|06-04-2012, 01:40 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Dec 2010
Review this Game!
I've almost finished this game and felt like posting a review considering this may be the last Sonic 4 Episode.
I felt the graphics in this game were on par with the previous episode so I'll just go for overall. Overall Sonic 4 has great graphics with very colourful Zones and great character animations. In all honesty I find it hard to fault the graphics, my favourite aspect has the been the deeply detailed backgrounds, which I honestly think are a step up from Episode 1's, however I personally am not a fan of Sonic's running animation, the oval shape his legs make just looks weird to me, but it's a small niggle.
Again, the sound in Episode 2 is pretty much on par with Episode 1, however this time I feel there are more stand out tracks. From Episode 1 I can only really remember the boss theme and Splash Hill Zone 1, this time though most of the tracks stick in your head, especially the Metal Sonic boss theme and White Park Zone, both tracks being highly catchy.
Not the most scientific category but how you feel when you play a game is very important to any reviewer if they admit it or not. I felt quite happy playing Episode 2 but it didn't feel like classic Sonic. The Robotnik (Eggman) boss fights felt over complicated and long winded and the Badnik placement felt quite cheap at times, especially in Oil Desert Zone, but more on this in the Overall Thoughts section.
I've deliberately left this till last as the physics are probably Sonic 4's biggest enemy no matter which episode you play. Sonic takes an age to reach top speed, and even then top speed is SLOW by Sonic standards. Rolling down hills doesn't allow you to gain momentum, in fact it honestly feels like it slows you down. I know the jump-hop move allows you to gain speed fast but it's a risky manoeuvre as it shoots you forwards and you can't see what you're about to run into, so you think the good old Spin Dash will save you here? Nope, no matter how hard to rev the Spin Dash it shoots you off at around top running speed and quickly runs out of momentum, even down slopes!
So Sonic's other main move is the Homing Attack, now I feel like it was more responsive in Episode 1 as I don't recall having any of the problems I've had with it in Episode 2. It feels unreliable, simply as that. If an enemy is below you then it's 50/50 if the lock on will work or if you just shoot off forwards and miss totally which is a massive issue especially in Sky Fortress Zone Act 1 where you have to use a series of Badniks to cross a bottomless pit . I literally died around 10 times trying to do this because the Homing Attack just isn't sharp enough in it's response.
The Tag Team moves are the big addition to Episode 2 and for the most part these work fine. The Flight move is good and Tails feels suitably weighted when carrying Sonic, same goes for the Swimming version, although I haven't managed to tire Tails out whilst swimming. The only time the flight is a problem is when you're forced to use it, like at the end of Oil Desert Zone Act 1. Here you have to fly with Tails over a long series of bottomless pits, some of which are only just shorter than Tails' reach when flying making it very frustrating if you haven't got the hang of the mechanics of it yet. The last move is the Roll move (or as some genius on YouTube called it the "Super 69"). This seems massively over-powered at first but the speed and near invulnerability are almost balanced out by the lack of control. It may just be me but I think this move needed to have them knocked out of it if they hit an unbreakable wall. Overall the Tag Team moves work well it's just their implementation in the levels that might be questionable but my only real gripe with them is the animation when they're triggered. It takes a good 2 or 3 seconds to go from activating a move to using it and this looks flashy but actually gets old very quickly.
Episode 2 is a welcome addition to the PSN and gets a lot right about Sonic, however there are some things that really could have made this great. I like the fact that Metal Sonic (who I still think of as Metallix) is back and the White Park Zone boss was a wonderful encounter, although having the exact same fight just with Sonic CD's ending to it in Death Egg Mk II Zone Act 1 felt a bit cheap, couldn't we have had a different fight there? But at least they mixed it up in Sky Fortress Zone Act 1. Speaking of bosses, the Robotnik boss fights, and there are only 3 (he doesn't do anything but get in the way and you can't kill him in Death Egg Mk II Zone Act 1), take SO long to get started! Seriously I can understand the bit getting to the boss to give you rings but it is normally around 1 minute into the level before the fight actually gets going due to overly long into animations, something else that gets very old very fast.
The Special Stages are another welcome piece of nostalgia, harking back to the Sonic 2 (Mega Drive) ones but for some reason don't feel as good. I believe this is because they've been developed for two players, indeed trying to get the Ring Collector trophy (where you need to get every ring in the first Special Stage) is incredibly difficult alone and I dare say clearing the other stages like this would be impossible alone due to the ring placement. Again, not a major issue but one that feels relevant. The other thing with the Special Stages is how unresponsive Sonic and Tails feel, in Sonic 2 you could easily move 360 degrees around the half pipe, here just moving up an edge feels like a struggle so the developers perhaps should have made the characters movements lighter in these stages.
The Red Rings, even though there is only one per level, add a welcome level of re-playability to the levels as do the online leader boards but maybe a trophy for more speed runs would have added more re-playability than say the I Love Tails trophy (play as Tails 50 times, something you can't do in single player!).
Episode Metal is an extra you get for having both Episode 1 and 2 on your system and feels like a really nice little addition. You play as Metal Sonic and get to find out what happened to him after Sonic CD (with no mention of Sonic Heroes, hmm), and you play through slightly altered versions of Mad Gear Zone, Lost Labyrinth Zone, Casino Road Zone and Splash Hill Zone, although they are just one level each and there are no bosses. The story is interesting if basic, but then this is a Sonic game, however I was very disappointed to find how limited the episode was. I feel like it was another missed opportunity, how difficult would it have been for the story to basically stay the same but have Metal Sonic squaring off with, say, Egg-Robo and have full Zones with Egg-Robo bosses like Knuckles did in Sonic 3 and Knuckles? Also why oh why can we not play through the Episode 2 levels as Metal Sonic? Again so much potential and just missed opportunities sadly.
This game falls short of great and only winds up as good. There is a lot to enjoy about Episode 2 but I think allowing Dimps to produce a console game wasn't the best idea, the Sonic Rush games were good but they didn't feel like classic Sonic games and neither does this. The physics let the game down and Dimps' habit of cheap Badnik placement and love of bottomless pits is present and correct just as it was in those games. These alone are enough to render a game questionable in its flow and the gimmicky ways of getting through some Zones slows the pace even more, not as bad as Episode 1 but still it's just not classic Sonic which is what they keep saying they're aiming for. Apparently the physics engine was rebuilt from the ground up for this Episode but honestly I can't see any difference accept in the Homing Attack which is actually worse this time around.
Sonic Team need to let the guys that built Generations make their games from now on, 2D and 3D, as that game was the nearest to perfect we've had since Sonic 3 and Knuckles.
|episode 2, metal sonic, review, sonic 4, tails|