Jan 16, 2008
Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity is missing the sense of speed that we expect from Sonic. It isn’t entirely gone, but only shows up in short bursts. The really fast parts tend to happen on invisible (or visible) rails. Everything else seems like the slow part between the shortcuts and boosts. We do like the courses, which are packed with flashy scenery and things that will slow you if you run into them. And we’re indifferent about the new gravity controls.
Part of the lack of a feeling of speed comes from the fact that the characters handle sluggishly. Corners are tough to get around - which is ok if you like a challenge. The new gravity powers launch you into the air at really fast speeds with a satisfying space/time warping gravity burp effect, but they’ll fly you straight into a wall when not used in the parts of the track that are designed to accommodate them. You’ll recognize these sections because a message will literally flash onto the screen telling you what power to use.
The same marked and designated area philosophy is used for the shortcuts. After collecting enough rings, you’ll upgrade your equipment and start looking for the liberally distributed signs on the track that mark grind rails, gliding markers or smash-through-me stuff. Your choice of equipment will dictate which type of shortcut you look for. Some races we lost two or three times became easy after we found the grind rail we were supposed to use. Zero Gravity sometimes feels like your racing skill doesn’t matter as much as your ability to spot new, cooler ways to get through the tracks; it’s still fun to do, but once you’ve mastered a track there’s little reason to go back to it.