When a conversation discussing the worst developers begins, it usually ends up steering its way at least once through Sonic Team. With every release, the company behind one of gaming’s most beloved mascots seemingly does everything in its power to make him more obsolete in a world where First Person Shooters are the game of choice. With every game, the majority of gamers (and critics) wonder how these Sonic games can continue to be so successful. But when it comes down to it, the truth is Sonic fans really just aren’t that hard to please.
This brings me to Shadow the Hedgehog, the most polarizing video game ever created by Sonic Team. Though the majority of those who played it came away yearning for a more wholesome experience that maximized the fun while minimizing the headaches (of which there are many), there are also tens of thousands of gamers who site this as their favorite game ever directed by the infamous Takashi Iizuka. Even so, for the most part, the critics are right; Shadow the Hedgehog is not only not a great game. The controls are slippery, some of the level design is atrocious, and the game can be beaten in about an hour depending on your chosen path. But despite all of these negatives, I also get why fans of the game enjoy it. Shadow the Hedgehog may take himself a bit too seriously as a main character (except it isn’t the real Shadow… except DYKG says it is… let’s just call it ambiguous, ok?) opening himself up to ridicule, but with a storyline (if you use the term loosely) featuring branching paths (which everyone loves), a unique spin on the classic Sonic formula, and endlessly more replayability when compared to the majority of Sonic titles, there are actually several things about Shadow the Hedgehog that can be quite enjoyable depending on your perspective.
When it comes down to an individual’s enjoyment out of Shadow the Hedgehog, it depends on what they want to get out of it. If they’re looking for a lengthy, rewarding gaming experience with a gripping story, tight controls, and high-speed gameplay with a great cast of characters like the Sonic games of old, they’re going to come away disappointed. But for hardcore fans of Shadow himself (of which there were many, believe it or not, back in 2005), this game is a dream come true. Finally, there’s the rest of us casual Sonic fans, who know that Shadow the Hedgehog isn’t a good game (like most games in the franchise at this point), but still pop it in every once in a while for some mindless thumb exercise on a Sunday night, not expecting a fantastic experience, but just looking for something that can offer up a modicum of enjoyment for a short amount of time. And even if he can’t do much, that’s one itch Shadow can scratch.