|Sonic Free Riders|
Sonic the Hedgehog series
NA November 4, 2010
Sonic Free Riders (ソニック フリーライダーズ Sonikku Furī Raidāzu?), also known as SFR and Sonic Riders 3, is an Xbox 360 game released in November 2010. The game uses the Microsoft Kinect's motion sensor capability. The game was first announced on 14th June, 2010 on E3 2010 at Microsoft's Conference. It is the third installment of the Sonic Riders series, the first being Sonic Riders and the second, Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity.
The plot starts with Dr. Eggman who has held a second EX World Grand Prix however in the announcement he seems to disguise himself as King Doc, hiding himself from revealing his identity. This time he challenges four teams against one another, rather than two like in the previous EX World Grand Prix, to prove who is the best:
- Team Heroes: Sonic, Tails and Knuckles.
- Team Babylon: Jet, Wave and Storm.
- Team Rose: Amy, Cream and Vector.
- Team Dark: Shadow, Rouge and E-10000B.
Each team wins the World Grand Prix as the player goes through the story of each team. In the end it is revealed that Team Dark's E-10000B was actually Metal Sonic collecting the data of every racer. Metal Sonic challenges Sonic to a race, in which Sonic wins. In the end, Eggman runs off without rewarding the prize, however all the team characters agreed that they had fun.
GameplayThe game brings full body motion controlled fast-paced boarding action, developed to take full advantage of Kinect for the Xbox 360. Kinect's unique motion sensor means Sonic Free Riders will see family and friends controlling their fully customizable hover board or bike by twisting, turning, and jumping in an exhilarating race to be first to cross the finish line.
Choosing from one of the Sonic characters for an avatar, one can reach out and grab a variety of pickups along the course. By throwing, shaking, or swinging one's arms to launch one's items, you can gain the competitive edge over your rivals in high octane single or multiplayer races. Players can use Kinect to hurl items such as bowling balls, rockets, and other traps toward opponents in the race to the finish.
In the final version of the menu of the game you can select one of the following options:
- World Grand Prix - Enter the World Grand Prix and challenge yourself to a variety of missions.
- Free Race - Race with three rules types for one or two players.
- Tag Race - Team up with another player and race against your rivals in Tag Mode.
- Relay Race - Team up 2 to 4 players.
- Time Attack - Race for the best time on each course.
- Tutorial - Learn how to ride an Extreme Gear.
The multiplayer is up to four players with twelve players on an online multiplayer game. The game features "taunts" in which one can taunt your opponent by actually speaking, this belongs to the ability of the Kinect. In a team race one can simply team and beat your opponent, however at a pit, the players can connect with each other and have their palms on each other showing absolute co-operation, note that this does not stay permanently in the race.
Note that as with the other Sonic Riders games, forward movement is done automatic. There are only two types of Gear used in this game: Board and Bike.
Board: Basically the Kinect Controls of the game are simple, in order to turn left or right one moves the upper portion of one's body in the direction given. However the player must actually stand sideways as if he/she is really on a skateboard. In order to perform a jump on a trick ramp, the player must jump in a spin once the time is right or charging up (by crouching down although a small amount of Air is needed for this) and jump. The latter method is especially useful for accesing higher sections of a racetrack that usually leads to shortcuts when given enough time charging but both methods still raise the trick rank as opposed to simply jumping. The player may 'kick dash' to have a burst of speed by sticking his/her back foot and kicking it behind although this consumes a decent amount of Air so this move should be used carefully.
Most Board gear can have two Gear parts which only one is activated depending on the direction of the player's body is facing (Normal stance characters, for example normally face to the right while the top gear part is active and to use the Gear part on the bottom, the player must quickly turn his/her body to the left and vice versa for characters with a 'Goofy' stance).
Bike: Unlike a Board gear, the player can and must stand forward and holds his/her hands out in front of him/her like holding handlebars. To turn, the player must turn their arms to the direction they wish to go. To perform tricks on a trick ramp, the player may jump while raising their hands for a spin or before approaching a ramp, the player may slightly drop his/her arms down a little to charge up before jumping for accesing higher, shortcut routes. Kick dash is done by sticking out the player's right foot and kicking it backwards.
To grind, the player simply leans to move the character to a rail and begins grinding. It's highly recommended that while grinding, the player shifts his/her body weight while the grind curves to prevent losing speed (leaning out to one side). To air-ride, once the player takes of to the skies by dash rings the player needs to spread his/her arms out wide to retain flying through the air; otherwise the character will immediately fall. When prompt to do so, the player spreads his/her arms out to climb or drops them down to drop down. To use Power Skill, while approaching a path of obstacles, the player will need to perform alternating punches to knock them away.
Other controls happens in specific-course sections such as swimming, bobsledding, operating a mine-cart or entering catch-mode which can help gather rings and/or items
The customization of the game is to change the powers of an Extreme Gear with Gear Parts which can be changed during a race by swapping stances. Gear also levels up every 30 rings up to 60 which upgrade certain parts, mainly speed, of the Gear and the maximum capacity of the Air Guage.
- Dolphin Resort
- Rocky Ridge
- Frozen Forest
- Metropolis Speedway
- Magma Rift
- Forgotten Tomb
- Final Factory
- Metal City (Returning course)
The rider has an Octus which can distort an opponents vision with ink. If the player screen is distorted with ink, they can motion to wipe away the ink. Another similar item called the Octo-ink instead provides a burst of speed
A soda can that needs to be "shaken" up to use, provides a burst of speed.
The player swings as if playing golf, knocking an opponent slowing them down.
With a bowling motion to set off large green bowling balls which can cause harm to anyone in its way, even the rider who bowled to begin with.
A "throwing" item that homes into opponents that it is locked on to.
MusicThe theme song of the game is called "Free", it was first performed at the Tokyo Game Show. IGN said that almost every stage's music has lyrics which is "pretty cool". The game's OST is called Break Free as it comprises of 12 tracks and hits the shelves on the 8th of December.
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Jet the Hawk
- Amy Rose
- Metal Sonic
- Shadow the Hedgehog
- Blaze the Cat
- Super Sonic (He goes very fast but can not use the speed shortcuts)
- Knuckles the Echidna
- Storm the Albatross
- Dr. Eggman
- Vector the Crocodile
- Super Sonic (When you kick dash after 60 Rings you can smash through the power shortcuts)
Features and Functions
- Players: 1-2
- Players Co-op: 2-4
- Multiplayer Versus
- In-game Dolby Digital
- HDTV 720p/1080i/1080p
- Storage Device
Xbox Live features
- Players: 2-8
- Content Downloads
- Voice Messaging
- Voice Support
There are unlockable costumes in which the player can unlock for their avatar, both male and female. These are the following:
Sonic Shirt – Place first on every course with Sonic.
Jet Shirt – Place first on every course with Jet.
Sonic Free Riders Shirt – Watch the credits in their entirety.
E-10000 G Shirt - Place first on every course with E-10000 G.
The overall reception of the game has been mixed. IGN gave the game a 7.5/10, praising the gameplay, music and options. They had said that that it is a must buy game of the Kinect because there are lots of features in both multi-play and single-play. They had criticized the menu screen saying that it does not have a good presentation but the voice support helps a lot. They had also said that the cutscenes aren't so cool because they are just "talking by heads". Official Xbox Magazine also gave it 7.5, praising the wealth of content and multiplayer options whilst criticizing occasional unresponsiveness in the controls. GameTrailers gave the game a score of 4.5, panning cumbersome controls that tax the body. Brian Crecente of Kotaku reviewed it negatively, calling it "the most broken of the Kinect titles I've played." Kotaku's Crecente later reported that the responsiveness of the controls seemed to differ between persons, with fellow reviewer Stephen Totilo saying the controls worked fine for him. Joystiq gave the game 1/5 stars, calling it "the equivalent of patting your head while rubbing your stomach while riding a unicycle." GamesRadar gave it 4/10 and X-play giving it 2/5 stars.
Demo and Download
SEGA has made their first Xbox 360 Kinect title Sonic Free Riders available for download on Xbox Live Marketplace among the Games on Demand range. It is available for £29.99/$49.99. You can also download the demo here.
This is the first game where all the previous 4Kids voice actors have been replaced with Studiopolis voice actors. Like in Sonic Colors, all the voices from 4Kids were replaced except Mike Pollock.
|Role||English Voice Actor||Japanese Voice Actor|
|Sonic the Hedgehog/Super Sonic||Roger Craig Smith||Junichi Kanemaru|
|Miles "Tails" Prower||Kate Higgins||Ryo Hirohashi|
|Wave the Swallow||Chie Nakamura|
|Knuckles the Echidna||Travis Willingham (credited as Kent Hampton)||Nobutoshi Canna|
|Storm the Albatross||Kenji Nomura|
|Amy Rose||Cindy Robinson||Taeko Kawata|
|Cream the Rabbit||Michelle Ruff||Sayaka Aoki|
|Vector the Crocodile||Keith Silverstein||Kenta Miyake|
|Shadow the Hedgehog||Kirk Thornton||Koji Yusa|
|Rouge the Bat||Karen Strassman||Rumi Ochiai|
|Jet the Hawk||Michael Yurchak (credited as Mike Mycheck)||Daisuke Kishio|
|Silver the Hedgehog||Quinton Flynn||Daisuke Ono|
|Blaze the Cat||Laura Bailey||Nao Takamori|
|Doctor Eggman||Mike Pollock||Chikao Otsuka|
|E-10000G, E-10000B||Wally Wingert|
For more see: Sonic Free Riders/Artwork Gallery.
- This is the first Sonic Riders game to be released exclusively on a Microsoft console.
- This is also the first Xbox 360 Sonic game to have the modern Xbox banner on the boxart.
- This is the first and so far the only Sonic game on the Kinect for the Xbox 360.
- The game's website uses Webcam feature for a hit start of the Kinect gimmick.
- Unlike the previous two Sonic Riders games, all the characters start riding on a Gear approaching the starting the line from a relatively far distance as opposed to holding a "packed-up" Gear, slightly backing up and then approach the starting line on-foot.
- This is the first game where Sonic is seen swimming without a life jacket (with the exception of Super Smash Bros. Brawl). However, this is probably not canon in the series and merely for gameplay purposes.
- This game is the first game in which the 4Kids voice actors will be replaced by new actors, mostly from Funimation.
- In the game, there is a "Soda Can" item which you shake until it bursts, giving the player an extra boost. On the can, if you look closely, you can see Eggman along with the words "Power Up".
- The Eggman artwork on the "Soda Can" item is from Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games.
- In the second Official Japanese Trailer, you can hear the theme song (Free) with lyrics.
- This is the first Sonic Riders game to feature Vector and Metal Sonic.
- This is also the first Sonic Riders game in which Shadow, Rouge, and Cream are in Story Mode, as opposed to being unlocked to be played in Race Mode.
- This is the second game to feature Cream in missions, the first being Sonic Riders.
- In a cutscene, Rouge is seen with fangs, which have been absent since her debut in Sonic Adventure 2.
- This is the first game since Sonic Heroes to have Metal Sonic as the main villain. Also, Metal Sonic's plan to absorb the data of the other characters mimics his plan in Sonic Heroes as well. The only difference is he does not absorb the data of Omega, Big, Charmy or Espio since they are not a part of the story, and because they're not in the game.
- The final story could be considered the "rematch" that Sonic offered Metal Sonic at the end of Sonic Heroes.
- This is the first game that the Babylon Rogues meet Metal Sonic, and where the entire Sonic Riders cast of a game all canonically meet each other.
- The sole exceptions are Blaze and Silver, who like in Zero Gravity are bonus characters. It is a large majority of the cast regardless as Shadow, Rouge and Cream, three characters that had no part in the story of the two previous games take part in the final race. This is also due to the game unlike the first Riders and Zero Gravity having no bonus Sega characters from other games.
- This is the only Sonic Riders game with no skate gear (possibly due to conflicts with some of the Kinect motions).
- This is the first Sonic Riders game to feature weapons during mid-race and not just on a Battle Course.
- This is the first Sonic Riders game to not feature any Sega character's from other franchises (NiGHTS, Ulala, Amigo, etc.)
- Team Babylon and Team Rose are the only two teams that face off in the same location, Metropolis Speedway, in either story (Standard and Expert respectively).
- The game has its own Xbox and Kinect skin sold separately.
- During the ending of the first 1/3 of Team Dark's story, Omachao says, "Is it the calm before the storm? I'll have all the details, assuming that robot doesn't get anymore ideas." However, in the subtitle during the last 7 words, it says, "assuming that robot doesn't get get anymore ideas."
- In the Final Story, after Sonic defeats Metal Sonic, Wave mentions that the lack of treasure and money will ruin their reputation as rogues, but the subtitle said "Rouges" instead of "Rogues".
- Some of the artwork in the game (such as on the character select) are reused art from the other Riders games. Examples are that Tails and Knuckles portraits are taken from Zero Gravity. This was before original artwork for the game was used in the final build.
- Judging by some of Vector's dialogue during the final story it is likely that Team Rose won the tournament.
- However, it should be noted that since Sonic beat Metal Sonic (in the so-called 'actual Finals' race), Team Heroes would have probably won the tournament.
- This game has had criticism from fans remarking that Team Dark's story-line was stupid because Rouge just wanted money, so Team Dark competed in the competition.
- During the credits, near the end you can see your account name listed in the Special Thanks section.