I remember fondly the very first Sonic game that I played, it was the first and original title in the series on the Sega Megadrive. When I first bought the console the game came bundled with the machine and it has to be said I adored the game. Both it and its first sequel quickly became firm favourites and they still have a special place in my gaming heart. A lot of Sonic games were to follow, but they were just never as much fun in my opinion, especially Sonic’s forays into the world of 3D, moving from the tried and tested side scrolling genre of the first few games. These three dimensional romps were never, even up to the present day, as good as those two or three original games. There was however, one big exception and that was Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast. So when I heard that this game was coming to the PS3, I was more than a little joyful to see how it turned out.
This game differed from regular Sonic games in two ways. The first was that it left the side scrolling genre behind and moved into three dimensions. As I said before, Sonic games have never had a great track record when it comes to the 3D style. But Sonic Adventure may well have been the exception to this statement and I think that part of the games popularity came down to the second difference, in that the game kind of combined two genres. Both the ring collecting fast paced adventure stages and, for the first time in a Sonic title, free roaming exploration areas separating the adventure stages, along with a few other gameplay types. These free roam areas within the game were full of hidden spots, puzzles and, of course, more collectables like gold rings and such. This variety in gameplay is what I think saved this game from the same fate as most other three dimensional Sonic Titles, by making sure the player had plenty to do.
The story involves Sonic and his friends, as he is joined once again by some chums from previous titles such as his loyal fox pal Tails and pink Hedgehog Amy along with a few others. They have to try once again to bring an end to the plans of the nefarious Dr. Robotnik aka Dr. Eggman who is attempting to feed seven Chaos Emeralds to a liquid based entity named Chaos. On consuming all seven Emeralds, the creature will turn into Perfect Chaos, which could of course lead to all sorts of terrible things. So again it is up to Sonic and friends to put an end to Eggmans evildoings. One of the good things about the game is that, with the inclusion of the free roam areas, there are no constraints placed upon the player time-wise and they progress the story at their own pace, helping make it a much more enjoyable experience. For example, during one of the free roam sessions within the game while I was playing, I spent a good half hour just trying to make a tricky couple of jumps to get myself through a timed door. So with the adventure levels playing much like a traditional Sonic game, only in 3D, and the free roam areas filled with tricky challenges and puzzles, it’s enough to keep you occupied for a good amount of time.
The gameplay is still there and it plays very much as the game did back and anyone familiar with the game series will know what is required of them control-wise; run at rather a quick pace while collecting those ever so precious shiny golden rings, jump on evil creatures collecting the small fluffy animals that escape from them and bounce from those red springs that are a staple of the Sonic games and are always amazingly fun. So up until this point it has all been good with both story and game modes along with the gameplay itself exactly as you will remember it, however there is a problem and it is a pretty big one at that.
The problem is that the presentation of the PSN release suffers greatly, mostly because this is a direct port of the original game. On hearing the game was coming to the console I thought and hoped that, like so many re-released games on the next gen consoles, it would be an HD remake with shiny new graphical improvements. Failing this, I would have welcomed any small improvements with its move to the PlayStation. Unfortunately it was not to be. Sound wise everything is fine and it sounds like a Sonic game should do and, as I mentioned earlier, the game also plays as it should. Visually however it is still the Dreamcast version which means it does not look like something you would expect on the PS3. It does not even support widescreen displays and with the majority of gamers in this day and age playing on a widescreen display, it means you wind up playing on a squared off section in the centre of your screen.
Unfortunately these problems with the games graphics do not do it any favours whatsoever, as it does nothing other than show how badly the game has aged. Ultimately the game is a lot like one of those TV shows you remember from when you were younger, which you then watch as an older, more mature viewer and realise that the show just does not live up to your memories of it. So although the gameplay is still there much as nostalgic gamers, myself amongst them, will remember it from back then, the presentation of the game on a console that you know is capable of so much more brings to you the realisation that the game is just not as good as you recall it being. If you really do have a hankering to play a Sonic game, unfortunately I would advise you to steer clear of this one and instead go for the recently released Sonic 4 Episode One. Sonic Adventure, I am afraid to say, has not aged well and does not really warrant purchasing, even for nostalgic reasons as I thought it would. For that reason I am afraid, and I do regret having to do this, I have to award the game a pretty low score.