I don’t understand you any more, Sega. You make almost as much sense as Capcom these days in terms of delivering content people genuinely want. You don’t get it. It’s okay, though, because you gave us Sonic. The “Stone Cold” Steve Austin to Mario’s Hulk Hogan (minus the sex tape). Sonic is exactly what videogames needed back in the 90’s when lucky boys and girls (myself included) obtained that stealthy-looking Sega Genesis. The words “Not For Resale” printed at the top of the Sonic The Hedgehog box. Opening that bad boy, there was a distinct smell of plastic and brilliance that only early Sega titles could muster. Not only did Sonic usher in the “attitude era” of gaming, his arrival marked a turning point in gaming history. No longer would plumbers dominate the world of gaming heroes.
Sonic Adventure 2, sadly, does not reflect that early Sega brilliance. At the time of release, sure, it was a fun romp through a three-dimensional world, the follow-up to a hugely popular title in the Dreamcast’s lineup. I feel like we’re big Dreamcast fans here at CHUD as Justin practically pees himself over wistful memories of Jet Set Radio. I practically explode when thinking of how much I love Shenmue. That established, I don’t look at these Sega re-releases as fondly as Justin does.
Hey, remember how much fun it was to bowl through robots saving your woodland buddies in the original Sonic games? Take that, add a bizarre alternative version of Sonic named Shadow, afford the player more characters to play as (including my favorite, Knuckles) and put that fun in a three-dimensional space. Surely that same hectic and exciting mayhem of the original titles will translate, right?
Like other three-dimensional platformers, Sonic Adventure 2 places an emphasis on exploration and high-speed mayhem. I never played Mario 64 (I know, I know), but I can imagine that the thrill of playing as the world’s favorite plumber for the first time in glorious dimensionality was intoxicating. I didn’t care, I’m not a Nintendo guy. I went right to Ocarina Of Time.
Sonic, and to a lesser extent, Shadow, are incredibly difficult to control. Knuckles is far more precise, as is Tails, so, I was dismayed at learning that a character I was once so capable of controlling with a gigantic Dreamcast controller was almost unplayable with an Xbox 360 controller. Soaring around d levels is somewhat fun, but the novelty wears off due to the control scheme.
The camera also leaves much to be desired. I understand wanting to re-release titles on modern platforms, but honestly, a little more baking in the oven would do wonders for classic re-releases. Hell, modern games still suffer from a shoddy camera system, so, why not put a small development team on the game and somehow fix a game’s broken system? It doesn’t make sense. Sega owes it to the fans to at least adapt and overcome.
The game looks beautiful. There’s something about those heavily-pixelated furries that just works for me. Knuckles’ model is especially sleek-looking. Enemies are boxy-looking and loaded with sharp edges (think about the enemy fighters in Star Fox 64), but it adds to the odd world of Sonic.
The worlds themselves are lush and vibrant, especially the Chao world, a system I never quite grasped back in the day. It was the same now. I mostly ignored it. That said, running around the levels, soaring around, catching air lifts and collecting items looks great, but in the end, due to a whacky story and horrific voice-acting (not aided by the terrible dialogue).
Somewhat high. The game, like Resident Evil 6, affords players multiple characters to play through. Granted, in Sonic Adventure 2’s case, you either play as good guys or bad guys. That said, you can run through the game (no pun intended) relatively quickly and can see two sides of the same kind of narrative.
Sonic Adventure 2 is a game that should have been shown more love by the developers upon this re-release. While there’s something to be said for “retro” gaming, there’s also something to be said for taking the time to make your product presentable to a mass-audience. Nostalgia is a harsh mistress, and in this case, we are all scorned.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars