The story is perhaps the most decent part of the game as it expands the world and lore of the Sonic Boom series (or as I personally like to call it, the "Boomiverse") It is generally a prequal to the Sonic Boom cartoon when Sonic is coming to terms with working with his friends as a team. Thanks to Eggmans manipulation he reluctantly awakens a serpent known as Lyric equipped with some machines and wants to conquer the world because his fellow beings known as the Ancients (yes, they were named after an adjective) were scientifically advanced pacifists who imprisoned him. Instead of seven emeralds, Sonic and his friends must find the eight Chaos Crystals which Lyric wants to conquer the world. These crystals actually have more backstory as well as individuality than the original Chaos Emeralds.
The story itself is even more mature than the usual 11 minute episodes in Sonic Boom which contrasts in comparison but also leads into more familiar locations from the cartoon that you can personally explore, such attention to detail I can appreciate. It is not the best story for a usual Sonic games but it is still pretty good for Sonic Boom. It shows Sonic developing trust with his friends with some minor jokes thrown in for humour. Such characters as Shadow and Metal Sonic are also introduced into Sonic Boom lore and while Doctor Eggman is the backseat villain of the game, still plays in indearing role to the story. The Story is the highlight of the game.
The music was composed for the theme of adventure and at times atmosphere but I don't really have much to say about the music as it never really captivated me that much. At times the music was also repetitive and annoying, especially when you have to travel long distance at standard speed. All in all I find it cheesy Indiana Jones cinematic music and don't have much to say on it. The only decent thing I can say about the music is the way it picks up during the boost runs where it seems more fitting when the game is actually more speed based.
Level design, layout
The game went with a more cartoon approach different from the main series of Sonic games. Such a colourful and detailed world to explore complimented well with the story and fit well with the themes of the stages. Layout of each stage often switched between platform based exploration and puzzle solving to speed enduced roads which serve to transact from one part of the level to another.
Rise of Lyric perhaps have the biggest "Adventure Fields" than previous Sonic games and while I do admit that exploring wise bigger is better, the fun of exploring is sadly hindered with poor navigation. This completely removes the fun of exploring when you expect faster of Sonic and having to travel long distances to reach required places. The Excavation Site and Bygone Island are nice to look at but you might as well skip to the levels than having to jog there.
While visually pleasing, I cannot say the layouts of the levels and overworlds were not all that good for gameplay reasons. Nice to look at but not to get too involved.
The bane of this games existance. Perhaps because BigRedButton Entertainment was founded by an ex-employer for NaughtyDog, Sega asked them to make a new Sonic Boom game and it seems they had some old prototype engines for either Jak and Dexter or Crash Bandicoot lying around and just slapped Sonic Boom all over it and call it an exclusive. Because of this gameplay is indeed similar to some of NaughtyDogs classics in platform gaming but at a price causes the gameplay to contradict itself at times. The original Sonic the Hedgehog gameplay is known for awesome speed with the occasional platform-puzzle elements which are catered to Sonic or his friends skills so that gameplay doesn't loose momentum when playing. In Rise of Lyric, platform-puzzles and what passes off as speed is rather seperated, roads serving more to trancend to further parts of levels for progress and puzzles. Because of the brand gameplay, sometimes there can be errors in programming that could make progress more difficult than it should be. However the game is not "broken" as Sonic '06 is known to be and is still completable, though to acomplish it 100% is questionable. But whenever you find this game a platform-puzzler or a speed-running game, I find it a mess.
The game is also heavily reliant on EnerBeams, a sort of tethering mechanic used for further travel and pulling switches. The EnerBeam quickly becomes an over-used mechanic for most part of the entire game and I guess suppose to be a skill which makes Boomiverse Sonic and friends different from their prime counterparts. Still it's overly used and heavily reliant which only narrows the gameplay down for possibilities.
Navigation as well as required gameplay elements is also difficult to follow as despite the occasional message on the screen, there is not enough information to guide you through the activities you need to get most of the game, such as what to do once you get the Shock Crystal or how to complete certain quests. This makes it more difficult than needed if you don't know exactly what you're doing (No manual as well). Also it seems to me that some parts of the game are unfinished and that the programmers couldn't be bothered to remove them from game. It is clearly untidy and unprofessional work that the consumer can see and due to poor communication between game and player, the players can easily be duped in these parts of the game that are broken. Additional things which I hate most about the gameplay is compared to the actual Sonic games, rings have been demoted of use. They serve more of standard health which is a modern use for rings in Sonic games, however you can only carry so much rings. You can carry up to 100 rings and no more, despite Sonic and his friends constant insistance throughout the game to collect more. When you find the shop you need to spend robot scrap to upgrade your team skills but when it comes to carrying more rings, you need to have Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal in order to have more rings and to do so you must make some progress in Shattered Crystal and connect it with Rise of Lyric to be able to carry additional rings. This is clearly a sales gimmick to enforce consumers to buy in order to make the most of it, I am well familiar with this sales gimmick in games and it is the very one thing I absolutely hate most when games hinder themselves on purpose in order to make more sales. (It is why I don't care how beautiful such games as Bravely Default is because it's constantly telling me to buy stuff and I won't have that.) But in sheer irony the health-programming in Rise of Lyric is so faulty that you really don't need Shattered Crystal to make much improvements of the game. When you "die", you simply respawn in battle with 30 rings and thats about it, death in the game is merely a minor set back while your enemies will not restore health. (The only exception is Metal Sonic.)
So yes, despite the fact Sonic and his friends insistance for you to collect many rings, all you really need is 100 to get by. Sonic and his friends will frequantly remind you about Boost-pads and other simple mechanics throughout the game and just won't shut up about it. The game has more unneccisary dialogue than any other Sonic game I've played and thank goodness that this game is seperated from the actual series of Sonic games that Sega are wholey responsible over.
A close second to Sonic '06 for half-baked Sonic games. And here I thought I didn't like Sonic Lost World that much but nope, Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric makes it look graceful. I like to blame BigRedButtons Entertainment for why this game is bad because even I know Sega wouldn't make a game as bad as Sonic '06 again, in yet for a game for Sonic Boom set in the new boomiverse they wanted it to be different so asked someone else to do it for them and because of that game-reviewers think Sonic games are bad again.
Also, I could never figure out-
How to go back in time to find Old Tuckers ancestor. I'm pretty sure this quest is impossible, so why have it?
- Doc Ginger wants me to find some plants. The last one is above a cliff near the giant mecha above Cliff's tent but I can't seem to find it.
Those footprints that AVA can pick up. X marks the spot but what do I do then? Does it have something to do with Sticks? Do I need my stylus for them?
- Finding Salty's brother whom I'm possitive is Pepper but he doesn't seem to respond.
I'm pretty sure these are the few unfinished scripted quests in the game.
Apparently Game Grumps keep finding the stuff I missed out or found broken. So apparently Egoraptor hates Sonic games but plays them better than I can. Can I even call myself an adamant Sonic fan anymore?