|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: BioWare||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SEGA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep. 30, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
In addition to the many pitched battles, The Dark Brotherhood does allow for players to do a bit of exploring in classic Sonic environments. The interesting landscapes are nicely detailed and do a great job of imparting the unique feel of the world of Sonic. This is definitely a sharp-looking DS game that employs an exceptional painted style. As pretty and interesting as the environments and characters in The Dark Brotherhood are, the sound effects and music are terrible. The beeps and blips are unimaginative and somewhat grating. I found myself muting the volume for most of the time during play and catching up on several of my favorite podcasts instead.
While exploring the different levels, players will have to use unique abilities that each of the characters posses in order to gain access to every portion of the assorted stages. For example, Sonic is able to use his speed to dash into jumps, loop-ramps, and pipes; Rouge the Bat and Cream the Rabbit can fly the party across gaps, and Big the Cat can withstand poisonous fog. Later on, you'll also use characters to smash boxes, climb cliffs, and even use stealth abilities.
There are also many elementary puzzles throughout the game. Successfully completing these puzzles will grant you access to important areas, and you will be rewarded with items. These puzzles are a diversion from the glut of fighting that makes up the majority of the levels, but they aren't engaging enough to provide for a proper respite.
Finally, a Pokémon-like creature-collecting mechanic was added to the game. Throughout the title, you will come upon a series of mottled eggs. These eggs can be collected by walking over them. After awhile, these eggs will hatch into Chao. Chao are little creatures that give your characters, and party in general, specific boons once they have been linked, or, "bonded" to one of the members. For example, one Chao may increase your defenses or damage-dealing capabilities; another will attract enemies so that the brunt of physical attacks will be focused on your "tank" character; or even the likelihood with which you will hit enemies will be augmented by certain Chao. The abilities that Chao convey depends upon their rarity, as rare Chao can be quite difficult to obtain. By getting together with fellow owners of The Dark Brotherhood, players will have a much better chance of collecting all the creatures available. Additionally, players are rewarded by trading their Chao via Wi-Fi because Chao can only be leveled up in this manner. This creature-collecting mechanic was lost on me, but I could see how youngsters might find it incredibly addictive.
Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood is a noble effort by the folks at BioWare to translate the lore of SEGA's beloved hedgehog and his cronies to an RPG format. Largely, the game succeeds at providing an interesting experience. However, it seems to be too simplistic for its own good, lacking the depth of gameplay needed to make it truly special. As such, The Dark Brotherhood is a good first step, but it is more likely to appeal to fans than to the gaming community at large.
CCC Editor / News Director