Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood

By on November 20, 2008

Does not meet its expectations, but comes pretty darn close!


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First Impressions
My reaction is

Some people went ahead and claimed this game as a match made in heaven from the first day it was announced. I mean, what is there to hate? You have a highly acclaimed developer in BioWare handling the development of a game based on a lovable superstar mascot, so how exactly can things go wrong? Well we are not going to find ways for such a game to go wrong, but rather mention the few issues that keep Sonics’ attempt at an RPG from being the perfect medicine for all the displeasured sonic fans out there.

Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood kicks off impressively. All the popular sonic characters are there and the world around you is very bright and colourful. So you will really be left with a positive impression regarding the game to start with. From here on though, how much you like this game is based on your own gaming preference. This is not a hardcore RPG game based on an epic story or complicated characters, at the end of the day it’s Sonic the hedgehog you are controlling. So anyone expecting a final fantasy sonic should leave this game alone. We are not saying this game has no story or that the story is not worth mentioning, it is just not up to the standards set by other RPGs on the system. You will spend your time collecting dull items and doing chores for characters in the game for no reason. For better or worse, the main idea in the game is still to beat down on Dr. Egg man himself.

Gameplay wise this game also appeals to a pretty well segmented sector of gamers. Most of the gameplay involves you beating simple puzzles and finding items in quiet obvious spots. Which means hardcore RPG fans should look elsewhere. Actually come to think about it, this game fits best for those looking for a handheld game to pass by sometime with. The gameplay is pretty simple and just like any other RPG game the fighting is straight forward:  Pick you attack, choose your opponent and confirm using the touch screen. Each character on your team comes with its own set of abilities and powers. So you will need to find the right combination of characters to keep on your side. Playing the game itself, you will be doing less exploring and more orders following. The game does feature some well designed areas to explore, but most of the time you will have a direct route to follow to complete an objective.

The one touch everyone expected BioWare to add to this game is the deep and effective dialogue system found in games such as Mass Effect. Well, you will be doing some talking in Sonic Chronicles, but not to the effect to alter the game or its story. Every time you are in a conversation you will have the option to reply in a positive, negative or neutral manner depending on the situation.  Unlike games such as Mass Effects and Star Wars Knights of the old republic, both by BioWare, the dialogue rarely affects the game’s story path here.

Overall the game is a bit too pretty. The graphics are fine but the colours are what stand out the most. The developers wanted to make sure everything is a tad more colourful than what you would expect, giving the game a pretty friendly coat generally. The character design is top notch, a must considering some of the all stars on the roster. At times you might face a little slow down when it comes to the top view camera on hand. The slow downs are nothing major but not having them around would have been better for the game’s sake. Keep in mind that this is a DS game we are talking about, so any comparisons with console RPGs shouldn’t be on your mind.

Handheld games don’t usually just suffer in the graphics department however, but in the sound department as well. Sonic Chronicles will treat sonic fans with a pretty mediocre sound effects system that lacks efficiency and fire power. The music on the other hand can go either way, some tracks are pretty well done and support the gameplay well while others are pretty out of place and fail to add any impressions to the game.

We are confident every sonic fan already has this game sitting pretty on his/her desk. So buying and investing time into this game is a no brainer for any sonic the hedgehog fan out there. RPG fans might have some issues and some might even disagree in how the game is portrayed and how the story plays out at the end. Everyone else though might enjoy giving this game a go. It is a pretty simple adventure that you will enjoy firing up during a bus drive or long breaks between classes. While nothing is confirmed yet, this game looks to be the first in a running series. So with this more than impressive debut, things can only get better for Sonics’ RPG adventure

The Scorecard
Nothing out of the ordinary here, still pretty simple and straight forward.
Both the screens on your DS will be beaming with colours.
Sound tracks are decent but the sound effects full short of impressive.
Easily worth the retail price, how many times you play it depends on how much you love sonic!
We haven’t seen the best from this series yet.
We can call this the best Sonic game in years considering the pretty low quality platform Sonic games we have played recently. This game still has some issues to deal with however.


A former IT & Marketing Manager turned full time Editor, Nick enjoys hurling fireballs and tinkering with the latest gadgets. Follow him on Twitter as @theregos

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