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Sonic Adventure 2 Review


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On 11/04/2012 at 12:00 PM by Jon Lewis

I've lived and learned that some things are better left in the past.
RECOMMENDATION:

For diehard Sonic Adventure 2 fans.

I have fond memories of Sonic Adventure 2. The revision, Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, was the first game I ever played on a Nintendo Gamecube, and I remember that moment very clearly. At the time, I swore it was one of the coolest games ever. Running down the side of a building at high speeds? It was awesome to me at the time. On top of that you had two parallel stories that lead to an epic final chapter. I made it a priority to eventually own the game and I did, and I enjoyed it a lot. From the campaign to the Chao garden, I spent a lot more time playing Sonic Adventure 2 than I should have.  Looking through the lens of Sonic Adventure 2 HD, it’s kind of hard to see why I enjoyed the game so much in the first place. 

For those unaware, Sonic Adventure 2 has three story arcs: “Hero” details the adventures of Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles, while the “Dark” story covers the plights of Shadow, Dr. Eggman and Rouge. After completing both of these sections, the “Last” chapter is unlocked which has gameplay with each of the characters, ultimately leading to a pretty epic finale, which I feel, is still pretty cool to this day. 

I admit, I still have a soft spot for this game, but it does not excuse the problems this game has as a whole. The port is largely the same of the Dreamcast version, with the Battle content available as DLC, but that’s about it. Those expecting the game to look considerably better due to being on an HD console might be disappointed. The graphical update only comes off as a minor change, and most of the time I forgot that the game was boasting upgraded visuals. That said, the game still looks pretty decent. No, the game will not blow anyone away, especially with the pre-rendered cutscenes which have aged considerably worse than the game graphics, but I would have appreciated it if they put more effort into making the game look prettier than the original. 

Unfortunately, the gameplay suffers the most. Whether it’s because the game always boasted bad controls or the transition between consoles has something to do with it, it’s clear that the gameplay is flawed, and in some ways, broken. Jumping rarely feels reliable. Sonic and Shadow’s sections tend to be the most fun, but even those have many areas where terrible camera angles and random deaths occur way too often. Tails and Dr. Eggman are placed in Mechs that have unlockable abilities like flight and firepower. Knuckles and Rouge’s sections are treasure hunts, relying on you to find pieces of the Master Emerald in a specific stage. 

In short, I forgot how bad, and how much I didn’t like the Knuckles/Rouge and Tails/Eggman stages of the game, which account for about 75% of the total experience. Those levels completely bog down the experience and make the game much more of a chore to play. Not to mention there are mini-games thrown into the mix as well, like a terribly done driving section. Though there are fond memories attached to these stages, they fail on the most basic of levels and only bring about nostalgia. 

One of the elements of the game that has aged better than the rest is strangely enough the Chao Garden. This pet sim was pretty underrated before, and it actually holds up better than most of the game. Finding orbs and animals in the main stages of the game will let you power up your Chao. Taking care of it can make it Angelic, and being mean to it can make it Evil, so depending on how you treat it, there will be varying effects. Some players may get lost in this mode alone, as Chao garden is not only fun but admittedly adorable.

As I said before, I still like the idea of Sonic Adventure 2. It was a cool game back in the early 2000’s but since then, much better Sonic titles have been released (Sonic Rush, Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations) that make this game age a lot worse in retrospect. Fans who grew up on Sonic Adventure 2 will likely find something to enjoy, but even they will have a hard time overlooking its many shortcomings.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

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