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November 12 2006
Sonic the Hedgehog - PS3 Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer
23/3/2007THQSegaSonic Team
Offline Players Online players Price Anticipation
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Some of the first stunning visuals.
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Sonic back on the hoverboard.

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Battle in the city streets.
Sonic the Hedgehog is back and will be hitting the PS3 soon after launch in America, and almost certainly at launch in Europe and Australia. In recent years Sega's "mascot" has been tarnished by a series of games which lacked quality control, lack cohesion and lacked that spark that made the 16-bit games so special. Most importantly though Sonic Team's legendary Yuji Naka, who created Sonic all those years ago, is back at the helm of this game. Inceidentally the character first appeared in 1991, some 15 years ago, so this game will be a great celebration of the characters' 15 years in the gaming industry. Most importantly Mr Naka considers this a 'rebirth' of Sonic with emphasis back on speed.

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Sonic takes off from a jump.
So what the storyline then? Sonic the Hedgehog is set in Soleanna, the beautiful city of water. In his first adventure set in the human world, Sonic meets a beautiful princess named Elise, whom he quickly befriends, but Princess Elise is abducted by none other than the calculating Dr. Eggman who is working under dark and sinister motives to destroy this special kingdom of hers. In order to restore safety and serenity, Sonic must maneuver his way through a series of adventures and challenges where he will encounter and interact with a bevy of allies and enemies, and ultimately go head to head against the menacing doctor to thwart his malicious plans. Along the way, Sonic encounters a mysterious character named Silver. As Sonic speeds through the huge kingdom, the mysteries unravel.

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Soaring high in the skies.
Sonic the Hedgehog includes two main gameplay styles. The first is the town stage where Sonic will be able explore vast environments and play various sub-missions, while the second is the Action stages where Sonic's blistering speed will be utilized to full effect.

When in the town areas Sonic will be able to talk to the townsfolk to get information or advance the story further. This primarily includes the location of action stages which are hidden around the land. While in the town Sonic will be able to spend collected cash to increase your powers.

Sonic the Hedgehog includes 11 main action stages, as well as 100 side missions. These stages play more like your traditional Sonic titles as you run around collecting powerups and defeating enemies. These powerups include the ability to go invincible, gain the use of a shild, collect hints about the gameplay, or get an extra burst of speed on the dash panels.

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This looks pretty spectacular.
Vehicles will also be available in the game for Shadow to use. These include a Hover Vehicle, a Buggy, a Bike and a Glider.

Interestingly Sega are also including multi-player modes in Sonic the Hedgehog in which you can play as Sonic, Silver or Shadow. One of the game modes is Tag in which two players must work together to collect as many Chaos Emeralds as possible, if one dies, it's game over. A battle mode for 4-players is also being included in the title. Last man - or hedgehog - standing wins the gold medal.

Finally Sega confirmed in early November that the title would not be a launch game in America as they still needed to finish of some downloadable content. We're not sure exactly what this will include, or if you'll be paying for it, but we expect to hear something quite soon.

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Check out the glass particles!
Graphically this game looks stunning. The detail on Sonic is beyond what we've seen in the past, however its the levels that also look set to amaze with impressive draw distances, and wonderful texturing on the objects and buildings in the game world. One can only hope that these stunning visuals don't mean a hit in the frame rate and we certainly hope that Sega can finally get the cameras right - early builds were still showing some problems on occasion.

I guess the big question remains just how well the game will gel together. Recent Sonic titles have been less then impressive but this game could change all that. While the American title was set to be a launch game only weeks before release Sega confirmed they need a bit more time to finish the online downloads, and the game is now set for a "holiday" release making December very likely. As for us, March is a sure bet.