Review by Son Kenshin
"Adventure? Where boy?"
Ever since I beat SA1, I have been eagerly awaiting the release of Sonic Adventure 2. And finally, it’s here. It surpasses the original in almost all ways, and definitely gets two thumbs up.
First off, these graphics are amazing. The whole game looks as good as the killer whale in the first adventure and beyond. There are tons of details, including sparks flying out of Sonic/Shadow’s Soaps/Rollerblades when you grind and the smoke when you get damaged as Tails/Eggman. All the levels are colorful and vibrant, and are well thought-out. I dislike the loss of the first-person view. That really helped a lot in SA1! Another grudge I have with the camera is that whenever you need to grind certain things, the camera gives a side view which makes it incredibly hard to land it (most specifically, in Sonic’s desert level).
Second, the music is amazing. It’s mainly rock, but there is one remake from SA1 that turned into punk. All the tunes are stellar, but I would have liked to see a different Chao Garden theme. It’s too… kiddy. The sound effects are nice as well, namely the grinding. Many of my friends have Soaps in real life and it sounds exacly how it should. The voice acting is decent, at best. Tails is still annoying, but Shadow and Eggman’s are really inspired. I just love Omochao’s voice when he gets injured! Nitpicks? Yes. During a cutscene, when two characters are having a conversation, one may say “Blah blah blah,” and before he even finished, the other will interrupt with a new sentence. This is minor, but it makes it harder to follow the dialog.
Control is a bit different from SA1. In SA1, you would use Y to go into first-person view. Now, it switches through a cycle of action buttons which can be pressed by either X or B. Also, the B button, when used for speed boosts with Sonic or Shadow, react rather slowly. This is used very often, but will come in handy for squeezing through tight chambers.
As in most Sonic games, the plot doesn’t really matter. In fact, it’s a bit hard to follow at times. It’s generally about the government trying to capture Sonic because a similar hedgehog named Shadow is creating havoc all over Earth (shouldn’t this be Mobius?). This all leads back to the one and only: Dr. Robotnik. He discovers a powerful weapon and Sonic must stop him. Not very original, now is it?
The main problem with SA1 was that the gameplay was too different from the 2D Sonic. In the 16-bit days, the game was more linear and had little to no exploration. In SA1, half of the game was exploring the adventure fields, looking for upgrades. Now, upgrades are placed within levels. As a matter of fact, the entire game is. There are no adventure fields. Some diehard Sonic fans may be pleased, but I rather enjoyed the adventure. I liked talking to people and taking trains to distant lands. I dunno… maybe it’s just me. The biggest thing that’s new is the grinding. Sonic can use Soap shoes (yes, they are real) to grind down rails. This can lead to huge chains of action and are extremely fun. Shadow uses rollerblades to do the same thing. There are also poles you can grab onto to do flips. These are really cool, as well.
The best thing about this game is the replay value. You can probably beat the Story mode within several days, but if you plan on getting all 180 Sonic Emblems, it may take you a month or more. And according to Prima’s guide, there’s gonna be a huge surprise if you manage to collect all these little gems. Besides, just zooming through levels like Sky Rail and Metal Harbor are fun enough.
This is Sonic’s 10th anniversary title, and Sonic Team made it memorable. Happy Birthday, Sonic. You deserved it. Let’s just hope this won’t be your last blast through the videogaming series.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 06/25/01, Updated 06/25/01
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