It has been quite a while since the release of the original Sonic Adventures 2. Back in 2001 SEGA released this title for the SEGA Dreamcast and later released the game for GameCube due to SEGA’s fading from manufacturing video game consoles. Now, this SEGA classic title has been rereleased for download on PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade (PC to come later).
After playing this title as an HD remake, one can guess that it’s similar to the old title. This is a game that is almost exactly the same; a thought that every player should very well be aware of upon purchasing it. Sonic Adventure 2 still has a classic feel; it’s those moments that players remember from playing the game before that brings a smile to their face. Of course, it is not a new experience and it doesn’t feel like one. It feels like playing a classic game on a modern gaming console. There are a lot of aspects to take into consideration when putting a game like this up for review. It cannot be compared to anything of current-gen gaming; that’s not what it was made for but it can be compared to what a modern gaming society would like to play. Sonic Adventure 2 comes down to a very important question; is this game still relevant to a modern gamer?
Like stated above this game feels like the player is playing a classic title. It doesn’t feel new so likewise the story isn’t all that fresh. With that being said, this game follows the same story as the first release of Sonic Adventure 2. It is a little choppy, that’s how it was before, but it is easy for the player to get the just of what’s going on. Sonic is joined by a cast of his friends to track down and obtain the master emerald. The story ultimately branches off into two different sides, the heroes and the dark. The player can take control of each side and watch as one story unfolds between the two.
On the heroes team the player can take control of Sonic, Tails and Knuckles. The levels that revolve around Sonic tend to be classic to him. He takes off running in platform styled game play. You will end up collecting rings, capsules and creatures with the main objective being to reach the end of the level. Tails level choices will be him, aka the player, taking control of a robot. Instead of racing through the level at lightning speed like Sonic, Tails will take on tougher battles and shoot down enemies with his weapons. He has different abilities but the objective remains similar; reach the end of the level. Knuckles are a bit different. His level choices are in somewhat of an open world setting. He is forced to play a game hide and seek with the master emerald or whatever else he may be after. In the end, the heroes job is to make their way through levels unlock new scenes of the story and above all save the world from the dark villains.
The dark side of the story mode is focused on Shadow, Dr. Egg Man and Rouge. As like Sonic’s missions Shadows mirror them as Egg Man mirrors Tails and Rouge mirrors Knuckles. In the dark story the player will get to embody the enemy of the heroes which makes for some pretty interesting story telling. Where in most games players take the role of a side and fight for that side in this game the player knows the point of view of both the hero and the villain. It is interesting to feel the different emotions for each side instead of believing one to be ‘bad’. While Sonic and the gang are fighting for the better good for their own reason, Shadow and his team are doing the opposite for their own reason. It becomes the player’s choice to fight for or believe in whichever side they choose. Choices are no stranger to the gaming world but this choice situation is done differently than any modern game out there. The fact that it feels older and that there is no real consequence to your action because of the way is set up makes it interesting instead of stressful.
With the story still being a strong suit compared to modern games there are two main aspects that unfortunately cannot compete with a modern audience. The problem with remaking classic games is the fact that there are things that the industry as a whole has improved on and although at one point it was fine in a classic title, the times have just progressed. In Sonic Adventure 2 there are two elements that are just so far surpassed in modern gaming that it becomes a drag to deal with even on a remake of a classic title. Both the life system and the camera angle fall into that category that has modern gamers screaming to have to deal with.
The life system is classic, and for that reason we have to hand it to them but it is just now feeling a bit outdated. Just like in the previous release of Sonic Adventures 2 the player collects rings. When the player is damaged by the enemy they will lose their rings. At a point when the player has no rings and is hit they are forced back to a checkpoint or if it is at a point to where they no longer have any life’s left they must restart the entire level. This is something that in honesty is classic to Sonic, it’s just the way he is, but when its compared to modern gaming it feels a bit unfair. The player can be doing outstanding on a level have a mishap and then be set back completely instead of a modern take which would be a minor injury and keep moving. It is just an outdated system that could use some updating but nothing to twist an arm to complain about.
With that being said the camera angle is something to twist and arm about. It becomes increasingly annoying when a player tried to force their thumbs in directions to get an appropriate view of whats going on and nothing happens. As gamers, we are used to being in control of the little things like the camera and in Sonic Adventure 2 that is just not a suitable option. Just like the classics the game will mostly control the camera for the player so if they are stuck in a situation as to where something is not viewable then things get a bit frustrating.
One of the fan favored modes is the Chao world. This is a separate area then the rest of the game and a place where players can take care of creatures known as Chaos. These creatures are meant to be raised just as someone would raise a baby except they are given animals and power capsules to strengthen abilities. There are three separate gardens in which the player can choose to raise their Chao a dark garden, a light garden and a mutual garden. The Dark Garden is placed under the main lobby, resembling hell; the light above to resemble heaven. The Chaos can also go to school and participate in racing events.
When raising a Chao the player will go through each part of its life. It starts as an egg and once it hatches the new baby doesn’t know how to do much of anything but crawl. Once it starts getting older it will begin to walk and swim and even fly. The Chao will go into a cocoon and eventually transform into a generic Chao, Dark Chao or Light Chao; depending on how it was raised.
The player can also name their Chao, have their health and stats checked as well as teach them new skills in the Chao Kindergarten. Also available in the school house is a means of purchasing new things for Chao in the Back market store. The store carries rare items that the player can use their collected rings to buy.
This is a mode that is almost a game in itself. It’s a joy to raise the little creatures and something that could add extra replay value to the actual story of the game. It does get addicting to raise Chao’s and after a while the player will know which levels they have to play to get which items for their Chao or how many more rings they need; that’s what forces players to want to reply missions. In order to raise a great Chao the player needs to reply the game and raise it correctly which is both fun and addicting.
Sonic Adventure 2 also features a multiplayer mode. This mode is not used for online play but same system is supported. The mode pretty much functions like single player except it is competitive against friends. The most interesting take on Sonic Adventure 2 multiplayer is the open-world/ searching levels. This is where there are two players and they are in search of scattered pieces of the master emerald. There is a indicator at the bottom of the screen that signals how close the player is to the emerald piece and with that it helps them find it. This is the multiplayer mode that is a unique competitive mode to play with a friend.
The downside to multiplayer on this title is the fact that it is all offline. Having this game be online would have opened up a new window for this classic. It could have been anything from the available challenges that are able to play in multiplayer mode to a Chao race. These things would have been revolutionary however they are no supported.
In conclusion, this is a classic game that is a joy for Sonic fans. If you were a fan when this game first released you will be a fan of the downloadable version of the game. It has all the old features and to some extent it can keep up with a modern gaming audience. Keep it to the fans, if you enjoyed it before you will enjoy it again but if you never played the original you may be left slightly disappointed by flaws that are usually not in modern games.