REVIEW: Sonic Adventure 2 HD

Friday, October 5th, 2012

Share this page

Libra Sale!

We are proudly a Play-Asia Partner


Ads support the website by covering server and domain costs. We're just a group of gamers here, like you, doing what we love to do: playing video games and bringing y'all niche goodness. So, if you like what we do and want to help us out, make an exception by turning off AdBlock for our website. In return, we promise to keep intrusive ads, such as pop-ups, off oprainfall. Thanks, everyone!


Title: Sonic Adventure 2 HD
Publisher: Sega
Developer: Sonic Team USA
Release Date: October 2nd, 2012
Genre: Platformer
Console(s): XBox360, PS3
Version Reviewed: PS3
Rating: ESRB E10+

Sonic the Hedgehog’s past titles are more critically acclaimed than his recent outings. The exception to that rule is last year’s release of Sonic Generations, the game that was created to celebrate twenty years of Sonic. While I absolutely adored Generations, the game created to celebrate Sonic’s tenth anniversary is one I have many fond memories with that span across the Dreamcast, Nintendo Gamecube, and now the Xbox360 and PS3. (Note: This review is for the PS3 version of the game.)

Sonic Adventure 2 is the second of three games remade in stunning high-definition as part of the Sega Heritage Collection. We’ve already reviewed the first game, Jet Set Radio, and you can look forward to a review of NiGHTS into Dreams in the coming weeks. Back to the task at hand: Does Sonic Adventure 2 hold up?

First of all, a brief look at the games features. Sonic Adventure 2 is available as a standalone game that offers an HD re-release of the Dreamcast classic. But one can purchase the multiplayer content from Sonic Adventure 2: Battle (effectively turning your digital copy of SA2 into SA2:B) as well.

No extra content has been offered for the game as of yet, but it does feature Trophies and Achievements. Some are simple (beat each game’s story, get a few trophies), some have a clever name attached (such as the ‘Beyond Good & Evil’ trophy for beating the game’s final chapter). There are tons of Chao-specific trophies in the game as well, which encourages players to raise the adorable things ‘til their heart’s content.

The game offers Scoreboards for every level and mode in the game so diehards can compete for the highest score or fastest time worldwide or with friends. But if I may make my first complaint about the game: while online leaderboards are fantastic, online multiplayer would be even better, and it’s sorely missing from this game. I played the local multiplayer of SA2:B so many times that I’ve basically memorized this entire game, but racing against my friends from afar would give me even more incentive to play!

Beyond these unique features, the core of Sonic Adventure 2 is unchanged. It’s the same game you’ve played on the Dreamcast or the Gamecube. However: the visuals are absolutely outstanding; there is a finer sense of detail strewn about every stage and event that takes place in the game. There’s nothing quite like that first scene when Sonic jumps out of a plane overlooking the whole city…in 720p. The soundtrack, voice-work and audio are the same stuff you remember, but clearer.



The gameplay of Sonic Adventure 2 HD is perhaps the most refined, proving that SA2 itself ages quite well, in that respect. Unlike my experiences with the port of Sonic Adventure, beating SA2 in its entirety was smooth sailing. Everything ran fantastically and felt like an improvement over the original. The game still has a few camera issues (notable if trying to move backwards in a stage while playing as Sonic / Shadow or Tails / Eggman), but they’re ultimately worth looking past, because they don’t happen very often.

The Verdict:

Is Sonic Adventure 2 HD worth playing if I’ve never experienced this game before?
– I can confidently answer this question with “yes”. Playing through the game again has brought back many fond memories, of course. But the Sonic and Shadow levels are fun and fluid, completely worth experiencing for the first time via this collection. City Escape and Radical Highway are among some of the best 3D Sonic levels of all time! The same goes for levels as Knuckles and Rouge, in which pieces of the Master Emerald and other things to collect are strewn about more cleverly / in wider spaces than Sonic Adventure. People have problems with the Tails / Eggman levels, but…I say they’re decent enough. Collectively, this game is Sonic’s finest 3D hour until about…Sonic Generations.

Is Sonic Adventure 2 HD worth the purchase if I’ve played the game before?
– That depends on how long it’s been. As previously stated, not a lot has changed between Sonic Adventure 2: Battle and this release, outside of updated graphics. If you’re the type to religiously play your Gamecube every weekend, maybe this version isn’t for you. But if you’re like me, and it’s been a long, long while—this version of the game is definitely for you.



Ultimately, I feel like the story, crazy Knuckles lyricists, and some aspects of the shooting levels have aged poorly. But the gameplay has always been what matters to me in a Sonic game, and for that, Sonic Adventure 2 HD is a great game, worthy to own for newcomers and series veterans like me.

Review Score

  • I have all 3 versions and I have to say, people, if you have it on GCN just play it again, the HD is just a port of it, no improved graphics nor character models, it just looks “clearer”

    • Wouldn’t the murkier graphics being made clearer be considered an improvement? The visuals are noticeably better between SA2:B and SA2HD; everything on the foreground is brighter / more colorful, while everything on the foreground is, as you said, made clearer. 

      SA2HD isn’t something groundbreaking that promised to rebuild the entire game from scratch for the PS3 and 360. As I already said in my review–not a lot has changed between the Gamecube game and this one. But there are *enough* overall improvements for me to recommend this version of the game to someone who [doesn’t] already own SA2:B or would prefer to game on PS3 or 360 versus GCN/Wii. 

    • But trophies…

    • But it’s only $10, and yes, after playing and reviewing the HD version of Jet Set Radio, I’m fine with it only being a bump in resolution.  

      Really, many people have gotten rid of their GCs or Dreamcasts, so it’s mainly for those people, or those who haven’t played it yet.  I’ll be interested in picking this up.  I think SA2 aged a little bit better than the original Sonic Adventure.  The goofy story and free roaming areas really bring the first one down.

    •  The word you are looking for is “UpRez” Which means to render the game in a higher resolution. Thus = more pixels for resolving much more detail than was possible originally.

      The Resolution boost from GCN to 720p is ~3X (3 times as many Pixels)

      That’s akin to running a 720p game at ~2250×1266

  • Ryan Peters

    Quick question: did you ever play Sonic Colors? That game was almost identical to Generations outside of the Wisp powerups, and it came to mind when you said that SA2 is the finest 3D Sonic game outside of Generations. Personally, I’d list it as #3, right behind Colors and Generations, which are, honestly, mostly tied with Generations sticking ahead just a tiny bit. I do really like SA2, though, and I’m really glad that I can play it on a modern console!

  • I never could play this. Now i can! So I’m a happy camper.

  • Shame that battle is DLC LOL.

    Also: Adding online multiplayer would obviously be “Too much work” for Sega’s cheap and quick;change aspect ratio,run at higher resolution;add lame achievements and leaderboards; “HD Remaster”

    So it’s not surprising it isn’t there. Even though it would’ve been an AWESOME addition. A shame.

    I bet you though, it cost them very little money to make this and they will probably be making a lot of profit from it.

    • I can agree to that. Online multi-player would be expected in a “rebuilt” SA2 versus an “UpRez”ed one as you described above. Still, the game is solid and deserving of [most] folks’ $9.99.