If you frequent around the Sonic community a fair bit, you’ll know that the reception of Sonic’s latest foray into marketing gimmicks didn’t exactly take well with the fans (though the TV show is worth your time for some good mindless fun.) With the release of sales figures from SEGA, we can now see how this new splinter brand performed, and the news is quite dreadful with the games pulling in over a combined 490,000.
Yes, both Shattered Crystal and Rise of Lyric combined could barely claw their way to over a half-million units, making them some of the worst performing Sonic games, possibly of all time. A hard metric to gauge given strange releases on Game Gear, NeoGeo Pocket Color, and even taco-shaped mobile the N-Gage, but easily the worst in modern times.
Of course, the lukewarm-to-negative reception of the Wii U and 3DS variants, as well as (now-patched) goofy levels of glitches certainly didn’t help the matter, drawing Rise of Lyric frequent contention with Sonic 2006 for the worst in the series.
Worse still is the figure is in the nebulous realm of units actually sold to customers or the total combined units sitting out on store shelves or boxes in the back. So the 490,000 figure may very well be a “best case” scenario.
Previously, Sonic Lost World sold 718,000 units combined, as a marker of the series trend on the Wii U and 3DS and were lukewarmly received. Prior to Lost World, Sonic Colors performed better at over two million units sold, but with the caveat that the Wii and DS had monstrous consumer bases by 2010.
The current downtrend for Sonic and the continued diminishing returns in quality are signs that maybe it’s time SEGA seriously considers putting the Sonic brand on hiatus for a few years (see Capcom with Mega Man… hopefully) or completely overhaul the creative process at Sonic Team (read: fire some people, even the studio head.) But, with the likes of Sonic Runners already on the horizon, it looks like regardless of reception, SEGA will run Sonic full speed right off the edge and into one of the series’ infamous bottomless pits.
Rise of Lyric
Sonic Boom has certainly been a source of contention from many fans of the franchise, both old and new. Presented as a new branch of the Sonic series primarily led by the people at SEGA of America, it’s hard to argue the experiment has won any favors from longtime fans. While the TV show has been performing well, the 3DS game didn’t turn into anything more than a mediocre platformer. All that’s left to talk about is the Wii U game.
Unfortunately, Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric is the weakest element in the Boom bandwagon. The title shows off way too many glaring issues that seem as if the developers were rushing to get the game out the door in time for the TV show’s premiere, and boy, we got stuck with another unfortunate misstep for the blue blur. Plagued with infinite jump glitches, weird collision bugs, opportunities to soft lock the game and some of the worst special effects seen in the CryEngine…wait, the CryEngine 3? The same one powering performance hungry games such as the Crysis series? Indeed, the same one, only now the game is running poorly optimized for the Wii U and has some of the most awkward special effects in a modern 3D game.
I don’t doubt that the engine could work well for Sonic providing an open world environment, but that kind of experience is not delivered well here. Now, some of you arm chair experts are probably sitting there saying the game is terrible due to Sonic losing his speed, turning the game into a glorified beat-em up and changing the iconic style of the character, the plot and all the things that make Sonic work. But that couldn’t be further from the point on why exactly this game is bad.
And after seeing the gameplay a couple of days ago, it’s time to check out what the story in Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric is like in this trailer with epic music and a narrator with a deep voice telling you what’s happening with Sonic these days. Turns out he has to go up against Lyric, a villain who is over a thousand years old yet recognizes Sonic for some reason. Eggman pops up in the trailer as well, not doing much more than correcting his glorious mustache. The trailer also shows new levels and bosses, along with some cutscenes.
Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric is coming to Wii U this November. Be sure to take a look at the new trailer for Shattered Crystal as well.
Did you for some reason miss the constant dialog in Sonic Heroes? Well do I have some news for you.
It’s pre-E3 week, meaning that publishers who aren’t sure if their game will get noticed during E3 are revealing their games early. And SEGA is doing this with its two Sonic Boom games, which have suddenly gotten a bit of a name change.
First up is Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric for Wii U developed by Big Red Button Entertainment. The video above shows gameplay of normal Adventure-style levels, one speedier stage and boss battles. The normal levels are slower-paced than your usual Sonic game, seemingly playing more like a PS2-era platformer with beat-em-up sections and character switching. There’s also the new Enerbeam which can be used to find alternate paths, grab and throw enemies, and zip-line across gaps. The speedier levels look a bit more like something you’d play in Sonic Unleashed or Generations, though a bit more automated. The boss battles have all four characters (Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and Amy) battling either Eggman or a robot. Like the name suggests, the primary villain isn’t Eggman but rather a cyborg reptilian named Lyric.
Then there’s Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal for 3DS developed by Sanzaru Games. Unlike the Wii U game this is a 2D Metroidvania with levels which focus on exploration along with some 3D levels where you use the quickstep and swing around with the new Enerbeam. You’ll be able to switch between Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and the recently introduced Sticks, all of whom have unique abilities. Amy couldn’t make it on account of being kidnapped by Lyric. There used to be a video preview with gameplay footage from GameXplain, but apparently SEGA wasn’t so keen on gameplay being out there already. You can still find it along with a bit more Rise of Lyric gameplay footage if you look in the right places though. (*coughforumscough*)
Beyond the jump you can also find screenshots and concept art of both games along with a list of previews from other sites.