Sonic Adventure 2 Review – A Reunion With A Long-Lost Friend
To say that I am a fan of Sonic Adventure 2 is an understatement. Not only did this title single-handedly persuade me to buy a Sega Dreamcast back in 2001, it is one of the few titles in which I have dug up every last secret. Now that the game has been remastered in HD for the PSN and XBLA, am I eager to rush in and do everything all over again?
Yes and no. As the latest title in Sega’s string of retro remakes, Sonic Adventure 2 is more of a re-release than a remake, playing it safe instead of tweaking the formula. And unfortunately, some parts of this time-tested recipe need some refinement. Offering three different play styles neatly tied up into two different story modes, Sonic Adventure 2 tries to spice things up by offering up a nice mixture of speed, shooting, and adventure segments. This would be an ideal way to break up any sort of monotony, but some parts of this package are just more appealing than others.
First thing’s first: the speed segments are the main event here. Split up between the blue blur Sonic and newcomer Shadow, these segments are all about going fast, and looking cool while doing it. Much like a time-trial mode prompts the player to reach the goal in record time, so too do these stages require absolute perfection. However, I can assure you that Gran Turismo or Forza Motorsport never had stages packed with loop-de-loops or grinding rails. Just be warned: the squirrely controls have not been polished to the gold standard seen in the more modern installments, so get a good handle on your character, lest you want a bad time and a face full of wall.
The other two-thirds of the package sadly do not live up to the breakneck action. Taking control of Tails and Eggman requires you to play through stages that can best be described as Star Fox meets Resident Evil. If the lock-on controls of the former paired with the walking patterns of the latter strike your fancy, go nuts.
Rounding out the package are Knuckles’ and Rouge’s adventure segments, which amount to glorified games of Marco Polo. Finding three Emerald shards does not seem too difficult, but a large map and fussy controls damper the hunt.
So what was added in the past 10 years to Sonic Adventure 2? Other than the practically mandatory widescreen support and achievements, there are also little touches here and there that are subtle but welcome. The addition of leaderboards is perfect for perfectionists, and right-stick support for Knuckles/Rouge’s stages helps to alleviate the tedium of their stages. Japanese voice-work is available in the options as well, for those who don’t want to listen to Sonic’s cheesy one-liners.
This re-release of Sonic Adventure 2 is not so much a fine wine, but rather an 11-year reunion with a long-lost friend. Sure, the time might not be exactly how you remember, but it’s still a great way to reminisce about days gone by.