Welcome to RadioSEGA, if you are not a member register today!

RadioSEGA
  • News & Features
  • Playlist & Requests
  • Listen to RadioSEGA
  • Shows & Podcasts
  • RadioSEGA Media
  • Community
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 14
  1. #1
    Red Arremer Option's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Vienna
    Posts
    1,875

    Default RadioSEGA Review: Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood (DS)



    Hey, it's a review by me again!

    Today, I will review Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, an RPG based around Sonic and his friends. It was released in 2008 for the Nintendo DS, and developed by BioWare and published by SEGA (of course, whom else). It was supposed to get a sequel, but due to EA purchasing BioWare in late 2007, it is unlikely that it will happen.

    I just finished this a few hours ago and decided to let my feelings settle down a bit, but my thoughts are still exactly the same as they were before that break. So, I think, while everything is still fresh in mind, I'm gonna drop this here.

    Alright, so... let's start with the graphics. They are incredibly awful. I would say 2008 is pretty much the end of the DS' lifetime, being the fourth of its six years, so there is absolutely no excuse for this games' ugly visuals. The backdrops are drawn as paintings, while you control a polygon figurine. The models are deformed and look nothing like the actual characters, the texturing of them is awful. The low polygon count isn't even the problem, it's actually the textures that are putting me off as much, now that I think about it. THOSE EYES, AHHH.
    The backdrops are actually nice - although it's sometimes hard to distinguish what's an obstacle and what you can walk on, and the mugshots are also well done - they are actually my favorite part about the game in terms of its visuals. There is not much to say about this game's looks, though, other than BioWare really should've done a better job at this.

    Let's move on to the sound. Oh God, the sound. That's the most horrendous part about this game. Which is outrageous given that even Sonic '06 had at least good music! The sound effects are terrible; some characters sound like they're about to vomit when getting hit, some of them make sounds that make no sense at all. Funnily enough, even when getting healed, the characters make those noises. Additionally, whenever an enemy spots you on the map (I'll get to that), they make some noises as well. It's weird hearing robots and other enemies growl like tigers or gobble like turkeys.
    What's just as bad, if not worse, is the musical score of this game. There are a handful of decent tracks, but the rest of the soundtrack is awful. It is entirely uninspired and I would put it among the worst Sonic soundtracks to ever grace a game. As an example, listen to the theme of Central City, the second area you go to (tune down your volume tho). Nobody could defend a track like that, especially not on the DS.

    Now, with the audio and visuals out of the way, let's go on to the gameplay. In short, it is absolutely broken, but I'll get to that.

    You control Sonic and his friends adventuring through the world, defeating enemies. The game is split into 2 parts: Overworld and Battles. In the Overworld, you run around, collect rings and Chao eggs. Every one of the 11 characters (but one, tho I won't spoil who it is) is capable of performing certain Overworld moves - Sonic can dash through loop-de-loops, Tails can fly, Amy can smash things with her hammer, and so on. You have to use these abilities to go through certain areas, and reach rings and eggs that are hidden. The rings are the currency in the game - you can use them to purchase consumable items and equipment. Chao eggs, as the name suggests, hatch the little Chaos which you can look at in your inventory. These guys also can be equipped and each of the I think 40 different Chaos give different properties - upgrading your health, making the character do more damage, or some other properties, like giving elemental attributes to your attacks.
    There indeed is an element system in the game, but I never quite figured it out, other than there's enemies who are resistant to certain elements, and that the Wind element is pretty garbage because the most common enemy types are resistant to it.
    While exploring the map, you might come across enemies running around. If you get in their line of sight or close to them, they will notice you, gobble at you and then try to chase you. Some lose interest very quickly, but some (especially in the later areas) can be really persistent in trying to attack you. Which brings us to the Battle part of this game.
    The encounters are round based like most RPGs are, and you are telling your characters what to do. Each character and enemy has a certain amount of actions before a round is over. Sonic, for instance, can take 3 actions during one round, while the very slow Big is only capable of doing one. The same goes for enemies - in the first area, there's wasps that can attack you 3 times, while the boars are only able to take one turn.
    Every character has, of course, special abilities they can use to deal more damage, or to support the team in some way. They are called POW Moves. I will call them spells for my own leisure. Each of these spells costs a certain amount of PP, this game's equivalent of magic points. Additionally, in order to do maximum damage or even succeed with the spell (which is the case for all of the support-type spells), you need to do a ... mini game for the lack of a better word. Essentially, you have to tap the screen or move a cursor along a given pattern, much like in rhythm games such as Elite Beat Agents.
    If an enemy uses a special attack, they too will give you the opportunity to dodge them or minimize their damage by tapping the right rhythm onto the screen.
    Of course, early in the game, this makes using POW Moves a huge chore - you already waste precious PP on your spells, and then you have to do the patterns additionally. If you screw up once, your attack might miss or support spell will fail. Really dumb mechanic.
    There is ways to counteract this - some characters have the ability to replenish PPs with their spells, there is a Chao that allows you to automatically succeed spells without having to tap them, and of course, the more you use the stuff, the easier it gets. Later in the game, you will alway have a full PP bar and easily be able to pull off strong chains of attacks without much trouble.

    Which brings me to the actual brokenness of this game. There are certain character combinations that are nigh impossible to take down, or have an insanely amount of damage output. One character in particular, Cream the Rabbit, is insanely useful because she can heal, replenish PP, cure ailments and revive - and if you equip that auto-succeed Chao, you have nothing to worry about!
    But this is not where it ends, oh no. Broken setups in RPGs are not unheard of, but get a load of this. Status effects on enemies stack, and they succeed on bosses too. If you have the right abilities, you can, for instance, stack poison damage 4 times if you wanted to. However, the same works for you as well: If you take 3 poisonous shots, you will take 3 times the poison damage. Additionally, there is some really stupid enemies - ones that have a tremendous amount of health, and with just a single attack, can completely replenish their health again. Fighting a group of these is an absolute nightmare. It took me about 20 minutes for one single fight because these enemies would keep on healing themselves back to full health! There's some that revive themselves after dying. Most of the enemies are completely pushovers, though, including mostly the bosses. There are some gimmick fights in the game that are incredibly difficult due to their stupid gimmick (such as the self-revival or health draining), but the majority of the bosses do not have these abilities, so they are easily overwhelmed.

    In short, the game is absolutely broken. The status effects stack (although hardly any of them are really useful at all), the element system does absolutely nothing at all, there's enemies that can completely dodge all your attacks (including spells) with just the snap of a finger (including some that counterattack which means that they don't take damage, you do, and some of them even leech health off of you. Yay!), and there are characters that are completely broken. Nevertheless, I never even came close to a game over, it was mostly just a chore doing all these battles. An annoyance.

    The last part of this review is the story. The story is... decent I guess. It's an alright Sonic story, it doesn't spiral out of control randomly, it's not Sonic '06's story, and it has okay characterization of the personalities. I do like that they gave you the ability to be snappy in the dialogue options (though Tails telling you "oh, you maybe should save, herpderp!"... Could've done without that!). The thing that interests me the most about the storyline is the cliffhanger the game ends on, because that story they set up there could've been really awesome.

    Well... this concludes my review. Is this game worth getting? Not really. Especially not at full price. If you see it at a sale somewhere for a few bucks, sure, it might be worth it, but overall, this game is really underwhelming - it's easy, it's broken, it's ugly and it makes my ears bleed. Not a good game, but if you don't mind all the points I brought up, I guess it is worth taking a look at.

    1.5/5
    "The sub-structure of the universe regresses infinitely towards smaller and smaller components. Behind atoms we find electrons - and behind electrons, quarks. Each layer unravelled reveals new secrets, but also new mysteries."
    - Academician Prokhor Zakharov, For I Have Tasted The Fruit

  2. #2
    Ace Detective Kaito-kun's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Just off the A74(M)
    Posts
    7,968

    Default

    Not keen on it then?

  3. #3
    Red Arremer Option's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Vienna
    Posts
    1,875

    Default

    It was a painful experience and I wanted to play it through as quick as possible so I could play other games instead.
    "The sub-structure of the universe regresses infinitely towards smaller and smaller components. Behind atoms we find electrons - and behind electrons, quarks. Each layer unravelled reveals new secrets, but also new mysteries."
    - Academician Prokhor Zakharov, For I Have Tasted The Fruit

  4. #4
    ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) Gonic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Stockport, Manchester
    Posts
    2,029

    Default

    It was a truly awful game. Esspically from the likes of Bioware (who games i don't like anyway)


  5. #5
    Living in /dev/ttyS0 Whooa21's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Hydrocity Zone Act2
    Posts
    1,900

    Default

    Great review for an awful game!

  6. #6
    Haha. Twinny's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    New York City, NY
    Posts
    3,620

    Default

    This is one review I can agree on. BioWare really had a lack of the Soinc history and it kinda showed, no, REALLY showed in this game. Nice review for a totally "bypass at all costs" mess of a game. :D
    RadioSEGA member since October 2010 wew


  7. #7
    Mo Reknoc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Nottingham, England
    Posts
    10,942

    Default

    There was a time I wouldn't be able to believe Bioware made a game this bad. Now I just think it's par for the course.

  8. #8
    Prof. KC KC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Ericeira, Portugal
    Posts
    1,991

    Default

    I agree with this review. How can you rate this game higher??

    Anyway, this should be on the main site, in the reviews section.

  9. #9
    Red Arremer Option's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Vienna
    Posts
    1,875

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    I agree with this review. How can you rate this game higher??

    Anyway, this should be on the main site, in the reviews section.
    We're working on that, I suppose. :I
    "The sub-structure of the universe regresses infinitely towards smaller and smaller components. Behind atoms we find electrons - and behind electrons, quarks. Each layer unravelled reveals new secrets, but also new mysteries."
    - Academician Prokhor Zakharov, For I Have Tasted The Fruit

  10. #10
    YEAOH. TheChaosBlue's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    New York City, NY
    Posts
    3,308

    Default

    Characterization wasn't decent to me; it was more of a 'off the mark' thing.

    Good review though. And theme for Nocturne....absolutely awful. A disgrace of the original track. Shame really, Jacques is a good composer....who knows what went wrong.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
RadioSEGA is a fan site and is not owned or endorsed by SEGA Corporation.
All music tracks played on this station are © SEGA and/or respective artist(s).
The SEGA logo and all associated characters are © & ™ of SEGA Corporation.

RadioSEGA is © 2009 Mark Kidley and © 2011-2013 Simon Shirley - oh, and probably Gavin Storey too!
Contact Us
About RadioSEGA
Help & Support
Staff Login