As the seasons change and Fall takes over, the busiest season for the video game industry also begins. SEGA held a media event this week in New York City to show off some of their upcoming titles featuring both familiar and new names and faces.
A pair of Sonic the Hedgehog titles lead the way for SEGA, showing new life in the decades-old speedster. Sonic 4 is a downloadable title coming to consoles in October, 2010. The game is "100% 2D side-scrolling action" according to the SEGA rep at the event. A demo of the game showed this to be absolutely true; this is finally a real sequel to Sonic 3, released on the 16 bit Sega Genesis system a decade and a half ago. Sonic spins through familiar-looking environments, running, hopping, and dashing to take down old-school enemies. It's a gorgeous game, with updated sprites and environments, but stays firmly in the 2D world that longtime fans have both remembered and desperately wanted more of. You won't see a werehog, a boring town to converse in, or a frustrating 3D loop that only serves to slow you down here; it's just wonderful classic Sonic goodness. The level structure can be played both in the linear format of old and in a select-a-level style. If you're playing already on your iPhone, consider the console version too, as it holds more, exclusive levels.
Joining Sonic 4 is Sonic Colors for the Nintendo Wii. Colors is also primarily 2D, with some brief 3D sections activated by Sonic's powerups. Each powerup is color coded and gives Sonic a new temporary power, like the ability to teleport or drill through large sections of levels. The motion controls are not ham-fisted into the game, instead being very natural.
Virtua Tennis also makes a return, with the PlayStation 3 offering the most Virtua experience yet. Using the new Move motion control peripheral and 3D technology, this is the closest tennis simulator yet. The game is truly immersive, and was very easy to just jump straight into. It is incredibly accurate with forehand, backhand and smash hits, even gauging the velocity of your swing and sending the ball flying appropriately. The 3D is very natural, and not off-putting in any way. You're merely looking at a tennis court, just as if you were there. With the Move's limited sensing, you do have to be careful not to move your feet around too much, instead just reaching out with your arms and your "racket." This may be difficult for actual tennis players to get used to, but will also likely save a lot of lamps in the living room.
On the new property front, Sega also showed off a new level from the 3rd person action shooter Vanquish. The game, from the creator of Resident Evil, has had a demo out for a couple of weeks, allowing gamers to try the fast-paced rocket-propelled shooter at home. The new level showed a lush forest instead f the overly industrial and grey scenery of the demo level. Other enemies, including soldiers driving mechs that can be taken over by the player were also shown. The focus in the forest level shifted to an almost stealthy approach to combat rather than the frenetic run-and-gun of the demo level. it serves to make this already cool game a deeper experience and should be a lot of fun this fall.What SEGA game are you excited for?