Review

Sonic Adventure 2 HD Review (PS3)

There's never really been a great 3D Sonic game, has there? I say that as a fan of Sonic Generations but even I will admit that the 3D games have struggled to reach the lofty heights of the 2D days, and failed miserably in comparison to the evolution of the Mario series. Sonic Adventure 2 might offer some fun but it suffers from two pivotal problems: it's aged badly and it's unfocused. Coming from the early 2000s, an era marred by developers trying to master the 3D platforming genre in a way that often went wrong, Sonic Adventure 2 feels distinctly dated within seconds of starting. Even the addition of a high resolution sheen is hard to spot amongst the jagged edges of the 11 year old engine. Still, as long as it's fun, right? It is and it isn't, unfortunately.

Two story lines can be followed, with players taking the choice of following the Hero or Dark side of the game. Both run in conjunction to each other and it's certainly worthwhile playing through both as each expands upon the other's tale. The Hero mode follows everyone's favourites, Sonic, Knuckles and Tails, while the Dark side tracks Shadow, Rouge and Dr. Eggman (Robotnik. He'll always be Robotnik to me). Variety also stems from the gameplay involved with more than just Sonic flying through each level at speed. The Sonic and Shadow stages might include the speed we've all come to love from the games, but elsewhere there's a much more measured approach that's required with the focus placed on other, more minor characters. Levels featuring Tails (or Dr. Eggman in Dark Mode) involve controlling a huge robot as they shoot their way to the end of the level, while Rouge and Knuckles explore stages to find hidden keys. It's suitably varied but little of it quite works. The linear landscapes of the levels means there's no real fun in exploring the surroundings with things slowing down way too much and turning tedious. Shooting focused action similarly doesn't really work within the confines of a Sonic game and you'll quickly find yourself yearning for traditional Sonic fun. When the traditional speedy stages do emerge, they're great but you'll find yourself wanting more of them.

The opening level is a cracker of a beginning with blistering speed ahoy

The awkward camera angles involved makes it all the more frustrating, thanks to the inability to look up or down, instead leaving players reliant on taking some leaps of faith and guessing what's required of them. At other points, the camera gets way too close to the action meaning it's tough to see what's going on.

Other issues emerge with the bizarre inclusion of a form of kart racing which is extremely basic and offers no variety or even the addition of power-ups or bonuses. Bosses that are scattered throughout the game are similarly uninspired and invoke no passion from players.

Robot bottles are a little on the clunky side:

One shining light emerges amongst all of this: the Chao Garden, a form of pet simulator. Akin to a Tamagotchi, players can collect animals known as Chao. This is where things get more interesting. Complete the story mode and it's possible to complete objectives within other levels in order to buy Emblems which lead onto the purchase of rare Chao eggs. It's a nice idea and one that brings Sonic Adventure 2 above the depths of mediocrity. Evolving Chao is particularly rewarding with it possible to train them up or use them within Chao fights or races.

It's not quite enough, though. Sonic Adventure 2 might technically be Sonic but it doesn't have any of the classic spirit of the cocky hedgehog. Instead, Sonic Adventure 2 offers a bunch of nice concepts that feel a little disjointed and muddled. Crucially, these ideas just haven't aged well. In 2001, I could see myself enjoying the variety and appreciating two different story lines to track, even despite the camera problems. 11 years down the line and without the joy of rose tinted glasses, however, and it all feels like a matter of 'Jack of all trades, master of none'.

Top Game Moment: The soundtrack is easily one of the best Sonic game soundtracks out there. It's a little cheesy at times but it's very catchy and enjoyable to listen to. There's a good reason why it's possible to buy this game's soundtrack.

Platform Played: Xbox 360

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Comments

By The_Tingler (SI Core) on Oct 19, 2012
The_Tingler
I own the game's soundtrack. :)

This was the game that tipped me into buying a GameCube at launch and reignited my dormant love of all things Sonic. The Sonic/Shadow stages are great... but everything else is just unnecessary. Still, brilliant final boss level and at least both sides have completely different stages.
By mariabaucsh (I just got here) on Oct 25, 2012
mariabaucsh
This is not upto the mark i am very much disappointed by this game.I was expecting very much more than this...
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