By Jonathan Higgins / October 5th, 2012
|Title: Sonic Adventure 2 HD
Developer: Sonic Team USA
Release Date: October 2nd, 2012
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.
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.
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