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Sonic Adventure 2 (XBLA/PSN): The Retro Review

(SPOILER WARNING: This review contains unmarked spoilers. The game is over a decade old and well-known amongst our readers, so we deemed it unnecessary to refrain from spoilers. If you’ve never played the game before, you’ve been warned.)

In a franchise like Sonic that has been on such a rollercoaster of quality for the past twenty years, Sonic Adventure 2 somehow sticks out in the franchise as possibly the most polarizing game in the series. To one part of the fanbase, it’s the pinnacle of Sonic. Because it was the first major Sonic title on a Nintendo platform, many people cite SA2 as their introduction to the franchise. And yet to others, the game symbolizes the start of everything that nearly killed the franchise forever. So as I review Sega’s recent digital rerelease of Sonic Adventure 2 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, I feel it’s necessary to frame the game in context.

Outside of the broader fanbase context, I – like many others – have my own personal relationship with SA2. I was but a wee child when it first came out for the Dreamcast in 2001, and I spent a frightening number of hours engrossed in the game. It wasn’t my first exposure to the series; that title goes to Sonic 2 on the Genesis, whose predecessor and sequels received a similarly obsessive amount of my attention. In fact, the sole reason I asked for a Dreamcast for Christmas in 2000 was so that I could play the original Adventure. So, being the fanatic little child I was, Sonic Adventure 2 earned a special, fuzzy, nostalgiatastic place in my heart. The question, then, is: eleven years later, can it keep it?

The answer: No.

So, let’s start with the gameplay. Sonic Adventure 2‘s stages are split in to three types: action (Sonic/Shadow), shooting (Tails/Eggman), and treasure hunting (Knuckles/Rouge). Oh, and the odd kart driving bit for god knows why. Of these three (or four) types of stages, only one contains the slightest semblance of what one might call “fun”, those being the action stages. These levels play much like the Sonic stages in the original Adventure – run around as a high-speed hedgehog, homing attack bad guys, abuse spin dash for the sake of speedrunning. The most notable addition to the mix is grinding, which debuted in this game complete with sponsorship from grinding-shoes maker Soap (more on that later), and in this incarnation had a Tony Hawk-esque balancing system that never seemed to actually cause you to fall off a rail but just tediously slow down. Its death in more recent titles is not mourned. Overall the controls are a bit tighter than the first game, though at high speeds, any errant movement on the analog stick can still send you careening off the edge of a stage to your death (a problem not fixed until Sonic Unleashed, where your analog stick gets less sensitive the faster you go to accommodate for this). Another major, glaring design flaw is that nearly every action in the game that isn’t jumping or homing attacking is mapped to a single context-sensitive button. Yes, light dashing, bounce attacking, somersaulting, and spin dashing are all on the exact same button. If you are trying to perform a light dash over a pit in Crazy Gadget, you can only pray that the context sensitivity system doesn’t fail and you just bounce attack to your death. The biggest problem with the action stages, however, lies in the level design. Sonic Adventure 2 began a trend in the series (often attributed to Dimps) of painfully linear level design and excessive amounts of bottomless pits. There are very few, if any, alternate routes through most levels. I actually played Sonic Adventure 2 live on a stream in preparation for this review, where a viewer commented that they can tell where I am in the level just by listening because it’s the same route every single time. Combine this with, say, Final Rush, where the entire level is basically rails and small platforms over a massive bottomless pit, and you have a recipe for some of the most uninteresting level design in the franchise’s history. Still, despite these problems, there’s a certain inherent fun to be had in zipping around levels, light-dashing rings, and homing attacking across enemies. Sadly, despite these being the only enjoyable portions of the game, they only make up a third of the stages. Welp.

Let’s move on to the shooting sections of the game. I’ll introduce these thusly: the first of these stages you encounter involves boy genius and anthropomorphic fox Miles “Tails” Prower piloting a walking mech that doubles as a bi-plane as he infiltrates a top-secret military base and commits acts of terrorism. That should tell you everything you need to know. A holdover from Sonic Adventure the first, a game which also suffered from severe identity issues, shooting stages return in Sonic Adventure 2 with Tails and Eggman (albeit in walking mechs) as your playable avatars. The controls are quite simple: hold or spam the action (X/B or square/circle, depending on your platform) to shoot, A/cross to jump or hover, analog stick to move. Moving is incredibly clunky, and god forbid you have to turn around, because your character will come to a full stop for a good second or so and awkwardly change direction, presumably in an attempt to capture that real piloting-a-mech feel. Combat is completely boring and uninteresting, consisting entirely of bashing the “shoot” button until everything is dead, at which point a door will open or something, who cares. Your health system operates on rings, kind of, except not really; you start with a full health meter at the start of each level – taking damage decreases your health, picking up rings increases it, and there are items to fully restore your health in some levels. The abundance of rings in most levels means that you are far more likely to die from falling in a pit than because of any actual difficulty in maintaining your health. This makes sense in Sonic stages, where the difficulty was never about staying alive but in getting a good rank or time, but in these slower shooting stages where going fast is not a focus, having a poor combat system and meaningless health system are symptomatic of a complete lack of thought given to the design.

Finally we have the treasure hunting stages, represented by Knuckles the Echidna and TitsRouge the Bat. Like the other two types of stages, these also return from the first Adventure title, except that somehow these actually manage to be worse than their predecessors. You see, the gameplay of these stages consists of three pieces of the Master Emerald being scattered around the stage, and having to use your various abilities (as well as hints you can get from monitors) to seek them out. In order to help find them, you are given a radar that indicates when one is close by. In the original Adventure title, this radar would indicate when you were near any of the three pieces of the Emerald, and had five levels of sensitivity so you know just how close you are. Adventure 2, on the other hand, only lets you search for one piece at a time, and only has three levels of sensitivity. I can only imagine they limited the radar to one emerald a time to lengthen the stages and thus frustrate the player, who wishes to blow through these stages as quickly as possible to get to the next Sonic stage. A special shout-out goes to Rouge’s final stage, Mad Space. This level contains spherical planets à la Mario Galaxy that you can hunt around, except that the gravity on these planets is janky as all hell (as in, even jankier than the game usually is), and once you’re on a planet, getting off of it is a complete pain in the ass. On top of that, the hints given in the stage are all false or in reverse, only adding to the irritation. Readers, please, join me in giving this stage a good, old-fashioned “f#@% you.”

Oh, and this kind of stage appears only twice, but must be at least touched upon: kart driving. Presumably because they had an engine sitting around from Twinkle Park in the original game and didn’t know what else to do with it, the game contains one kart driving stage per story (and a subsequently unlocked full-fledged kart racing mode). Both levels are nearly indistinguishable and mind-numbingly dull, set on the emptiest representation of the Golden Gate Bridge ever seen in a video game, as you drive either a car version of Tails’s Cyclone or a vehicle for Rouge that can only be described as phallic. The controls are… passable, but incredibly bare-bones; “accelerate” and “drift” are even mapped to a single button (double-tap accelerate to drift). As mentioned, there’s also a more extensive kart racing mode with more characters, multiplayer, and multiple tracks – again, nigh indistinguishable – that you unlock after beating the stages in the main story. I don’t know why you’d play this over an actual kart racing game unless there was some kind of apocalyptic scenario in which all kart racing games were wiped from the face of the earth and Sonic Adventure 2 stands alone as the sole survivor.

Now to address some of the issues with the game that affect every character. First of all is the upgrade system. The original pitch for the Sonic Adventure series was that it would be a Sonic and Knuckles RPG. By the time Sonic Adventure 2 came out, that idea had long since been stuffed in the rubbish bin, but odd little pieces like this remain. Basically, as you progress through the game, you find “upgrades” for your character that give them extra abilities. Sonic gets the light dash, for instance, while Knuckles gets the ability to dig, Tails gets the ability to hover, and so on. Some of the upgrades are essential to progress (like the light dash), while others have limited utility (like the light attack), and still others are completely useless in every imaginable scenario and I can’t even fathom why they exist (Magic Hand). All in all, the system is fairly pointless and frankly all of them should just be unlocked from the start. Early stages are a chore to go through without some of them.

Second is asset reuse. Oh god, the asset reuse. Sonic Adventure 2 recycles content left and right throughout the game. Count the number of times you go through the exact same corridor in Eternal Engine. Which, by the way, uses almost the exact same assets as Crazy Gadget. Which is the same as Lost Colony. Oh, except Lost Colony is a bit darker, I guess. This sort of thing is rampant throughout the game. Wild Canyon and Dry Lagoon are the exact same stage with a different appearance. Sky Rail and Pumpkin Hill use the same basic layout except at a different time of day and with more grind rails. City Escape and Radical Highway merge to form Mission Street. The core of the Eclipse Cannon is just the emerald shrine from Sonic Adventure 1. I could go on and on. It feels like the game’s art team operated on a five dollar budget, which, given how Sega was doing at the time, may not be far from the truth.

Speaking of asset reuse, let’s talk about enemy variety. Classic Sonic games were filled with enemy variety. Each stage had different enemies, they all had different behavior, they had unique and cute designs, little animals popped out, it was good times for everyone involved. Sonic Adventure 2 throws all that out the damn window. Every stage is riddled with boringly designed “military” robots, except for the desert stages, which recycle badniks (and, for some reason, E-102 Gamma) from the original Sonic Adventure. Some of these enemies are just homing attack fodder, others shoot at you so slowly and infrequently that it’s as if they just can’t put their heart into it, others shoot at you but also have shields, and all of them are completely snore-inducing. And when you destroy them, from their rubble emerges a glowstick you can give to your Chao so they can attract more mating partners at Chao raves.

Oh man, you guys. You guys! Chao are in this game!

Look at these adorable little guys. This is the meat of the game right here. The rest of the game is just filler so you can get rings and Chaos Drives and animals for your Chao buddies. You pet them, you feed them, you race them, you pit them against each other in karate, you make them angels or devils, you breed them, you send them to kindergarten, you buy them toys. It’s basically the highlight of the game. In every level, you can find three Chao Boxes. The first gets you a key to enter the Chao Garden, the second gets you a handful of animals for your Chao, and the third gets you a rare, special animal. If you have a Chao Key when you reach the end of the level, you then get transported to Chao World, where you can enter the Chao Garden and raise your Chao. Feeding them raises their stamina, giving them Chaos Drives (glowsticks) and animals affects their stats (flying, strength, speed and so on), different animals alter their appearance (giving them a rabbit may give them bunny ears, or giving them a skunk may give them a black and white tail), and raising them with different characters affects their good/evil status. It’s surprisingly intricate for what is basically a distraction from the base game. It’s understandable that the Chao Garden has not returned in subsequent Sonic titles, but it boggles my mind that they have not spun this off. Imagine a smartphone Chao game with microtransactions to buy fruit and animals and toys for your Chao. You could own the world, Sega.

Since I think my overall point has been made about the gameplay, let’s move on to the story. The gimmick of the game is that there’s two story modes, one telling the hero (Sonic/Tails/Knuckles) side of the tale, and the other the “dark” side (Shadow/Rouge/Eggman), and of course a final story that ties them together. No amount of mockery or sarcasm could express just how outright insane the plot of this game is more adequately than a straight, factual overview of one character’s backstory, so here we go.

Sonic Adventure 2 debuted the franchise’s most popular character, Shadow the Hedgehog. Shadow is a genetically engineered hedgehog designed on a space colony fifty years ago by Eggman’s grandfather as part of a research project to create the ultimate life form and find a cure for the Sonic universe’s equivalent of AIDS. (No, seriously.) Shadow is immortal and can use large magical jewels to stop the flow of time and warp from location to location. When he was on the space colony, he was best friends with a young human girl named Maria who suffered from AIDS – I mean, uh, NIDS – and taught him to love humanity. He continually angsts over her murder by the military throughout the game and, due to memory loss caused by fifty years in stasis as a military captive, believes Maria wanted him to avenge her death and destroy humanity. Did I mention he is a genetically engineered magical immortal rodent? Because this is important. Also the prototype version of him was a giant lizard, and the climax of the game involves that lizard having an entire space colony shoved up its rectum. Sonic Adventure 2, everybody.

If you want to know where all the awful furry drama nonsense found in later titles started, look no further. The pseudo-realistic settings, the angst-driven stories, fuzzy animals piloting weaponized vehicles, it all has its roots in SA2. Even the original Sonic Adventure, for all its faults, still had a lot of whimsy. There were badniks, there were giant twirling pathways in the sky, there was pinball, there was a volcano prison thing with these dudes made out of hoops or something, there was a giant theme park with a roller coaster and bowling. Eggman’s main motive was to build Eggmanland, he had a flying fortress, you had to bounce on his robots’ heads and free your animal buddies and reach the capsule at the end of the stage. The sequel, in contrast, is set in unimaginative, “realistic” city streets, military bases, and desert pyramids, with a derelict space colony sprinkled in for good measure. The story revolves around weapons of mass destruction, military secrets, escaping from prison, a genetically engineered hedgehog, blowing up the moon, blackmailing the president, a flying rodent with boob physics, espionage, and AIDS. SA2 marks the point where Sonic Team stopped trying to make classic Sonic titles and tried to make the series more quote-unquote “mature”, and boy did it fail. Unfortunately, the game amassed such a fanbase that later titles like Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic 2006 carried over all the flaws of the Adventure games and amplified them tremendously.

On a more upbeat note, no review of Sonic Adventure 2 is complete without discussing the game’s soundtrack. It’s a compilation of music filled with guilty-pleasure earworms like City Escape’s vocal track, the punk-rock vibes of Green Forest, and the cheesy 80’s rock anthem Live and Learn that serves as the game’s theme song. Each character has their own sort of “theme genre”: Sonic’s music is usually fast-paced, jazzy rock tunes; Tails has more upbeat, keyboard-centric themes; Shadow has darker, electronica-infused rock; Rouge has effeminate pop music; Eggman has slow, methodical power rock. And Knuckles, well…

Tomoya Ohtani, future sound director for Sonic 2006 and Sonic Unleashed and all around excellent composer, made his Sonic franchise debut with Sonic Adventure 2, and primarily wrote all of the magnificent rap themes that accompany the Knuckles stages. Whether these tracks are so-bad-they’re-bad or so-bad-they’re good generally depends on who you ask, but I personally fall squarely in to the latter camp. It’s these sorts of little things that keep a smile on my face while playing SA2 instead of hurling the controller out of my window out of frustration. On the whole, the soundtrack is memorable, if a bit bland and generic at times. This game’s soundtrack, in keeping with its theme of setting the stage for the awful titles that would follow, leaned a bit too heavily towards generic 80’s rock music and lacked the variety and general greatness that the soundtracks for titles like Sonic Unleashed or Colors would later have.

Graphics for this rerelease hail from Sonic Adventure 2: Battle for the GameCube. The end result is that a few models, particularly the character models, receive a nice boost in polygon count, and a few textures here and there are changed relative to the Dreamcast original. The game holds up about as well as you would expect a game from 2001 to hold up. The texture work in particular is quite nice. I’ve already made my complaints about the uninspired art direction in this game, but from a technical perspective, the textures scale surprisingly well. Basically nothing has been changed or updated in the art department, however, so don’t expect it to look substantially better than the GameCube version.

The new edition also bumps the resolution of the game up to 720p (at a full 60fps!), adds 16:9 support, and updates a few odd ends such as the HUD and item box capsules to look a bit nicer at the higher resolution. There’s a few other quirks as well. The original game featured numerous instances where two characters would talk over each other due to poor dubbing; several of these have been corrected, at least partially. Also, in places where Omochao gives the player directions about what buttons to press, his dialogue is muted because they couldn’t rerecord his dialogue for the PlayStation 3 controller which obviously has a dramatically different button layout. Not that I’m complaining, since the less Omochao talks the better.

The most noteworthy change from the original game is the complete removal of all advertisement for Soap. During the game’s development, Sega’s budget was severely lacking. The Dreamcast survived only because Sega could not yet bear to put it out of its misery, and cash inflow was poor. So to fund the development of Sonic Adventure 2, Sega signed a sponsorship agreement with Soap, a manufacturer of shoes that had built-in grind plates. In exchange for extra funding, Sonic donned a new (and hideous) pair of shoes loosely modeled after Soap’s own products, and billboards for the company were sprinkled throughout the game. Fast forward ten years, and Soap as a company essentially no longer exists, thus all their billboards have been replaced with generic Sonic Team ads.

Going back to the aforementioned 16:9 support: while the game itself always runs in widescreen, a substantial number of cutscenes sadly still play in 4:3. Several of these are the prerendered video cutscenes that would have to be totally rerendered in widescreen, while others used MPEG videos to overlay effects on the cutscene, and those videos would similarly have to be redone for proper widescreen support. It’s not surprising that Sega didn’t put a lot of effort in to redoing these scenes, and frankly a lack of widescreen is the least of my problems with the cutscenes in this game.

While the new release is advertised as a rerelease of the Dreamcast version, it’s actually based upon Sonic Adventure 2: Battle for the GameCube. The title screen has been reworked to resemble the original release, but the graphics, level layouts, and features all come from the 2002 update. Particularly keen-eyed fans will notice that the Big the Cat cameos removed from Battle have largely been restored in this new version, but aside from that, what you get is Sonic Adventure 2: Battle with some of the GameCube version’s additions stripped out and sold separately. This means that, yes, you have to buy the additional Battle DLC to actually get all the emblems in the game, as well as get some multiplayer features and Chao Karate (plus the DLC changes the title screen to the Battle version). This review was done with the Battle DLC, but unless you’re a completionist or really love the multiplayer, you really won’t miss the extra features. And the original title screen is way cooler anyway. Notably absent, with or without the DLC, is any kind of intro sequence – an odd omission considering the image of Shadow with his arms crossed atop the Golden Gate Bridge is likely burned in to the minds of many fans of the game. (Note: apparently the intro does play if you leave the game on the title screen, but not when you start the game as the original did. Thanks to CyberLink420 in the comments.)

As far as special additions in this port, there’s not much. Aside from widescreen and 720p support, this is basically the same game you played ten years ago. There’s no online multiplayer, for example. There are leaderboards, if only because Xbox Live Arcade requires them. The game does include a special making-of bonus video, like the recent Jet Set Radio and NiGHTS rereleases, but the video is terribly short and gives very little in the way of new information about the game’s development, aside from a single mildly amusing anecdote about parking tickets. All in all, if you already own the game, there’s little added value.

I’d love to talk about the multiplayer mode, but sadly I didn’t have anyone to play it with for this review, something an actual online mode would’ve solved. Most of my criticisms of the main game still apply, however. The short version: you can race against each other as Sonic and Shadow, try to find the emerald pieces first as Knuckles and Rouge, and shoot each other to death as Tails and Eggman, with a few bonus characters with slightly different stats thrown in the mix and power-ups based on how many rings you get. It can be mildly fun to play with friends, but few games aren’t.

So what’s the verdict? All things considered, Sonic Adventure 2 is a poor game. Ten years ago, when she was young, there was the odd facial feature or mole that you could do your best to ignore by turning the lights off when you bedded her. But ten years later, and gravity and age have not been kind to her. Even a paper bag can’t make you ignore those saggy cheeks and uncomfortably thick wrinkles. In other words, it’s a dated game that was only okay for its time and pretty subpar today. Which isn’t to say it’s irredeemably terrible – there are far worse games out there, even just in this franchise. And some may even find a B-movie sort of charm in how seriously it takes itself and how silly it actually is. But from a modern standpoint, it’s simply not a good game. If you have a copy of this game that you can play already, the new additions do not warrant the cost. If you’ve never played it before, it’s probably not worth your time. About the only person I could confidently recommend this to is someone who is already a big fan of the game and doesn’t have their old copy anymore so they can relive some childhood memories.

(Side note: 4200+ words and I didn’t even mention how awful the camera is. If I write any further on this game I think I may very well end my life, so suffice it to say: the camera is pretty bad.)

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This review is based off the PlayStation Network rerelease of Sonic Adventure 2, including the Battle DLC.

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83 Comments

  • Reply

    I don’t understand this obsession with comparing something older to so-called “modern standards”. If a game is truly bad or lacking now, it was truly bad or lacking then.

    Any given work only makes sense in the context of its time period; otherwise, bandwagoning and pure luck step in to give the work whatever place The Powers That Be wish of it.

    • Reply

      See, here’s my problem with that.

      “I don’t understand this obsession with comparing something older to so-called “modern standards”. If a game is truly bad or lacking now, it was truly bad or lacking then.”

      This is simply not the case. The original Zelda was considered incredible in 1986. Have someone play it today and they’ll find it incredibly frustrating and probably lose interest because it’s so directionless. As the level of talent and quality increases throughout the industry, standards are raised, and faults that were passable before no longer are. This is true in any industry, not just gaming.

      “Any given work only makes sense in the context of its time period; otherwise, bandwagoning and pure luck step in to give the work whatever place The Powers That Be wish of it.”

      Except that by rereleasing the game on XBLA/PSN, Sega is going to introduce it to a whole class of people who did not play it in 2001. Their context for the game, and the broader context for this release of it, is going to be among the games of 2012.

    • Reply

      it does apply to any industry, which is why it’s such a giant issue; it doesn’t “work” at all in any context except a joke. it is precisely because of these so-called “rising standards”; you simply cannot properly judge something outside of the standards by which the thing is made, or else you remove the thing from its context entirely. on top of that, people tend to forcibly pervert whatever the thing stood for, solely for the sake of it.

      sega rereleasing the game changes nothing; comparing a rerelease to other 2012 games is the same trap, the same problem. i absolutely am saying that many people cannot understand the context of something because “they weren’t there” or “they don’t know”; this almost cannot be helped.

  • Reply

    Honestly… I don’t know what’s so great about chao gardens, even when i played this game back in 2001, i didn’t give a fuck about the chao gardens, i though it was irrelevant and kinda… Gay. I don’t buy Sonic games to play tamagochi, i buy Sonic games to play Sonic, and only that.

  • Reply

    This is, bar none, the best review of this title I have ever seen, both in terms of absolutely nailing it as well as being refreshingly and critically thorough. Bravo.

    • Reply

      You’d think you’d get biased reviews on a sonic website but it’s quite the opposite

  • Reply

    Correction: the intro IS in the game; it just doesn’t play automatically. You have to sit on the title screen for a little while to trigger it.

    • Reply

      Thanks, noted.

    • Reply

      The version I played didn’t have the DLC on it, but it played the original Dreamcast intro (which was just the logo forming in space). I’m guessing getting the DLC switches it to the Battle version.

  • Reply

    Why does every review of a Sonic game, even on the franchises own fansite, start off with a generic “well Sonic has had a rough couple of years” or “Sonic has had his ups and downs” et cetera? The only really bad games are the storybook series and 06, (which if you take out the loading screens and ignore some of the bugs it really isnt that bad, but wait, BANDWAGONS) and the numerous spinoffs really cant be taken as seriously as a main series title. Honestly if so much nitpicking hadnt accumulated over the years by group thinking on video game forums, this review would be drastically different. Back when this game came out and even now I, nor my friends who played this game with me all the time, gave 2 shits about bottomless pits or recycled textures because bullshit like that does not affect the enjoyability of the game, which when it comes down to it is really the only legitimate point of a game review. Heres my review: “The game is fun as hell!”

    • Reply

      This review wasn’t meant to be a smear campaign, my freind. He was giving a technical review for those who have never played it, and wish to know if its worth buying. If you like it, then that’s wonderful for you. Dont put on your nostalgia glasses and go full force at him for trying to help others out.

      By the by, he mentioned the “Dark years” for Sonic because this game was the supposed root of the franchises near failure ( Which , of course, is all opinion). Also ,

      “Honestly if so much nitpicking hadnt accumulated over the years by group thinking on video game forums, this review would be drastically different”

      That is complete garbage and you know it.

    • Reply

      Gaming standards have changed over the years. Just saying”The game is fun as hell!” doesn’t really show what the game could mean to others or how it is as fun as you say. This was definitely a well done and detailed review, because it wasn’t just a fangush “OHMIGERD SA2 IN HD” review. The best thing I would recommend is: Removing the Nostalgia Goggles. Maybe then you could see that most things don’t hold up 12 years from when it was released…..

    • Reply

      Think this through for a bit before also jumping the gun. “Having nostalgia goggles” != you’re in the wrong for liking the game. You’re more than welcome to like SA2 if that’s your cup of tea. Although its meaning has been SEVERELY distorted thanks to countless mindless Internet arguments, having nostalgia goggles is usually directed to the people who do like a game but refuse to accept any sort of discussion that there are flaws or problems with the game. The ones that seem to fall into that camp are the ones that write off this review as “lol retro being curmudgeon-y again” instead of being, “…okay, so the game has some serious flaws. I still like it though!”

      Shoot, I could read to you a list of problems with the Genesis games but still tell you I like them because they’re fun. Nothing wrong with that.

      The same goes for the other side of the coin too, guys. No need to pressure the guys and girls who like SA2 into thinking they’re beasts and heathens for doing so. Yeah, I’m guilty of ribbing them, but never in malice. People are entitled to like what they like.

  • Reply

    I 96%~ agree with this review. I disagree on the story, and would say it’s good in its own right (though only good, nothing special). I’m a little curious as to why you didn’t touch at all upon the total lack of Adventure Fields (outside of Chao World) in this game, and how that added to the linearity (even if it helped speed the game up).

    I would also like to add that the Miles/Eggman stages are actually basically fun—they just suffer from repetition and length; if they were all 1 & a half to 2 minutes long, they would be significantly more enjoyable. Though admittedly the original formula for Gamma and his stages in the first SA actually worked and was really fun, and Sega seriously screwed up in not recreating that formula properly.

    Also, in general Knuckles’s and Rouge’s stages are too aimless and deserted or labyrinthian, and definitely too tedious, BUT Wild Canyon and Dry Lagoon are actually good stages.

    Lastly, bosses. You didn’t talk about the bosses, which I think were a highlight of the game, as most of them were fun, and only a few too long/hard. They’re definitely not the best in Sonic game bosses, but they were still good.

    My two cents.

  • Reply

    And thus, I suddenly remember why I had stopped visiting Sonic fan sites in the first place.

    I personally find it a bit sad that many retro Sonic fans (which I somewhat consider myself to be, if in name only) pride themselves on isolating nearly any fan that has a slightly different view point on a game’s quality from the norm. I absolutely LOVE (read: sarcasm) how the author pointed out that this game is considered “divisive” by the community, acknowledging that a good lot of people love this game, and then goes on to tear it apart, indirectly stating that anyone who enjoys the game for any reason not mentioned by him is an outright moron and has no sense of what makes a game good, or what “makes a Sonic game good.”
    Even if it were a more notoriously bad game, like Sonic ’06, I think there’s a way to point out a game’s flaws without insulting the few who may enjoy it. Heck, if somebody out there loves “E.T.: The Extraterrestrial” for the Atari, a generally-considered terrible game, I still think the opinions of the individual can be respected without calling him “wrong.”

    Just a general problem I have with the community. Sad too, since I love Sonic games. I just dislike the fanbase’s attitude.

    • Reply

      While you’re the one grasping at straws trying to make the connection between detailed criticism and insulting people and their opinions, I guess the only thing left to say is: if the shoe fits…

    • Reply

      agreed. We sonic fans are fucking crazy and passionate about the games. I hate the fanbase but love the games. 06 aside from the point(how I enjoyed that game when I was younger I will never know)

    • Reply

      THANK YOU. If you differ in opinion suddenly you’re the one with “nostalgia goggles” on and you’re wrong. Its really aggravating.

    • Reply

      In no way is any part of this review meant to insult those who like the game; the closest I come is saying that the popularity of Sonic Adventure 2 resulted in games like Shadow and 06 (which it most likely did, since both of those games take heavy inspiration from both Adventure titles, and if the Adventure titles weren’t so loved Sega would’ve likely gone a different direction). Nowhere in the review do I say people who disagree are stupid, or wrong, or that I know best about what makes a great Sonic game. Everything in my review – as in any review ever in the history of the universe – is strictly one author’s opinion and you are welcome to disagree.

  • Reply

    Sonic Retro has a bug up it’s as always. Little girls=Sonic Retro

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      Minus the well thought out reasoning for such an opinion as the review shared, I’d say you are suffering from the same ailment.

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    Frankly, even though the chao garden was amazing in SA2, it was build upon the original NiGHTs into dreams A-life system. So basically, the only great part of the game was in fact a reuse/update.

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    Meh, I like SA2 a lot and I’m not blinded by nostalgia at all. To be honest I haven’t even played it until around 2010. Just preferences. I do not believe in “aging” that’s just stupid. It’s view point differences.

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    Still think its the best 3D sonic game. It did so many things right. Not saying I want to go back to the style of gameplay it has, but all things considered, sure its an old game, sure it hasn’t aged well but this is a port. It may not keep up with modern standards but that hasn’t stopped people from enjoying it.

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    I disagree with this review thus I find it offensive to what I think of this commercial product. I shall use this as an example as to why all Sonic fans on this site are imbeciles compared to the group of people that agree with me on this subject.

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    I’ve taken the time to replay the game, and the only dreadful parts are the mech levels, the karting levels and the space / Egyptian hunting levels. The rest is pretty fun. It sucks though that the upgrade system prevents you from actually seeing some of the alternate routes in the level. I was pleasantly surprised when I used Mystic Melody in Crazy Gadget.

    Overall, I feel that Sonic Adventure 2 should have a gameplay review for each third, then an overall review complaining about why SEGA was retarded enough to shove it all into one clusterfuck.

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    Agree and disagree. The reviewer appears to have very different values than I do. Here’s a choice quote from the Tails/Eggman stages:

    “Combat is completely boring and uninteresting, consisting entirely of bashing the “shoot” button until everything is dead, at which point a door will open or something, who cares.”

    Good luck getting an A rank with that strategy. Those stages would be a lot less boring and uninteresting if you stopped button mashing and focused on high-scores. Being able to maneuver quickly to avoid fire and hold on to large multiplier chains is a much more enjoyable experience.

    Playing the game again, I still prefer these Sonic controls over just about any other 3D Sonic release. Whereas future Sonic titles are more rigid and structured in regards to timing, SA2’s lightning-quick controls have a certain freedom that allows you personal creativity with timing.

    Take the homing attack for example: It’s much more customizable as far as how quick/long you want to stay mid-air between attacks, and your momentum plays a small role prior to your attack. Most ‘standards’ now are a rigid connect-the-dot experience with little to no challenge, where as SA2’s homing attacks have a little more creative art/challenge to them.

    The freedom these controls allow (for both success and failure depending on your skill level) allows for your own personal style in Sonic’s movements. And since that’s exactly what Sonic’s personality is (loose, free, playful style), I find myself connecting with Sonic in a personal way that seems nearly void in the latest releases.

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      “Good luck getting an A rank with that strategy. Those stages would be a lot less boring and uninteresting if you stopped button mashing and focused on high-scores. Being able to maneuver quickly to avoid fire and hold on to large multiplier chains is a much more enjoyable experience.”

      I kind of addressed this when I talk about the enemies – aside from the Artificial Chaos, there is very little difficulty involved in dodging enemy attacks. And I can’t really see the difference in fun between “mash the fire button” and “hold down the fire button”.

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      Exactly, Ray. I liked Generations as much as the next guy, but the freedom and tightness of the Adventure games is much more my speed. They need to combine the two gameplay styles so we can have high-speed for some segments, but tight controls at lower speeds.

      I get the sense that this reviewer is biased against the Adventure games. They had their flaws, true, but it’s still highly playable on its own merits, despite people saying that “Hunting stages ruin the game” and “Combat is boring.” At least there is combat in these games, as opposed to just tearing through foes with an invincible boost. There’s definitely strategy involved that people miss because they come into these game expecting them to be nothing but high-speed platforming, when there’s depth to the other modes that people ignore, because they can’t get over the flaws.

      And I will never get over people calling the Chao a “distraction” from the main game. It’s a part of the game. Optional to be sure, but it’s deeply integrated with the rest of the game. The chao garden is one of the biggest draws to the adventure games for me. Building them up, making them look the way I want, expirementing with different colors and breeds to make awesome looking racers and fighters. It’s deep and fun, but I don’t think it’d stand up on its own without a core game to give you the building blocks to raise them with.

      Bottom line, I think this review is afflicted with anti-nostalgia goggles. It’s determined to make the game look bad, because it doesn’t want you to think it only likes it based off nostalgia.

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    Whoa how long have I gone without knowing Guess Who is part of the staff or whatever?

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    “Bat-face the Rogue”

    I approve of this tag.

    All I can say is, considering I already own The Trial, the DC original, and Battle, the only reason I would’ve gotten this would’ve been online multiplayer. Since that’s not there, I have no interest in it. Way to Froggy that up, SEGA.

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    Also, to comment on the actual review: I can’t really argue with this. You’ve done a good job pointing out its (many) flaws without going down the route what’s-his-face at IGN did in his Double Dragon Neon review. This is a game that was pretty great when it came out, but it hasn’t held up well over time. Yes, it’s fun, but if this were a brand new game released today, it would be pretty terrible.

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      (Though honestly, I liked how it had things like Sky Rail being Pumpkin Hill but during the day. I kinda wish they’d revisit that concept. And no, I don’t mean like Unleashed did it. Not quite the same.)

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    Guess Who, having read this review, I’m curious as to what you thought of the Sonic Adventure 2 content in Sonic Generations?

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      City Escape classic is pretty alright. I really enjoyed how they integrated the truck chase throughout the level, which was a neat touch, and unlike some I’m pretty alright with the remix. Lots of solid platforming, the skateboard gimmick is a cute and fitting homage, and just generally a pretty good level.

      City Escape modern, I think, suffers from not enough actual Sonic-ing: it feels like two thirds of it are the boarding and truck-chase parts and only one third is actual level. Would’ve liked to see a longer middle section. But it’s not bad, and I do like that the level design feels a bit more open than the original. And the remix is alright, though I think Ted Poley’s voice is noticeably older and rougher.

      Shadow’s boss fight was… weird. I like it, but it’s considerably different than the original. The energy orb gimmick adds a nice race element to the fight, and I’m kind of glad they didn’t focus it on direct character combat like the original – I suspect a lot of people got stuck for a long time in the original game because they couldn’t figure out how to hurt Shadow once he started blocking homing attacks and spin dashes, so Generations kind of overcorrected for that by changing the mode of attack completely. It’s probably the boss fight I replay the most because there’s just something fun about racing around the track with Shadow trying to beat him to the energy orbs.

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    In all honesty, the game is a lot of fun, but it does indeed have some serious flaws. [I think the worst was when I was Eggman in one of his later levels (in space I think?), then I picked up a chao key. You guys know how the key goes to your HUD and turns into a chao head? Well, it didn’t. IT KEPT SPINNING. When the level was over, I was teleported to some sort of Debug/Test level rather than chao world. It was really f***ing weird. I’m still trying to figure out what triggers it, but anyway…] Even though I personally like the game, nobody can deny the flaws that it has. But if that doesn’t matter, who’s gonna stop you from playing it? Also, a few things in this review are pretty much opinion and shouldn’t be taken too seriously (the SA2B title screen is better than SA2’s title, in my opinion) so don’t spaz out guys.

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    I think it’s a bit of a missed opportunity to not have the Tiny Chao Garden integrated as a separate app (Windows Phone, iPhone, Android, etc). Heck, it’s inevitable that the GBA games will be rereleased as XBLA games at some point…why not release them sooner rather than later so we can get the full experience?

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    Unfortunately this post will probably never make this page. My legitimate reason for saying this site sucks at reviewing games is a simple observation: You guys think of old games with a mindset that they can possibly compare to games of another era.
    Take Zelda 1, as someone above stated. While a person who played Ocarina of Time will find Zelda 1 impossible, it’s only because they’re only willing to play it as if it were a modern game. Example; I didn’t use the internet or any guide when I beat Zelda 1 just a week ago. I got out pencil and paper, and I drew my OWN map. Tile by tile as I crossed into a new section of the overworld. That’s how the game was MEANT to be played. But we expect a mommy to hold our hand in the form of an in-game map system.
    Point is, this review is right for the point it makes: It’s a poor game in today’s world. Problem is, it wasn’t meant to be played in today’s world.
    I hope my legitimate point doesn’t get ignored.

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      Except Sonic Adventure 2 even for it’s time wasn’t the groundbreaking innovator Zelda was. It was just okay. We’re talking about a game that came out the same year as, say, Metal Gear Solid 2 or Super Smash Bros. Melee, games which hold up phenomenally better and I could still recommend to people as worth playing.

      And again: by rereleasing Sonic Adventure 2 right now, Sega is putting this 2001 game in a 2012 context. Sonic Adventure 2 is not competing against games in 2001 with this release, it’s competing against games in 2012. And in 2012, there are much better games for your ten bucks than Sonic Adventure 2.

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      I feel it’s worth noting that the original Zelda came with a detailed, fold-out world map in the game’s packaging. So no, people were not expected to draw their own map. Sure, Zelda 1 was obtuse in design and even unfriendly at times, but it was sort of meant to be, and the innovations it introduced to the medium helped change the face of video games forever.

      SA2, on the other hand, is obtuse and unfriendly simply because it was poorly made. So your comparison falls completely flat, I’m afraid.

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    Sonic Adventure 2, as being re-released now, isn´t really competing against games from now, neither Battle was competing when it came out for the GC.
    It´s just an idea which (in todays marketplace of games)
    is realized by nearly every gaming company right now,
    Nintendo with their virtual console and Steam with their “emulatorless-roms” don´t attempt to compare them with todays games either, do they?
    they are just simply reselling them after polishing them to make them playable on newer hardware

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      Battle is playable on the Wii, which is technically current generation.

      As for the so-called polish of the re-release, I think the review succinctly and perfectly nailed it with the final paragraph:

      “If you have a copy of this game that you can play already, the new additions do not warrant the cost. If you’ve never played it before, it’s probably not worth your time. About the only person I could confidently recommend this to is someone who is already a big fan of the game and doesn’t have their old copy anymore so they can relive some childhood memories.”

      It’s still competing for your money, and quite frankly, not doing the world’s greatest job.

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    Very truthful review. I have always been fond of the SA2 story though, despite all the horrid things it injected into the future of Sonic the hedgehog. The re-used assets are really horrid. I was playing Cosmic Wall thinking to myself “Did I die or something? I’m sure I’ve already been here”

    I will say that I do really like the instrumentation in the Knuckles raps. And I’m surprized there wasn’t much of a mention of the unpleasent boss fights

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      The only bad fights are the character ones. Other than that they were mostly good.
      Biolizard was the best, though. Sadly they messed up in the 3DS remake.

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    It it just me, or is it ironic that on a Sonic fansite, every single Sonic game gets horrible reviews?

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      Give me Sonic Colors to review and I will happily fangasm all over it.

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    guess who you obvisly r just a sonic h8tr becaurse you thing snic 3d is bad u jus haf nostalgia anti-goggles cuz u dont get us tru fans who luv the gamse go die sega don luv ur site anmore

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      Can’t tell if stupidest butthurt fanboy ever or best troll in the history of the internet.

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    (sigh)…no real reason to comment on this review if I don’t agree with it, right? Otherwise, I’ll have a ton of “Sonic Retro” fans jumping down my throat about how Sonic’s been dead since 1998. I will comment about the Chao Gardens; I understand it’s a preference whether you like it or not, but for me, it’s really a chore that I’m forced to do to get all emblems. The Chao Gardens are the reason I never unlocked Metal Sonic in SADX or Green Hill in SA2 Battle; I don’t really find sitting there waiting for my Chao to do something interesting, fun.
    On a side note, I will agree that SA2 and the original Adventure have not aged as well as some other games; there were some flaws with the games back when they came out, and those flaws are more prominent now then they were back then. But in all honesty, I’m enjoying the game now more then when it was released on the Gamecube (yes, even the chao gardens I’m actually doing, to get the achievement and attempt to unlock Green Hill). So I will leave it with “I agree to disagree” with you on many aspects of your review; a review is just someone’s personal opinion, and I respect yours. It was a very well-written and thorough review, regardless of whether I agree with it or not.

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      The Chao Garden fanaticism was a half-joke, though they are adorable.

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      Yes, the one thing we can agree on is they are quite adorable…and playing as Robotnik in the Chao Gardens, exclaiming “oooooshum” repeatedly, is also very amusing, if not somewhat disturbing

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      It’s unfortunate you think that way. There’s no shame in disagreeing with the opinion presented, though I understand the stigma surrounding Retro. It’s only unfortunate it won’t foster healthy discussion, which is what the review aims to do.

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      I didn’t go further with my thoughts/opinions simply because I ,first, don’t want to be considered a troll, and second I know there would be someone who would try to start an argument with me. I’ve found that there’s not really a way to start a healthy discussion without someone having to butt in to try and start an argument. I’ve tried to on this site with bad results; I’m a fan of all Sonic games, from the classics, to Unleashed, Colors and yes, I even liked 06 enough to get all gamerscore on it. I’m not a blind fan-boy; I know 06 and Black Knight weren’t very good games, but I still enjoyed them regardless. It’s hard to have a reasonable discussion on this site without a vocal “retro Sonic” fan interjecting that I’m wrong and they’re right lol.

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    Some of this opinion is wrong, and I’m only 60% certain that I’m joking.

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    Ah, you’re one of the few people I’ve seen to fully state the problem with SA2’s tone shift, thanks. I remember going “what’s a military organisation doing in this game?” and felt a chill as I feared that the true boyant tone of Sonic games was falling by the wayside to be replaced by a cold, serious, gritty, grey metallic, sci-fi-esque world. I was kinda right.

    In fairness, Sonic Heroes tried to return to that tone… but yeah, that game had it’s own problems.

    My favourite of the modern games is Sonic Colours. In terms of tone it’s the utter antithesis of SA2, and I think that’s one of the reasons I love it.

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    I think that you nitpicked a little too much when you were talking about reuseing the same hallway. Usually, building designers don’t make every hallway different and try to keep them looking somewhat similar.

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      This is a video game, not reality. I can’t name a single level in Generations where I literally go through the same geometry three to five times in a single act.

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    I think everyone’s going to have a different opinion about this divisive game, so expect no consensus.

    Well maybe everyone’ll agree that Mad Space was annoying. Maybe.

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    From what I remember sonic adventure 2 was one of the most popular titles in sonic history.

    And the game cant be compared to back when it was released because they are the same game. Back then we didnt have the resources we have now. This game isnt supposed to be changed. Its not a revamp, its a simple HD remake. Sega made no changes other than upgrading the resolution and separating the BATTLE content for $3. If it was good back then how can it be bad now?

    Just my thoughts on this review

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      “Back then we didnt have the resources we have now.”

      Except – as I said – there are other games that came out between 2000 and 2002 that hold up much better. It’s no excuse.

      This game isnt supposed to be changed. Its not a revamp, its a simple HD remake. Sega made no changes other than upgrading the resolution and separating the BATTLE content for $3.”

      I like how “they put no effort in” is now considered a defense and not a criticism.

      “If it was good back then how can it be bad now?”

      The same way a Commodore 64 was amazing for its time and dated today.

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      Do you HONOSTLY expect your comparison to Melee to hold up? The Dreamcast is no wear NEAR as powerful as the Gamecube, and if you say “they could have used a different console”, back then SEGA still had some market space, and had a little left in them to stay a first party company. It’s strange how you praise Colors when that game is 2D with 3D elements, but wholehearted BASH full 3D Sonic Games.

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      “Do you HONOSTLY expect your comparison to Melee to hold up? The Dreamcast is no wear NEAR as powerful as the Gamecube”

      The issue with this game has nothing at all to do with the console’s power. The Dreamcast isn’t an Atari 2600 or something, it’s plenty powerful enough to make great games. Christ, there were games on the original PlayStation that were better than this.

      “It’s strange how you praise Colors when that game is 2D with 3D elements, but wholehearted BASH full 3D Sonic Games.”

      This has nothing to do with 2D/3D, and I don’t know why you even think that has anything to do with it. Unleashed, Generations, and Colors are all better games than this because of a fundamental change in design that happened in Unleashed. Movement was tighter and more polished, level design was far more varied and exciting, new mechanics such as quick step and drifting made high-speed movement in 3D far more controllable. Speaking specifically about Colors: Colors had fantastic art direction, a great soundtrack, far superior mechanics, an interesting gimmick that unlike shooting and treasure hunting actually complemented high-speed Sonic gameplay, a plot free of angsty furry drama, and levels of polish that SA2 could never dream of matching.

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      Yes, because you can expect beter games from lower-powered systems. Come ON. In an interview I read about the pressure of making Sonic Adventure, and they stated it was dificult to make a game on a consoll “that was not 100% compleate”. The gamecube AND the PS1 were both further in compleation. SEGA was pressured to make a console in too short time. This is preaty much why SEGA became 3rd party. And about me complaiining about consoll limitations, you compared Mele to SA2, and THAt comparison cannot hold up, as like stated, the Dreamcast was no were near the technical standards of the Gamecube and even the PS1, wich was in turn, no were near the technical stand point of the Gamecube. And about Color’s coment, my main frustraition back then was you fangasumed over a 2D Sonic game, yet hated the first too games that started Sonic in 3D. I dissmissed you as a hater, but after motoing that you think Generations and Unleashed are good, you are forgiven.

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    I do genuinely think Sega should make a Chao Garden IOS game. They would rake in all the money. Maybe give it a mini game where you have to collect rings in Splash Hill Zone or something.

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    There was never an intro with Shadow standing on the bridge in the original Dreamcast release, that was always only in SA2: Battle. Sooooooo, what’s the complaint with that again?

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      I was playing the game with the Battle DLC, as noted several times throughout the review. And it wasn’t mean to be a complaint, necessarily, more an observation.

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    Just wanted to chime in and say, while there are still some moments of SA2 that are guilty pleasure (to me at least), your analysis of SA2’s story, comparison to SA1, and its overall effect on Sonic and the “bad ol’ days” was spot on.

    Honestly, no matter what good or even adequate features this game has, there’s no denying that its presentation–coupled with huge sales–set a godawful standard for Sonic throughout the 00s. Sega basically realized, instead of trying to pin down that unique element of coolness and whimsey Sonic had from his debut up until SA1, that it was much easier to pander to their audience with trite, “mature” stories and borderline sexual fan-service.

    Never mind that Sonic’s intended audience was and always has been children, and no, just because there are older gamers (including ones that aren’t *GASP* furries) who are passionate about the franchise doesn’t excuse these problems either. That older demographic wants to experience Sonic the way he was genuinely created: as that hip smarmy mascot who traverses in a world full of springs and checker-boarded loop-de-loops, with his only care in the world being that of freeing a bunch of animals trapped inside robots–robots made by a maniacal, egg-shaped fat man. Perhaps he might get some help from a young idolizing (not to mention flying) fox, along with a red echidna who initially wants screw up Sonic’s goals just so he can laugh at him.

    Thankfully, if Colors and Generations are anything to go by, Sega and the folks at Sonic Team may have learned from their mistakes. I think now, this re-release of SA2 can be seen as way to look back and laugh at what the franchise would become for about decade.

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      “And that’s why Shadow the Hedgehog sucks. :D”

      While I completely agree with you on the problems Sega has had with their intended audience, I’d just like to inject my Pro-Adventure-1 bias for the sake of productive discussion.
      Sonic has(and should always have) been intended for kids. I won’t deny that. However, I think that the “maturity” of Sonic’s stories has (or at least can have) nothing to do with the target demographic. Take Unleashed’s story, for example. The whole concept is lighthearted and not without its humor, but behind that is the planet being shattered and a thematic about true friendship (with a one-time character who STAYS a one-time character, no less). I think that’s the best kind of Sonic story: one that has a serious drive for success and yet stays 100% kid-friendly. It’s true that SA1 was a bit too “monster movie scary ragh!” at times, and SA2 took that to an extreme, but I find there to be a massive difference between SA2 kind of maturity (deep emotional conflict, a legitimate threat to humanity and hedgehoggity alike) and Shadow the Hedgehog kind of maturity (guns, swearing, KILLDAHUMENS, etc).

      Of course, that’s my look on it, probably since SA1 was my first game. So the Monster of the Week formula never seemed off to me. Of course, the classics also had an incredibly mature story as well, blending environmental messages with population enslavement. But all in the same, with Generations, I’m afraid they’re almost going too far in the opposite direction: NO story or character development. I wouldn’t want to see that happen either.

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    SA2突然来个重置真心笑了,我认为SEGA玩老套不太好,不过这也是一种无可奈何手段吧…虽然更喜欢索尼克Generations或Unleashed那种游戏方式但是玩经典我也蛮期待的说,正好家里有XBOX360,发布后好看看HD版本,GC和DC版也许和这个差不多吧,不过我更期待的是DLC,最好是有很多的DLC,毕竟老关卡也不是一直那么好重复耐玩的尝试的

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    …We have Japanese members replying to these articles in kanji*??!? o_o Good luck to anyone who wants to understand the above comment that someone who can read that will translate it.
    *Unless it’s hiragana or katakana… I really don’t know, I don’t remember what the differences among the three are.

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    Nowhere in the story did it mentions NIDS.Your making the story and Shadow as a character seem truly awful when he actaully had good development,a fun personality and the story was paced well in a way that makes sense after playing both storylines.He angsts three times at the most and if he didn’t there would be a plothole on why he hates humanity.He was supposed to be a one time character and he is established well but it seems that your hatred of him from other games is getting the best of you.I don’t get this “SA2 is the root of all evil” thing either.So what it was more mature,Is it really the popularity of this game that made the series fall,or the developers at Sonic Team being derps that gave Shadow a gun,made a Werehog and made Sonic die(literally and figuratively)?No I don’t see any realistic firearms or hellish destroyed cities so how dare anyone blame what came in latter games to this one because there is absolutelty no corrolation.This setting is more imaginative than SA1 also in my opinion because we have seen all of the settings in that game in a genesis game.Metal Harbor,Radical Highway,Pumpkin Hill and the Ark are much more original than the likes of overdone Casino,Airship and Lava levels.The character themes and the speed stage themes are better than both Sonic CD Soundtracks.Finnally the Gun Mechs and artificial chaos had infinitely more interesting attack patterns then any badnik ever did.
    This is coming from a nostalgia goggle less standpoint of my opinion.I respect your opinion but to me it seems there is half truth and half unnecessary nit picking to this review.

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    This is a really small thing but I’m sick of people saying that hedgehogs and bats are rodents. Porcupines are rodents. Hedgehogs are not. Hedgehogs are shrews, and bats are far more closely related to shrews than they are to rodents. I know fact-checking isn’t a big thing on the internet but this just bugs me to no end.

    I agree with the reviewer about the soundtrack; the good stuff on there has influenced my own soundtrack and album work tremendously and the bad stuff has taught me some good things to avoid — or just amp up the terribleness to ridiculous levels so that some people will like them for their cornyness. I still sometimes listen to the whole thing through even though I don’t own the game.

    And as for the game, alas I’ve never owned it but I love games from around that era (Sonic Adventure DX, Descent 3, Freespace 1 & 2, Red Faction…) and even earlier… and I played SA2B on a friend’s Wii and enjoyed it — heck I even liked Heroes — so I’ll probably end up buying this despite everything the reviewer says.

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    Noting that this is only the opinion of one person, there are some things I must say and I’m going to try to go in order.

    I think this game has held up well for 11 years personally. I can still find enjoyment out of it though I must admit having every single emblem and having no one to Battle against who, and I hate to brag because I would love a challenge, is even half as good as I am at the game, kinda takes the fun out of it. Also, just to note, I thought the grinding was already an implementation, and then the SOAP logo was added? I can’t remember.

    From the day I bought the game, I never had problems going at high speeds with “errant movement” that caused me to die. Also, the context sensitivity is spot on. It’s just a matter of user control. The only one I have ever had a problem with and still to this day do, is the light dash in Crazy Gadget where the camera zooms out to show the light ring loop, and I almost always end up doing a somersault and falling to my death.

    I do not believe it is the same route every time (especially comparing to stages like Green Hill in Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2’s Hill Top, etc. which, by your logic, because they were re-released on current gen, they should be compared to games of the current generation, which it should not be) though some stages do have that feeling, like the examples I just mentioned. And if you did a live stream of Sonic 1, 2, 3, S&K, or Sonic Adventure, I could tell where you were just by the sound as well.

    I do enjoy the treasure hunting levels and the shooting levels to an extent, but that is just pure disagreement. I can see why you wouldn’t enjoy those levels.

    The reused assets independently used between characters is hardly a flaw. Eternal Engine and Canon’s Core should not look like two completely different place, because they are not. Even though some of the levels reuse the same halls, who cares? It’s like complaining about the reused checkerboard pattern in so many Sonic games or saying that Emerald Hill Zone had way too many waterfalls or Winged Fortress had too many propellers. On another note, a lot of enemies in Sonic Adventure were quite reused but you aren’t complaing about that. You may or may not have before, but that also means it’s not a first. Also, you claim to love Sonic Colors but um… Cheap gimmicks and reused enemies galore. Both great games, but nitpicking at one with similar flaws in the others, doesn’t seem fair. Especially saying that you love the others.

    Lol I like the bit about Chao’s. I loved the idea. Just don’ t think it should keep the story from progressing.

    I don’t see how you can complain about the cutscenes. ITS A PORT. NOT A REMAKE. There is quite a difference. Ergo, it’s not a completely remade game.

    And the camera isn’t that bad. JS.

    I love your review despite my criticisms, though I sense a bit of biased opinion. And Shadow sucks. Except for this game.

  • Reply

    It’s still very odd to me that no matter how terrible a 3D Sonic game is,I manage to like it. Excluding 3D blast,I think I’ve liked every 3D Sonic game exept heroes,because lets face it,06 may suck for it’s time,but it controls a hell of a lot better than Secret rings.That being said,mist bad games I like because they’re bad.

  • Reply

    I disagree somewhat with the rewiewer’s opinion. SA2 is a flawed game, but its not a bad game. As a man that has played many great games and many god awfull games, to SA2 is bad is trying to stir a shitstorm. Its a game with faults, the treasure hunting stages were to damn long, the mech stages were a bit to easy and the action stages were to linear. But they were still enjoyable for the most part.

    As for the story, yes it takes itself a bit to seriously but when it was released it was enjoyable. The way it presented the story was quite unique for its time, I dont remember back in the day a platformer having that kind of presentation. Games like Jak & Daxter borrowed alot from SA2. Also to link the Dark Side of the fandom with SA2 is absurd for a review about the game. And again is more flamebait to garner hits.

    A special note I agree with your statement as to why SEGA hasnt released a Chao game. I would fucking buy that in a heartbeat.

    • Reply

      A few things:

      First, the idea that the review is trying to garner hits is laughable. We don’t have any ads here at Retro, we don’t gain anything from views, and personally I don’t even have any way of seeing how many views our articles get. Everything written here is my genuine opinion.

      Second: my intention was not to link this game’s problems to the dark side of the fan base, but rather to say that this game’s popularity resulted in more similar games that only exaggerated the flaws of SA2. Pretty much all the problems in Shadow and Sonic 06 – the takes-itself-too-seriously storyline, the rampant glitchiness, awful camera, poor controls, uninspired art direction, buttrock soundtrack – have their roots in the Adventure games, and it took until 2008 for them to finally throw the Adventure formula out the window and actually make something new and great.

  • Reply

    About the story, nowhere in the game does it says that Maria had AIDS or NIDS or w/e. Also the characterization of Shadow was much different than in Shadow the Hedgehog and 2k6. He was a unsung hero that succumb to revenge but in the end was able to see the folly of his way and sacrifice himself for the greater good. If he havent be revived he would have still be remembered fondly. The idea that SA2 was the reason of the god awful story of both Shadow and 2k6 its a speculation at best and has not place in the review of SA2. I dont even understand how could they let you write this horrible article. Your review is filled with sweeping generalizations and Red herrings. Also you might say its your opinion but that doesnt shield you from criticism, specially if you argument your opinion poorly.

    • Reply

      The NIDS storyline admittedly comes from Japanese story material, not the game itself, but is nonetheless considered canon. And it’s not like his backstory is any less ridiculous without it.

      And if you think his characterization even in SA2 alone is anything short of hilarious then I daresay your standards for quality stories are terribly low. His whole character trope has been done a million times in anime, not to mention literature as a whole, and often with much less narm. If you don’t see the inherent terribleness of a genetically engineered ultimate lifeform hedgehog, developed by a mad scientist on a top secret research facility in space, who was best friends with a sickly girl who was murdered by the military and gets flashbacks of her every time anything with a vagina talks to him – all within a game franchise that started about a cool blue hedgehog saving his cuddly animal friends from cute robots in a bright colorful fantasy world – then I can’t help you.

  • Reply

    but we can agree on one thing: Rouge’s 5 minute stage was the worst stage in any sonic game ever created ever. even worse than crisis city, even worse than vector’s minigame in generations and even worse than those cyber levels from Shadow the hedgehog.

    i think that, minus chris, the Sonic X anime is better than the game… there i said it. because in the anime you don’t have to restart the level when time runs out, you don’t have to replay that one single level again and again if you want to play as shadow, and you don’t have to go on the internet to hack your savefile so you can finish the game.

    so in conclusion: like how Halo set the stage for totally ruining the FPS genre (two weapon limit and Regenerating Health), SA2 set the stagefor totally ruining Sonic games (crippling linearity, unbalanced difficulty, useless chao gardens and making me want to play anything other than SA2… like Atari E.T, Halo or Sonic 06.)

  • Reply

    This review only exposes the bizarre pathology of Sonic fans who feel the need to prove they have outgrown their childhood by shouting hysterically hyperbolic and self-important criticism of old Sonic games. Every word of it could be picked apart and examined for fallacies or appeals to emotion.

    “Of these three (or four) types of stages, only one contains the slightest semblance of what one might call “fun”, those being the action stages.”

    The reviewer never explains what is wrong with the Treasure Hunting stages, instead implying that it is beyond rational dispute, and his later critique of the Shooting stages is far too incoherent to take seriously. This statement is simplistic and devoid of nuance: “None of the other methods of gameplay are ANY FUN AT ALL.” That’s odd, because SA2 received universally high marks from critics, few of whom raised even remotely comparable objections. IGN, for example, praised the “astounding level design”: “Whether it’s the levels of speed for Sonic and Shadow, the shooting blast-a-thon of Tails and Eggman, or the scavenger hunts of Knuckles and Rouge, the stages are both very large and wonderfully designed.” Not a single critic identified any one of the three styles as below average, in terms of visuals, control, or game design. Game Informer, SA2’s harshest critic at the time, made note of the consistent quality throughout the game, while opining that it would have been better to create a great game rather than a collection of good games.

    “any errant movement on the analog stick can still send you careening off the edge of a stage to your death”

    The words “still” and “any” are both utterly false. Almost all of the running sections of SA2 are surrounded by physical walls, and frequently also by invisible walls and/or gusts of wind that make it impossible to fall off. Of course, you can go out of your way to kill yourself in any game if you think that’s clever.
    Sonic Unleashed does, indeed, feature almost completely unresponsive controls at high speed, even as it propels you directly into obstacles, but this is not an improvement over responsive controls. I know many prefer rigid automation and mindless twitch reflexes over the ultra-precise combination of physics, grinding, tricks, homing attacks, power-ups and combos needed to A-rank a real game, but don’t conflate your own lack of skill with a meaningful revelation.

    “There are very few, if any, alternate routes through most levels.”

    Your belief is the product of self-imposed ignorance.

    Let’s look at Final Rush, because you chose to single it out as the worst offender:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgKnPe5qvvI&feature=g-hist

    It’s not linear at all. It’s a masterpiece of 3D platform game design, far beyond the hallways and QTEs of Unleashed or Generations.

    How about another?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptUj2YDqmbQ

    Or another?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tj7P1y7d6I8&feature=g-hist

    The last one doesn’t even have any pitfalls in it!

    I planned on writing a long and detailed analysis of the level design, but there’s no need for one. It’s all there, obvious to anyone who plays the game, regardless of what any blog might claim. The only point to further emphasize is the extent to which taking risks and exploring is rewarded in the Sonic games, in contrast (say) to the “joys” of “climbing up trees to find nothing, breaking boxes to find nothing and navigating structures to find – you guessed – nothing” in Mario Sunshine (see http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/130268/a_detailed_crossexamination_of_.php?page=1).

    “The abundance of rings in most levels means that you are far more likely to die from falling in a pit than because of any actual difficulty in maintaining your health. This makes sense in Sonic stages, where the difficulty was never about staying alive but in getting a good rank or time, but in these slower shooting stages where going fast is not a focus, having a poor combat system and meaningless health system are symptomatic of a complete lack of thought given to the design.”

    The author is trying to sound smart, but this comment does not make any logical sense. The ideas simply do not connect with one another. You’re given more health because there are far more enemies and you will get hit far more frequently when riding a mech; because of this extra health, you will not die any more frequently. How this relates to the speed of the game, let alone proves some abstract theory about the combat system and the game designers’ alleged incapacity to think, is beyond me. The writing is awful, to boot: “In these slower shooting stages where going fast is not a focus”? What about the slower shooting stages where going fast IS the focus? (That’s a rhetorical question).

    As has been pointed out already, the mech gameplay does not involve “spamming” the B button, but locking onto as many targets as possible while hovering through mazes of lasers and stopping enemy projectiles, often while solving gravity or block puzzles and later manipulating time (and trying to perform tricks for points and acquire upgrades for repeat playthroughs). The game likes to play with you by throwing in things you shouldn’t blow up. The levels are straightforward, though visually stunning and well-designed. Do I need to post more Youtube videos?

    Here’s a couple:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=026uIXa1_rw&feature=relmfu

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUWOR5fuBYs&feature=relmfu

    The Treasure Hunting is the best part of the game, with spectacular landscapes filled with all sorts of hidden areas to explore and dig for treasure, ingenious puzzles, frantic and hilarious multiplayer, and the tense and very memorable Security Hall. Soaring through the air is an absolute delight, and the Treasure Hunting is just standard nonlinear 3D platforming comparable to Super Mario 64 or Spyro or any other collect-a-thon (only far simpler, far more streamlined, with far more hints, and with a radar). The water puzzles make excellent use of 3D space and are much easier to grasp than those of SA2’s contemporaries, and the swimming controls are surprisingly excellent. Rouge’s music is the best in the game. The TH levels are stunning to watch:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmMH_lQ0zoU&feature=plcp

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pCPjX5XTGY&feature=relmfu

    And why are “retro” fans so anal-retentive about a different set of mechanics? Mario changed genres completely when he went to 3D; whereas Sonic got a very literal translation. There’s no call for a return to “classic” Mario, no complaints about slight alterations to Mario’s physics, no allegations that the wall jump renders New Super Mario Bros. “broken”. Knuckles would glide over any standard linear 3D Sonic environment, and he was always used to explore levels at a slower pace!

    The boss battles, which were generally quite good, are not mentioned at all.

    The story isn’t meant to be serious. It’s supposed to be wild, crazy, and over-the-top, like lots of Sega games. It has a sense of humor, from Sonic’s wisecracks to the “menacing” Eggman scratching his ass. Just because you took it seriously as a kid and thought it was about AIDs doesn’t mean sane people don’t enjoy the wild creativity, surreal aesthetic, cheesy dialogue, and glorious music for the overwhelming artistic achievement it is.

    Anyway, let’s continue our look at some of the more blatant absurdities in this review and then move on:

    “f#@% you.”

    An insult is not an argument.

    “Sonic Adventure 2 even for it’s [sic] time wasn’t the groundbreaking innovator Zelda was.”

    That’s irrelevant. Few games are Zeldas, but SA2 has aged far better than the original Zelda.

    “linear level design”

    No game is completely linear or nonlinear. Although your specific claim of “one path per level” can easily be disproven, linearity is hardly a recipe for disaster. If it were, every 8-bit game and every 2D Mario game would be awful, and so would all arcade games.

    “The core of the Eclipse Cannon is just the emerald shrine from Sonic Adventure 1.”

    That’s a plot point explicitly pointed out by the characters in-game. This observation proves nothing.

    “Asset reuse….Sky Rail and Pumpkin Hill use the same basic layout except at a different time of day and with more grind rails.”

    All games reuse assets. All of the Sonic Advance games reused assets, and so did all of the Mario Advance games, and all the Crash Bandicoot games, and New Super Mario Bros., and pretty much every established series, everywhere. Reusing wholly original assets in the same game, however, is not even a legitimate complaint: You might as well claim that the “reuse” of Green Hill Zone assets for three stages in Sonic 1 “proves Sega only had a $5 budget” for that game! The decision to show the same areas through the eyes of different characters and at different times of day was not only a deliberate choice, but one welcomed by most fans.

    “I feel it’s necessary to frame the game in context.”

    You later argue that historical context is irrelevant to today’s consumers.

    “the soundtrack is memorable,…bland and generic”

    Contradiction!

    “little animals popped out, it was good times for everyone involved. Sonic Adventure 2 throws all that out the damn window”

    Obviously, you need a fact-checker. Are we playing the same game?

    “I – like many others – have my own personal relationship with SA2”

    More pointless nonsense. What is the point of the “like many others” digression?

    “Classic Sonic games….”

    Fallacy. You have to evaluate this as its own game.

    The treasure hunting is “janky as all hell” because it is “jankier than the game usually is”; you’ll hate the TH because it’s hard “to blow through these stages as quickly as possible”.

    Circular reasoning.

    “AIDS”

    Not part of the plot.

    “Sonic Team stopped trying to make classic Sonic titles and tried to make the series more quote-unquote “mature”, and boy did it fail. Unfortunately, the game amassed such a fanbase that later titles like Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic 2006 carried over all the flaws of the Adventure games and amplified them tremendously.”

    These two statements are unrelated, as well as speculative.
    Bringing up Sonic 2006 when talking about a 3D Sonic game is like comparing your opponent to Hitler in a political debate. It means you’re running out of arguments.

    “So to fund the development of Sonic Adventure 2, Sega signed a sponsorship agreement with Soap, a manufacturer of shoes that had built-in grind plates. In exchange for extra funding, Sonic….”

    Sega had more than enough money allocated to their mascot. These repeated references to Sega’s “$5 budget” and “Sonic 2006” are only there to put pressure on people who like the game, so that they accept your argument without question.

    In short: Don’t try writing reviews for anything other than Sonic “retro” “fan” blogs.

    • Reply

      So I was going to let this comment slide, if only because I’ve spent more time writing about this game than I ever wanted to in my life, but this comes off as a personal attack at me as much as it does a critique of the review itself, and I don’t plan on taking that lying down. So let’s take it from the top, shall we?

      “This review only exposes the bizarre pathology of Sonic fans who feel the need to prove they have outgrown their childhood by shouting hysterically hyperbolic and self-important criticism of old Sonic games. ”

      Never mind the fact that there are plenty of Sonic games both old and new that I do, in fact, enjoy.

      “The reviewer never explains what is wrong with the Treasure Hunting stages, instead implying that it is beyond rational dispute, and his later critique of the Shooting stages is far too incoherent to take seriously. This statement is simplistic and devoid of nuance: “None of the other methods of gameplay are ANY FUN AT ALL.””

      Which is my opinion. And I shall justify it further later as I address your other concerns, but this made me chuckle more than a little:

      “That’s odd, because SA2 received universally high marks from critics, few of whom raised even remotely comparable objections. IGN, for example, praised the “astounding level design”: “Whether it’s the levels of speed for Sonic and Shadow, the shooting blast-a-thon of Tails and Eggman, or the scavenger hunts of Knuckles and Rouge, the stages are both very large and wonderfully designed.” Not a single critic identified any one of the three styles as below average, in terms of visuals, control, or game design. Game Informer, SA2′s harshest critic at the time, made note of the consistent quality throughout the game, while opining that it would have been better to create a great game rather than a collection of good games.”

      There’s an implication here that, because these critics all agree that Sonic Adventure 2 is a quality game, it’s somehow *wrong* for me to hold an opinion to the contrary. By this line of reasoning, Grand Theft Auto IV is the greatest game of this generation. But hey, if we’re going to pull out critical reviews, two can play that game. Let’s check out some reviews for the GameCube release, eh?

      “The camera in the Sonic Adventure series is truly horrid, an insult to the advancements demonstrated by modern 3D camera control in titles such as Banjo-Tooie and Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time. In the exploration levels, where you are sent bumbling through a large 3D environment as Knuckles or Rouge, it sets the stage for an incredibly frustrating experience. Coupled with the camera, they are in fact amateur attempts at designing a compelling 3D environment. Half of the time you simply cannot see where you want to go — a major issue when you’re scavenging the level for randomly hidden items. These randomly placed items are pieces of the Chaos emeralds, and you use a hot/cold type radar that beeps and blinks as you get closer to the treasure. One would have hoped that this variation on the trademark Sonic gameplay was only intermittent, but it constitutes roughly a third of Sonic Adventure 2: Battle gameplay… Then we have the shooter levels. You’re sent out into a more linear environment as Tails or Dr. Eggman in their mech robots. You must jump, stomp, and blast your way to the goal line. This is much more tolerable than the lumbering scavenger hunt levels, offering up a fairly simplistic shooter. You use the B-button to lock onto surrounding opponents. By holding it down you can lock onto as many as 10 or even more enemies. You’ll get more points for this, but it’s also more risky. You’ll find that you can simply button-mash your way through the level while performing some rudimentary platforming. Demanding gamers will find these levels fairly bland, as the control mechanics don’t offer up a deep shooter to the same degree a title like Panzer Dragoon does…. The sad truth is that Sonic Team lost its focus somewhere along the way while bringing Sonic into 3D. The choice to try to offer up so many different types of gameplay has left the idea of Sonic shattered. Sonic Team needn’t bring frustrating scavenger hunts and sub-par shooters into this great blue hedgehog’s world.” – IGN

      “Sonic and Shadow’s levels–though somewhat noninteractive–preserve the Sonic theme by offering visceral roller coaster rides through psychedelic landscapes. These levels provide a great deal of excitement, but they account for far less than half of the game. The rest of the game consists of frustrating scavenger hunts and shooting levels that can be completed by merely mashing the shoot button and performing rudimentary platform jumps. Compared with the eye-blistering Sonic and Shadow levels, the scavenger hunts and shooting levels are so simple that the youngest child would have no problem completing them if it weren’t for the game’s biggest flaw–an inoperable camera.” – Gamespot

      “The Sonic levels are explosive as ever, although the control isn’t nearly as refined as it should be. The rest of the stages in the game are poorly concocted and void of fun.” – Game Informer

      But no, you’re right, professional critics never raised any concerns similar to mine. Nope. Never.

      “Sonic Unleashed does, indeed, feature almost completely unresponsive controls at high speed, even as it propels you directly into obstacles, but this is not an improvement over responsive controls. I know many prefer rigid automation and mindless twitch reflexes over the ultra-precise combination of physics, grinding, tricks, homing attacks, power-ups and combos needed to A-rank a real game, but don’t conflate your own lack of skill with a meaningful revelation.”

      Let me level with you here for a second. When I wrote this review, I was worried it might come off as too pretentious and up-my-own-ass. I’d like to thank you for showing me what real pretentiousness looks like.

      So what Sonic Unleashed does is gradually soften the sensitivity of movement as you go faster – this is not the same as being unresponsive. Unleashed is actually far easier to control at much higher speeds thanks to the quick step and drifting mechanics.

      The idea that Sonic Unleashed requires no technical mastery to do well at is so far removed from reality that I can only assume we don’t live in the same universe. Stages like Jungle Joyride or Skyscraper Scamper require extensive knowledge of the level, skillful utilization of all of Sonic’s abilities, and lightning-fast precision reflexes to do well at. Generations, I’ll admit, is much easier (and the ranking system is a complete joke) – but Unleashed? Damn.

      “Your belief is the product of self-imposed ignorance.”

      Uh, okay.

      “Let’s look at Final Rush, because you chose to single it out as the worst offender.”

      I called out Final Rush for containing massive on-rails segments and being largely set over a bottomless pit, yes. Not for linearity. It’s actually one of the better stages in that particular regard, I’ll admit. The linearity problem rears its head in more in stages like Metal Harbor or City Escape. What I said is that the combination of these problems throughout the game – linearity, rail segments, pits – results in overall disappointing level design.

      You may retort that Unleashed has a lot of these same problems. The primary difference is that Unleashed is built around this type of level design – all the mechanics are geared towards high-speed, high-stakes obstacle course speedrunning. It takes that sort of level design and makes it thrilling and challenging. (Generations takes a far less linear approach in a number of stages, but sadly scales back the difficulty to compensate.) Adventure 2 on the other hand is built like a platformer, and at that, it frequently fails to succeed.

      “the hallways and QTEs of Unleashed or Generations.”

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nokwOikLl7M
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-h4VR2u29fs
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQycNykgVLA

      Hallways and QTEs, everybody.

      “I planned on writing a long and detailed analysis of the level design, but there’s no need for one. It’s all there, obvious to anyone who plays the game, regardless of what any blog might claim.”

      When I say something as if it’s self-evident, you criticize me for it. When you say something as if it’s self-evident, it’s because you’re obviously correct. Alright then!

      (I don’t mind you calling me out on it – I confess I did this several times, mostly because most people I’ve discussed the game with understand the reasoning without my having to explain it, and because going any more in depth with criticism of this game would’ve resulted in a thesis-length paper. But the hypocrisy is amazing, A++ would read again.)

      “The only point to further emphasize is the extent to which taking risks and exploring is rewarded in the Sonic games, in contrast (say) to the “joys” of “climbing up trees to find nothing, breaking boxes to find nothing and navigating structures to find – you guessed – nothing” in Mario Sunshine.”

      I do enjoy how you bring up Mario games as if they’re relevant to the discussion in any way. (For the record, I’m not a fan of the Mario series and you won’t see me defending them.)

      “The author is trying to sound smart, but this comment does not make any logical sense. The ideas simply do not connect with one another. You’re given more health because there are far more enemies and you will get hit far more frequently when riding a mech; because of this extra health, you will not die any more frequently.”

      The problem is that I don’t find myself getting hit terribly frequently. Aside from the Artificial Chaos enemies, there’s simply no difficulty in combat in this game. My point is that in the Sonic stages, it’s not such a painful design choice that health isn’t important, because the Sonic stages aren’t focused on combat and keeping yourself alive. The shooting stages, on the other hand, seemingly are. If they don’t want you to care about your health, why put in a dedicated health bar? And yet, if health management is supposed to be a priority, why make most of the enemies cannon fodder and put rings everywhere?

      “As has been pointed out already, the mech gameplay does not involve “spamming” the B button, but locking onto as many targets as possible while hovering through mazes of lasers and stopping enemy projectiles, often while solving gravity or block puzzles and later manipulating time.”

      No, you’re right, it involves *holding* the B button while twirling the analog stick around to effortlessly lock on to everything in sight, which is clearly much better. (The Tails and Eggman boss fights, on the other hand, are totally about spamming the B button.)

      You’re really overselling the level design here. The vast majority of it is clunking through corridors, not traversing perilous obstacles. Enemy projectiles are slow, highly telegraphed, and easy to avoid. There’s not a single gravity puzzle in a shooting stage (that’s confined to Crazy Gadget, incidentally my favorite stage). The laser “mazes” – if you can call them that – occur like twice in the game. The time mechanic (as well as the block puzzle) is in a single level at the very end of the game, and if anything the time mechanic only serves to make things easier.

      “The game likes to play with you by throwing in things you shouldn’t blow up. The levels are straightforward, though visually stunning and well-designed.”

      The first part only serves to be more agitating as there is little precision in the lock-on system, making it nigh impossible to get through a stage like Eternal Engine without destroying something you didn’t mean to. “Straightforward” here translates to “linear”, and I can’t say that the design was anything short of dull and repetitive.

      “The Treasure Hunting is the best part of the game”

      I nearly stopped reading here. Hoo boy. This better be good.

      “with spectacular landscapes filled with all sorts of hidden areas to explore and dig for treasure, ingenious puzzles, frantic and hilarious multiplayer, and the tense and very memorable Security Hall.”

      I’m genuinely at a loss for words here. Wow. I know plenty of people who defend Adventure 2, but even most of them concede the treasure hunting is boring shit. Just for fun, I took this statement and asked for some reactions, and here’s what I got:

      Person A: > very memorable Security Hall
      Because it’s so shit?

      Person B: I’m someone who still likes parts of SA2
      And I never liked the treasure hunting
      Ever

      Person C: The treasure hunting in SA2 is spectacular – it is a spectacular downgrade on the treasure hunting in SA1, yes

      Person D: Is it [Security Hall] that Rouge level with what is possibly the worst music in the game?

      Person E: SA2 treasure hunting is either:
      A)One large room with different objects to climb
      B)a series of 4-5- rooms connected by halls

      As for my own thoughts on the treasure hunting stages: they’re more frustrating than fun. The platforming isn’t challenging or interesting, it’s just time consuming. Having to glide half a mile across Pumpkin Hill to get to the next piece feels like a waste of time. Having to rush up to the top of the stage to flip a switch to open a certain segment of the safes in Security Hall isn’t intense, it’s just irritating and a waste of my arbitrarily limited time. Not being able to hunt for multiple emeralds at once feels like a design decision made purely to make me spend more time in the level. Having to hide in the shadows in Egg Quarters isn’t challenging, it just means spending more time sitting in one spot doing nothing. The reversed or lying hints in Mad Space aren’t clever, they’re just obnoxious. Half the time monitors won’t even respond the first time I go up to them, I have to walk away and walk back for them to activate properly (thus wasting my fucking time). Are you getting the picture? They aren’t fun. They’re just a chore. And the level design as “spectacular landscapes”? What? Sure, stages like Pumpkin Hill and Meteor Herd are impressively vast, but it’s completely boring to travel across them. They’re vast but largely empty. The only stage with particularly interesting level design is Mad Space and yet the gravity gimmick is implemented so poorly even that turns out to be an awful experience.

      “And why are “retro” fans so anal-retentive about a different set of mechanics?”

      I don’t care that they’re different. I care that they’re shit.

      “The boss battles, which were generally quite good, are not mentioned at all.”

      I did skip over boss battles for the sake of length, so I’ll go ahead and take my time to comment on those as well.

      There are a few pretty well done boss battles in the game, the most impressive probably being the Biolizard, which genuinely does test your mastery of pretty much every Sonic/Shadow mechanic in the game (though the final bit where you’re just kind of floating around is kinda shit). Egg Golem and King Boom Boo are also interesting to fight and clever.

      The GUN mech battles are inoffensive and simple; you don’t even need to wait for an opening as the boxes (and in Rouge’s case, walls) let you gain enough height to hit them even while they’re flying around. They’re not fundamentally broken or anything, but they’re not particularly captivating.

      The character battles are universally awful. Tails vs. Eggman round 1 is “spam B until the enemy is dead”, round 2 is “spam B until the enemy is dead but avoid the deadly lasers and explosions”. Knuckles vs. Rouge is just “glide around aimlessly until the enemy is open”. Sonic vs. Shadow round 1 is “homing attack until the enemy is dead (but don’t fall off the stage)”. Sonic vs. Shadow round 2 is “homing attack until that doesn’t work anymore, then run aimlessly for twenty minutes wondering what the fuck you’re supposed to do because falling behind and waiting for the enemy to attack is completely counter-intuitive (since the game is encouraging you to keep moving forward by collapsing the path behind you and having the enemy constantly move forward).”

      “The story isn’t meant to be serious. It’s supposed to be wild, crazy, and over-the-top, like lots of Sega games. It has a sense of humor, from Sonic’s wisecracks to the “menacing” Eggman scratching his ass.”

      Throwing in a few jokes does not mean it’s doesn’t take itself seriously. Inception doesn’t become a comedy film the moment Eames makes a joke about dreaming a little bigger. None of that changes the general straight-facedness with which the game approaches its plot.

      “Just because you took it seriously as a kid and thought it was about AIDS”

      Maria’s plot line is about AIDS. See:

      http://info.sonicretro.org/Sonic_Adventure_2_-_The_Truth_of_50_Years_Ago

      “… doesn’t mean sane people don’t enjoy the wild creativity, surreal aesthetic, cheesy dialogue, and glorious music for the overwhelming artistic achievement it is.”

      You sound like a satire of a Sonic Adventure 2 fan – which maybe you are, in which case consider your troll successful. If you truly believe Sonic Adventure 2 is an artistic achievement then, wow. I’ll just let that statement speak for itself.

      These environments aren’t creative at all. They’re realistic at worst, baby’s-first-sci-fi at best. Look at a stage like Quartz Quadrant in Sonic CD, or Sweet Mountain in Colors if you want some wild and creative level tropes. The dialogue is… well, if you want to call it “cheesy” and not just “trash”, I’ll give it to you. And the music is a mixed bag. I could do without “Jun plays power chords behind a keyboard melody take #3236”, myself.

      “An insult is not an argument.”

      No, the part where I describe the stage as having completely broken gravity and eyeroll-inducing “hints” is where I justify my “fuck you.”

      “No game is completely linear or nonlinear.”

      No, but this one leans a bit too far in one direction.

      “Although your specific claim of “one path per level” can easily be disproven”

      One path per level wouldn’t be exactly true, though in many cases – most of the Tails and Eggman stages in particular – it’s not far from it. There’s a bit of hyperbole for emphasis throughout this review, sure, but my overall point is clear.

      “That’s a plot point explicitly pointed out by the characters in-game.”

      Let me translate Sonic’s line in the game from In-Game Justification to Reality here for you:

      “They probably designed the core like the shrine (and the entrance like Lost World) so that the dev team didn’t have to put effort in to making new assets for it!”

      If you think otherwise, you’re about as naive as Tails telling Eggman about the fake emerald.

      “All games reuse assets. All of the Sonic Advance games reused assets, and so did all of the Mario Advance games, and all the Crash Bandicoot games, and New Super Mario Bros., and pretty much every established series, everywhere. Reusing wholly original assets in the same game, however, is not even a legitimate complaint: You might as well claim that the “reuse” of Green Hill Zone assets for three stages in Sonic 1 “proves Sega only had a $5 budget” for that game!”

      When Green Hill Zone goes on for three acts, it doesn’t bullshit you and try to tell you that it’s a totally new level each time. It’s three acts of Green Hill, not Green Hill, Emerald Paradise, and Grassy Coast. Adventure 2 tries to pass off the same shit to you multiple times like it’s something new and exciting. Yes, games like NSMB do this as well, and not coincidentally, NSMB is also boring as hell. The far worse complaint is recycling the same areas throughout the level. In many of the shooting stages you go through practically identical corridors repeatedly, the only variation being enemy placement. As for Sega having a low budget… crack open a history book and look up Sega circa 2001. This isn’t even up for debate. Sega was broke.

      “The decision to show the same areas through the eyes of different characters and at different times of day was not only a deliberate choice”

      Yes, a deliberate choice made so they could use less assets for more levels and thus pad the game.

      “You later argue that historical context is irrelevant to today’s consumers.”

      It’s not historical context that I’m framing there. The point of that paragraph is basically to say “there’s a lot of different opinions on this game out there – you’re about to read mine, but understand the broader context that this is a divisive game and other opinions may vary.”

      “Contradiction!”

      Sure, when you take bits and pieces of the sentence out of context. What I said was that the soundtrack as a collective unit is memorable, but some tracks stick out more than others.

      “Obviously, you need a fact-checker. Are we playing the same game?”

      I do mention that in a handful of levels, badniks from the first Adventure are recycled – and again, there’s a bit of hyperbole for dramatic/comedic effect, but my overall point is accurate. Badniks with animals are largely replaced with dull military robots with glowsticks.

      “More pointless nonsense. What is the point of the “like many others” digression?”

      Who cares? Get the stick out of your ass.

      “Fallacy. You have to evaluate this as its own game.”

      No I don’t. It’s a major Sonic game. It’d be foolish not to try to place it in the context of the Sonic franchise. And even then, throughout the vast, vast majority of the review, I do evaluate it on its own merits.

      “Circular reasoning.”

      How is it circular reasoning to say the game is janky? How is it circular reasoning to say “these stages are boring and I wish I could just skip them to get to the fun parts?”

      “Not part of the plot.”

      See above.

      “These two statements are unrelated, as well as speculative.”

      It’s not speculative at all to say “the popularity of the Adventure games resulted in Sonic Team making more games like the Adventure games.” This is simple cause-and-effect that anyone could figure out.

      “Bringing up Sonic 2006 when talking about a 3D Sonic game is like comparing your opponent to Hitler in a political debate. It means you’re running out of arguments.”

      Not if your political opponent actually is a genocidal dictator.

      “Sega had more than enough money allocated to their mascot. These repeated references to Sega’s “$5 budget” and “Sonic 2006″ are only there to put pressure on people who like the game, so that they accept your argument without question.”

      Again: it’s not even up for debate that Sega was in financial ruins around the time this game came out. The Dreamcast was bombing harder than Hiroshima. Their games weren’t selling. Publishers were abandoning their platform in droves. Trying to argue otherwise will be fruitless. And for reference, I mention Sonic 2006 two times in the entire 4200 word review, and the second was just to credit Ohtani for his work on it.

      tl;dr cocks

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    Wow……. Guess Who, just….. just….. completely DESTROYED Jake……

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