The last few weeks have been quite exciting for me as I had not only experienced another amazing Eurogamer Expo, but was also asked to review Sonic Adventures 2. I have been a fan of the Sonic games for a long time, and because of this I was really looking forward to playing the remake of the Dreamcast classic Sonic Adventure 2.
I will start off by being honest about something. Even through I am a Sonic fan, I haven’t played a Sonic game in the last few years. I have wanted to but for reasons beyond my control have never really had a chance to, so I was really excited to give this game a go. I wanted to see how much the game has improved and how the latest graphics and gameplay has been used to improve the Sonic universe. The game was originally created and released on the Sega Dreamcast, but since the consoles unfortunate demise this is one of the few titles that has resurfaced and looks impressive.
To start with the game is broken into two sides. Hero, which is Sonic, Knuckles and Two Tails, and Dark, which is Dr Eggman, Rouge and Shadow. You can choose which side you would like to play as at the beginning of the game, however later on if you decide you want to play the other side you can still do this without having to start a new saved game. Interestingly both games will be playable from the one game file, so you can play through both sides at the same time. Both sides the story are completely intertwined with one another, so there are occasions where you see the same cut sequence, but play as the opposite character. For me this is quite clever as this gives you a chance to see the same situation but from the other perspective.
There are two stories in this game, but one is the result of the other. The Dark storyline is that Shadow has been released from a secret military base by Dr Eggman, and is now telling Dr Eggman to collect Chaos Emeralds for him. Now because Shadow has stolen a Chaos Emerald and looks like Sonic, Sonic has now been deemed a threat and as a thief.
The Hero story starts with Sonic escaping from a helicopter, which was defiantly a really cool way to start the game. Surfing down hill on a piece of metal to start my escape was so much fun to do, and despite hitting cars and many other things the controls were really easy to pick up. It didn’t take long for me to stop hitting cars and slide right in the middle of the road. This portion of the game only lasted for a bit, and the rest of the level continued on foot in classic Sonic style.
The Dark levels were just as impressive as the Hero levels. The story starts with Dr Eggman breaking into the military base to get their top secret weapon, which just so happened to be Shadow. Both the Hero and Dark have great introductions into the storylines and get you involved straight away. This instant action is something that really works for a Sonic game, and although we know and love the character having a engaging storyline makes this game feel better.
Running through the levels I can say that the game looks really impressive. It has the modern touch, but still feels like a classic Sonic game. The levels have three dimensional designs, but although you have a 3D world you are still travelling down a set path. You still run through treadmills that speed you up, and jump over gaps to get further into the level. In some of the Dr Eggman and Two Tails levels you even have to destroy locks on the doors so you can progress further into a level. As in all Sonic games lose all your rings if you get hit, then die if you cant collect any more and the way to attack is the classic jump and hit them from above. You can now do multiple hits in a row, but its still classic Sonic move.
When you play through the story line there is the mini game between each level completion, which is about raising Chao. Chao are little creatures that hatch in your own Chao Garden that you have to take care of. To explain this a little further, during every level when you destroy an enemy they drop something. This turns out to be a rod and that is used to level up your little Chao. There are also animals found across each level which are used to not only help level up your Chao, but can teach them special abilities. Each rod and animal has a different effect, so to know which one does what you need to play the game. Time in the Chao Garden only passes while you are in there, so this means you can raise them in your own time.
In addition to raising Chao you can race them in little competitions that can be found in your garden. The races are in different fields so its not just running. If you want them to win everything you will need to raise your Chao to be good in all the fields, but here is a little twist which I think is brilliant. Depending on how you raise your Chao it can be a nasty or a sweet creature. For this reason you need to watch if you are feeding or petting them too much, or if you are not giving them enough attention as this will effect what the result will be. So far I have found this part of the game very entertaining as I wanted my Chao to be the best. I will however have to keep playing to see just how they are going to turn out. The game balance between the actual game and the mini game works out quite well, and with the graphics being there too the only thing left to talk about is the BGM and SFX.
The BGM and game music in general is actually very Sonic. Each level has a song that is unique and was specifically recorded for Sonic Adventure 2. I liked the songs and music for the game and thought it was really well done, but the volume for each level including the Chao Garden is louder than the SFX and even louder than the character voices. If it wasn’t for the subtitles in the game I wouldn’t have understood most of what anyone was saying, which makes it much more difficult to follow what is being said.
When it comes to the SFX Sega have done it again as you get all of the wonderful sounds of the Sonic world. Sounds that remind you of happy days are always the ones you want to keep hearing, and personally when playing a Sonic game I cant beat the sound of him collecting coins.
+Easy to get into control wise
+Storyline is engaging and fun
+Mini game that is alot of fun and cleaver
-BGM louder than the character voices.
For me the pros far out weigh the cons when it comes to Sonic Adventure 2 and I really enjoyed playing this game. I felt that this was in every way a Sonic game and think that this would be a good addition to any Sonic collection.
-Random Man 5000
Sonic Adventure 2 HD was supplied for review by Lexis on behalf of SEGA.