Sonic in another spin-off? Boring.
Instead of addressing criticisms frequently levied against its games, Sonic Team has apparently made it a point to worsen those problems. You might hope that Sonic Rivals 2
, as a Sonic-style game from a separate developer, would get it right. But with pride, Sonic Rivals 2
flaunts the trademark mistakes of its franchise while tossing in a few of their own. It's a shame too, because through all the innovatively bad design and watered-down gameplay, there's a glimmer of interesting gameplay. But never more than that. Conclusion? Sonic makes smart developers dumb
Technically, Sonic Rivals 2
isn't your traditional Sonic game; it's a sort of 2D racing game. The controls are like a high-speed platformer, and the level designs are very much Sonic-style, complete with loops, multiple paths, and speed boosts. But Sonic Rivals 2
just doesn't work as a dynamic racing game. Everyone runs at the same speed, so the only way to gain on the opposition is to use power-ups or take alternate paths. But power-ups are neither entertaining nor very effective (Mario Kart
, this ain't), and there aren't that many alternate paths to take. If you fall too far behind, unless an opponent screws up badly, the race is pretty much already over. Very anti-climatic
There are moments where racing at high speeds and flying through the air might sound exciting, but even these moments are dull. You move fast, but not blistering speed
fast. And did I mention that you always race against exactly one
opponent? Be still my beating heart.
Racing only comprises half of the story mode, however. What would a modern Sonic game be without insomnia-curing gameplay “variety”
, after all? Sonic Rivals 2
continues this “proud” tradition with battle stages (I must repeat, this is NOT Mario Kart
), where you run around mashing the attack button until either you or the other dude is dead, using an occasional power-up weapon which hovers around a character until it arbitrarily decides to attack. There's no tension, there's hardly any strategy, and these levels make up around a quarter of story mode. Another quarter is boss fights, which like all good boss fights, involve discovering and exploiting the weakness of giant monsters. None of these beasts are particularly intimidating, difficult, or unusual, contributing to what appears to be the central theme of Sonic Rivals 2
There is one aspect of Sonic Rivals 2
, however, that is definitely not bland - its story… which definitely falls into the “insufferably awful
” category. It seems the idea was to create a tale that would play out from four different perspectives, but there's so little going on that this review has more content than Sonic and Tails' part in the story put together. The rest of it consists of lame, contrived excuses to make two characters fight or race, or fight and race. It's all presented with static character portraits next to printed text. It’s voiced, but the acting and writing are unspeakably abysmal. Let's not speak of them again. Ever.
And would you believe that the story mode is unavoidable? To unlock cup circuits, which are sets of three races (the best way to play the game, actually), you have to beat story mode. One cup circuit is unlocked per character you beat story mode with. So let’s analyze this. You don’t even need a calculator. Your time, your sanity, and your good taste are all precious commodities, and it would be foolhardy to risk them by beating story mode with two characters, let alone all eight.
There's multiplayer, but it'd be morally dubious to drag someone else into this flavorless game. Oh, and yes, the graphics and sound are also, you guessed it, bland.
Sonic Rivals 2
is not worth the price of purchase or even rental, and it is most certainly not worth your time
. It's not entertaining enough to bring much pleasure. It's not even awful enough to be a hilarious novelty “game” like Big Rigs
or Gods and Generals
. It just isn't. Thus, it is my recommendation, that upon the conclusion of this review, you forget Sonic Rivals 2