A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
Parents and caregivers: Set limits for violence and more with Plus
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is the second game in the Sonic Storybook Series, which means it takes Sonic on an adventure through a classic tale, but with a twist. This is not your typical fast-paced, collect-rings-as-Sonic-dashes by game. This tale of corruption due to too much power features a lot of fantasy violence with enchanted swordplay, but the action is usually so fast and furious it's tough to get a feel for exactly what is happening onscreen. The game does offer an online mode, which amounts to leader boards for challenge levels. Also, a local only multiplayer mode offers up to four players battles, or co-operative play to fight some in-game characters.
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What's it about?
SONIC AND THE BLACK KNIGHT is a departure from the classic side scrolling Sonic series that adults have known for decades. This time around, Sonic is transported from his world into the world of King Arthur, who has been corrupted by the absolute power of Excalibur. It's up to Sonic and his friends to save the world from the evil that has come out of the enchanted sword and face off with an ultimate baddie, the Dark Queen.
The game is broken up into very small segments of gaming lasting anywhere from one minute to upwards of ten. These segments have Sonic moving forward at a high rate of speed, slicing and dicing enemies on his way to a goal marker at the end of the level. The bite-sized gaming segments usually end with a short movie that helps advance the plot forward – making the game to video ratio quite low. The player collects and identifies various items that are stored in a treasury viewable from the main menu. Some of these items can be used in game to boost certain attributes, while others are there to trade with friends who also own the game and have shared Wii Friend codes.
Is it any good?
The story segments of the game help drive the title forward, but the gaming segments are quite short and could leave older kids slightly disappointed with the lack of action. Objectives in levels range from giving coins to villagers via a sequence of button presses, to simply making it to the end of a short obstacle filled path. While moving through the levels, Sonic can move forward at a quick pace through a predetermined path – with only slight variations of positon on the track. In later levels, multiple paths do open up offering a little more choice.
Unfortunately, Sonic is quite tough to control. Swinging the Wii Remote to control the sword sounds fine in theory, but in practice the imperfect motion controls can cause players to miss enemies and open themselves to attacks. Even something as simple as the left and right positional movement on the otherwise static paths is almost always fatally flawed; and any sense of speed gets lost due to this buggy control scheme. Even diehard Sonic fans might want to rent versus buy.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the tale of King Arthur and his knights as well as Merlin the Wizard. What is it about this story that makes it so popular? What about the notion of magical swords that grant power? Do these stories translate well to video games? Or is Sonic the Hedgehog best left in his own world of ring-collecting and fighting Dr. Robotnic?
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