Saturday, November 9, 2013

Microsoft's First-Party Attitude Represents My Larger Issue With the Company

Microsoft Studios head honcho Phil Spencer recently mentioned to OXM that a console manufacturer doesn't need its own studios to create excellent games. The issue I take with this statement extends further into Microsoft's philosophy with the Xbox. Instead of putting money into their own studios, they simply purchase exclusives, whether they be entire games, downloadable content, or advertising rights. I cannot tell you how many third-party multi-platform game commercials I've seen where at the end the Xbox 360 or Xbox One logo shows up.

The problem in this situation is that-- borrowing a term here-- "moneyhatting" exclusives is much more costly than having capable studios you own that make games for you. As the "boss" of the studio, you have a greater influence on the type of product they create. Then again, looking at Rare, perhaps that's a bad thing to be under the influence of Microsoft-- being forced to make nothing but Kinect Sports and avatar games, having all of your other projects never getting the greenlight.

The point here is that Microsoft is doing what they've done since day one of their entry into the video game home console business. They have been throwing money to further themselves into the industry, going so far as to lose boatloads of money just to get ahead of the competition. Who needs competent first-party studios when you can just buy exclusives? Why compete when you can simply buy market share through immense marketing campaigns and third-party exclusives?

Microsoft just doesn't feel like a company that is interested in gaming. It's just a means to an end to them. It's just a way to get extra dough. I know that's what companies want-- money-- but Microsoft isn't even coy about it like Nintendo and Sony are (the latter publishing and providing a myriad of new IPs this past gen), who seem to show outward passion for their first-party content, studios, and the industry at large. Conversely, Microsoft simply comes across as a company that kills studios in order to increase their market share.

Now, if the most recent moneyhat situation was reversed, and Titanfall was a PlayStation 4 exclusive, I'm sure there would be many folks who wouldn't be so upset. I'd be one of them because Sony doesn't just rely heavily on third-party exclusives through outright buying them like Microsoft does, so it wouldn't appear that Sony was overcompensating for their own lack of first-party talent.

I guess what I'm getting at, through all of this banter, is that I'd love to see Microsoft invest more to create homegrown talent. That's why I loved the Xbox 360 starting off, even though Microsoft was paying for exclusives left and right, especially Japanese exclusives. Because as of right now, Microsoft just seems like a crooked politician, buying its way into office, or in this case, as many homes across the globe as possible.

Do you agree or disagree with this opinion piece? If so or if not, leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Just remember to be respectful to each person you comment to!

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Top Games of the Seventh Generation

In one week the second console of the eighth generation will launch. Now that most of the noteworthy games of this past generation have already released, SuperPhillip Central would like to take the time to make mention of the top games released on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Nintendo Wii home gaming consoles. The type of game that makes our list must have one or both of these requirements: 1) It was influential, ground-breaking, or revolutionary, and 2) It was one of the best games released this generation. If for some reason you disagree with a game on this list or wish to add some of your own suggestions for games to add, please leave us a comment below.

Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)

While not very influential or really revolutionary, Super Mario Galaxy sent the Super Mario universe into the stars, full of planetoids both large and small to fully traverse every inch of. Super Mario Galaxy was a highly creative game with some genre-defining level design, bombastic soundtrack, and great visuals for Wii standards. Though we prefer Super Mario Galaxy 2 to the original, there's no doubt that Super Mario Galaxy had most of its players seeing stars and loving every second of it.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Multi)

Call of Duty was a relatively successful series for Activision prior to the fourth installment of the series. Then, like a grenade, the popularity of the series suddenly boomed. Past Call of Duty games focused on World War II scenarios, but Call of Duty 4 set its ironsights towards a much more modern era of combat. It was Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare that started the insane popularity of the Call of Duty brand that has made hardcore and casual players enjoy playing together for an entire generation now.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3)

The original Uncharted was a fun but flawed action-adventure game featuring a very charismatic main character, Nathan Drake. However, it wasn't until Naughty Dog's second attempt at the series that not only presented a tremendous action-packed, adrenaline-filled roller coaster of a ride, but it gave players the feeling of playing a genuine Hollywood blockbuster. The train sequence to this day is still one of the greatest gameplay sequences of this generation, and Uncharted 2 delivered moment after moment of pure gaming ecstasy.

The Last of Us (PS3)

The second title on this list from Naughty Dog released this past year. It featured two totally different characters coming together for one cause-- survival. Using a captivating and compelling story-driven campaign, full of hostile humans, infected poor souls, and cannibals, Joel and Ellie were in for the fight of their lives. Utilizing stealth and third-person action, a proper gameplay balance was achieved, making The Last of Us one of the tensest games to come out this past generation, and one of the most excellent.

Grand Theft Auto V (PS3, 360)

Looking back, we were swept up in the hype of Grand Theft Auto IV, and in retrospect, that game disappointed us. That was why we were weary of being interested by its sequel, a trip back to San Andreas (though in a completely different form). Liberty City was claustrophobic compared to the vast expanses of San Andreas, offering Los Santos and the boondocks of Blaine County, cementing Grand Theft Auto V's game world as our favorite open world destination of this generation. Grand Theft Auto V offered more methods of fun and less realism, something that made us grow a distaste for GTA IV. Earning $1 billion in such a short time span is no easy task, but Grand Theft Auto V is a game that definitely deserved those dollars.

Wii Sports (Wii)

Many criticize the Wii as a system that people simply played for this next game and put in their closets. However, if that were the case, then how does one explain the fact that the Wii sold the most software this past generation? Regardless, Wii Sports was a game that easily portrayed its brand of fun. It was simple to show someone swinging the Wii Remote like a tennis racket, and this led to boatloads of cash for Nintendo. Wii Sports may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it not only brought more people into our hobby (which isn't a bad thing, people), it became so popular that even Nintendo's competition wanted in on that Wii user base. (Editor's Note: Wii Fit could also be added to this list.)

LittleBigPlanet (PS3)

Creation in video games wasn't something new that LittleBigPlanet brought to the industry. No, the level of customization that LittleBigPlanet possessed was what was something new and exciting. The ability to create incredibly detailed 2 1/2D levels and objects, customizing every facet to the finest detail, and hopping online with some buds to play other crafter's creations were all novel concepts at the time for PlayStation 3 owners. We know we've spent hundreds of hours tinkering and messing around with the tools and options that were readily available and accessible to us.

Minecraft (Multi)

An independent game developer success story, Minecraft was a game with a somewhat simple premise: you went around a randomly generated map, chipping away blocks for materials, while trying to keep your hunger and health levels up. The creative mode was where the true fun began, allowing players to fly and move to and fro without worry of such trivial things like health and hunger. Proficient players could build some incredible, jaw-dropping creations with their expertise. The novelty and popularity of Minecraft made it a cinch to include it on this list.

Dark Souls (Multi)

Demon's Souls introduced the hard-as-nails risk/reward gameplay to players, but Dark Souls, the game's spiritual successor, turned the difficulty and entertainment levels all the way up to 11. The main gameplay concept that brought over two million players to purchase the game was its incredible challenge. The strict penalty for death forced players to be much more careful with their planning and strategies towards dungeons, enemies, and bosses. Every experience was a tense as the last, and with the quality of Dark Souls, there's no wonder why we've made a special spot for it on our list.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)

While not the grandest Legend of Zelda game to exist, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword finally realized the potential of motion controls on Wii for an action-adventure game. Controlling Link's sword through careful movements of the Wii Remote Plus made you feel like you were an extension of the green clad hero. Each item in the game had its own motion controlled movement to utilize to create some engaging gameplay. The dungeons were well designed, boss battles were actually challenging for once, and the soundtrack was one of the series's best. ...What's that, Fi? No, we didn't mention you for a reason.

Rayman Origins (Multi)

If you're looking for pure platforming bliss, look no further than the uber-colorful Rayman Origins. Don't let its cute and whimsical exterior fool you-- Rayman Origins is as tough a platformer as they come. The game allowed up to four players to explore the game's masterfully designed areas, searching for Lums, swinging across chasms, running along walls, riding Moskitos, and jumping off the heads of enemies. With dozens upon dozens of challenging levels, a gorgeous hand drawn art style (using the then-new Ubi Art engine), and an eccentric soundtrack, Rayman Origins is a must-play for platformer fans-- heck, just fans of genuine fun in general.

Batman: Arkham Asylum (Multi)

Become the Dark Knight in one of the first truly sensational licensed superhero games, Batman: Arkham Asylum. The game contained a terrific combo-based combat system, letting players feel every punch and kick that the caped crusader unleashed on foes. Both Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill returned to their roles as Batman and Joker respectively, making many Animated Series fans like us gush with delight. Set up like a Metroid game in some regards, earning new gadgets allowed Batman access to new areas. Perhaps if there's one thing that Rocksteady got wrong with Arkham City, it's that the boss fights were rather weak, specifically the final confrontation with the Joker. Still, even with any flaws, Batman: Arkham Asylum flies much higher than most other superhero games.

BioShock (Multi)

Few times has a demo sold us on a game. Actually, usually they do quite the opposite. Regardless, with BioShock the demo absolutely made us run to our local store and pick the game up. The opening just oozed with atmosphere, but don't worry-- BioShock wasn't all style and no substance. The game had an impressive mix of first-person shooter action, RPG elements, and a morality system that altered the experience. Rapture, as a setting for the game, continues to astound and amaze us-- It's such a marvelously mysterious place. If you're thinking about checking out this spiritual successor to System Shock, would you kindly try it out?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Wii Sports Club (Wii U) Launch Trailer

Wii Sports Club has been available to download in Japan for a week now. Now, gamers across the globe can enjoy a free 24 hour trial of both Wii Sports Club's Tennis and Bowling games, each with new modes, enhanced controls, online play, and upgraded HD visuals. Are any Wii U fans out there enjoying the trial versions so much that they're going to get the full versions?

Sonic: Lost World (Wii U) Review

Welcome to the first review of November. We're kicking off a month of famous icons with Sonic the Hedgehog. His latest game is Sonic: Lost World. Let's find out if you should take a visit to Lost Hex with our review.

Parkour Sonic Can't Lose

Sonic's transition into 3D hasn't been anywhere near as smooth as his former rival Mario's. That's understandable, as taking the speed and platforming of the series and putting it in a three-dimensional space is rather challenging. However, Sonic Team's past two console iterations of the Blue Blur have been nothing short of wonderful, Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations. Sonic Team hopes to go for the hat trick with Sonic: Lost World for the Wii U. For every two things the game gets right, there's one annoying issue that prevents Sonic: Lost World from truly being great and of the same caliber of its past two predecessors.

Sonic and Tails are chasing a retreating Dr. Eggman aboard the Tornado airplane when suddenly they are forced to make a crash landing on a spherical world known as Lost Hex. Unfortunately for them, Lost Hex is home to a group of Zeti known as the Deadly Six, and Eggman has them under his control. That is, until Sonic kicks away the special conch instrument that allows Eggman to harness their power. Thus, the Deadly Six go on a rampage and take over all of Eggman's robots. Now, Sonic, Tails, and Eggman must work together to not only defeat the Deadly Six but to save their own planet. It's an interesting dynamic shift having Sonic and Eggman working together. However, the Deadly Six as a whole are just really lame villains. They're so lame that not even Archie Comics probably wouldn't have come up with them.

Careful, Sonic. You don't want
to get a bad case of vertigo!
There have been many comparisons of Sonic: Lost World to Super Mario Galaxy, and those comparisons aren't fully unfounded. Sonic does traverse spherical planets both large and small and other areas where he can walk on the underside. There's also a plethora of platforms and land masses that rest in the air, completely forgoing the laws of gravity. Outside of these 3D areas are 2D sidescrolling areas. Sometimes levels consist of both types of areas, while some only contain one or the other.

Why don't you just use some robotic worms
for bait instead of yourself, Sonic?
In total, there are seven worlds within the game, each spanning four zones. (Why Sonic Team didn't stick with calling them acts, I'll never know.) Each zone has five red rings to collect. These are not mandatory, but collecting all of them within the game adds to the challenge and unlocks a special "super" bonus to enjoy.

It's just another day at the
beach for the Blue Blur.
There is plenty of level variety to keep things fresh. One of my favorite levels occurs in the Tropical Coast world. It has Sonic luring large rolling fruit towards holes that will juice said fruit, creating transport to other islands in the sky. Another level is reminiscent of Donkey Kong Country's mine cart levels, requiring Sonic to grind on multiple rails, leaping over carts and chasms. Then there's rolling around as a snowball in a Super Monkey Ball-esque level, avoiding the sight of a mechanical owl by hiding behind bushes and other obstacles, running and jumping along humongous, sweet confectionery treats, and being chased by a sand cyclone in a 2D segment.

Sonic is usually very cool, but right
now he's feeling a little bit of melon-choly.
However, not every level is terrific. One such level in Frozen Factory is a casino-based level akin to something from Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Certain parts of the level require Sonic to enter a pinball table, where losing means parting with a life. Sonic has to reach a certain score, and then make it to the exit. This wouldn't even be fine if the pinball physics worked well. It's just frustrating, especially going for the third red ring in the level.

Frozen Factory Zone 3?
Welcome to my hit list.
That's another issue with Lost World. To borrow from Bean's own statement, there isn't so much of a difficult curve as there is a difficulty roller coaster. One level can be a cakewalk, while the next will allow you to get well acquainted with the game over screen. Then the next level is back to being a breeze and fun to play. Sonic: Lost World doesn't do this a lot, but the game can have some really high highs and some really low lows. I only wish a better balance was made, as the game is quite fun and usually the good kind of challenging instead of the cheap kind.

Other times frustration comes from the lack of proper (or any) explanations from the game. Almost all of the game's tutorials come from needing to tap the GamePad screen to view them, but only when a question mark surrounded by a collection of rainbow circles is on the screen. It's easy to miss them, and even then, Sonic: Lost World doesn't really explain much of the finer details. At no point in the game does Lost World mention that with the Asteroid wisp (wisps, by the way, really feel thrown in and use gyro and GamePad gimmickry for controlling them-- poorly, I might add), you can hold the jump button in midair to temporarily hover. Nor does the game mention how to run along one wall and run across the corner of the wall to continue running. Certain boss fights are an effort in frustration, as the objective on how to beat them is not very clear.

This stuff goes straight to my hips.
This would all be okay if getting lives was an easy experience. It's unfortunately not. Many past Sonic games have the famous rule that collecting 100 rings grants you an extra life. This is not how it works in Sonic: Lost World. The only way to get lives is to collect them yourself from levels. As many of the levels are difficult later on, it's all too simple to get a game over, requiring the player to start the level from the beginning. This is fine, but when we're talking about truly aggravating (in the sense that they are poorly designed) levels, one practically needs to farm lives. That is absolutely asinine that I had to do that because of a few less-than-perfectly-designed levels.

What I do really like about Sonic: Lost World is how much better the Blue Blur controls and handles. In past Sonic games, you went straight from walking to running in a matter of seconds, making some of the tougher, more delicate platforming challenges more frustrating and difficult to do. There was a lesser focus on control and a larger focus on pure speed. Sonic: Lost World's controls make it so you can have a balance of both control and speed. Without holding anything down, Sonic walks around levels. By holding down the ZR button, he starts running. Holding down the ZL button allows Sonic to perform his signature spin dash. This setup at first takes some practice to get used to, but once it is mastered (or at least when the player gets comfortable with it), Lost World has some of the best handling of the blue hedgehog in any 3D Sonic game.

The beginning of Silent Forest Zone 1.
A new addition to Lost World is Sonic's ability to perform various parkour moves. He can run up as well as along walls, pending he has the momentum. In past games, when Sonic was going full speed and he would make contact with a wall, he would come to a screeching halt. In Sonic: Lost World, going full speed and making contact with a wall makes Sonic run up it. If he has enough speed to reach the top, he'll climb the ledge and be on higher ground. When there's two walls running parallel to one another, Sonic can begin dashing along one wall, quickly jump to the other, and go back and forth between them so he doesn't slow down and fall.

Sonic's jump, homing attack, and kick abilities are all mapped to different buttons. Certain enemies are vulnerable to one move, while others require a different approach. This goes down with the boss battles, as well, which are relatively easy overall. You see, Sonic's homing attack can be charged by being near the enemy Sonic wants to attack. As Sonic is near, the target on the enemy grows, the homing attack gets more powerful. A fight that would take ten normal hits to fell a boss will only take two powered-up homing attacks to down a member of the Deadly Six.

Sonic does things like this for kicks.
Another great thing about Sonic: Lost World is the game's old school sensibilities. What I mean by that is that there's plenty of nods to the Genesis/Mega Drive days-- animal capsules, practically every foe in the game being a classic enemy from Sonic 1 to Sonic & Knuckles, and so forth.

Sonic: Lost World goes for a more colorful, cartoon look than past Sonic games, which leaned more towards realism. There are some darn awe-inspiring vantage points and sights throughout the game. Lost World's frame-rate generally stays at a locked 60 FPS, keeping up with Sonic's sensational speed for sure. Meanwhile, the voice work is hit and miss, but usually a hit, especially with Dr. Eggman's dialogue. As for the music, Sonic: Lost World has a marvelous main theme, but almost everything else falls a tad short. I have trouble remembering most of the themes in the game, which is quite unlike other Sonic soundtracks that stayed with me long after I powered off whichever system I was playing the games on.

I'm freeeeee~ Free-fallin'!
Despite the worthlessness of Wisps (proving that Sonic Team has no clue what made Wisps great in Sonic: Colors), the difficulty roller coaster that is the game, poor or missing explanations on important game concepts, and ridiculous lives system, Sonic: Lost World was still a very enjoyable experience for me. There's plenty of variety, the levels are mostly interestingly designed, the nods to classic Sonic games are appreciated, and the hedgehog's handling and controls are basically the best I've experienced in a 3D Sonic game yet. Sonic: Lost World really does put the player in a love-hate relationship with it. Some levels are great while some just drag your mood down considerably. If you have the need for speed and want a Sonic game unlike any other, take a trip to Lost Hex with Sonic: Lost World.

[SPC Says: 7.25/10]

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Why Gamers Are Absolutely in the Right to Show Dissent to Certain Games Journalists

Two topics that continue to fester in my mind in regards to the games industry are gaming culture and games journalism. You might have noticed in the past that we at SuperPhillip Central have written scathing articles in the past talking about how gaming culture and journalism are very poor. However, we try to always preface our rantings and ramblings about gamers and journalists by saying certain gamers and certain journalists and not generalize the whole community. When we don't, we try to apologize, and we then admit we were wrong in doing what we did.

This is where a lot of "professional" gaming journalists have failed in the past year. We saw sites and writers actively insult their own audience beginning with the Mass Effect 3 ending scandal. Some sites called dissenters "entitled", while one writer called the complainers something along the lines of souls living in their parents' basement with Cheeto-covered fingers. Did they apologize? No. They simply added to the fire with subsequent controversies, throwing in more and more insults and how gamers were "wrong" and "ignorant" and companies were in the "right." This has now reached inferno levels due to Adam Sessler's recent Twitter outburst, comparing gamers to chemical weapons dealers (false equivalency, yes?), and most importantly various journalists downplaying the flaws of the Xbox One.

I find it disingenuous when the media downplays the weakness of the Xbox One when compared to the PlayStation 4. Unlike some journalists in the industry who happily receive review copies and free systems (ironically, some of them feel entitled to receive them), the consumers and gamers who read their articles and pieces have to be careful with their money and want the best product possible for the money they worked hard for. They expect the truth. By downplaying one system over another by not revealing all of the facts, the journalists who do this are essentially lying to their readers, destroying any trust they once had (if they ever had any to begin with) with their readers.

I know that if I bought a $500 system and was believing the words and stories told by various journalists, only to find out that a $400 system was actually the more capable system all along, I'd be rather peeved. I believe this is the crux of why so many gamers are angry right now, and rightfully so. It's not about system wars. It's about a fundamental flaw with industry's means of reporting and gathering news.

What we're seeing is that a vocal group of journalists is not respecting their readers. They have next to no respect for their gaming audience, and it's really saddening. We've never seen it this bad before. They show, as Mr. Sessler has revealed, absolute contempt for gamers. While some of the contempt is much deserved, (just look at reactions to review scores for much hyped games, the death threats the director of Bayonetta 2 received for making the game for Wii U, etc.), a lot of it isn't.

Some journalists seem to be painting all gamers with a broad brush. Being 27, I would not like to be put in the same category as a ravenous 12-year-old just because I demand not to be lied to and/or misled. I'm not raising a stink due to system wars. I just want my hard-earned money (being a college student is rough in the States, you know) to go the farthest. Saying "don'r worry about the lower resolution and lower FPS-- it's all about the games" is, again, disingenuous to me. When the multi-platform games generally run better on the cheaper system, I get a little vexed when I'm told to ignore it and get the $500 system.

I feel that the most vocal and angriest of gamers are the ones who have soured so many games journalists' opinions on gamers as a whole. People like me are guilty by association. I'm a gamer. These fanboys (as much as I find that word to be idiotic and juvenile), trolls, and haters are gamers, too, so we must be one in the same. That obviously isn't how it works.

Instead of admitting he was wrong and letting him and everyone else move on, Adam Sessler doubled down on his anger with gamers. Other journalists continue throwing softballs to the Xbox One, as if it's the perfect machine and the differences between it and the PS4 are negligible (besides the price, of course), luring unsuspecting gamers and consumers into purchasing the more expensive option. On the other side of the proverbial fence, gamers seem to be getting more and more aggravated with the journalists who are supposed to honestly cover their loved hobby and industry. With the way things are going, someone is going to have to back down, and something tells me it is not going to be gamers, the side with much greater numbers.

What do you think about this situation? Note that we at SuperPhillip Central are not interested in either eighth generation platform at the moment. Regardless, do you think something's got to give in this entire situation?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Top Ten Sonic the Hedgehog Soundtracks

A week ago to this day, Sonic: Lost World released on the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, the latest in the Blue Blur's line of fast-paced games. We figured we'd take this opportunity to look back at some of our fondest soundtracks of the series. Yes, "butt rock" and all! This top ten list attempts to not factor in nostalgia in our game rankings, so we're ranking these games on things like great rhythm, melodies, the amount of songs of each soundtrack that we enjoyed, etc. However, if you feel we didn't list a classic Sonic game that you think has a better soundtrack than what we've listed, we'd love to hear your thoughts!

10) Sonic Heroes (PS2, GCN, XBX)

We begin our list with an interesting experiment from Sonic Team, a three-character team system. In Sonic Heroes, one character could speed through levels, one could fly, and one could smash through certain objects with their power moves. The soundtrack is vintage Jun Senoue, featuring plenty of rock, including several decidedly cheesy team themes.

9) Sonic Rush (DS)

An unorthodox Sonic the Hedgehog soundtrack, Sonic Rush had the talent of the composer behind the Jet Set Radio series to elevate it into the memories of many a Sonic fan. The soundtrack featured plenty of voice samples and a groovy assortment of rhythms that makes Sonic Rush Sonic the Hedgehog's best handheld soundtrack.

8) Sonic the Hedgehog (PS3, 360)

One of three of us actually got all of the achievements on this game. What a masochist. Perhaps the only positive we can mention of Sonic the Hedgehog's 2006 atrocity is that the music was phenomenal. Though, if you are into humans kissing bipedal blue hedgehogs on the lips, then maybe you'd find more to like about this game than we did. Jun Senoue was nowhere to be found in this soundtrack, but that's alright. Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) delivered many guitar-driven pieces anyway, great instrumental tracks, and one killer final boss theme.

7) Sonic Colors (Wii)

Sonic's debut on the Wii was not very good. The soundtrack was excellent, and it just barely missed the cut on this list, along with Sonic 3D Blast's Saturn version and Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Regardless, while Sonic and the Sonic Rings does not have a place on this list, Sonic Colors indeed does. Its rich assortment of tracks made Sonic's space odyssey all the more exciting. Tomoya Ohtani, Kenichi Tokoi, and Hideaki Kobayashi, and Mariko Nanba all came together for an excellent Sonic the Hedgehog score.

6) Sonic Adventure (DC)

Variety is the spice of life, and if you peel the outer layer of Sonic Adventure's soundtrack's skin off, you'll uncover much more than pure rock-driven pieces. There's techno, jazz, and rap. Sonic Adventure's score was primarily written by Jun Senoue. His rock sensibilities gave the Sonic the Hedgehog series a whole new brand of attitude. While some dislike this dynamic shift, we approved as there was plenty of good music to listen to as we played.

5) Sonic Adventure 2 (DC)

We prefer Sonic Adventure 2's soundtrack to its predecessor's due to the fact that there's an even greater assortment of musical styles present. Each of the six playable characters had their own styles that represented them. Sonic had light and peppy rock, Shadow had a darker edge to his themes, Knuckles was all rap and hip-hop, Rouge had smooth jazz, etc. Also, who could forget one of the most heralded themes in post-Genesis Hedgehog history Live & Learn?

4) Sonic Unleashed (PS3, 360, Wii, PS2)

After the bad taste that was left in the gaming world's mouth from Sonic the Hedgehog's seventh generation debut, Sonic Unleashed was like a breath mint. Sure, it had its moments of tasting like bile, but overall it was an improved taste. The soundtrack covered a myriad of musical genres and had sounds from all over the world, as you can witness by listening to these examples. Just note that Empire City - Night is only present in the HD versions of the game.

3) Sonic CD (SCD)

We are of the stance that prefers the North American version of the Sonic CD soundtrack. We believe it has the more memorable themes, greater rhythms, and better sounds. Spencer Nilsen, David J. Young, and Mark Crew composed the music for the North American version, imparting some smooth rock and even smoother sounding vocals. We're also suckers for Sonic Boom over Sonic - You Can Do Anything.

2) Sonic Generations (PS3, 360)

Take some of the most well known themes from the entire Sonic the Hedgehog franchise and remix them into one grand soundtrack, and you have the music of Sonic Generations. A host of past and present Sonic Team composers worked on this magnum opus of the Blue Blur's best sounds, containing remixes of Green Hill, Chemical Plant, Sky Sanctuary, City Escape, Seaside Hill, and even lesser known themes from Sonic 3D Blast and Knuckles Chaotix. There must be some majorly terrific soundtrack to beat Sonic Generations.

1) Sonic 3 & Knuckles (GEN)

Perhaps this is a cop-out, as we are including the entire Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles games into one (just like our based Blue Blur intended... hurt us for using a meme on this site). Regardless, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles contains the most memorable themes of the franchise, and they still sound marvelous. Most of the time old school and new school Sonic fans don't agree on much, but one thing that most of these two parties can agree upon is that the music of Sonic 3 & Knuckles is absolutely tremendous and timeless.