NYCC: SatBK Impressions From My Buddy, Keith

The hustle and bustle of the New York Comic Con is over and my buddy, Keith, finally sent me back his impressions of the game.  Nobody here at TSS is anywhere close to New York, so this reach-around method of getting some semblence of a “TSS Preview” will have to do.  Keith is an old friend of mine from grade school and we were teammates on many a hockey team.  He moved out to New York a few months ago after he graduated.  When it comes to his Sonic background, he hasn’t played a game in the series since the Dreamcast launched with Sonic Adventure 1.  I told him to rent Sonic & the Secret Rings before heading to the event and he thought that it was an “O.K.” game.

The second entry in the Storybook Series of games takes Sonic and plonks him into the land of dragons, knights, and the round table.  Keith’s first impression of the game is Sonic’s inclusion.  He couldn’t get his mind around why he was playing as Sonic and not as somebody else, as it’s not totally clear why.  He mentioned “Wonderboy,” since one of his favorite games is Wonderboy in Monster Land, as an alternative, but that’s another discussion.  One factor contributing to the game’s identity crisis is the yellow fairies.  Instead of rings, you collect yellow fairies, which then get converted into rings.  Why not just make them RINGS?

With Secret Rings fresh in Keith’s mind, he got a good comparison of how the two control.  Black Knight showcased the superior of the two control schemes, but it wasn’t without a few drawbacks.  Black Knight ditches the on-rails shenanigans of the previous title and opts for a Nunchuk+Wiimote system.  The “A” button acts as jump and the sword swinging is assigned to the waggle function, similar to Twilight Princess.  While it’s nice to get that big “A” button in on the action, Keith said that he got wanker’s cramp after his time at the Black Knight kiosk.  He noted, “Sonic slicing things at high speeds is cool, I guess, but it wears on you after a while.  Not mentally…physically.”

As I mentioned before, this game is no longer on-rails and you can move Sonic forward and backward as you please.  Despite having freedom of motion, the levels on display were rather linear and forced the player into playing how the designer intended you to.  Granted, he got to play one of the earlier levels, but I can wager that the rest of the game will follow suit.  To make up for level linearity, you can go back and complete different tasks within each level.  Let’s hope that the controls are good enough, so that “complete the level without taking a hit” isn’t next to impossible. In addition, SatBK has a deep, RPG system, similar to Secret Rings, and a multi-player battle mode.  Keith didn’t get to experience the latter.

Remember when I asked everybody to “place their bets?” Well, Sonic’s pals are back masquerading as other Arthurian characters.  Seriously, Knuckles better say something totally stupid.  I bet people who make “YouTube Poop” are wishing the same.  The difference this time is that you will be able to play as a few of those characters, but Keith said that the SEGA rep at the kiosk did not disclose who.

To end on the highest of notes, Keith was impressed by the graphics.  As a frustrated Wii owner, he really thought that Black Knight’s graphics were some of the best on the system.  There was no hiccup or lag during his experience to boot.

Well, that’s it for Keith.  Feel free to accuse him of not being a “true Sonic fan” or some other bullshit that you kids like to hurl at people who have a shred of dislike for anything Sonic related.  You guys always preach “open-mindedness,” but you totally contradict yourself when you shut others down.  If you post any of that crap in the comments box, I will delete it, because it’s not relevant to discussion.

This is your warning.  We are changing the air in the community and it starts now.  Everybody is welcome to their own opinion.