Review: Sonic Adventure

I was really excited to review Sonic Adventure. I hadn’t played the game in nearly seven years (since its GameCube release in 2003) so being able to get my hands on it after so long was a pretty good deal. I knew there were a lot of problems with the game initially, so I was hoping Sega had addressed these issues in the re-release. Apparently, they didn’t.

Sonic Adventure offers players six characters to play as throughout the game’s substantially short Adventure mode, each with their own different playing mechanic. At first, you’re only able to play as Sonic; as players progress and meet new characters throughout the story (like Tails and Knuckles), they’ll become available in the character selection screen. Each character has their own story and set of missions to complete, all of which are connected. The stories for each character threw me off; it changes for each character. You’ll be playing as Sonic and have a scene with Tails where dialogue will pass and a boss fight using Sonic will occur. Following, playing through Tails’ story, you’ll experience that same event with different dialogue and — instead of Sonic — have Tails fight the boss. It didn’t really make much sense to me. It’s bad enough that the story’s skewed, but the cheesy character dialogue and terrible voice-acting only make it even poorer.

Some of the characters don’t really belong in the game to begin with. Big the Cat has three or so missions throughout his whole campaign and they all involve fishing for a runaway frog to complete. No action, no speed, no anything. Tails’ mission set is filled with races against Sonic, which also don’t feel like they belong, considering the majority are all slightly modified versions of Sonic’s stages. It’s like playing the same thing twice.

There are a lot of bugs that — like I said earlier — I was hoping Sega would fix for the downloadable release, but they unfortunately didn’t. The camera is still annoying, constantly shifting to uncomfortable positions, the frame-rate regularly drops and the game overall is a buggy mess. There were times where I fell through the floor and lost a life (several, actually), where speed-boosters simply ran me into walls… there’s too much to list.

It’s clear that this release is nothing but a direct port of the Dreamcast game. The game hasn’t been upscaled to high-definition, but is rather boxed-in on a 4:3 standard-definition display. To make matters worse, the game doesn’t come with the Sonic Adventure DX: Director’s Cut additions either, instead offering it as additional content for five bucks. It’s a bit insulting. Upgrading to DX doesn’t include the Game Gear mini-games included with the original DX release, either.

Sonic Adventure is a mess. It’s not unplayable but it certainly does get annoying. I’ll admit I enjoyed it when it released on GameCube in 2003 (I’ve never played its original release), but what’s considered “good” changes with time. We only suggest you pick up this re-release if you’re looking to relive your past. Otherwise, leave it and wait for Sonic Adventure 2‘s re-release (assuming it’ll eventually happen). That one was good.

4/10

Sonic Adventure was reviewed on PlayStation 3. All six characters were played to completion. Sonic Adventures launches for PlayStation 3 on September 20, 2010 for $9.99 and for Xbox 360 on September 15, 2010 for 800 Microsoft Points.

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