Sonic takes on hoverboarding!
While looking for the Chaos Emeralds, Sonic and friends come across the Babylon Rogues, a group of avian thieves. Sonic tries to chase after them and the stolen Chaos Emerald, but is no match for the Extreme Gear hoverboards! After failing to stop them, Eggman appears with news of an Extreme Gear Grand Prix!
Sonic Riders allows you to play as your favorite Sonic characters on hoverboards. The question is however, why would Sonic need a hoverboard? He's the fastest thing alive! Couldn't he just outrun them? Sega's logic confuses me. Each character is classified by the Sonic Heroes system. Speed characters can grind rails, Flight characters can uses air rides and Power characters can break through weak walls into shortcuts. Three types of Extreme Gear are available: board, skates and bike. These can be bought from the shop.
The controls in the game are simple. Use analog stick to steer and while in the air, to do tricks. Riding wind turbulance and doing tricks will speed you up. However, control of the Gear isn't so simple. Turning feels clunnky and you will crash into obstacles quite a bit until you get used to the game. Performing sharp turns in the game are done by turning and holding down a shoulder button. Half the time this technique works, but otherwise you're still gonna hit the wall!
Graphics are an updated engine from Sonic Heroes and Shadow the Hedgehog. Characters still look glossy, yet smoother and more lively. The environments (or tracks) look great and well detailed too, though it's a shame that the tracks are carbon copies of each other. The Digital Realm track has to be the best out of all of them! The game also opens with an amazing anime intro! Way to go Sonic Team!
The sound in Sonic Riders isn't really that great, at least not as great as recent titles. There's no Crush 40 theme song this time around. The track songs give that sense of high speed, but they're just not that pleasant to listen to.
Sonic Riders has a few game modes to offer. Story mode has you play the small plot from both sides of the moral chain. Hero story allows you to play as Sonic, Tails and Knuckles while Babylon story allows you to play as Jet the Hawk, Wave the Swallow and Storm the Albatross. Both stories are very short and can be beaten within a couple of hours. Mission mode has you go through a bunch of challenges in order to unlock characters from other Sega franchises. Don't expect to unlock them so easily like the other characters though. Mission mode is hard and repetative. Basically, it's down right dull.
Sonic Riders has that sense of old school Sonic speed (in an untraditonal way) and is a good start for the Blue Blur's racing series, but not a great start. Sega could have done better. Great to play, but it may not hold your attention for a while.