I finally figured it out… Review

Sonic Adventure 2 Info

genre

  • N/A

players

  • 1 - 1

Publisher

  • Sega

Developer

  • Sega

Release Date

  • 10/02/2012
  • Out Now

Platform

  • DreamCast
  • GameCube
  • PC
  • PS3
  • Xbox360

rating

I finally figured it out…

In the 10-year lifecycle of Sonic the Hedgehog, have you noticed that every supporting

character has been designed around 3 basic principles? Characters are either:

  • A. Evil mirrors of Sonic

    B. Jarringly annoying

    C. Fat

I’ll prove it. Tails the two-tailed fox is an annoying tag-along. Knuckles

is a red, climbing Sonic. Robotnik has been eating too many Krispy Kremes. Amy

is the ultra-annoying and obsessive Sonic stalker. Mecha-Sonic is a robotic,

evil Sonic. And Big the Cat is, well… big and fat.

Sonic Adventure 2 (SA2) continues the trend by introducing two

new characters: Shadow, the quintessential anti-Sonic, and Rouge, an annoying

bat with breasts. Sorry folks – no new fat characters. I know, I know – big

loss.

Instead, this game is thoroughly fat, stuffed with extended play goals and

mini games. Plus plenty of beautiful eye candy that must have been heavy on

the calories. Too bad SA2 could use some weight loss in favor of such

blatant problems as camera, game flow, and story.

The plot is classic Sonic. Robotnik, while searching the remnants of his grandfather’s

laboratory, uncovers Shadow the Hedgehog. Together, the two conspire to unleash

the Eclipse Cannon – a weapon of mass destruction. Apparently the government

is color blind, and arrests Sonic for Shadow’s nefarious hijinks.

The game allows you to join the path of light or fall to the dark side, by

selecting either the Hero or Evil quests. Help Sonic, Knuckles and Tails get

to the bottom of Robotnik’s schemes or try to take over the world with Robotnik,

Shadow and Rouge. A very cool choice, but it would have been even better if

a choose-your-own story a la Guardian Heroes

method was used. Instead, the level progression is stictly linear for the two

stories.

Storywise, Sonic games have come only a little ways from: 1) Robotnik bad

2) Sonic good 3) Finish the game and get an image of Sonic pointing at you.

Despite the huge game, the story is still simple and barely picks up at the

end. Yes – it is an action game, but if they are attempting to do a more compelling

story, they should follow through on it.

The

flow of the game gets rid of the “adventure” element from the first Sonic

Adventure
(SA), opting for a level-to-level rhythm that truer to

the nature of a Sonic game. Unfortunately, this rhythm is a staccato beat due

to the forced switching of characters between levels. The choosing of one character

and then sticking to that character in the original SA works out much

better then jumping from one creature to the next in SA2. Fix one thing

only to break another.

Each set of characters has a different style of gameplay. Robotnik rides his

classic eggpod and Tails jets around in his Valkyrie-esque robot-plane. The

“shoot-anything-and-everything-that-moves” control for these two characters

is similar to Gamma from SA. Knuckles and Rouge must search for emeralds,

utilizing their flying and wall climbing abilities. And Sonic and Shadow run

damn fast. Control is kept relatively simple and is easy to pick up.

Different gameplay styles? I’m all for that. But there’s something about zooming

through a beautiful designed Sonic level, only to follow up with a plodding

Knuckles level. Perhaps it’s the stark contrasts between play styles that make

the non-Sonic levels a mite irritating. Or maybe it’s the fact that the Sonic

levels are just heads and tails better than those of his compatriots. The game

is named Sonic Adventure 2, remember?

That isn’t to say that the non-Sonic levels aren’t any good. Taken in and

of themselves, there are some bright spots. The best Tails/Robotnik stages play

like a well strung together twitch-shooter on rails. And the Knuckles/Rouge

stages are just incredibly huge. Plus there are upgrades for your characters

that will allow them to uncover new secrets.

The Knuckles/Rouge stages suffer from a narrow-minded emerald detection meter.

The meter only indicates the nearby emeralds in a certain order. You might be

able to accidentally stumble upon an emerald, but your meter only tells you

where the "next" one is. Annoying when you consider that the levels

are still time-based.

The Sonic/Shadow levels are well designed, fast, and play like the original

game. They’ve brought in some classic obstacles, like the renowned loop de loop

and cyclone tubes. Then there are some new inventions fit for a three-dimensional

world, such as 6-way gravity, miniature planets, and the oft-mentioned rail

grinding: Jump onto a rail, and slide down Jet

Grind
style.

The “smart” camera is designed around the idea that what you see on screen

is where you should go. For example, Sonic is supposed to turn left at the corner.

Once you reach the corner, said camera will whip around to give you a view of

your left. That sounds all fine and dandy in theory, but the reality proves

differently.

There are moments where the camera (in stints of foolishness) will get stuck

behind objects or point you astray. There isn’t even a first person look-around

to help you figure out your surroundings. Worst of all, sometimes the camera

spins around in such a way that you’ll be veering towards doom withour realizing.

The camera works decently in the linear-style Sonic levels, but more camera

control is needed for a Knuckles level.

The

game is chock full of extras and extended play features. 180 goals to complete

is nothing to thumb your nose at. There’s a also nifty 2-player mode where you

can pit good/evil character sets against one another. The additional kart racing

game didn’t do anything for me and seemed unnecessary.

Still want more? The Chao Adventures 2 game on the VMU is more virtual

pet antics, with an injection of neurotic humor. The stories on your VMU showcase

little stories about your Chao; everything from his voyeuristic camera tendencies

to his experiments with tin foil. And you can even shape the moral tendencies

of your Chao in the Chao Garden, like a lightweight Black

and White
.

The graphics are sweet, sweet eye-crack, even more (blast) processed and refined

than the original. Levels have sharp, photographic textures and everything runs

at a silky 60 FPS. The characters look and animate beautifully. Shadow runs

like he’s effortlessly skating. And best of all, you have to see how Robotnik

runs about in the Chao Garden. Funnier still is how he looks when he runs at

a tree just right. I’ll leave it at that.

I wasn’t a big fan of SA‘s musical themes, but I liked the kitsch value

of those odd 80’s J-pop songs done by groups with limited English. With SA2,

the characters still have themes, but thankfully, a more understated approach

is taken. What you get is a mix of good to above-decent tunes.

The English voices for the characters are crap. Change them to Japanese. ‘Nuff

said.

In the end, I liked Sonic Adventure 2, but it could have been even

better. If only they balanced it with a touch more quality in a couple areas

in exchange for all the quantity. But grievances like this don’t take away enough

to ruin the game. There are these beautiful moments where everything seems to

be just right. Where the fastest, most arrogant hedgehog leaves a blue streak

through a technicolor world. And I am a wide-eyed boy again, tagging along for

the race.







REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

3.5
Rating
Sonic levels
Processed, refined eye-crack
180 goals = lots of play
Fun
Baka BAKA (stupid STUPID) camera
Limited story
Flow of the game
Bad voices