PCs & Gaming

Review: Sonic Riders – Zero Gravity (Wii)


*This review is for the Wii version of the game.  There are a few differences between this and the PS2 version which I’ve outlined in a separate post.

I got the wii version of this game after having severe save fail issues with the ps2 version. So for anyone with a wii this is the review:

This is the sequel to Sonic Riders. You don’t have to have the original game to play this one but it helps to know who the Babylon Rogues are and it does lend to the storyline to know about them beforehand. In this game the boards you ride on are no longer powered by air like before. This means that you don’t constantly run out of air or have to top it up doing tricks. Instead the characters ride on ever-powered boards, it’s all about the gravity instead.

The game plays out very much like before, you have the heroes story and then the rogues story to play, but Amy Rose makes an appearance as a playable character in one of the stories, the stories also need you to come first this time, not just within the top 3 (as early Sonic Riders chapters did).

The big DIFFERENCES with zero gravity is the ability to use gravity to change your course. Instead of drifting around corners using air you pause time for a few seconds pushing in the direction you want to go and then blast forwards. This is the new way to turn sharp corners but it’s also a way to enter new tracks…like driving on the wall to the left. There are new routes in this game, not just secret hidden routes that certain characters can punch through but because of the new gravity feature, a wall can become the new road. Plenty of the other characters will take different routes around the track. This is a great feature and there’s lots of fun in finding new ‘roads’ you might not have considered.

The new gravity feature wipes out the air needed for boards but I felt this took away from some of the fun in running out of air. The characters have to build up the gravity meter in order to execute gravity moves but if you run out you can still go around the track as normal, no running out of air and running on foot to find some.

The other feature which seems to have gone is the attacking of other players on the track. In the original game all the characters could attack while boosting which was sometimes funny and really changed the game each time, but in zero gravity the game only lets you attack if you collect a specific powerup and it’s only for a short time. Controlling the character in this mode is annoying too if they have to go round corners, and rather than automatically boosting, the game wants you to press forward during an attack to move at all. All this means that the characters rarely attack each other and just sometimes bump sideways…disappointing feature for me.

Without this attack feature the game feels very easy to win once you have learned the tracks too (I had no trouble completing the story mode first time). I only seem to face a challenge when using a ‘weird’ vehicle with strange specs.

Ok, one more bad feature of this game is the playback of a track you’ve just done. Certain tracks won’t let me watch a playback of my race. Instead of watching all 3 laps I’ve just done, the screen darkens after about 30 seconds and then that’s it. This is annoying and hasn’t gone away in the wii version. Why this happens I have no idea.

The game has a new multiplayer game (but tag team for one player has gone), you use gravity control to try and push a ball through a gate. Different gates are worth different points and it’s actually a very hard game to play.

Ok, so there are great new things to say apart from the new tracks which are great fun to find. The game now has wheel vehicles and flight boards which change the way the characters sit. Wheels are tough to get the hang of at first and aren’t much use to me but they do allow you to execute sharp turns like with gravity control, but instead of the gravity button you press the normal jump button (the boost from this turn is usually horrible though).

The grand prix mode doesn’t do this but if you play an individual track the other cpu opponents can now select any board, or shoes that you have unlocked. This makes the gameplay more challenging and better.

The weather is a great feature. It might seem normal to a lot of people now but to see the rain hit the screen was just amazing the first time I saw it.

I have to say it…Shadow’s hair moves! I love Shadow the hedgehog and finally he’s animated properly in this game rather than looking like he’s made of plastic.

All characters can use different abilities based on which gears they use. If sonic chooses a flight gear he now can fly (but no longer can do anything a speed character does).

Story mode seems too easy.

There’s not enough attacking other players like I’ve explained before.

All race modes are missing commentary. While it’s not necessary elsewhere I really do feel it should have been included in the grand prix mode.

Finally I’ll just add that I thought Eggman looked better on a teeny little bike, but here he’s got bikes fitting to his size which just isn’t that funny, oh well.

The game is very fun and unlike the ps2 version I’ve had no problems in saving the game. The game can also be played with both a wii remote and a gamecube controller which is how I prefer as I have more control over direction.

All in all I’d recommend this game to any sonic fans out there and also to anyone who enjoy racing games, even though I think Sonic Riders is still better, this is a great sequel!

Rating: 5/5

Review published on amazon UK, click here


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