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Gamecube: Sonic Adventure 2 Review up on IGN

Old 02-09-02, 06:27 PM
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Gamecube: Sonic Adventure 2 Review up on IGN

They gave it a 6.9 overall. Here is the full review:

Sonic Adventure 2: Battle

Find out if Sonic Adventure 2: Battle is all it's cracked up to be. You may be surprised.

February 8, 2002

Sega's top mascot has, through some odd twist of fate, arrived on Nintendo's next-generation console. The famous blue hedgehog is making his debut on GameCube even before Mario. The catch is, Sonic Adventure 2: Battle is only marginally different from the Dreamcast version it's ported from. So instead of a Sonic custom created for GameCube, we have the remnants of the Mid-2001 Dreamcast successor with some notable improvements. Certainly we're glad to see Sonic only a few short months after the release of GameCube, but it is admittedly not as glorious a debut as we had hoped.

10 years after the release of the one that started it all, Sonic Adventure 2 sets out to bring the trademark breakneck speed into the 3D realm better than ever before. Throw in big boss battles, frantic shooting, and the ability to freely explore large 3D environments and you've got a recipe for the best Sonic ever, right? Sadly, this isn't the case. Sonic Adventure 2: Battle improves on the two previous Dreamcast incarnations, but the franchise still has a long way to go to bring the glory of the 2D masterpieces into the next-generation 3D world.

Features


* Sega's mascot comes to a Nintendo home console for the first time
* Use 12 playable characters including three hero characters, three dark characters and six others such as Amy, Metal Sonic and Chaos Zero
* Gameplay varied by each character's unique abilities
* Sonic and friends can grind, grab edges and swing from poles as the Hero Sonic or the villainous Shadow
* One of the fastest gameplay experiences around provides blazing entertainment
* Discover bosses weak spots and strategize to defeat the huge figures
* Additional two-player battle modes for increased multiplayer value
* Six battle modes including racing, treasure hunting, shooting, kart racing, and Chao racing and karate
* Play with a friend in the various battle modes
* Link up with the Game Boy Advance for on-the-go Chao raising
* Impressive framerate locked at 60 frames-per-second
* Progressive scan mode vastly increases the sharpness of the visuals

Gameplay
Sonic Adventure 2: Battle is a marginally improved version of the Dreamcast sequel to the original Sonic Adventure. Basically Sonic Team learned (a little) that fans of the series did not want to spend too much time clumsily exploring a 3D world. So, the developers stripped out the city exploring, which more or less left you feeling side-tracked in Sonic Adventure. In Sonic Adventure 2: Battle the ideas are more streamlined. You can choose to play on the Hero or Dark side. Choose the Hero side to adventure through the worlds as Sonic, Knuckles, and Tails, leaving Shadow (evil Sonic), Rouge, and Dr. Eggman at your disposal for the Dark quest. You options: save the world or destroy it -- both satisfying for their own reasons.

The two quests amount to more than 30 stages, though nearly half of those are simply duplicates seen from either the Hero or Dark perspective. The locations vary from dense metropolitan cities to lush jungles to miniature universes in outer space. Each of those 30 stages has several missions to explore. You're only required to complete the first mission to move forward, but you can go back and indulge in up to four more missions with different goals. The levels are broken up into four main types of gameplay: running, shooting, exploring, and boss fights. This is actually where the Sonic Adventure franchise takes a turn for the worse.

Sonic is founded on its sense of speed and mostly linear experience. Stray from that and you have to implement a solid 3D camera. Unfortunately, Sonic Team has attempted this quite unsuccessfully to this point. The camera in the Sonic Adventure series is truly horrid, an insult to the advancements demonstrated by modern 3D camera control in titles such as Banjo-Tooie and Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time. In the exploration levels, where you are sent bumbling through a large 3D environment as Knuckles or Rouge, it sets the stage for an incredibly frustrating experience. Coupled with the camera, they are in fact amateur attempts at designing a compelling 3D environment. Half of the time you simply cannot see where you want to go -- a major issue when you're scavenging the level for randomly hidden items. These randomly placed items are pieces of the Chaos emeralds, and you use a hot/cold type radar that beeps and blinks as you get closer to the treasure. One would have hoped that this variation on the trademark Sonic gameplay was only intermittent, but it constitutes roughly a third of Sonic Adventure 2: Battle gameplay.



Then we have the shooter levels. You're sent out into a more linear environment as Tails or Dr. Eggman in their mech robots. You must jump, stomp, and blast your way to the goal line. This is much more tolerable than the lumbering scavenger hunt levels, offering up a fairly simplistic shooter. You use the B-button to lock onto surrounding opponents. By holding it down you can lock onto as many as 10 or even more enemies. You'll get more points for this, but it's also more risky. You'll find that you can simply button-mash your way through the level while performing some rudimentary platforming. Demanding gamers will find these levels fairly bland, as the control mechanics don't offer up a deep shooter to the same degree a title like Panzer Dragoon does.

Now, we're not so naļve to overlook the fact that Sonic isn't meant to be a complicated shooter or platformer. It's intended to be fast and furious, bringing the "blast processing" rush that the franchise is famous for into 3D. The problem is that the Knuckles/Rouge and Tails/Dr. Eggman levels constitute well over half of the main gameplay experience, painfully splintering it into something most would agree is very un-Sonic.

There is a positive beat to this admittedly cynical rhyme, though. The Sonic/Shadow levels that exist are very cool. The sense of speed, control, and even camera (for the most part) fall into place, letting you blaze a trail at light-speed through some fantastic environments. In addition to running, you can grind rails, perform acrobatic flips over horizontal bars, and swing faster than Tarzan himself on ropes and vines. These levels are what you expect from Sonic, and while not totally polished are gratifying. We wish that Sonic Team had stuck to refining Sonic in this setting, as it would have improved the gameplay greatly. It can almost feel like a rollercoaster at times, offering up limited control, but its altogether satisfying thanks to clever level designs. As noted, however, there is simply not enough of this level type featured throughout the story quest. In fact, we'd guess as little as 30%.

The sad truth is that Sonic Team lost its focus somewhere along the way while bringing Sonic into 3D. The choice to try to offer up so many different types of gameplay has left the idea of Sonic shattered. Sonic Team needn't bring frustrating scavenger hunts and sub-par shooters into this great blue hedgehog's world. Sonic is definitely perfectly suited for GameCube, so we're hoping for a much more ambitious attempt for the next addition of Sonic.

Chao Raising and Multiplayer
A major part of Sonic that could easily go overlooked is the Chao raising. Sonic Team spent a considerable amount of effort on creating a world where you can raise a pet of your own. There's a Chao key in each level of the adventure that lets you go back and work on your Chao. You collect different animals and colored glowing sticks that each give your Chao a unique ability upon return. The variation from Chao to Chao can very greatly. So, on its own it's a great pet raising simulation. When you get some competent Chaos your can pit them against your friends in races and even Karate. Even better, you can send the Chaos to your Game Boy Advance via a link cable and raise them on the road. Not too shabby at all, but it is of course not the core part of Sonic's gameplay.

Then of course you have the battle modes. This is what makes the GameCube version different. You and a friend can race, hunt for treasure, or blast each other away in a number of levels not featured in the Dreamcast version. There is also the extra incentive in single-player mode thanks to the fact that you can unlock new stages and modes.

Graphics
Sonic Adventure 2: Battle is indeed improved over the Dreamcast incarnation in terms of visuals. Textures have been slightly improved (even redesigned completely) and Sonic Team has even revamped some of the geometry, adding in new objects such as trees and other foliage. It's hardly a high-polygon masterpiece pushing GameCube's texture abilities through the roof. However, it does look very clean and, most importantly, runs at a scorchingly perfect 60 frames per second -- visuals so fast you'll burn out your retina. Texture design is particularly strong. Some of the rock textures and grass textures are some of the best we've seen. Though, there are blurry textures (take a look at Sonic's shoes, for instance) to complain about if you're looking. Still, as a whole it's fairly sharp.



But you're missing out if you don't have an HDTV. All the visuals come to life in progressive scan mode, offering environments more deeply saturated with the broad spectrum of colors and considerably sharper textures. With its 60 fps fluidity, it's one of the better looking GCN titles to be seen.

Sound
Bad voice acting and some god-awful 80s-esque rock composition has plagued the latest Sonics. We regret to inform you this has not been improved. There are some acceptable beats, but for the most part we're willing to bet you'll cringe at the selection of songs. Equally bad is the voice acting. Sonic, the main character, sounds very much unlike what you'd want him to, and the other characters are even worse. Sound effects on the other hand are done fairly well, but it's the sound of collecting rings you'll hear most.

Comments
By now I'm willing to gamble that a lot of Sega fans are drafting nasty letters, claiming that IGNcube consists of Nintendo fanboys and we don't like Sonic or Sega. On the contrary however, we love Sega and we've always been a fan of Sonic. It's the 2D Sonics that we like, though, because they are the epitome of the design. It's the move into 3D that has been unpleasant. When I boot up Sonic, I want to take off at lightning speed and never look back. With the shooting and scavenger hunt levels in SA2, though, the design took a turn for the worse. The camera just isn't made to accommodate these types of endeavors and who really wants to spend a third of their time in Sonic's world playing out a simplistic shooter?

I quite enjoy Sega products. I loved Super Monkey Ball (who doesn't?) and am extremely satisfied Sonic Team decided to bring Sonic Adventure 2: Battle to GameCube. It can be a fun game at times, but it can also be extremely frustrating. This is why I'm anticipating the next edition of Sonic. Hopefully an all-new, ambitious take on the franchise custom-tailored to GameCube hardware.

For Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, I recommend renting it. You should get your money's worth out of it in that time. For those you that played the Dreamcast version, there's little to no reason to pick up the GCN incarnation. The differences in visuals and added multiplayer modes probably aren't worth it unless you're a hardcore fan.
***--Fran Mirabella III
I don't know what the IGNDC guys were smoking when they rated the DC version of Sonic a 9.4. With that, Sonic Adventure 2: Battle for GameCube is an improvement on the already released DC version -- it really is. Sega has transferred the hedgehog once more to the realm of 3D without losing any of the frantic pace or unpredictable loops of his 2D ancestors. It's these standard speedster levels that are Sonic Adventure 2's main draw for they never let up. And yet even these are hampered by an unbalanced camera system that is a generation backward from Mario 64 in terms of control and playable visibility.

Worse, though, are the other styles of play: a boring, tedious third-person shooter mode and a poorly executed scavenger hunt mode that unfairly asks players to search out gigantic levels for items whilst doing battle with the title's biggest nemesis, the camera system.

To its credit, Sega has also upped the texture quality over the DC incarnation of the game considerably, which is all the more noticeable in progressive scan mode (and if your television supports this, I highly recommend it). There are also added background objects like trees, rocks and vehicles, and the framerate is super-smooth even in multiplayer mode (which, unfortunately, is a worthless feature).

But improved visuals do not make a good game. And though I love Sega's blue hedgehog, I've been playing videogames long enough to know that when I'm more annoyed by the gameplay mechanics and head-spinning level design than I am satisfied, there is something terribly wrong.

This is not Mario's platformer equivalent. This game has been overrated for far too long. Only recommended to hardcore Sega and Sonic fans. Everybody else should definitely rent this one and see if it's worth pursuing before slapping down the cash for a permanent investment.
***--Matt Casamassina


Presentation

Sonic and his world as you'd expect. Bad voice acting and a heritage of some nasty character design. Dr. Eggman? 7.0

Graphics
A blistering framerate, sharp and detailed textures, and even progressive scan support. 8.0

Sound
Stay away from the cheesy rock songs, please. Unique high-energy compositions would do the title well. And, we needn't mention the bad voices again... 6.0

Gameplay
Frustrating camera problems, largely simplistic control mechanics, and unfocused gameplay. Focus on Sonic and his speed. 6.0

Lasting Appeal
If you actually like Sonic, there are multiple missions leaving plenty to do. However, if you don't, Chao rasing (with GBA) and the mediocre multiplayer leaves much to be desired. 5.0

OVERALL SCORE (not an average) 6.9
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Old 02-09-02, 10:33 PM
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I'm surprised they bashed the game so much. It sounds like this version is the same as the DC version and I think I remember IGNDC giving this game a great review.
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Old 02-10-02, 12:00 AM
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Originally posted by diacritic
I don't know what the IGNDC guys were smoking when they rated the DC version of Sonic a 9.4

This game has been overrated for far too long.

If you actually like Sonic, there are multiple missions leaving plenty to do.
Yeesh! I didn't read it all but I skimmed through it. From these quotes (especially the last one) its pretty obvious these guys flat out don't like Sonic at all even though they claim that they do.

It does sound like this game is exactly the same as the DC version, which shouldn't give it a worse score. I haven't played this version though so I'm not sure why the low rating. It really is a good game, possibly one of the best on the DC, I thought it was a really fun title.

If it wasn't for the media and movies I'd avoid IGN like the plague, lately I haven't been trusting their reviews either .
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Old 02-10-02, 02:06 AM
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Before you go saying "They're bias!" You'll see the newest EGM gave it scores like 6.0, 6.5, and 7.0...
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Old 02-10-02, 02:33 AM
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hmm...perhaps your right,

I only played the DC version and not this one so I really can't say much. It might be one of those things like how Grandia II is also better on the DC than on the PS2. I still try to avoid IGN though
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Old 02-10-02, 10:32 AM
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Originally posted by Outlaw

Yeesh! I didn't read it all but I skimmed through it. From these quotes (especially the last one) its pretty obvious these guys flat out don't like Sonic at all even though they claim that they do.

It does sound like this game is exactly the same as the DC version, which shouldn't give it a worse score. I haven't played this version though so I'm not sure why the low rating. It really is a good game, possibly one of the best on the DC, I thought it was a really fun title.
Why should two different groups of people give the game the exact same score. I definitely agree with the GC guys; Sega took the optional parts of the original (also usually the worst), and forced you to play them in 2, while cutting down sonic's role. Joy.
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Old 02-10-02, 10:44 AM
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Not to be a killjoy, but isn't that review meant for Insiders only?
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Old 02-10-02, 12:58 PM
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Originally posted by Mattalos
Before you go saying "They're bias!" You'll see the newest EGM gave it scores like 6.0, 6.5, and 7.0...
I was going to say the same thing. They pretty much gave the same reasons, the camera sucks and only the Sonic/Shadow levels are really fun. They also add that the multiplayer "battle" feature where you race to the end of the level is pretty lame.

I played this on the DC and hated it, along with the first SA, but I was still hoping they'd at least fix the camera problems. That way at least the cool sonic/shadow stages (that actually play like a 3D sonic game should, i.e. no taking your time looking for crap) would be more fun. But having to deal with poor camera angles almost takes the fun out of the game.
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Old 02-10-02, 01:27 PM
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Why should two different groups of people give the game the exact same score.
This isn't a small difference. That's what's so amazing.
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Old 02-10-02, 01:31 PM
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I have the DC version of this and its not nearly as much fun as the first Sonic Adventure. The Knuckles levels are terrible and I agree with the rating. They should have done it like the first game with six different stories and each character being different. Its also a shame they couldn't fix the camera problems. This was a major weakness of both Sonic Adventure 1 and 2.

I'm only getting Sonic Advance and skipping the Game Cube version, Sonic just works much better as a game in 2D.
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Old 02-10-02, 02:17 PM
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Only thing I know....I'm buying this game. I'll be the judge on whether or not this game is good.
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Old 02-13-02, 06:08 PM
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I'll give it a rent. For old time's sake if nothing else.

I remember when my friend and I rented a Sega Genesis and Sonic. The colors and the speed really blew us away, we thought it was amazing. It was a fun to watch as it was to play.
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Old 02-13-02, 07:56 PM
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umm...since this thread was revived I think I oughta take back my comments that implied ign was biased against sonic. As I said I didn't read the whole review but I probably should have heheh. I don't even own the DC version(I rented it) but I still disagree with ign. I now return this forum back to the forum for intelligent video game discussion.
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