Review by SBrainfreeze
"Well, they sure impressed me."
We know that ultimately, all sequels are going to be more-of-the-same business. Most often they are, or the game goes the other way entirely and goes all the way off the path. Sonic Adventure 2 is of the former category, and most of us could have guessed that. But what the game does have, in spades, is refinement of the existing game design and a huge amount of replay value, along with being an incredible audiovisual ride from start to finish.
Firstly, the graphics. I would assume, despite a lack of any great technical knowledge, that the game is running at 60 frames per second over the original's 30. It shows. When I tried playing Sonic Adventure again, it felt very, very slow by comparison. The environments are vast, well detailed, and go flash by you before you can notice either of the aforementioned attributes. The story shown through the cutscenes ain't much, but as cut-scenes they're certainly well done, with some mid-grade FMV sequences throughout.
On the audio side of things, you've got the... unique music that was first put to use in Sonic Adventure 1. The in-game music is unobtrusive and not that bad either, but the character themes are, well, they're odd. I'll be nice and call them odd.
The voices... ugh... the voices are the thing that upsets me most about the game. Let me explain. After Sonic Adventure's moderately less laughable dubbing, I decided to play the game in Japanese with subtitles from beginning to end. The subtitles, though they are still based on the dub script, are fortunately more accurate to the original dialogue than those in Sonic Adventure 1. I can say this because even with my very minimal knowledge of Japanese [and most of it not even based off of that], I can tell you that there was a -lot- of dialogue altered, inserted where there wasn't before. Thankfully there aren't many scenes that made me sit up and say ''He didn't say THAT!!'' like there were in the first game. Here's where the bad part comes in. I beat the game and found all of the ending dialogue completely un-subtitled. At this point, I was forced to fight the last boss again and watch the ending, this time in English. This was enough of a sampler for the rest of the voice acting in the game that I actually feel justified calling it an abomination. Easily up there in the bad dubs list with Shenmue, Star Ocean 2, Lunar 2 [note to Vic: arrogance can be a -bad- thing too], and yes, even the powerful-in-its-ineptitude Symphony Of The Night dub. Think Dragonball Z voices, but higher pitched, and, if possible, with less genuine emotion. Rouge was most notable for a ''reading lines off paper'' voice. Sonic and Shadow were both given high-pitched and cartoonish voices that don't even remotely match the emotions of the characters in a given situation. This is especially bad for Shadow and he has a great-sounding, deep, intimidating voice on the Japanese audio. Interestingly enough, the high-voiced characters [Amy and Tails] were given deeper voices. Amy suffers most from this, being a completely bland and nondescript voice. Tails sounds like himself in the Japanese audio, just.... more annoying. Robotnik didn't have the mad-scientist sound to his voice that he ought to. Listening to Sonic and Shadow's buddy talk in the final boss conflict was excruciating. You can tell just how excruciating by the work I've put into this paragraph [!] To conclude: PLEASE PLAY THIS GAME IN JAPANESE WITH SUBTITLES. Spare your ears the abuse.
I should be writing about the -good- part, it occurs to me, if I am to score this game as a 9. It's a lot of fun. The two sides, Hero and Dark, essentially play the same, however, they do play different levels, and there's a grand total of 29, not including Chao World, the kart racing game, -and- boss fights, of which there are plenty. I'd rather have the same characters in different levels myself, instead of different characters in the same levels. This game's got a tremendous amount of replay value. Each level has FIVE goals. Not only this, but it ranks you from A to E. Get all A's in a specific level and you get another emblem. There are 180 emblems. You'll be working on it for a while. This really allows you to get an appreciation for how well-crafted the levels are. I won't say that they're -all- masterpieces, but the first level is one of the best levels I've ever played in a platform game. My only complaint would probably be the extreme clunkiness of Robotnik and Tails' mechs. Even for getting around these levels, they feel inadequate and frustrating in a lot of ways. I'd consider any Robotnik/Tails level involving quicksand to be the low point of the game. Well... hey, at least there aren't Amy levels to be concerned about anymore....
To add up, it's a great ride, everything you'd expect from a Sonic game and a lot more than you'd expect from a Sonic game. You -will- enjoy yourself. Just... do an angry fanboy a favor would ya? Don't do the dub. Trust me on this one.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 06/27/01, Updated 06/27/01
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