What an odd game. Long, long ago, back around when this game was released, everyone was like “Hey, this is really fun!” and it got lots of praise and was known for being a fun Sonic game. However, after Sonic 2006 (which I may or may not review) was released, everyone looked at this game and was like “Oh, yeah, that’s when Sonic started to go terrible”. Is that an ageing problem, or is that a problem with the fans and the modern industry? It’s probably both.
Anyway, Sonic Heroes is a game unlike the original 2D platformers; and not really similar to the 3D platformers released beforehand. As such, I can understand where people have the problem. You play as 3 characters, probably Sonic, Tails and Knuckles. Sonic runs fast, Tails flies, and Knuckles smashes robots and blows things up. Your characters can level up to become stronger and have an easier time of beating all Eggman’s robots. Simple, really. You swap characters with a press of the X/Y button. I doubt it’ll be a popular opinion, what with how the game’s aged and people view it nowadays, but I think the gameplay works well. It may have four different teams, but sadly, three of them play way too similar.
Team Sonic (Sonic, Tails and Knuckles) are meant to be the normal playthrough of the game, with the levels as they were intended to be played and the like. Team Dark (Shadow, Rouge and Omega) are the harder difficulty of the game. More often than often this does mean way too many robots and some horribly unfair platforming, but for the most part, their levels are much more fun than the others. Team Rose (Amy, Cream and Big) are unfortunately the worst team to play as, mostly because their levels are shorter and ridiculously easy to play, not to mention the unfortunate voice acting for Big the Cat. Team Chaotix…their blurb says that they offer a unique, mission based style of adventure, yet more often than not, their levels end up with them having to collect special items. There are the few unfortunate missions where they have to defeat every robot or collect every single one of the special items, and those missions can be a ridiculous chore to play as.
On top of that, Sonic Heroes suffers from the start of Sonic’s fall from grace. It’s got a camera that, at times, becomes nigh-unplayable, and it has some shoddy level design at places. When playing some levels, you often end up thinking “How is this fun?” or “How did this pass testing?”. The way that you unlock the last level is a nice attempt, but when getting to the special stage is such a hassle, you’d expect the Chaos Emerald to be easy. However, the special stages are actually a horrible pain, with some terrible handling at points and well…they’re just ultimately not fun to play.
Sonic Heroes is, ultimatly, the start of Sonic’s downhill spiral. It has some crippling problems, and at times it’s so cheap and glitchy that it’s just not fun. The levels are so huge that you don’t feel like replaying the majority of them, to the point where you can spend twenty minutes on a particular level.But negatives aside, Team Dark and Team Rose were fun to play throughout the game, with the majority of Team Chaotix being fun to play. It’s just really odd that Team Sonic has all the bugs that I encountered, and really annoying that the special stage system doesn’t work. It is; in my opinion, the last great Sonic game to date, with Generations sorely lacking on the story factor that Heroes has…but it can still be improved.