Published on June 24th, 2013 | by Duke0913
Review: Sonic Adventure 2 HD
Developer: Sonic Team USA
System(s): PlayStation 3 (PlayStation Network), Xbox 360 (Xbox Live Arcade), PC
Release Date(s): October 2, 2012 (North America, PlayStation 3), October 3, 2012 (Europe, PlayStation 3), October 4, 2012 (Japan, PlayStation 3), October 5, 2012 (Xbox 360), November 19, 2012 (Steam)
When the blue hedgehog made his first leap into the third dimension, the games were met with critical acclaim. However, games like Sonic Adventure had their share of problems, and ports of the game made them more apparent. Sonic Adventure 2 also falls into this category, as it was met with a positive reception, but had some technical issues that became noticeable as time passed. While many fans consider these two games the best in the series, they are far from perfect. With Sonic Adventure 2 HD, does this port address some of the issues, or is it just more of the same thing?
The main thing with this port is it’s visuals, which look decent for the most part. The whole game has received an HD makeover and widescreen support. Some textures actually look worse in this port, but it’s nothing that ruins the overall presentation. As with other games that are ported from older consoles, there are some cutscenes which retain their original 4:3 aspect ratio. It makes a little more since with this game, as their are two different types of cutscenes; one which uses in-game graphics, and the other uses CGI for a more realistic look. This is probably for the best, as the latter would look washed out in wider resolution.
Another new addition to Sonic Adventure 2 HD are online scoreboards. You can compare your scores to others across the globe, or try to beat any of your friends records on PSN. There are also trophies/achivements you can get for completing certain in-game tasks. However, they’re nothing special, and in fact playing through the game regularly will award you with most of them.
A few of the easier trophies/achievements you can get are obtained just by playing through Story Mode. Here you can choose to play as Heroes (Sonic, Tails, Knuckles), or conquer the world as the Dark side (Dr. Eggman, Shadow, Rouge). There are a few parts of the story that seem unnecessary, as some of the levels you play through do nothing with the plot. This stems from the fact that Tails, Shadow, and Rouge were originally not going to be playable. Still, most of their levels are enjoyable, in fact, a few of them are borrowed from the original playable cast (Sonic, Knuckles, Dr. Eggman). Aside from these and a couple of other plot inconsistencies, it’s still one of the better written stories in any Sonic game.
As for the actual gameplay, it’s been carried over relatively well. There are 3 main gameplay types for you to try: Action Stages, Shooting Stages, and Treasure Hunting Stages. For Action Stages, you take control of either Sonic or Shadow, moving at high speeds and platforming your way to the goal ring. Introduced in this game is grinding, where you can jump on rails in order to take shortcuts or gain speed. Both characters are relatively the same, but the upgrades you can find in the stages can give them different abilities. One thing that I noticed with this port is that the characters control pretty loose. It does take some getting use to, especially if you’re use to either the Dreamcast or GameCube version, but it’s still playable.
In Shooting Stages, you take control of either Eggman and his Egg Walker, or Tails and his Tornado Mech. Instead of rings preventing you from losing lives, you have a health bar that can be restored by collecting more rings, or chaos drives that enemies can drop. Similar to how Gamma played in Sonic Adventure, you can lock on to multiple enemies to take them out in succession in order to get the best possible score. As with the Action Stages, Tails and Dr. Eggman control a bit loose compared to the original. The camera system also hasn’t aged well, and it’s very noticeable in Shooting Stages. The angles can be disorienting at times, which can lead to some annoying deaths.
For Treasure Hunting Stages you have three items to find in an inclosed area. As either Knuckles or Rouge, you can search for the treasure using the radar at the bottom of the screen. The closer you are to the item, the faster it reacts. However, only one emerald can be detected at a time. So even if you were near an emerald (or key), if it’s not the first piece, the radar won’t detect it. What really sticks out are the problems the other two gameplay styles have: loose controls and camera system. Once again, the game is still playable, but the problems it had in the past stick out more than before.
After playing through Story Mode, there’s hours upon hours of content for you to explore. You can play through extra missions in order to improve your rank and acquire more emblems. You can raise your chao, an artificial life form, and have them race and fight against others. There’s also kart racing, but for the most part it’s pretty bland. Granted, you can unlock more for this mode, but it’s pretty forgettable. Overall though, the wealth of what you can do in this game is unbelievable, and since everything is optional, there’s sure to be something for everyone to enjoy.
With Sonic Adventure 2 HD, you have the option to spend a little extra in order to upgrade to Sonic Adventure 2 Battle HD, which is a port of the GameCube version. The biggest thing with this is the vastly expanded local multiplayer. With a buddy you can race through Action Stages or Kart Racers, battle each other in Shooting Stages, compete to see who can find the most treasure, and even participate in chao mini games. Easily the best multiplayer in franchise history, and it still holds up in this port. I suggest only downloading the expansion if you have friends to play with, because it it will pretty much be a waste otherwise.
Sonic Adventure 2 HD is fun. When it comes to video games, that’s my main concern. I had a blast playing through one of my favorite games of all time, but I can’t deny the fact that it hasn’t aged as well as I had hoped. Compared to the original and GameCube port? It’s definitely the weakest of the three. The controls will definitely take some getting use to, and the camera system is very poor. If you have the option to choose which version to play, I couldn’t recommend Sonic Adventure 2 HD. If you’ve always been interested in seeing what this game is about and don’t own a Dreamcast or GameCube, you can give this game a download, but be wary of the problems that come with this it.
+ Tons of single player content
+ Option of expanding the port
+ Great multiplayer
– Controls a little differently
– Camera system seems to have gotten worse
Final score: 3.75 out of 5