|When I played Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast , it was over a
system generation ago, and I was hooked. The game was fast, exciting and incredibly
detrimental to my relationship with my wife and children. It was very difficult for me to
walk away from that game. It was with a little trepidation that I placed Sonic Adventure
2: Battle into my Gamecube. I worried that a second helping of Sonic might have more
lasting repercussions on my marriage. Im happy to say it didnt. Its not
that Sonic Adventure 2 isnt an entertaining game, its just that its so
much like its predecessor that there doesnt seem to be any real reason to play it.
The plot of the game is as incoherent as the original although not
nearly as fragmented. In the original Sonic Adventure, you had to complete all of the
individual characters levels before the story even began to make sense. Sonic 2
follows a more linear approach to storytelling. Gone are the character select screens and
the player is forced to play as one of the provided characters. The new "spin"
that Sonic 2 offers is the ability to play through the game as the bad guys. This choice
has no real effect on the gameplay. Its just more of the same.
There is a lot of variety to this game. There are your
traditional platform elements, some shooter levels, and even a little kart racing thrown
in for good measure. Although the game excels at giving the player lots to do, it
doesnt strive to make those levels all that challenging or interesting. The levels
featuring Sonic are the most entertaining, but they feel too few and far between. The
shooter levels featuring Tails lacked any real depth, and the treasure hunting levels with
Knuckles were simply tedious.
As I played, I kept telling myself, "I should really be
enjoying this." But I wasnt. Perhaps I would have enjoyed the game more if I
hadnt played the original Sonic. The nice thing about this being on the Gamecube
platform is that there are a lot of Nintendo devotees who havent had the opportunity
to spend some time with the little hedgehog and his friends. I can recommend the game
without reservation to people who havent played the original. But for myself, Sonic
Adventure 2 just felt too much like its predecessor.
Sonic lends itself well to the Gamecube controller configuration. For as
comfortable as the controller is, Ive found that the X and Y buttons have never been
that conducive to intuitive game lay. In playing some games, Ive even forgot they
were there. Sonic primarily uses a two button configuration to move the action along, and
that works just fine.
Sonic Adventure 2 packs a lot of modes to play. There is a bevy of
multi-player games that add to the replay value of the title. Some folks may enjoy the
game as a multi-player title more than single player adventures, but its doubtful.
The game also incorporates a mini game involving raising little chaos and then having them
fight. Sonic is the first game to take advantage of the Gamecubes ability to
interface with the Game Boy Advance. You can download your chaos into your Game Boy, train
and raise them on the move, and then upload them into the Gamecube for battle. I found
that I spent almost as much time with my chaos as I did playing through the game. I really
enjoy raising and training the little guys, but I found myself a little uncomfortable when
pitting my little guys against other chaos.
All in all Im left feeling a little ambivalent about this
game. It looks great, the music is only mildly annoying, and the controls are extremely
tight. Theres just little incentive for former Dreamcast owners to play the game. As
a reviewer I should be more objective and not let my past gaming experiences color what
games I review now, but I just cant. However, I can say that Sonic Adventure 2:
Battle is probably the best platformer available for the Gamecube, a distinction Im
confident wont last very long.
Jason Frank (04/18/2002)
Ups: Pretty visuals; multiplayer modes; chao raising; GBA interface.
Downs: Multiplayer modes; just overall lackluster.