The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
With a reputation of being one of the fastest creatures in the gaming
universe, Sonic is no stranger to the racing genre. Hoping to emulate
the success of Nintendo’s popular kart racers, Sonic’s mediocre entries
in the Sonic Riders franchise consistently fall short of winning first
place. The latest attempt, Sonic Free Riders, uses Microsoft’s Kinect
technology, placing you in the Sonic universe as you zip around a
limited number of courses – or at least try to. Spotty body detection
turns what could have been a unique racing experience into a flaming
The bulk of Sonic Free Riders is broken up into missions,
each one preceded by cutscenes (which you should skip) featuring grating
dialogue between characters. What’s worse is that you’re required to go
through a calibration exercise before every mission, which involves
standing sideways as if you are on an Extreme Gear board, and leaning
back and forth to make your way around a series of cones. As far as I
could tell, this process doesn’t contribute to solidifying controls
whatsoever and only serves to delay the action.
standard races, timed challenges, coin collection, trick execution, and
gaining as much air as possible, though that’s easier said than done.
Successfully completing jumps and sharp turns on more complex tracks is
hit-and-miss, since your movements don’t always register. This results
in a lot of wall grinding and unintentional trips down side paths.
Power-ups, a necessary evil in arcade racers, are plentiful and require
unique arm movements to activate. Gestures like shaking your arm in the
air to rattle up a soda can for a rocket boost or a football throw for a
missle launch don’t always work when you need them to and can cost you
place in a race.
Occasionally, characters break away from the
board for mine cart, swimming, and water skiing sequences. One character
uses a motor bike, which requires facing forward in a squat position.
These segments are by far the most responsive, give a true sense of
speed, and are the most fun. Unfortunately, they only make limited
Sonic Free Riders, though an ambitious attempt to
bring a controller-free entry to the racing genre, is a challenge to
enjoy. Here’s a word of advice, Sonic: Ditch the board and stick to your