Sonic Adventure 2 is an addictive platform game, whose gifts beckon you to come back and enjoy its entertaining and fast-paced gameplay system.
Unlike movie sequels, video game sequels generally have a legitimate chance at being superior to the original. Developers are able to learn new hardware techniques and are able to create a more visually robust product with the sequel, and feedback from critics and consumers alike let them make specific tweaks to the gameplay system. Such is the case with Sonic Adventure 2: Sonic Team listened to the complaints about the first Sonic Adventure--the uninspired voice acting, the camera problems that interfered detrimentally with the gameplay, the tedious and often tiresome adventure sequences--and has responded with Sonic Adventure 2, a streamlined action game that gives a determined nod to the original, and still classic, 2D Sonic the Hedgehog games. The ghosts of those original 2D Sonic titles are exorcised in the game's amazing pace, heart-pounding platform jumping action, and in the unyielding barrage of creatively designed levels--much more so than the original Sonic Adventure. Although Sonic Adventure 2 isn't without its faults, the game is both entertaining and addictive, and will easily become one of the last great games on the Dreamcast.
The stages in Sonic Adventure 2 are separated into three distinct and familiar gameplay flavors. The levels for Sonic and Shadow fit most comfortably in the general platformer genre, as they are designed for action and a healthy dose of speed. This is where Sonic Team is at its best and most innovative. A typical foray through one of these levels involves running through giant loops, bouncing off springs, grinding rails, hanging onto flimsy vines, negotiating tiny platforms suspended in air, and even dealing with antigravity rooms in some of the later levels, all the while disposing of enemies and moving at blistering speeds. These stages are not for the faint of heart, as the action can become complex and grandiose, and requires quick reaction and impeccable timing. Simply put, those who enjoyed Sonic's levels in the first game will get a double dose of the same as Shadow joins the adventure.
Dr. Robotnik and Tails share stages that involve shooting action, as both characters pilot mechanized robots equipped with generous firepower. Although the objective is to reach the end of a lengthy level and involves a good bit of platform hopping, these levels are based on the shooting elements. You are able to lock onto multiple enemies by holding onto a button as you target these enemies and unleash a barrage of missiles destroying all of the targeted foes at once. The pace in these levels can be a bit blasé at times, particularly in some of the earlier stages, but the action does get pretty intense as the game wears on. Finally, levels for Rogue the Bat, another new character in the game, and Knuckles involve exploration. As with Knuckles' levels in the first game, the characters must float around and search large levels, while following homing signals and tracking down pieces of the master emerald. These levels move at the slowest pace of all the stages in the game, and some of the levels are entirely too large and can become frustrating at times. Although maybe not as extreme, sometimes it can be like searching for a needle in a haystack. Perhaps if Sonic Team put all of these levels on a timer, as it has with one of Rouge's levels, it might have been more interesting.
As the levels have become bigger and more complex in Sonic Adventure 2, the lead characters have mastered a handful of new moves and attacks to counter the new level designs and stronger enemies. Robotnik and Tails have powerful weapons-based special attacks, Rogue and Knuckles have new hand-to-hand combat moves, and Sonic and Shadow are both able to grind on rails and unleash special attacks, including the ability to stop time for a few seconds, call forth a lightning strike on an enemy, teleport, and summon a tornado. And the new moves are more than just eye candy, as Sonic Team has made it a point to incorporate these newfound skills into the gameplay. The rail-grind in particular is used liberally, specifically in the latter levels. For example, in one stage based outside a space station, both Sonic and Shadow have to negotiate a series of rails, suspended in space, to reach the end of the level. Throughout the course of the game, the new moves become an integral part of the gameplay and add to the game's excitement and fun.
However, there are a few elements that distract from an otherwise entertaining gameplay experience. The first is the game's camera system. Granted, the camera flaws in the original Sonic Adventure were infinitely more frustrating by comparison, the sequel does retain some of the quirky camera work. All too often, the character will need to jump across to an adjacent platform, and the automatic camera will assume a position where the platform the character needs to reach is entirely out of view. This is often referred to as a blind jump and is a cardinal sin in the platform game genre. The camera can be rotated manually using the shoulder buttons to view the platform, but once the character moves, the automatic camera reassumes control. It is a problem that could have been avoided by giving the player the option to use a manual follow-cam when needed. Aside from the camera issues, the boss encounters are also more muted in this latest game, when compared with the original. Sonic Adventure had some amazing boss fights, and although the sequel has a couple of these fantastic battles, in general the boss encounters aren't as ostentatious. If you've played the first game, you'll remember the battle against Robotnik, where he pilots a dragonlike machine, or the amazingly difficult final battle against Chaos. There are no boss encounters that even come close to matching the intensity and difficulty of those boss fights in Sonic Adventure 2. It is unfortunate, because the rest of the game is put together with so much care. Finally, the game's storyline is also responsible for dislodging a gameplay experience that is usually rather consistent and enjoyable.
- Player Reviews: 60
- Game Universe:
- Sonic Heroes (PS2, XBOX, GC, PC),
- Sonic Mega Collection Plus (XBOX, PS2, PC),
- Shadow the Hedgehog (PS2, GC, XBOX),
- Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut (GC, PC),
- Sonic the Hedgehog (GEN, SMS, GG, MOBILE, PC),
- Sonic 3D Blast (PC, SAT, GEN),
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (GEN, GG, SMS, MOBILE, X360, IP, PC, PS3),
- Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine (GEN, SMS, GG, PC),
- Sonic Gems Collection (XBOX, GC, PS2),
- Sonic Riders (PC, XBOX, PS2, GC)