Black Knight pretty, has familiar Sonic flaws

Or so says IGN’s Matt Casamassina in an elaborate hands-on preview.

Casamassina has criticized several design decisions made by SEGA’s Sonic Team in recent Sonic games, but he is impressed by the Black Knight’s polish and sharp visuals.

Unfortunately, it suffers from a set of flaws that have hindered Sonic games over the last decade.

“SEGA’s latest Wii-exclusive Sonic offering has production values to spare, whether it’s the slick fully rendered cinematic, the amazingly stylized graphical interface or the in-game engine, which regularly spits out fast-moving and detailed environments,” praises Casamassina. “Speed junkies will probably be pleased with some of the high-octane scenarios we’ve seen so far.”

But pretty games aren’t always as exhilarating to play, and according to Casamassina, the Black Knight’s reliance on unnecessary gimmicks and waggle-heavy combat controls significantly mars the experience.

“The game’s biggest issue is once more tethered to the unrefined gimmick that Sonic Team has utilized as the backbone for the project,” says Casamassina. “If the developer can quickly present some control alternatives before Black Knight ships, the end product may still impress. But all the loose waggling that comprises the present package is just as frustrating as interesting.”

For more information on the Black Knight, including its level design, control scheme and online features, check out IGN’s full preview.

Sonic and the Black Knight is the second entry in SEGA’s new Sonic Storybook Series. It follows the Feb. 2007 Wii exclusive Sonic and the Secret Rings, which has sold more than two million copies worldwide.

Sonic and the Black Knight blasts onto store shelves Mar. 10.