Sonic Riders Zero Gravity
Tom didn't think much of the original Sonic Riders on Xbox 1. He described it as "occasionally very fluid and exciting", but for the most part, "overly complicated, and dominated by things designed to stop it being fluid and exciting". For the sequel, SEGA has tried to deal with these issues by throwing in some new elements which are overly complicated and stop the game from being fluid and exciting.
Sonic Riders Zero Gravity sees blueballs and his friends taking to their hoverboards once again, this time to defeat an army of crazed robots. There's some guff about a meteorite and anti-gravity force fields and Dr Robotnik, or Dr Eggman as he became after defecting from the Soviet Union, is up to his ancient tricks. Basically it's a racing game set in a futuristic city full of steel girders, neon lights and gold rings.
In the Wii version, you can control your racer by tilting the remote left and right. "Control" is a bit strong, actually, let's try that again. In the Wii version, you can send your racer veering wildly around the track and watch as they bounce uncontrollably off the walls by tilting the remote left and right. Then you can give up and just use the d-pad, bearing in mind that you must keep the remote perfectly level as the slightest dip will cause more veering and bouncing.
As with the first game there are rings to collect and rails to grind on and jumps to navigate and boosts to earn and the vaguest of instructions as to how to do all this. Plus there's a new gravity points system. You earn points for getting a good start, grinding, pulling off tricks, using catapults and so on. Then you can spend them on things like speed boosts or wall running.
The most interesting option is the gravity control move - press a button to slow down time and make your character rotate in the air, then release it to zoom off in the direction they're facing. It's useful for sharp turns, but it's tricky to get right and all too often you'll end up smashing into the wall. It also interrupts the flow of races; pausing to spin on the spot in slow motion hardly creates a thrilling sense of speed.
There are lots of other over-complicated and unnecessary elements to the game, like the gear shop and the barricade routes and the trick zones, none of which are worth explaining here. It feels as if they've been tacked on in a bid to stop you noticing what's missing - like an online racing mode (you can check leaderboards though, try to contain your excitement), and a story mode that lasts longer than two hours.
So once again, we have here a modern day Sonic game devoid of the elements which made olden days Sonic games so good - speed, simplicity, a decent control system, that sort of thing. Sonic Riders Zero Gravity is not hateful, just pointless. A complete waste of time, effort and the planet's resources. Please stop it.