Aside from Sonic Generations, I had never played a Sonic the Hedgehog game before. I loved Generations, and I really wanted to see how the other Sonic games have held up over the years. So, when I had the opportunity to review Sonic Adventure 2, I jumped all over it. I’m sure there is some love for the game both back then and now, but it really didn’t age well.
Originally released back in 2001 for the Dreamcast, Sonic Adventure 2 has the player controlling either the Hero or Dark sides of the story mode. The Hero side has you playing as Sonic, Tails and Knuckles while the Dark side has you taking control of Shadow, Eggman and Rouge. Each character plays like his/her counterpart. Sonic and Shadow have speed run missions, Rouge and Knuckles have item-finding missions and Tails and Eggman have robot-shooting missions.
At times, the game really shines, much like Sonic Generations did. This usually happens when you’re playing as Sonic or Shadow. The speed is nice, and the levels can get hectic at times, but mechanically, everything works. The Tails and Eggman parts are where it begins to get cumbersome. It isn’t all about speed with these two, and you have to actually explore the levels a bit in order to find your way out. The sections with Knuckles and Rouge are where the game really falls apart. These stages task you with finding three items scattered around the open level.
The problem comes from the camera. You can only move the camera horizontally (and not vertically). When playing as Knuckles and Rouge jumping becomes a dangerous chore since you can’t always see where you’ll land. Also, for some reason, the camera is inverted, and getting used to an inverted camera is like trying to re-learn how to use dual analog sticks all over again.
The HD part of the game looks decent. The backgrounds and textures still look burry and messy, but the characters and action involved look good. The audio suffers similarly to many other HD remakes I have played in the past few years. For some reason, the music is turned way up even during cut scenes. It’s to the point that it drowns out the voice acting in the game. That may be a blessing in disguise, because the dialog I did get to hear is rather bad.
The game also features the Chao Garden. You can raise Chaos how you want, and have them participate in different events to level them up. Basically, it is the Sonic version of a Tamagotchi. You will find items and animals in missions that you can bring back to your garden and use them on your Chaos to level up aspects of their stats as well as change the way that they look. Of course, on the 360 and PS3 versions, you can’t take a Dreamcast VMU with you to play on the go, but it works and is addicting once you get into it.
For the big fans of Sonic, you may still get some enjoyment out of this HD remake. The Sonic and Shadow levels still hold up pretty well, and the small objectives you can play after beating the story mode will keep you entertained for a while. The Chao Garden is addicting and fun, but almost everything else is a bit of a let down. For ten dollars, it’s a decent game, but many parts are frustrating. I highly suggest you keep in mind that this game is for nostalgia purposes only. If you’re looking for a great Sonic game, pick up Sonic Generations instead.
Review copy of game provided by publisher. Primary play on Xbox 360.