I won’t bore you with the usual spiel about Sonic’s state in the past and present. Leave that to any other website trying to pad the word count. Let’s get right into the heart of it: Sonic Lost World is a half-baked game. At its best, it brings a fresh element of fun to the series through the new Parkour System that lets Sonic zip around landmarks, triangle jump up walls, and even cancel his now-signature homing attack to kick enemies around. But the experience tends to get bogged down by odd level design choices or a finicky mechanics.
Now with 100% less screamer.
The developers at Sumo Digital have tuned up their old car, shoved a jalapeno up the tailpipe, changed the belts, look, whatever generic trope you want to indicate for the existence of Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed. You know, that Sonic and Sega racing game? They made another one of those.
Without a doubt, it’s a better game than the predecessor. It’s more of everything: more vehicles, more characters, better physics, more track variety, and so on. It also does what it can to give character/item based racers the competitive edge that the genre has difficulty in reaching. On the other hand, the game has mishaps and hiccups that occur more often than it should which can cause the game to be a frustrating experience, especially in some of the game’s more heated situations.
(SPOILER WARNING: This review contains unmarked spoilers. The game is over a decade old and well-known amongst our readers, so we deemed it unnecessary to refrain from spoilers. If you’ve never played the game before, you’ve been warned.)
In a franchise like Sonic that has been on such a rollercoaster of quality for the past twenty years, Sonic Adventure 2 somehow sticks out in the franchise as possibly the most polarizing game in the series. To one part of the fanbase, it’s the pinnacle of Sonic. Because it was the first major Sonic title on a Nintendo platform, many people cite SA2 as their introduction to the franchise. And yet to others, the game symbolizes the start of everything that nearly killed the franchise forever. So as I review Sega’s recent digital rerelease of Sonic Adventure 2 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, I feel it’s necessary to frame the game in context.
Outside of the broader fanbase context, I – like many others – have my own personal relationship with SA2. I was but a wee child when it first came out for the Dreamcast in 2001, and I spent a frightening number of hours engrossed in the game. It wasn’t my first exposure to the series; that title goes to Sonic 2 on the Genesis, whose predecessor and sequels received a similarly obsessive amount of my attention. In fact, the sole reason I asked for a Dreamcast for Christmas in 2000 was so that I could play the original Adventure. So, being the fanatic little child I was, Sonic Adventure 2 earned a special, fuzzy, nostalgiatastic place in my heart. The question, then, is: eleven years later, can it keep it?
Let’s level here for a second–if you’re a Sonic fan in any capacity whatsoever, you’ve heard of Sonic CD, the tried-and-true cult classic of the original Sonic “trilogy,” as it were. Released in 1993 for the SEGA Mega CD, spearheaded by Sonic’s original character designer Naoto Ohshima and developed by a completely different team than the first Sonic the Hedgehog game, the game has received wildly mixed views as both the best and worst Sonic game–and in some cases, platformer in general–of all time. Sporting surreal and immersive environments, a heavy focus on puzzles and exploration and an absolutely killer soundtrack overseas (courtesy of the collective genius that is Masafumi Ogata and Naofumi Hataya), Sonic CD stands out in a lot of ways from virtually every Sonic title that came after it. This is likely due to the fact that game designer Hirokazu Yasuhara had no involvement in it whatsoever, contrary to the original Sonic and the two sequels that followed it. Still, love it or hate it, Sonic CD has left a longstanding impact on those who played it–both good and bad.
When news originally broke about the forthcoming release of the Sonic Generations Collector’s Edition, I must admit I was a bit jealous. Seeing as I lived in America, it would require money I couldn’t justify, importing a game that I had no idea would even work on my region’s hardware. So I sat and waited, to see just what the contents were. Yes, we all knew what they were supposed to be, but no one knew what songs were to be on the music CD, what the art book contained, or how nice the statues would stand. For me personally, however, it was the documentary that intrigued me the most. A history of Sonic the Hedgehog put together by Sega themselves? They hadn’t done anything like that in years, and definitely never in English. As should be evident by the title, I’m not going to review the entire collector’s edition for one simple reason: I don’t have it. There are plenty of other people who have shown it off and gushed over the limited-edition ring (which I must admit is pretty nice), but because of the wonders of the Internet, anyone can watch the Sega of America-produced documentary. Now with six extra minutes straight from the horses mouth. So the question must be asked…is it any good?
It finally came out. Sonic Generations, the game that has been hyped beyond belief since its initial reveal in April of this year is now in the hands of the masses of the western gaming public. Containing the hopes and dreams of three generations of Sonic fans within, the title is perhaps the most fitting way one could celebrate 20 years of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. Starting with the first game that lit up homes the world over and wrapping up with last year’s Sonic Colo(u)rs, Sonic’s entire gaming career is chronicled in some fashion inside Generations. With everything that has been said about the game on message boards and game sites across the globe, how much more can be said? How much can one review dictate whether or not someone should go out and buy it? Or at the very least, ask to get it for Christmas? Seeing as the game is a retrospective on Sonic’s greatest gaming moments (and a few of his misses), it only makes sense that the game is not perfect. But I want to make something absolutely clear: just because the game is not perfect doesn’t mean that it is not fun. On the contrary, I’ve had a blast going through it. Of course, if you’re reading this review in the first place, more than likely you’ve already at least played the demo, if not outright own and unlocked everything within. Which is perfectly fine, since this website is called Sonic Retro. Sonic the Hedgehog is our figurative bread and butter. You’re not coming here to read our reviews on the latest Final Fantasy game. So with that said, there isn’t much more to do than jump right into things. If you can curl, now’s the time to do so.