I'm fairly perturbed about the lack of lighting in Sonic: Lost World. Doesn't it seem as if we're taking a step back in terms of texturing and lighting? Unleashed demonstrated how lighting can make even the cartooniest of characters appear like they're in an actual environment using a little something called the Hedgehog Engine. Light bounced from one object to the next and even onto Sonic himself. While I was boosting to win, I could take a second to admire the jaw-dropping visuals around me. It irked me enough when Unleashed's predecesor, Sonic Generations, used an obviously watered down version of the Hedgehog Engine; they didn't even bother to credit it. But it's understandable to want to increase your game's frame rate by bringing your CPU-intensive lighting engine down a notch - I get that.
But the Wii U is more than capable of handling acceptable lighting as we've seen demonstrated in Nintendo Land and in trailers for Mario Kart 8. So it couldn't be console limitations, right? Takashi Iizuka recently talked about the new visual style for Lost World and was quoted saying "...things such as rings and enemies are more easier to track and gives us 60 fps..." Clearly, he wanted more contrast in-game to improve the player's ability to discern any item from the scenery, but is sacrificing lighting and texturing really the correct approach to make targets easier to find? Take a look at Super 3D Mario World for the Wii U and you'll see that's most likely NOT the case. 3D World doesn't use global illumination like Unleashed and Gens do, but visually the game looks very nice AND retains the ability for players to find coins, enemies, and platforms with ease. (Damn, is that depth of field, Nintendo? Very sexy.)
By now, I hope my point is evident. I'd like to hear what YOU guys think. Is lighting as integral as I make it out to be, or is it just another visual bonus?