Review by Cam424
"A classic gone wrong."
Although it's almost a decade since Sega's Dreamcast console faded into Oblivion, many of its killer apps are considered some of the most fun games in general. One of them being the iconic, must-have Sonic Adventure. In 1999, people were amazed by its graphics, sound, high-speed gameplay, and overall fun-factor. Since then, we've been treated to a re-release, Sonic Adventure DX, which offered a faster frame right, slightly improved graphics, and some new gameplay mechanics like missions. Sonic Adventure has been ported once again to the Playstation Network, and how does it hold up? Bad, to be blunt.
Sonic Adventure is exactly what it seems. An adventure set in the Sonic-verse. In this game, one can play as Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Big the Cat, and E-102 in an intertwining storyline revolving around a creature called Chaos. Dr. Robotnik wants to take over the world, so he finds colorful talismans called Chaos Emeralds. Every time the creature Chaos gets fed one, it gets bigger and stronger. There are 7 Chaos Emeralds, so using basic logic, if Chaos gets all 7, it becomes this massive, monstrous dinosaur-ish thing that can be seen in the opening cinematic (Which coincidentally spoils the ending for players). The game isn't strong on plot at all, and the writing is worse. Dialogue is laughable, the story seems unnecessary, and backstory involving Chaos, an ancient tribe of Echidnas, and some giant robot trying to kidnap Amy seems very pointless, as if the developers needed some extra padding.
The gameplay in Sonic Adventure is diverse, and (for the most part) fun. Each character has their own style of gameplay accompanied by their own sets of levels. Sonic's gameplay consists of running extremely fast, jumping on things, and solving easy, quick puzzles. Tails' gameplay consists of dumbed-down platforming, many levels forcing the player to race against Sonic to the end. Knuckles' gameplay consists of finding shards of Chaos emeralds in various levels which require the player to fly, dig, and use their wits to track them down. Amy's gameplay, simply put.....is walking. You just walk around, and whack things with a hammer. E-102's gameplay is more action-oriented, having players shoot and blow up everything in sight. Last but not least, we come to Big the Cat. Big the Cat's storyline consists of fishing...and that's it. All you do is fish, fish, and fish, with an occasional boss battle. I have no idea what possessed the developers to include this gameplay mechanic.
With these brief descriptions aside, the gameplay in Sonic Adventure is pretty fun, and retains its entertainment value on the PS3 port. Things such as leaderboards and trophies have been implemented, giving the game a well-needed addition of modern mechanics. One complaint shared by owners of the PS3 version (as well as other ports) deals with how clunky the game feels. The controls don't feel solid, so you'll find yourself becoming frustrated as to why your character isn't moving fluidly. Another curse plaguing this port is how glitchy it is. I've had the game freeze, glitch, and in many cases become unplayable a few times. Still, with these flaws aside, the game is fun. Anyone used to classic Sonic games, as well as dime-a-dozen platformers will enjoy this.
I honestly can't say much about the graphics. Since this is a port of a Dreamcast game, people shouldn't expect much when it comes to wow-ing. As opposed to the original Dreamcast version, the textures in this port are slightly improved. Colors seem more vibrant, and the frame rate is better. The biggest visible improvement is how the character models have much higher polygon counts, and better animations. The amount of effort put into the characters leads me to wonder why Sega couldn't have re-used textures and models from other 3D Sonic games to use.
On the PS3 port, there is one major, major, major problem. A problem so awful it makes me cringe thinking about it. The game isn't made for widescreen HDTV's at all. That's right. In an age where everything is 720p/1080p, the PS3 port of Sonic Adventure is stuck with a 4:3 resolution, so on your massive TV, you're treated to two equally-massive bars, almost intruding on the fun. This feature may seem like a minor annoyance, but when playing the game, it becomes evident. The lack of widescreen support for this port is enough to make someone avoid purchasing it.
Music and sound effects in a Sonic game are hit-and-miss. You either love it, or hate it. Sonic Adventure provides a diverse, quirky soundtrack which (at the time of its original release) was very cutting edge, utilizing organic instruments as well as impressive, non-corny synth. Other than that, it's all downhill. Sound effects in this game are very low-quality; some of which I could identify being in other Sega games. Tying in with how corny the written dialogue was, Sonic Adventure's voice acting is unintentionally hilarious. Many sound bytes and bits of speech are reused ad nauseum. Another problem has to do with the theme music of the characters. All of the theme songs utilize vocals, which simply don't work.
If you enjoyed the Dreamcast classic, this port of Sonic Adventure holds up well, and is a must-have for any collector of nostalgic/retro games. If you've played the game at least once before, you know exactly what to expect. However, for gamers who have never played this, they just won't like it at all. Many glitches and control problems will be a turn-off, as well as the corny, low-quality voice acting and music for some of the characters.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 09/27/10
Game Release: Sonic Adventure (US, 09/21/10)
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