For many years, SEGA has done their best to please every Sonic fan in the gaming community, but each time has left a different part unsatisfied. In Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, SEGA takes Sonic back to the classic platforming genre, and finally brings his friends; Tails, Amy, and Knuckles, with him. Since it was announced, SEGA’s planned for Sonic Boom to be a different “branch” of the Sonic Universe, not effecting the storyline from the main series, such as Sonic Adventure, or Sonic Unleashed.
Rise of Lyric‘s a fresh new breath into the franchise, thanks to developer Big Red Button, who also has employees that worked on games like Crash Bandicoot, Jak & Daxter, and even the original Uncharted. With this in mind, gamers have expected a lot from the new Sonic game, since his latest haven’t been too pleasing for some.
If there’s one thing SEGA was trying to make bold and stand out in Sonic Boom’s story, it was that Sonic is not the main hero of the series, but he and his friends all have an equal part of being the hero. In past Sonic games, it was always Sonic who saved the day, but even Sonic states that his friends are his strength.
Rise of Lyric begins with a run through the jungle chasing down Dr. Eggman, who is at it again. Upon his defeat, the team discovers a hidden tomb full of mysteries. Upon their discovery of Lyric, an evil snake guy from 1,000 years in the past, he is released and immediately sets his sights on Sonic, claiming they have “unfinished business.” Lyric retreats to go gather his strength and leaves the team to find their own exit. Sonic and friends soon learn that Lyric was sealed away many years ago for trying to wipe out all organic life using these powerful sources of energy known as “Crystals”. It’s up to Sonic and his friends to gather all the Crystals to prevent Lyric from achieving his evil plot.
I was actually really impressed with how Rise of Lyric’s story turned out, not saying that I had low expectations for it. In the story, you’ll find that it has almost a perfect balance between serious and light hearted storytelling. It’s not too goofy, but not too serious, keeping a nice harmonic balance between the two throughout the game. One thing I would like to point out is how SEGA has remodeled the characters’ personalities. They’re not completely different from where they were, but they’re not the same heroes we know from the main series, either.
First off, Sonic’s a little cockier than the hero we’ve gotten to know, taking all the glory at times than sharing it with his teammates. Tails is about the same, but he acts a little more around his age, a kid, but still a genius. Amy has a huge change, she’s about as mature than anyone else on the team (quite the change, right?) I actually had a thing against how Knuckles was portrayed. Long story short, he acts like a total goofball the entire story, a little sillier than how he has been in previous Sonic games.
As far as comparing him to his days of Sonic Adventure, Knuckles has made a complete 180. Shadow actually makes a brief appearance in the story, but not much is known about him. There’s a fight with Sonic, he still has his signature moves like Chaos Spear, and even Chaos Blast. Overall, the story’s better than the past few Sonic games, one that I feel Sonic fans will come to know and love pretty quickly.
Rise of Lyric plays like a combination of previous Sonic games, a mix of Sonic: Unleashed’s Werehog fighting style (but toned down), Sonic and the Secret Rings (in running sections), and just a touch of Sonic 06’s hub world design. I know it may sound a little weird, but it’s better than you think. Most of the time, Sonic will be in a group with Tails, Amy, and Knuckles. During this, it will kind of feel like the old days back in Sonic Heroes, you can even switch to other team members at most times, but without the awkward formations.
There will be moments throughout the game your team will be separated, but it’s always either 2 or 4 characters, Sonic’s not going it alone this time! At the start of the game, you’ll be restricted to using a certain character for a little while, but you’ll soon be able to switch to whomever you please. You’ll have to use every character at least once, so it’s a nice break from the “only Sonic” gameplay we’ve been having for some time (I don’t mind, just saying).
As for the individual characters, they play in a unique way that can be easily figured out with a few moments just being them. All characters run about the same speed (yes, even Sonic), everyone can double jump, charge attacks, and even dodge. Sonic’s obviously the fast one, his hand-to-hand combat moves are mostly his feet, and his Spin Dash even makes a return, along with a “smash” technique that plays like the bouncing move from Sonic Colors, but only once. Sonic can also use his Homing Attack 3 times on different enemies, but the 4th time he will use a charged Homing Attack that blasts a small shockwave from where he lands.
Tails plays pretty cool, he finally quit using the dumb dummy rings and began using his technological know how. Tails can fire lasers, and use a small robot called a “Buddy Bot” (I think), which becomes useful later on in the story. Tails cannot fly how he used to in previous Sonic games, but he can double jump and glide downwards. Fans are used through the game to shoot him upwards.
Amy’s new gameplay is a drastic change since the last time being to play as herself since Sonic Adventure and Sonic 2006. Amy is extremely athletic, and can use a triple jump. She still has her hammer, which is used as her main fighting weapon in battles. She can also walk along narrow paths that are highlighted in pink (her section exclusively).
Knuckles has a pretty unique change that goes with his new design. He can no longer glide, but is now a bigger powerhouse than ever before. Knuckles can easily blow through a crowd of bots in a matter of seconds, he’s the one I usually use instead of Sonic in bigger battles.
The game itself generally plays fine, but I have noticed a few glitches here and there. Surprisingly, it’s not camera issues, something Sonic games are known for having. Throughout the story, I noticed several times a glitch will occur where my character will be stuck in a position or an action for several seconds, and I’ve even had a character go through a wall. Don’t get me wrong, none of these were bad enough to actually have to stop playing the game like quitting or doing hard reset on my Wii U, but they were something I did have to mention, as they occurred several times.
The soundtrack in Sonic Boom‘s pretty nice too and has high quality tunes as expected. However, we have yet to gain another vocal theme for this game, which is somewhat disappointing, they used to be some of the best before they quit making them. Also, there were a few times throughout the game where the music would be peaceful, and continue even when in a battle, which I personally feel is a little unfitting.
Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric‘s another great addition to the Sonic series, and apart of the Sonic Universe I can’t wait to see be expanded. Despite negative feedback from fans, I believe Rise of Lyric‘s a game every Sonic fan should give a shot. Since this new series is fresh off the minds of Sonic Team, there’s so much they can do with it, and I see a ton of potential behind it. Let’s just hope that if there’s a sequel, it’s better than or equal to this starting point. As long as I’ve been a Sonic fan, I know tha tonce Sonic Team gets a formula established by a first game, they can only improve on it from there on.