PSN Review – Sonic Adventure

We honestly never thought we’d be saying this, but Sonic and the gang are back once again in the form of Sonic Adventure… but this time on the PlayStation 3! Will this game have you partying like it’s 1999?

Sonic Adventure was a giant leap in platform-style gaming back when it first launched on the Dreamcast in 1999, not only because it brought a great deal of fun to the table, but because it brought with it a tremendous sense of speed, and not only that… it was actually done well! This re-distribution of Sonic Adventure on the PSN is essentially the same exact game we got back on the Dreamcast, and it’s still just as fun.

The main, and arguably most fun, part of the game is played out through good ol’ Sonic. Players start out exploring through several “adventure” areas like the city, ancient ruins, etc., which act as the main hub of the game, where you can run around, talk to people, and perform actions to progress the story, as well as take part in action stages a.k.a. the “regular levels” which often have you burning across massive environments with blazing speed.

The action stages are where you’ll be spending most of your gameplay time, with your hands firmly grasping the controller, and a smile tearing its way across your face. Yes, that’s how we like to say that these stages are really, really fun. The sense of speed that Sonic conveys is incredible, and the beauty and size of the stages help to accommodate that. From the ever-beautiful Emerald Coast to the epic wall-running action seen in Speed Highway, each level really stands out amongst the others in its own unique way. Aside from just the running, there are several stages that help to change-up the gameplay, breaking into mini-games on the fly. You’ll find yourself doing everything from go-cart racing in Twinkle Park to playing a few rounds of the fan-favorite Nights pinball in Casinopolis. There’s always something to jump into in this game.

In addition to Sonic, players also have the choice of selecting one of five of his pals (Tails, Knuckles, Amy, E-102 Gamma, and Big the Cat) to venture out with, each with their own distinctive style of play. However, expect the bulk of the game’s fun to come with Sonic’s path, as the other characters really only work to supplement that. As the game is completed with each character, more of the Sonic Adventure story begins to unfold, eventually leading to the grand finale/boss battle.

Those looking for heavy replay value will certainly find it here, as players have the ability to immediately jump right back into any adventure that they’ve started with a player, or replay any of the previously completed action stages in order to earn emblems which unlock rewards like the playable Metal Sonic and others in the DX version of the game (upgrade costs $4.99). Another great addition is the inclusion of online leaderboards, which really gives players the chance to prove who is really the fastest with Sonic, Knuckles, etc. Also, The fact that Chao garden save data is now stored right on your PS3’s hard drive makes this feature in the game much more accessible, and may even suck you into raising a few of your own, as it really can get addictive (think Tamagotchi).

Graphically, Sonic Adventure has stood the test of time quite well. The extra polish added to present the game in HD really is beautiful, though some will definitely notice the way that the game has aged, with blocky, low-res textures here and there. Those who remember the graphics upgrade that Sonic Adventure DX brought, can expect the same here. Both the original and DX versions look exactly the same, with the DX version bringing the bonus missions, characters, ect; so expect the same visuals in both iterations of the game. The frame-rate is rock solid, and we have yet to experience and sort of slowdown at all. It’s also worth noting that the game is presented in 4:3 format and doesn’t support widescreen, so if you have a widescreen TV, expect blue bars on either side of the screen. As we move on, the sound is exactly what you would expect from a Sonic title, sometimes whimsical, sometimes adrenaline fueled, but always great. The only downside is the voice acting, which is downright laughable at certain points in the game, with select characters expressing little to no emotions when speaking.

Now, aside from some pretty good gameplay, there are a few nagging issues which can hinder an overall great gaming experience. The camera in Sonic Adventure isn’t all that great, in fact it gets pretty infuriating at times and can really take you out of the experience when you’re exploring the adventure areas, although there is the ability to switch to manual camera control. During action stages however, you’re not usually backtracking, so at those points the camera isn’t all that bad, which does provide some relief. Also, when running through said action stages, cutting corners and rubbing up against a side wall while running can sometimes cause Sonic to either come dead stop or slowdown immensely; we only encountered this once or twice, but those who may not be able to hold a steady line with the analog stick may have issues.

Sonic Adventure is a solid title that definitely has its moments, delivering a boatload of content, along with frantic, fun gameplay. If you manage to overlook the glitches and dinky camera, you’ll easily find a gem (or emerald) in this Dreamcast classic.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

Fun, fast-paced gameplay

Tons of replayability that will keep you coming back for more

Awkward camera and glitches here and there can detract from overall experience

8 out of 10