Review by turn_to_despair
"A solid Port at a decent price"
Sonic adventure was originally released on the Dreamcast way back in 1999, now after all these years it's getting a re-release on the PS3.
The graphics seems as good a place as any to start, the graphics are the same as they were on the Dreamcast and are showing their age, I don't remember the game looking so bad back in 99. However the graphics are passable they do what's required of them and the game is still one of the best looking games on the network. The graphics are generally bright and colourful; exactly what you'd expect from a sonic game, the game does overall manage to capture the look of the original sonic games, containing a casino level, ice level and a sky fortress level. The character models also have plenty of detail and are pretty much how you'd expect the sonic characters to look in 3D, the mouths move along with the speech, ok it doesn't sync up but it was a commendable effort for 99.
The sound in this game ranges from good to terrible, while some nostalgic touches have been added in and definitely adds something to the game other aspects of the sound are awful. Firstly the voice acting, it's quite painful, not the worst I've ever heard but far from good, Sonic sounds like a teenager, while his attitude' may have been contemporary when sonic was first released by 2010 it's losing its appeal. Not every voice is bad, but none stand out from the crowd and when the crowd is as mediocre as this it's not good. Each character also has a theme song, all of these have lyrics as well, a nice touch no doubt, however while some of these songs are alright too many of them sound like cheesy pop songs, I don't recall disliking the songs back in 99 but that was a different time and I was 11 years younger. The songs aren't so bad that you'll have to mute your TV and some may even like them, but these songs do show the games age, and to an extent its target market. The level music on the other hand is quite good, not every level obviously, but on the whole they fit their levels and maintain the feel of the earlier Sonics. The sound effects on the other hand are excellent, now it's possible I'm being swayed by nostalgia here but a lot of the sounds come straight from the original Sonics. The jump noise and check point sound are straight from the original games and the level end theme is from the originals as well, other sound effects in the game have a distinctly retro feel to them.
The gameplay on offer is very diverse, the game has 6 characters, and a hidden 7th, and each character has a distinctly different style of game. Firstly Sonic, his levels are typical sonic, with the odd exception, get from one end of the level to the other to some specified target. The levels are fast as you'd expect from a game bearing the Sonic title for the most part the transition to 3D didn't hurt the game, however occasionally you'll find a fast section broken up by veering into a barrier and slowing down or stopping Sonic, also occasionally the controls and camera will give your issues. I don't recall having these problems on the original release, but I may have done. The levels are broken up with boss fights and sub missions, the boss fights are fairly frequent but offer very little challenge in truth, but they give a nice distraction from the main game, sub missions work similarly, these can range from flying a plane to racing cars again they don't offer a huge amount of challenge but they do make a nice change of pace. The levels are accessed through a Hub, very similar to Mario 64, the character you use walks around the world to find a level, or other bonuses, the characters are all upgradable and you can find new equipment to improve them throughout the world. Also emblems (more on these later) can be founded around the map as well as additional items, for example a gold Chao egg (again more on these later). But I digress, back to the main game, as you complete the game with sonic the other characters are unlocked. The next character is Tails, his levels are similar to Sonics expect the levels become races to the end. Knuckles on the other hand must collect pieces of the master emerald scattered throughout the level, this can be quite tedious when you can't find what you're looking for and a quick time can come down to luck. Amy's levels do revert to form and have you simply reaching the end of the level, however when using Amy she is pursued by a large robot which ends the level if it catch you. The next 2 characters were created especially for this game, firstly is Gamma (he has a longer name but I can't remember it), his levels involve going through the level shooting enemies until you reach the boss of the level and then shooting him, while this is rather fun it can get a little old, thankful his mode isn't so long it becomes a chore. The second character is Big the cat, his game involves fishing, and that's pretty much it, this can be alright I suppose, it's the aspect of the game I least enjoy, levels can take a long time, thankfully he only has a few so it's not too bad. Once you've beaten the game with every character you do unlock one final character but only for one level but it's still a nice feature and gives you a reason to play with Big. Finally you have the Chao garden, these are virtual pets of a sort, they hatch from eggs and can be combined with the animals you free in levels to make them better, you can then make them race to gain emblems. The system is fairly simple and does give the game a little more to do and you can always just go and try to improve your Chao between levels.
Now let's face it no one plays Sonic for its plot, but this one does make an attempt to tell a coherent story, basically Dr Robotnik (or Eggman as the game refers to him) has summoned an evil creature called Chaos who gets stronger when he absorbs the Chaos emeralds. The plot is basically about the protagonists collecting emeralds to stop Chaos, well for most of the characters, some have other plots, for example Big is trying to catch his friend a frog who swallowed an emerald, but really it's not too important to the overall plot. The plot does its job it explains why Sonic must stop Robotnik despite being quite basic there are a lot of plot elements that I'm not going to mention, the plot is at times a little too elaborate, and there are quite a lot of cutscenes in the game. This isn't really a negative but in a Sonic does a plot need to be complex, not really, Mario 64 got by with a very basic plot and it didn't hurt the game.
The game has a surprising amount of replay value, the game itself is a decent length, beating the game with every character will take a fair amount of time even though the game is fairly easy, but that could be to do with being a family game, of course so were the original Sonics and Mario's which were considerably more challenging but times have changed. The game does have Emblems, these are gained through completing levels, each level has 3 emblems for attaining a specified rank obtaining a rank A on every level does take a fair amount of skill and offers a challenge to anyone looking for one. Emblems are also found in the sub missions and around the world so finding them all (130 in total) take a long time and can be fairly challenging.
The port of this version is pretty good, I've noticed quite a few glitches nothing game breaking but still, the game is a port of the PC version of the game, which in turn was a port of the Gamecube version which was a port of the Dreamcast version so some glitches are inevitable. The game plays quite well with a PS3 pad I found the analogue stick to be quite sensitive but this may have been the cast on all versions and is only a small complaint. The game does have some trophies which gives you something to play for, unlike a lot of other network games I've played the trophies seem a good mix, some are simple to get and will be obtained through normal play while others will require some work. Unfortunately the game is not in widescreen and there is a border, this isn't a huge issue as you'll get used to it quite quickly and barely notice it. Also the DX version of this game is available as an update giving extra missions and an additional character which is a nice touch for those who want it.
This game is a good port of a good game which is available at a good price, realistically what can you complain about, and the game looks decent, sounds decent and has some good gameplay elements. Sure the game does have some negatives but what game doesn't, and the good does make up for the bad, I won't try to say this game is amazing but for a relatively small price you can have an enjoyable game that will keep you occupied for a decent amount of time.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 09/28/10
Game Release: Sonic Adventure (EU, 09/22/10)
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