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Sonic Adventure 2

System – Xbox Live, Playstation Network, Steam
Genre – 3D action platformer
Players – 1-2 online play
Publisher – Sega
Price – £5-10

Reviewer – Michael Corker

Hume Note ~ This review was played on the Xbox 360 version

ScreenshotSonic Adventure 2 originally launched over 11 years ago, all the way back in 2001 to celebrate Sonic’s 10th anniversary and was released on the Sega Dreamcast. A few years later it was re-packaged as ‘Sonic Adventure 2: Battle’ and released on Nintendo GameCube along with a few enhancements.

I loved (and still love) Sonic Adventure 2. I felt it improved on a lot of things from the original Sonic Adventure such as better graphics and controls and a story that was simpler to follow and felt like a summer action movie. The game contains some of Sonic’s best conceived 3D levels in my opinion, such as City Escape, Final Rush, and Metal Harbour and allowed us to play as the villains for the first time. It also introduced Shadow and Rouge to the Sonic canon, which was quite exciting at the time.

Last year, Sonic Generations spoiled us by giving a tantalising glimpse into a fully HD and modern recreation of SA2 in City Escape however this is something very different to that re-imagining so with expectations reset, let's take a look and see how this re-release stands up to scrutiny 11 years on.

Screenshot First up, playing the game in widescreen is a thrill. This game was meant to be cinematic and that extra space at the side of the screen really helps to sell the grand stages a lot of the levels wanted to be. The re-release of Sonic Adventure last year was a huge disappointment due to it being a 4:3 conversion and in my opinion felt rather claustrophobic during play.

Unfortunately not everything has been converted over to widescreen. Obviously the pre-rendered movies such as the ARK firing on the moon were created back before widescreen TVs and HD video was the norm so it’s understandable, if a little upsetting, that we’ll probably never see a high resolution version of these sequences leaving us with these rather pixelly and blurry originals. The in-game cinematics are puzzlingly still in 4:3 aspect ratio too, which I assume has a technical reason behind it but slightly spoils the polish of the release.

Other things that spoil the release are the amount of little quirks and bugs from the original releases that haven’t been fixed. Chief amongst them is during cinematics the voice actors as still completely drowned out by the background music. The odd ‘Warning!’ dialog box when loading a game save also still pops up without giving a user any idea what it’s warning about. Also, before every level loads a game tip is shown however the levels load so quickly that it’s near impossible to read the entire tip before it vanishes.

Screenshot Beyond the main game, all the extra characters and 2-player modes from the GameCube release are also available as downloadable content for about an extra £2.50. This also changes the start screen when the game loads to show the SA2:Battle logo for some reason. I’ve not been able to test this yet but I’m assuming the original Dreamcast DLC (Egg Robo and other courses in the racing kart section) is available by finishing up certain sections of the game just as it was in the GameCube version.

It would have been great to see what else Sonic Team could have done with this release, online multiplayer is the first thing that comes to mind as something that would have instantly made this a must-buy and certainly extended the gameplay value.

Overall, this is a great port; it’s almost identical to the original Dreamcast/GameCube releases other than the menus and levels now being in widescreen and I don’t believe that’s necessarily a bad thing. It would have been great if they could have fixed and tidied up a few other things but so long as you accept going into the game that this isn’t a re-make, just a re-release, you should enjoy it.

This is Sonic Adventure 2 pretty much as you remember it, whether that's good or bad is entirely down to how much you enjoyed it the first time around.

Raves Raves:
Looks great in widescreen
Big is back!

Graves Graves:
There’s still problems with the sound
No glitches from the original have been fixed
No extra features such as online multiplayer