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I recently played the original SA on Xbox One for the first time and loved it. It was a little jank, sure, but I had aged surprisingly well. I had high hopes coming into SA 2. What I found was one of the most annoying games I have ever played.
Most people believe Sonic’s levels to be the high point of the game. While they are at least more fun then the other levels, they’re still pretty bad. Sonic moves slowly, and it feels like it takes forever to build up momentum and then you lose it instantly. Outside of City Escape, it very rarely feels like you’re moving fast. The Spin Dash actually feels more like it slows you down, and the Somersault is just annoying outside of the Biolizard fight. The Homing Attack is somehow less reliable than SA, and while the Lightspeed Dash not needing charging is a good thing on paper, the fact that everything’s on one button means you’re likely to accidentally do the Somersault, or worse, the Bounce.
Tails’ stages are hurt by how clunky the mech feels, especially when compared to Gamma. The lock in also feels much less accurate than it did with Gamma, and although that might be intentional, it means you have to manoeuvre your clunky mech, which is annoying. There is some catharsis in blasting through these enemies, but if I wanted catharsis and to have fun I could play Gamma instead, and usually I do.
Knuckles stages are the worst. The stages are somehow too large (with huge layouts) and too cramped (with tiny hallways), and Knuckles’ absurd speed makes them harder to navigate than they should be. They rarely make use of Knuckle’s abilities, usually being so tall that they put rockets there instead of making the area easier to climb around and almost never using his glide outside of Pumpkin Hill. The emerald radar annoyingly drags the level out. They’re just annoying on every conceivable level.
That said, the game isn’t completely without merit. The music is up to Sonic standards (although the sound mixing usually means it drowns out the characters), the story is one of the best in Sonic and has some of the franchise’s most iconic moments (although the motion capture makes Sonic 06’s mocap look like a masterpiece) and the Biolizard bossfight was fun, reminding me of Hollow Knight’s fights that reward measured aggression (although the inaccurate Homing Attack makes things needlessly hard).
Overall, this game is bad. In all Sonic games, even in 06 and Forces, after getting a rank less than S I’d want to go back to the level and try it again for a higher rank. This game, I just didn’t care. The only thing that made me keep going was the game’s legacy. It’s one of those games where I keep thinking “maybe it’s not as bad as I remember.” and then I play it and find it’s just as bad as I remember. I don't want to touch it again.
Also, Eggman’s Cannon’s Core made my game crash. A 15 year old game crashed on an Xbox One.
I grew up with the PC port of the first game and I feel nostalgia can skew and even blind how we perceived things. Someone like me who played the first Adventure then ran into this one can see the discrepancy though I don't think it's that bad. Just like both there's some things I like and some things I don't but I just prefer the first one.
Story: You have to have a POWERFUL suspension of disbelief because it's all over the place. Characters like Amy Rose and Knuckles the Echidna don't need to be here plot-wise. Things happen because of contrivance and the plot doesn't know what to do with itself. Of course the common feedback for this is that it's a sonic game and you don't play it for the story. Which I say if you're going to have a story in a game I don't ask for something written like Macbeth but freaking try.
Characters: Sonic is the same he's been since the first game. Tails has forgotten all the character development he learned in the first game and resorts back to being the sidekick. Knuckles doesn't need to be hear. Amy doesn't need to be here and I never cared for the character. Shadow the Hedgehog debuts in this game and is arguably the most base splitting character in a video game. Rouge......I don't know she doesn't really give off strong character besides being the series' resident Catwoman (a jewel thief). Eggman's a playable character and the same genius we wish we had today.
Music: Extremely satisfying but I think it lacks the diversity that the first game had. That's not a strike against the game but there's a heavy reliance on the electric guitar.
Conclusion: I've got to say this but the game is really overrated. But people need to understand that overrated doesn't mean bad it just means it gets attention but a little too much than it deserves.
The story takes itself way too seriously for a series about a talking blue hedgehog.
The Sonic/Shadow levels are very linear and automated.
Tails/Eggman's levels consist of walking down narrow hallways in a clunky slow mech. A downgrade from Adventure's Gamma levels.
Knuckles/Rouge's levels are by far the worst in the game, and what ultimately ruins it. The later ones are too big, and the radar has been butchered since Adventure, only detecting one emerald piece at a time.
Level design needed work
Bosses were ok except for the biolizard fights
Music and story were very good for a dream cast game
Many people, critics and fans alike, considers this "the last good Sonic game," a notion which I disagree. Nevertheless, I say this (and its predecessor) is a classic that help define the 3D Sonic.
Gameplay: Sonic and Shadow stages are speedy, platforming-heavy sections that we all know and love, level design and set pieces are timeless; even though they still have poor acceleration and don't have visual cues for homing attacks. Eggman and Tails mini mecha stages are sluggish and repetitive but still a decent, mindless fun. Rouge and Knuckles treasure hunting stages suffers from camera screw especially when hanging on a wall and are even more sluggish than the Tails/Eggman stage (ironic because they can run as fast if not faster than Sonic; worse, if you are unlucky, they can drag out and takes up o 50% of play time. Most boss fights are "meh" to me.
Music: Even though there are platformers that I love more than Sonic (Mega Man for example) I am absolutely in love with the series' music, and this is no exception. City Escape and Live and Learn are so awesome I experienced sugar rush just by listening to them. You'll love Knuckles' songs if you are into cheesy rap. Oddly, Throw It Away is my least favorite Shadow song, or any character song for that matter.
Story: Probably my favorite Sonic plot, although it doesn't say much. I love Shadow's character development in this game; it's a shame he reverts to a jerkass in later games.
Overall: While the game has aged, the speed sections remain enjoyable even by today's standard. My final thought is a 50% great game just like Sonic Unleashed (not sure why that game gets more flak than this one). Ask yourself whether you are willing to endure the Rouge/Knuckle stages to get all the Sonic/Shadow stage before getting this game.
I'm a long time Sonic fan, and I can say without a hint of doubt that this is my favorite Sonic game. Bar none.
The game follows the story of Sonic being mistaken for his newly awakened doppelganger Shadow as he tries to prove his innocence. He tries to foil yet another one of Dr. Robotnik's plots and uncovers a shadowy conspiracy over 50 years old.... What can I say about the story? It's excellent. It feels very cinematic and is surprisingly dark and introspective for a Sonic game. While many may criticize the trend of darker, more plot based Sonic games, I found that direction to be the best thing that could happen to the series, and adds a layer of depth.
On the technical side, the game had pretty good graphics for its time, but it certainly looks dated now, especially its recent HD re-release. However, the levels still look vibrant and realistic and the mediocrity of the cut-scene graphics is overpowered by the quality of the story. The soundtrack is absolutely amazing, easily the best of the series, and a contender for best game soundtrack period. All the songs fit the levels and characters they are associated with and show a broad range without feeling disjointed.
Now for the most important aspect: The gameplay. To be honest, it's a bit of a mixed bag. The Speed levels are all amazing- fast paced adventure at it's finest. The only problem there is the atrocious camera. While most people seem to have a great deal of disdain for the Hunting levels, i quite enjoy them. They have vibrant atmosphere and encourage lots of exploring. They may slow the game down a tad, but it doesn't usually hurt the experience.Usually. Except Mad Space. The levels I tend to like the least are the shooting levels, particularly Tails'. Eggman's levels have better design, and Eggman is just a more enjoyable character to play as in general, so he gets a bit of a pass. In general however, I find them slightly tedious. Still, they are enjoyable in their own way and the game would be quite incomplete without them.
Overall, this game is just one thrill after another, with a gripping story, excellent music and visuals, and exciting gameplay. Its a must have for any gamer.
I give this game 9.5/10 (excellent)
This game was pretty good. The speed stages were fast paced and could provide a good chalenge, and the shooting stages, despite not having the epic feel as the speed stages, were rather smooth, easy to get used to, and pretty unique. The treasure hunting stages aren't that fun in my opinion, but it's two player mode makes up for it since you're trying to find the pieces before your opponent, providing a sense of urgency, and you can have a good time screwing each other over. But singleplayer wise, the majority of the treasure hunting stages are poorly designed, boring, and repetitive, Pumpkin Hill being the only stage with anything of interest. But the lowest point in the gameplay is the bosses. Almost all of them suck. I enjoyed the final fight against Shadow/Sonic, the final Tails/Eggman, and Finalhazard, but besides those all the bosses are either easy to the point of being boring, or repetitive to the point that it gets stale.
The story was alright. The eclipse cannon scene was a little bit shocking, but I feel that the Shadow the hedgehog game did it better (ironic considering how overall, Shadow has a far worse plot), since half the moon being destroyed didn't change the plot of the game at all. Plus the whole biolizard thing didn't even feel necessary. It has no motives, no scheme, it was just... there. And when you get down to it, it didn't leave much of an impact. In the original Sonic Adventure Super Sonic is fighting a god going berserk. Here they're fighting a failed experiment that doesn't have much of a point besides delaying the protaganists. Doesn't help that he comes with virtually no foreshadowing whatsoever. Shadow's redemption also feltr really rushed considering it's basically a gentle request of Amy's that gets him to save the world. I still love this game. Just not as much as Sonic Heroes or Sonic Colors.
Sonic Adventure 2 provides gleeful, fast-paced, undeniably cool action. Or at least, one third of it does while the rest of the game is almost unplayably dull.
In the first level, Sonic tears off part of an airplane, jumps out, and rides the metal down city streets like a snowboard, doing tricks and knocking cars away. And the level only gets more fun from there, culminating in a Crash Bandicoot-style chase into the screen, running from a massive military truck.
OK, next level. Mechs! Those are awesome, right? In theory. The thing is, they are slow, dull, and feel out of place after Sonic's City Escape. The mech is not at all agile, but at least you're shooting stuff, which is inherently fun. Sorta. But nowhere near as fun as the speed levels, so the mech levels end up dragging the whole package down.
The mech levels are easier to muscle through than the unbearable treasure hunting stages, at least. You have a large area around which to glide, climb, and dig to your heart's content. Your heart's content will be reached in about two minutes, at which point you will have found, if you are lucky, one or two shards. And the radar system has been, erhem, updated, so that the radar only beeps for the shards in order. You could be standing right on top of the third shard and the game would not tell you to dig until you have found the first two. And these levels, particularly later in the game, are massive, and you will be spending a huge chunk of time gliding around the level, searching and searching… hey, remember those speed levels? Those were fun. They're your motivation, in fact, and without them you wouldn't even be playing.
In a nutshell, the speed levels, which take up about ten of the game's thirty or so levels, are the only fun part of the game, and they are the only reason to try trudging through all the others. Thankfully the game has a solid soundtrack, with the last two boss fights having suitably epic songs. But is it all worth it? Maybe once. Just so you can open all the speed levels, get A-ranks in all of Sonic and Shadow's missions, and never touch any of the other levels ever again. If the game were just the speed levels, it would be a spectacular yet short game. But with all the gunk in between them the game is a low point in Sonic's saga.
I recieved SA 2 for my tenth birthday, and believe it or not, my opinion of it has actually been lowering over the years. I do enjoy the game still, but I find it disappointing compared with almost every other 3D Sonic title I've played. Bear in mind, however, that I have not played 06, Secret Rings, Black Knight, or any of the Riders Games.
The story begins chronologically after an intro level featuring a fully playable (!) Eggman. He unleashes series newcomer and fan favorite, Shadow the Hedgehog, and together, the two plan to conquer the world. Shadow goes to steak a Chaos Emerald to facilitate this, and the military mistakes him for Sonic, leading to his arrest and the dragging of the heroes into the mix.
By and large, the plot is rather bad, which is a shame, since it takes itself more seriously than any other game in the series (save for 06 and Shadow). For instance, the final boss is a Giant Space Flea From Nowhere, the heroes pilot a conveniently placed space shuttle in a base that has a teleporter anyway, and a few of the Dark side missions are conspicuous padding, whereas you recieve three Emeralds fairly quickly, making the entire thing lack any sort of pace.
The gameplay is subdivided into 3 parts: Speed (run to the goal), Mech (shoot stuff until the goal), and Hunting (find stuff) Missions. My opinion follows the majority: Speed and Mech are generally good, Hunting is generally bad. Level design is very competent, save for a few mostly harmless bugs and glitches, along with some tediously large hunting missions in the end. Control is mostly fine as well, though I would have preferred Sonic Adventure's looser, more breakneck feel in the speed and mech missions.
The soundtrack is consummately fantastic, though again, I prefer SA 1's. There are even a few remixed Sonic Adventure songs here, and they all sound worse to me. I will praise E.G.G.M.A.N. though; it's an awesome theme. The voice acting is similarly excellent, though the dialogue can sound kind of awkward at times. ("Why so melancholy?"... seriously, who uses the word "melancholy" in casual conversation?)
Overall, there's plenty of fun to be had in SA 2, but there's a lot more fun to be had in some of Sonic's other 3D titles. I'm in the minority here, but pick up SA 1 before you play this. If you like it, you'll like this too, but it's the better game.
I had a love->hate relationship with the original Sonic Adventure. After my initially ecstatic opinion of the game turned sour, I started to desire something that had more of the elements that made the 2D Sonic games fun. An emphasis on straightforward action with levels progressing immediately after another. Multiple routes to take in a level, and hidden areas to look for. A level select to jump to your favorite levels and continue playing from there.
I got all that with this game. I just wish they'd gone further.
The adventure fields were ditched. Instead of roaming around and looking for a level, you go to them directly. Levels are longer, and the level design is a lot more tight. While there aren't really any major alternate routes to take, there's moments where you get to split up and take different paths briefly before they recombine, which addresses the issue but doesn't reach the level of the Genesis games. And the game rewards fancy stunts and skilled movement and platforming, with hidden items, more well-hidden alternate routes that can only be reached by fancy jumping (especially in Final Rush).
But it's not quite there. Remember how you had to play as different characters and gameplay styles in the original Sonic Adventure? While there's nothing quite approaching "going fishing as Big the Cat", the gameplay style changes in each level. Two levels have you driving a car down a very linear road with no alternate routes at all. Many levels have you searching for hidden pieces of an emerald in what later become some rather enormous levels. And there's also levels where you ride a mech and shoot enemies. While these are all action-oriented gameplay styles, I still feel the game would have been a lot better if you only played a Sonic-like style of gameplay all throguhout, with character differences (i.e. Knuckles gliding and climbing walls, Tails flying) accounted for, like on the Genesis.
The original Sonic Adventure was experimental - very flawed, but very creative. This game plays it more safe, but the constant gameplay style switching holds it back a bit from how fun it could have been. Still, not including the fan-made Sonic Robo Blast 2, this is the closest Sonic has gotten to recreating the classic Genesis style of gameplay in 3D.
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