Video game trends are fairly commonplace in the industry. For example, cel shading was the "it" thing to do a few years ago. Now, it's button mashing a la Resident Evil 4 and God of War. PSP games are not immune to this increasingly tiresome gimmick -- even Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow (somewhat unnecessarily) featured the gameplay device.
Sonic Rivals 2 is proudly featuring the gameplay mechanic in its latest trailer, and we have to admit, it's probably for the best. Races will become interesting as there's more interactivity to each level. Instead of simply blindly moving forward from point A to B, the required button presses will add a bit more depth (or so we hope).
Yet another video of Sonic Rivals 2's battle modes have been revealed. This time, see a Chao get kidnapped in this brand new mode. Remember, Rivals 2 will support Game Sharing, so we're expecting many (if not all) of these features to be available over one UMD.
If Sonic doesn't end up in Super Smash Bros later this year, it looks like you'll have to resort to the PSP-exclusive Sonic Riders 2 for some hedgehog-on-hedgehog
Also in the upcoming Sonic Rivals sequel is the ability to play multiplayer with just one UMD, a feature that we love to see in PSP games. Now with this added battle mode and Game Sharing, it looks like Rivals 2 will greatly expand upon the previous game's offerings.
Compared to the first gameplay video from a few weeks ago, does this video look ... smoother? Either Sega is trying to make their dashing hedgehog look marginally better, or we're imagining things. At least this title is still staying true to its 2D roots. We wouldn't want our Sonic any other way -- too bad the gameplay still looks identical to the previous Sonic Rivals in every way.
No, you're not looking at footage of the original Sonic Rivals. This is the sequel -- and it looks exactly like its predecessor. Distressingly, the framerate of this video is choppy, and the gameplay seems even more barren than before. Maybe it was too early to show this, but our confidence in Sonic Rivals 2 has taken a huge hit.
A leaked retail release calendar accidentally revealed Sonic Rivals 2 a little too early. However, Sega has officially announced the title today. This PSP-exclusive sequel will feature a revamped rival "jostling" gameplay system for tighter head-to-head competition. (One of the problems of the first title was how limited conflicts were between the racers.) A brand new Battle mode allows two players to jump into six different multiplayer challenges. With Game Sharing, players will be able to partake in the challenges with just one UMD. Power-ups have been improved for the sequel, giving gamers a fairer chance at competing.
In addition, Miles "Tails" Prower and other new characters have been added to the playable roster. A new single-player Free play mode will allow characters to explore each level at their own pace. Just as before, each character in the game will also have their own unique signature moves.
Finally, card collection returns in Sonic Rivals 2: it now features more than 150 collectable cards, which will enable players to customize characters with new track suits, unlock PSP backgrounds, and unlock Cup Circuits. Sonic Rivals 2 is currently scheduled for a Fall release. Check out the first images of the game in our new gallery.
The first game wasn't too shabby -- although the execution was weak at times, the concept of turning Sonic into a racer was novel. Rivals, at the very least, included some fast and pretty visuals (albeit a sluggish framerate). Let's hope this potential sequel fixes the issues found in the first game.
Sega will be running a pricey viral ad campaign through Microsoft's Windows Live Messenger to promote its upcoming games: Sonic Rivals on the PSP and Sonic the Hedgehog on Xbox 360. One may notice that the PLAYSTATION 3 version of Sonic the Hedgehog is not mentioned. Just like Sonic and Silver pictured above, Sony and Microsoft are fierce rivals, and it appears that Microsoft wants no part in promoting Sony's next-gen platform. Of course, without a handheld gaming device from the Xbox folks (for now), it seems Redmond's empire is willing to litter your IM-ing experience with ads for the PSP Sonic.
Expect a full review of Sonic Rivals and a giveaway soon.
[Via Brand Republic]
Yosuke Moriya, one of my friends at SEGA, recently talked to Gamespot about Sonic Rivals. While the interview doesn't reveal anything new, it goes over the entire game's structure very thoroughly. You may have missed a few points in our previous coverage of the game, so check this video out. It features some great footage of the game in motion.
Sonic Rivals races to stores on November 21st.
We hinted at the presence of a secret character in Sonic Rivals when we played the game at DigitalLife. Well, it looks like the secret's out (thanks to screenshots posted on Gamespot), and Sonic fans are going to love the news. Metal Sonic, the evil robotic clone of Sonic will be the final unlockable character, and you'll be able to play as him once you beat the game. For hardcore Sonic fans, this should be incentive enough to pick up the game when it comes out in November.
Fellow blogger Chris Powell did not like my somewhat negative preview of Sonic Rivals from the DigitalLife show floor. He told me on AIM that I should "play it until I like it." Well, buddy-- I tried to follow your advice. I spoke with Yosuke Moriya, product manager for Sega, about the PSP-exclusive title and he talked a little bit about the game, revealed some of its features, and played multiplayer with me. Mr. Moriya reassured me that some of the complaints I had were being addressed before the game ships in November. For example, the framerate certainly hindered the sense of speed the game needs: when debug mode was turned on, I saw that the framerate dropped frequently to 15-20fps.
Music will obviously be added, but unfortunately, it appears that voice acting will not (the game currently features very short quips: Sonic says only "yeah" over and over again). The single player portion of the game will be meatier than I originally thought, as I was shown a few of the later levels and a very cool secret unlockable character (which we can't reveal, sorry!). You'll be able to collect rings and cards, which will be redeemed for new customization items for the characters: for example, you can get new shoes for Sonic, or a new outfit for Knuckles, etc. Sonic + Barbie = fun, right?
The game was obviously designed with multiplayer in mind, and it became a much more fun, and lively game when playing against a human opponent. I got to trash talk Yosuke as I sped away, racing towards the finish line. The moments where we able to use special powers against each other were the most lively, and the game has to create as many opportuities for interaction as possible. You can bet cards at the beginning of each race, so I could've stolen Yosuke's shoes. I didn't, though... because I'm just that nice. I have to admit I had a blast, but unfortunately, the game will only support ad-hoc multiplayer with two UMDs. Without Infrastructure play, it might be difficult to find another human opponent to play against. And that's a shame, really, because the game does become a much more lively game with it.
PSP Fanboy had a chance to play the upcoming Sonic Rivals at NYC's DigitalLife event. I had high expectations for the game because I hold a belief that the 2D Sonic games are much better than their 3D counterparts. With the impressive processing power of the PSP, I expected to see a vivid, colorful, living environment for Sonic and the gang to race through. The build I played (which felt very early: it didn't have music, or voice acting), didn't showcase the PSP's graphical prowess. Surprisingly, the game felt somewhat sluggish, with Sonic's notoriously fast speeds feeling somewhat subdued.
While the gameplay is in classic 2D, I couldn't help but be disappointed by the fact that the game is not a platformer, but a racer. However, Sonic Rivals seems to find itself in a confusing place because neither the platforming nor the racing elements seem to feel right yet. The controls didn't feel tight enough: there were context sensitive options to certain parts of the level, but it felt like many button presses weren't doing what they were supposed to. Hit detection between Sonic and his rival also seemed iffy. For the most part, the game felt uninspiring. All the elements for a good Sonic game appear to be present: there are enemies, there are branching levels, and there are environmental hazards. But without a real sense of speed, or an incentive for exploration, Rivals feels fails to inspire. I haven't had a chance to play with all the characters, or play multiplayer yet, but so far, I have to say I'm a little disappointed. Sonic Rivals speeds into stores in November.
Joystiq at Sonic's 15th birthday party