Review by Ciaxxi
"The second adventure without adventure."
The new Sonic game, a sequel to Sonic Adventure.
Highly anticipated by most Dreamcast owners. Is it a worthy sequel?
What is immediately obvious when playing the game is the lack of any ''adventure fields''. These fields were an integral part of the original Sonic Adventure experience. These fields held a bigger interaction with the environment and were fun to walk around in. Also using these fields little puzzles were to be solved. I myself liked this, as it was different from the former Sonic games.
Sonic Adventure 2 goes back to the original formula. You are presented a movie, which tells part of the story line and then you are placed in a level with a certain mission. This is like the first Sonic Adventure, as there are multiple missions to be done.
The mechanics of a level depends on the character you play with. There are three characters in hero mode and three in dark mode (I explain these modes in the story section below). Sonic has the style everyone knows by now. Go to the end of the level. Tails moves around in a machine (which is a transformation of his plane) and shoots like the robot in the first game (Actually he is just a clone of the robot in a good disguise). Then there is Knuckles. His gameplay is also still the same as the first game. This means he has to find three parts of the Master Emerald in the level. This works according to a hot/cold principle. The three characters in the dark mode have the same divisions, with some slight alterations.
The Sonic/Shadow levels are very impressive. If you were impressed when you saw Sonic Adventure prepare to be impressed again. But this is were it ends. The Tails/Eggman levels are a big bore and the Knuckles/Rouge levels can be a big pain. There are mini games and you can play with the Chao creatures. But these are just bonuses.
In the first game you had Amy, Big, Tails (no cramped machine there), the robot (original there) and of course Sonic. This was all something different. Now you have every character copied (''doubling the gameplay'', yeah right), but essentially the game shrunk considering gameplay.
The graphics are very very good. Easily one of the best looking games on the Dreamcast. When you play with Sonic you don't really notice it all the time, because it goes all so fast. But when playing with Knuckles you can really explore all parts of a level. Nice sharp textures and colours. I also like the screen announcing the level and mission before a level. Every character has its own colour scheme. The characters themselves changed a bit too. Especially Sonic is more defined. When Eggman is not in a machine he looks really nice. He seems much taller compared to the older Sonic games.
The pre-rendered movies are not that good compared to the realtime graphics. Sure, there are all kinds of effects which can not be done in realtime (yet), but I think they distance you from a story which you are supposed to be completely taken up in. The camera is a big problem sometimes. I don't consider myself a person who is annoyed quickly by camera problems (I played Spawn which supposedly has very serious camera problems and was fine and loved the game), but this is bad. It is mostly noticeable in the
Knuckles/Rouge levels, because you have to turn and look around when you explore the level. The other levels don't have this problem as they are more linear.
The game immediately starts out with a ''rock'' track. I'm not particularly fond of these kind of tracks and would rather don't hear them at all, but this game relies on them quite a bit.
I can understand how they fit in some places though, but there just is not enough variety.
None of the tracks I heard were memorable. I haven't heard a gem like the track played in the ''Lost world'' in the first game. That track was simply amazing and so was the level. But I digress. There are also some rap/techno/drum & bass tracks. I find the rap tracks pretty amusing. Hearing some rapper rap about the Master Emerald.
The character themes are back also without big change. This is a bad thing as I never liked them, but if you do you will be happy I guess.
The sound effects are good. Nothing too distracting or funny. It all just fits very well.
Hmmm, the voice acting hmmm. What to say? I'm no big fan of the way Sega uses English voice(actors). Most of the games their English voice acting is simply horrid (Shenmue, ouch). The English voices in this game are something I can handle though. It is nowhere near perfect, but it doesn't cause any nightmares either. If it gets out of hand just switch to the Japanese voices.
Story? True, how much do you need for a game which is ''based'' on action like this one. Since it is considered an adventure and all, I would say a bit more. The story is made more interesting by the two different game modes. The hero and dark modes, which I already mentioned. The three characters in the dark mode are: Dr. Eggman, Rouge and Shadow, which are respectively ''clones'' of Tails, Knuckles and Sonic. They control the same.
So depending on which side you play, you experience the story from that side. There is not made use of this to a groundbreaking extent or anything. I actually got bored a couple of times watching the same cutscene twice.
The ''twists'' in the story (if they can even be classified as that) are laughable at most. Good dialogue? What is that?
The story of the first game was much better. It not also intertwined the stories more, but it had much more to it. Also the relation between different characters was much stronger, partly because of the better written story. I don't want to give spoilers here, but there are parts of the story which simply lack (I dare to say it) emotion.
Nearly the same as the first game. The controls are very tight and responsive and I never had problems using them.
The ''A'' button is always used to jump and the ''B'' button can be used to attack/look/pick up/etc. There are also other items which can be used like that.
You can rotate the camera angles with the r and l buttons. This is mostly used when playing with Knuckles/Rouge.
All in all, the control scheme is very solid.
I will be playing the Sonic/Shadow levels again for sure. The Tails/Eggman levels are boring and I'm not planning to play the Knuckles/Rouge levels again (ever).
So, what is left besides a couple of cool levels? Some minigames and the Chao raising. If you really like that you will be playing the game for a long time. For me that just doesn't cut it.
The levels do have different missions, those will take some time to accomplish all.
Rent or borrow it, be amazed a couple of times, finish it, return it. It is a must to finish it once, but not a must to buy it.
The reason it still gets a 6 is because of the Sonic levels. Nice graphics don't make a game, they maybe make a bad game a bit more fun.
The improved graphics and the Sonic/Shadow levels are about the only good parts of this sequel. If you have never played the first game I suggest buying that one instead.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 06/23/01, Updated 06/23/01
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