Fifty. Fifty Games Growing Up articles. It’s hard to believe that it’s been two years since I started writing these articles. It’s been an absolute blast, and I hope you guys have had as much fun reading them as I’ve had writing them. For my 50th Games Growing Up review, I decided that I’d share the original review I wrote as an application for Retroware. I wrote this piece at like four o’clock in the morning in an email way back in August 2016. This is the unedited first ever Games Growing Up:
Sonic Adventure 2 is a game that marked a turning point in the Sonic Franchise. No more lighthearted “Save the woodland creatures, beat Eggman” scenario, this 2001 game took a very dark turn and set Sonic and friends on an adventure to save the world from Armageddon. Now, many fans believe that this game is easily the best 3D Sonic game, while some fans believe that nowadays, the game is not very good, and isn’t deserving of that title. Let’s take a look and see.
The game’s graphics still look very nice, sans the human characters. (Looking at you, president). The music is also timeless. The gameplay, however, is where the quality starts to drop. Many people remember Sonic and Shadow running quickly through stages, beating enemies and collecting rings. The level design of Sonic and Shadow’s stages, however, is very simple, consisting of straight lines, slopes, and loops, and nothing much else, sans for a few pole swinging sections. Along with the poor design are the tight controls. Tilting the analog stick can either make Sonic barely move or make a complete 180 turn. The enemy placement is also strange, as some enemies completely come out of nowhere. The speed stages are also marred by inconsistency. Whereas City Escape is a speedy level, Crazy Gadget has a strange gravity gimmick and has a lot of starting and stopping. It seems that for the time, these stages were unlike anything fans had seen, as this game was given positive reviews when it first came out.
Knuckles and Rouge’s stages are a vast downgrade in quality from the previous sonic title. The radar for the stages is nerfed in that you can only hunt for one emerald at a time, and the stages are too big for their own good. Along the glide ability completely breaking the game in some instances, Knuckles and Rouge’s stages are nothing but a missed opportunity for gem hunting.
Tails and Eggman’s stages are essentially a more refined version of the shooting stages from Sonic Adventure 1, where the player would quickly go through stages shooting everything in sight, getting points and powerups. This mode of gameplay is very fun, except for the controls in many scenarios in which the player will easily die because of the clunkiness. Tails and Eggman are in giant mechs, which take up a lot of space in the tight corridors that the player needs to get through, leading to cheap shots by enemies. It is also difficult to tell where the mech is in relation to the edge of platforms, leading to the player to fall off frequently. While mechs can be fun, controls hinder the potentially grand experience.
This game was considered a landmark in the Sonic franchise when it came out, and it isn’t hard to tell why. 3D gameplay was still somewhat new and fans considered this game to be superior to Sonic Adventure. When there are only two 3D games in a series, it’s hard to judge the game in comparison to others in the series. While some stages in the game are filled with fast action, great music, and interesting visuals, the controls are very unpolished and some of the game design just seems unfinished. It’s easy to simply disregard the lackluster stages and focus on the stages that are fun, but when over half the game is lackluster stages. After many Sonic games have been released in the years following Sonic Adventure 2 that have improved on the gameplay, it’s easy to see that this game is nothing to hold in super high regard. Unfortunately, Sonic Adventure 2 has not aged well.
I’d like to say thank you to several people. I’d like to say thanks to Cyrus Burris, John Delia, Mike Anthony, Lance Cortez, Shane Luis, James Ronald, the rest of the RetrowareTV crew for being such a great group of people and for being so welcoming and friendly towards me ever since I joined the site, and you, the reader. I’ve poured my heart and soul into these reviews, and I’m incredibly proud of the work I’ve done. Next time on Games Growing Up, I’m going to start a new sub-series. Thank you for reading. The best has yet to come.