Sonic Adventure – The PS3 Attitude Review
Originally released as a launch title for the SEGA Dreamcast, Sonic Adventure blew people away with its awesomness in 1999. To many, it’s still the greatest 3D Sonic game ever made. Now that the game is available on the PlayStation Network, we get to revisit an important piece of gaming history.
By now, you most likely have read that this game is absolutely horrible. Is this really the case? Has Sonic Adventure aged so badly that it’s nearly unplayable?
Aside from running at a solid 60 frames per second, not much has changed. If you never played Sonic Adventure before, then you’re in for quite a surprise. This is probably one of the best examples of a game not aging well at all, and that’s assuming that you actually enjoyed Sonic Adventure in the first place. It really wasn’t that good of a game then and it certainly isn’t one now.
The biggest problem is the adventure mode itself. SEGA actually tried to include a story in this game and it just doesn’t work. First off, the voice acting is absolutely atrocious. Tails is notorious for having the worst voice in the game but it’s pretty bad for every character aside from Dr. Robotnik. Then there’s the game’s progression itself. You’ll often find yourself not knowing what to do next and that’s even after watching the horrendous story sequences. Most of the time though, you most likely have to head to the Mystic Ruins and mindlessly run around for a bit until you stumble across a key. It doesn’t make much sense.
Instead of playing through several acts in succession like in previous Sonic games, you can actually roam around a city and other environments. These moments aren’t any fun and completely destroy the pacing of the game. Sonic Adventure really shines when you’re playing through the first few stages as Sonic. Everything is fast paced, the level designs are interesting, and Sonic is actually somewhat controllable. Unfortunately, the spectacle doesn’t last very long.
It also seems like the camera’s only purpose is to frustrate gamers. It ranges from working sufficiently enough to just being outright broken. There’s no reason why the camera should be clipping into walls or into character models so frequently. Whenever the viewpoint shifts, you’ll need to reorient yourself nearly every time. For a game about speed, Sonic needs to slow down much too often. It doesn’t help that sometimes you’ll just fall to your death for no particular reason. The only time the game actually works is when it’s controlling the action for you, be it through the homing attack or speed boosters.
There are six characters to choose from in Sonic Adventure. Sonic has the longest story and it can actually be expanded into one final battle as Super Sonic. I actually found Knuckles and Tails to be the most enjoyable to play as. Perhaps that because they’re both far more controllable and have tons of shortcuts to take. Each character has unique gameplay traits and tasks to complete. For instance, Knuckles has to find emerald shards in each level, Tails races against Sonic, Amy is constantly on the run from a Badnik, and so on.
Then there’s Big the Cat, the worst character to ever grace a video game. He’s slow, he’s stupid, and his levels are the worst. For whatever reason, SEGA thought that a tedious fishing game is exactly what Sonic needed. Why does Big even exist?
SEGA didn’t make any improvements to Sonic Adventure aside from giving it a solid framerate. Boss battles are still underwhelming and lack collision effects. You can actually defeat most bosses in seconds, and that’s just not right. Everything feels rushed and this port is no different. There isn’t even a widescreen option. Even worse, the borders surrounding the screen are ugly and actually can hurt your eyes.
The graphics are definitely better than the Dreamcast’s versions, especially when it comes to the character models. This makes sense since this is actually a port of the PC version of Sonic Adventure DX, a game that has additional content not found in the original release. However, that content is only available as paid DLC. Shady…
Included in the DX expansion is the ability to play as Metal Sonic in trial mode, a mission mode for each character, maps for every area in the game, three additional trophies, and a free camera option. The free camera mode is the best addition but it still gets stuck to walls. There’s also no option to invert the X or Y axis. This omission can possibly make an already broken game even more unplayable.
Despite completing the game in only 10 hours, it felt like an eternity. The only way it didn’t drive me insane was by playing for 30 minutes at a time. I just wanted this game to end and I couldn’t be bothered with the Chao raising or extra missions from the DX expansion. It’s not like you’d be missing much anyway. The missions are uninspired and just serve as busy work. Where’s the fun at?
Sonic Adventure is a complete mess and SEGA didn’t make any improvements that could have made the game better. The story is awful, the game is nearly unplayable at times, and it just isn’t fun. Perhaps as a piece of gaming history it’s actually worth checking out. Just know that you’ll most likely be more frustrated than anything else. If SEGA ever decides to port Sonic Adventure 2, let’s hope that they actually put some work into it. This is unacceptable.