So, Shadow the Hedgehog.

OK I know you all want to know whether it’s any good or not, and I picked it up on Wednesday (released in the UK on the 18th, but I got it as soon as work had it delivered). So let me just come straight out and say it.

Shadow the Hedgehog is not very good at all.

Now to most of you, this will be no surprise. But To those of you who haven’t noticed that every single Sonic game since Sonic Adventure 1 (and even that debatably) has been pretty much grade-A horseshit (corn fed!) here’s a few reasons why.

First let’s examine the whole Good/Evil premise. It doesn’t really do much for the game except get you annoyed by having to search through the levels for the alignment specific goals. The first level for example tasks you with either destroying all the Black Arms forces (aliens) or the forces of G.U.N (yes the guys from SA2). This isn’t difficult in itself really, but it is quite easy to run past an enemy and not know he’s there. To combat this, you have these save points which you pass, and when you do it allows you to teleport to any other save point you passed in the level, so you can go searching for whatever you missed.

Not so bad in itself, right? Now imagine doing that for EVERY SINGLE FUCKING ONE OF THE 22 LEVELS IN THE GAME. Then it gets slightly annoying, although to be fair most of the tasks can be completed on one run through the level, as long as you know where everything is. Alternatively, you can just plough through a level, completing none of the good/evil tasks and just getting to the end, which is more fun. But the things is, to fully complete the game, you’re going to HAVE to do the good or evil tasks in some of the levels to get one of the ten endings.

Yes, ten endings, and guess what They’re all completely ridiculous. I’ve done six so far, and at the end Shadow gets different answer for his existence, in one he’s told he’s a robot created by Robotnik (look, the name Eggman is stupid alright, so shut up), in another, he decides to blow up the planet, another one, he decides he’s going to rule the world. I really want to fucking know how they are going to pull all these idiotic endings together for the final ending

Oh yes, just like every Sonic game since Adventure, you have to unlock the other endings in order to get the full one, and there are TEN of them. Meaning you have to play through ten sets of seven levels in order to complete it fully. Look, Sega just give us the full story from start to finish. This whole “forcing the player to endure all the shit bits of the game” approach just isn’t working. Whoever says they enjoyed the Knuckles/Rouge levels of Adventure one and two is a filthy liar and should not be trusted with tasks more difficult than licking stamps, and even then they should probably be supervised.

Next the guns and vehicles. This was the one thing I saw mentioned more than anything up to the games released. “OMG IT’S SONIC BUT WITH GUNS YAY” or “SONIC GAMES DON’T NEED GUNS” and the infamous “SONIC AND GTA” quotes spring to mind. The gun play adds nothing to the game, and just makes it look ridiculous. A 4ft tall black hedgehog is pretty silly as it is without having to carry round a bright orange bazooka that’s twice as long as he is tall. Non-shoulder mounted weapons have their barrels disappear into the ground because they’re so comically oversized it’s ludicrous. I suppose it’s trying to look cartoon-ish, but it just looks really stupid. This is enhanced by the self that Shadows body seems to be made out of rubber. And I don’t just mean his quills like in Sonic Heroes. Whenever an unarmed attack is performed his fist and legs grow to twice and thrice their normal size respectively, and when in the air his body stretches slightly Again, it just looks really silly.

Back to the arsenal, for all but a few brief encounters, you don’t actually need the guns and a homing attack will usually work. I say usually because the damn thing has a tendency to not work properly sometimes, sending you off the edge of a platform because it either sent your straight past the target, or straight through it as you kill it.

Vehicles add nothing at all and are actually slower than travelling on foot, sore you can run enemies over, but why bother? It’s quicker to either run up and shoot them or just use the homing attack. They handle like a brick as well, at least when running you can pretty much turn at a ninety degree angle and keep your speed up, in a car you’ll probably slam into a piece of debris once too often.

Level design isn’t particularly inspiring, as it’s just the same old 3D Platformer crap you get everywhere. Lava level, jungle levels, mountain levels and another fucking Halloween themed one.

One of the most detrimental things about it is the lack of speed; it just isn’t that much of a fast paced game. Every now and then you are forced to stop to find the objectives, or have to do a puzzle that would insult a toddler’s intelligence. It just slows everything right down when this, as a Sonic game, should be about speed. If you want to fuck about with puzzles and searching for objects play MARIO.

Finally for now, the camera is just fucking awful, and actually hinders the game a lot. Distance is incredibly hard to judge on anything that’s not five times Shadows size, the things very rarely shows corners behind walls, where enemies and mission specific items hide. Sometimes it gets STUCK in a position as you attempt to see jus where the next fucking platform is, sometimes keeping said platform off the screen. And yes, you’ll go off a few cliffs because of it because you can’t tell when a drop, but probably not as many as Sonic Heroes, but only just.

This all said it’s not a total loss. Blasting through the levels at speed and peppering all the enemies on screen with M16 fire is entertaining, if the entire game had been 22 levels of this from start to finish, I can see a lot of people liking it more, but it isn’t. And if you’re a fan of the series, you’ll probably force yourself to play trough all the endings and find a couple of levels that are fun. Additionally, the FMV sequences in the game are downright fantastic. Everything is so well animated it hurts, hell they even get the lip-sync right. It’s actually has me thinking that Sega should just stop making Sonic games and make a CGI series with visuals of this quality. I know I’d watch it no matter how fucking retarded the plots got, like in Sonic X, the second worst sonic cartoon of all time.

So that’s pretty much my thoughts on the game for now, make of them what you will. And if you’re one of these idiots from the GameFAQs message boards who are disagreeing with the few reviews already making the rounds, because you’re fans so you are obviously not biased towards liking the game and anyone who has problems with it MUST be wrong. Please just fuck off now, log onto the message boards and go on and on about how I’m wrong. Even though you haven’t played the game yet but obviously know more about it than someone like myself who has spent the last two days playing it because he has to review it for a website, and as such has to go through TEN FUCKING TIMES to get the “proper” ending. And because you’re Shadow fans, it means that stuff like a horrible camera, and somewhat crappy controls doesn’t affect your gaming playing skills, and anyone who complains about stuff like this is obviously just horrible at the game because it can’t possibly be something wrong with the game CAN IT? Never mind the person reviewing it is probably ten times better at games than you’ll ever be and has completed every game they’ve ever played (possibly on the hardest setting since some people are bloody masochists like that), because there’s no way that Sonic Team and Sega will ever make a bad game right? Let’s all just ignore Billy Hatcher, Sonic Battle, Sonic Advance, Sonic Heroes, and pretty much every Game Gear game they made shall we?

And then go get AIDS so we don’t have to put up with you negative I.Q. anymore. I’m serious, go fuck a hooker with more used needles than an acupuncturist, who never uses contraceptives, get AIDS and die. We’ll thank you for it you anus licking, masturbation dependant, arrogant self-righteous retards. I’m serious, I hate every single fucking one of you and the world would be a much better place if you all dropped dead. Hell I bet your parents would be glad to get rid of you as well, since you’re nothing more than a good reason to have an abortion.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need sleep, and then today (Friday) I’m going to see if I can get at least two of the last four endings I need to get the “proper” ending.