Games stub

Sonic Adventure XBLA Review

Posted on September 25, 2010

A proud child of the 80's, I grew up playing Sonic the Hedgehog games lovingly on my Master System 2. I had my first gaming experience, my first speed run, and my first gamers cramp all with Sonic and Sonic 2. I was one of those people outraged when Nintendo started releasing Mario & Sonic stuff, I come from a generation where it was EITHER Mario OR Sonic. Never both. You had to pick your allegiance and stick with it until death staked its claim. Having missed out on Sonic Adventure the first time around (on DreamCast), I jumped at the chance to see first-hand what I had skipped.

Sonic Adventure is a 3D platformer with some RPG elements thrown in for good measure. The main crux of the story being that Dr. Robotnik (I refuse to call him Eggman) is after those blasted Chao Emeralds again in order to amplify the power of Chao, a creature which emerged from the Master Emerald, and take over the world. Sonic and his friends must acquire all the Chao Emeralds before Robotnik does in order to save the world. Again. Digitally remastered to support Surround Sound and 720p, Sonic Adventure is back and looking better than ever; but does the gameplay stand the test of time? Stellar graphics matter for naught if no one plays long enough to appreciate them.

Persevering through the three-dimensional, slaughtered version of Sonic, surprise set-in when I found myself enjoying it quite a bit. Remind yourself that the original had been released around a decade ago - a time when game mechanics we've come to expect were infantile - and it's easy to fall in love with Sonic one more time. Sonic Adventure pushes the fast-paced, pinball-like gameplay of the series to its limits, and though the graphics may not appeal to all, the gameplay certainly will. The design is simple and elegant, almost following a scientific process: Only experience gamers have the skill needed to navigate into secret nooks; At the same time, inexperienced gamers can find entertainment by ricocheting off of springs as usual. Mini-games have always graced Sonic games, and you'll find plenty of them in this remastered version. Scattered throughout the game, mini-games range from shooting down all of Dr. Robotnik's creations from a plane, to a humble pinball machine. The variety of gameplay elements is impressive, almost single-handedly justifying the purchase.

Six characters are available for your adventures (unlocked during play), and each has his own unique storyline. In essence, you're getting six Sonic games in one. With the previous paragraphs in mind, there are several dissuading problems with the game, often making it difficult to resume play after each had been discovered. First and foremost: the camera is terrible. I can't even count the amount of times the camera thought that the most optimum view had me staring at Sonic's face, meaning that I was running towards the camera. In a game where camera control and visibility is crucial to success, it's an unacceptable defect (working as designed or not) in an accuracy-based game. The camera position can be modified manually using the right thumbstick, but even this doesn't work as accurately as most games. Rampant, unvetted dialogue plagued Sonic's otherwise immaculate being I would pick up a key and Sonic would say something along the lines of, “Great! A Key! Now I can open that door!” with no indication whatsoever as to which door “that door” referred to. On one occasion, the door I had to open was in an unexplored sector of the map; had I not stood in front of every single door and pressed the action button, I never would have found it. The title's 'adventure' terminology is somewhat misleading. Action segments are bountiful, while typical adventure play is severely lacking, and when existent, is limited.

I'll never understand why Sonic needs to be in 3D. He's a talking blue hedgehog who runs fast. Why does he need to be made more “realistic” at all?!