It's been ten years since the release of "#Sonic the Hedgehog" for the Xbox 360 and PS3. Colloquially known as "Sonic 360" or "Sonic '06," the game damaged the already fading Sonic brand almost irreparably.
I distinctly remember the months leading up to release. The PS2 era was coming to an end. The Xbox 360, PS3 and Nintendo Wii were subjected to speculation and anticipation. One of the very first titles I remember being announced for that generation was the next Sonic game with the working title of "SONIC THE HEDGEHOG." The screenshots and teaser showed Sonic in a more realistic setting facing off robots that deviated from the more cartoony ones in previous games.
After a bunch of games that were met with a middling reception, I had hoped that this would be the game to finally bring the blue blur back to greatness. What little coverage I was able to get at the time showed only Sonic, Dr. Robotnik, and two new characters named Princess Elise and Silver the Hedgehog.
On Christmas day of 2006, I got my hands on the game and played it immediately. At the very start, the game's Final Fantasy-esque intro catches my eye. There's a big festival in some knock off of Venice where characters who have no business being in a Sonic game are suddenly attacked by a fleet of Star Wars like robots being led by a creepy realistic interpretation of Dr. Robotnik.
What followed was the worst combination of bad gameplay, chugging framerate, and stupid design I've ever experienced. The game is separated into three campaigns and an epilogue. Each character plays poorly in their own special way. The game also uses the hubworld based structure from "Sonic Adventure," but the locales are so uninspired and obviously not designed with Sonic's speed in mind. You'll constantly find yourself getting caught in bridges and falling into water.
Finally, there's the infamous loading screens. Here's what happens: you accept a mission and are subjected to a loading screen. Next you're briefed on the objective and then have to wait through another loading screen. Then you take on the mission. Following that is another loading screen. Then you're given the results. Guess what comes next? That's right: loading screen.
I played Sonic '06 from beginning to end and it stands as the worst game I've ever beaten.
After Sonic 06's infamous reception, subsequent titles attempted to address some of the criticisms of it and prior 3D Sonic games. "Sonic Colors" and Sonic Generations" featured Sonic as the only playable character, focused more on platforming, and contained more simplistic plots with an emphasis on self-depriciational humor. It seemed as if the series' dark days were behind. That was until "Sonic Boom" came out. But that's a story for another time. #Video Game