stunning hand drawn graphics, a story that will make you laugh and backs it up with tight varied gameplay. It is a great game to play solo but really comes into its own with a friend playing and experiencing together.