Since HD remakes are all the craze, it seemed obvious that it was only a matter of time before Sega would re-release their Dreamcast hit Sonic Adventure 2. The game has aged 11 years since its original release, but does it still hold the charm of the original, or is just another release to cash in on some quick coin? Stay tuned and find out…
Sonic Adventure 2 is actually like two games. You can play either the “Hero” or the “Dark” stories. Each story mode consists of three different mission types; play as either Sonic or Shadow and race through some crazy 3D levels, as Tails and “Eggman” shooting up robots and whatever else happens to be in the way, and as Knuckles and Rogue who are tasked with acquiring items found scattered throughout the level. Sounds simple enough, and really doesn’t offer any kind of “brain” challenge, but that is what we expect from games like these.
What I liked
Well, there wasn’t much joy I found in this title, other than the price tag, and the fact that it was another Sonic game to play. The Sonic/Shadow missions are enjoyable, as they recreate the fast-paced game-play of the previous side-scrolling Sonic platformers. However, even with the HD in the title, the graphics still look dated. Once you finish the Story Mode (which is like pulling teeth at times), the game really does open up and get better. All of the levels get alternative objectives for the player to complete, such as finding hidden Chao in each level, which gives a sense of re-playability if only in the form of Emblems. Emblems are rewards for completing a level, and can only be used to acquire unique Chao eggs from the Chao Black Market. It’s not much, but at least it’s some sort of reward. The one feature that kept me interested for a bit was the Chao Garden, a sort of Spore-style addition. In each level, you find small animals, which you give to the Chao. Their stats then begin to grow. If you give a few of the same creature, then that Chao will take on unique features that will increase it’s Power stats. It sounds complicated, but it really isn’t, and makes trudging through some boring content much more worthwhile.
What I didn’t like
The Boss fights are absolutely atrocious You either figure out the bosses weakness, and down him in a matter of seconds, or you struggle for minutes on end trying to figure out just what the hell to do. The monotony of the fights is staggering, and fights pretty much consist of exploiting the boss’ weakness five times in order to destroy it. Kart racing found its way into the game, but it is to be avoided. It is as bare-bones as it can possibly get, but unlike Crash Team Racing or Mario Kart, there aren’t any power-ups, so it’s just a matter of racing around a track. The games soundtrack was pretty bad, and I was forced to just turn the music off, as hearing the same song over and over can become really annoying.
If you are a fan of the original, or you are big on Sonic games, than Sonic Adventure 2 might just be worth your time. Otherwise, it is best to be avoided. With sub-par graphics, horrible cart racing, and monotonous boss fights, this game tries to be cater to a wider array of gamers, but falling short on almost every attempt.
Sonic Adventure 2 is available on the PlayStation Network for $9.99 USD, or on Xbox Live Arcade for 800 MS Points. Review copy provided by Sega.