When looking at the history of Sonic the Hedgehog from conception to current iterations, you’d be forgiven for thinking the blue ball should have tripped, fallen and bit dust a while ago, never to race again. The only “saving grace” Sonic game recently developed would have to be Sonic Rivals on PSP, which attempted to grasp the concept of speed the original (read Sonic 1 to 3 on Mega Drive) achieved. Sega has decided to try and improve the spikey speed-ball by taking another crack using the PSP with the announcement of Sonic Rivals 2.
Sega Europe and Sega of America made the announcement today that Sonic Rivals 2 is currently in development for Playstation Portable and have even provided a release date, well, rough date of autumn 2007.
The press release outlines a variety of new features, which can be read below;
The sequel to Sonic’s fast and furious 3D action platformer has several new features to enhance the player’s experience. A revamped rival “jostling” gameplay system allows for closer head-to-head competition, while rivalry is further improved with upgraded power-ups and range weapons allowing players to attack or defend themselves regardless of their position. A brand new Battle mode allows two players to jump into six different multiplayer challenges by sharing just one disc using the PSP system’s Wi-Fi function.
Miles ‘Tails’ Prower and other new characters have been added to the mix of characters available to play as, while the new single-player Free Play mode will allow players to enjoy each level at their own pace. Each character in the game will also have their own unique signature moves that fit their varied personalities.
Card trading and collection in Sonic Rivals 2 has been greatly increased and will now include 150 collectable cards. This will enable players to customise characters’ track suits, as well as unlock new PSP backgrounds and Cup circuits.
Glad to see their going to incorporate a game-sharing ability, vastly underused in many PSP titles. The first Sonic Rivals on PSP, whilst incorporating a better feeling of speed and simplicity than the Xbox 360 Sonic and a little more to the point than Sonic on Wii, was still under-par when compared to other platforming titles. Considering the basic build for Sonic Rivals has already been developed, the second coming should be more refined and feel a little more ’solid’ than its predecessor, maybe making the game more fun and less frustrating. The original title suffered from what might be described as ‘hiccups’ in gameplay, sections that completely halted all sense of progression, forcing you to constantly go back and try again.
Another interesting point made in the release, mention of a revamped “jostling” system. What’s interesting is that the original jostling system really had no overall impact on the winner of the race, as an over compensating handicap system pretty much ensured that no matter how bad you sucked, your opponent could never get far enough away to ever be a clear winner. This needs more improving than the ability to hit your opponent.
Still, Sonic Rivals 2 should tide us over until the original Sonics are available for download over PSN and playable on PSP, not that there has been any news but it would certainly be sweet.
The full press release can be read at Sega-Europe.