Sonic Adventure 2 HD
Some games were meant to have an HD remake. Street Fighter 2 got a pretty faithful remake with new hand-drawn sprites. X-Men Arcade – according to Kate’s review – is definitely worth playing, and I’m almost positive if the SNES version of The Chaos Engine were to ever find its way onto XBLA I would never leave my TV. Other games, like Vigilante 8 or Lode Runner, are best left to nostalgia and should never actually be played again. Sonic Adventure 2 is a fond memory from my late childhood; however, after revisiting it in 2012, the game unfortunately falls under the latter category.
Sonic Adventure 2 is around the time when the Sonic franchise started to take a turn for the worse. Some people strongly believe that SA2 is one of the last – if not the best – of the “good” Sonic games. Each level in the game stars a different member of the Sonic cast, and they are tailored to the abilities of that character. Sonic and Shadow levels are fast, acrobatic affairs with lots of ramps, jumps and rails. Tails and Dr. Eggman both pilot giant mech suits, so their levels are more similar to a third-person shooter. Knuckles and Rogue each have stages where they must find hidden pieces of the Chaos Emerald, because they can climb and fly, I guess. It definitely helps put some variety into the game, but after the first few levels you’l start groaning every time you find out a stage doesn’t star Sonic or Shadow.
Sonic Adventure 2 is a very dated game by today’s standards, and that definitely shows in the gameplay. The camera is awkward and hard to control, and will more often than not be pointed ad something that in no way aids you in figuring out where you need to go. The sense of speed in the Sonic and Shadow stages is a lot of fun, until you accidentally nudge the control stick too far to one side and your character screeches to a halt for no reason. The problems I found myself having with Sonic Adventure 2 HD are the same problems I remember having as a kid, and while Sega made no promises to clean the game up other than upscaling the graphics for HD televisions, it is a little annoying to find the game falling short for the same reasons ten years later.
Maybe its because I’m not a die-hard Sonic fan, but I just didn’t find myself enjoying Sonic Adventure 2 HD very much. The Chao-raising mode still manages to be the most virally addicting portion of the game (It’s like a bunch of jiggly, cooing Tamagotchi), but nearly everything else gets stale pretty quickly. It is a faithful port, so fans of the original game, or people really curious to play one of the last good Sonic games can probably find something worthwhile inside. Anyone else should probably keep clear and leave this one as a fond memory.