||Developer: Dimps Corporation, Sonic Team||Publisher: Sega|
|Release Date: May 15, 2012||Available On: iOS, Android, PC, PSN & XBLA|
It has been quite some time since the first episode of Sonic 4 released, and revitalized the way I look at the franchise. With such a gap, I had almost forgotten about the speedy hedgehog's return to fame and wondered if he was ever going to defend his title as not only the fastest mascot in the industry but also as the best sequel of the franchise since (and I know fans will be gasping in disappointment here) Sonic & Knuckles. With such a well done Episode I, can Sonic and team come through and deliver a sequel just as fun if not better than the previous?? Meet me at the next checkpoint and find out.
It Takes Two
Honestly, when I found out about Episode II's release, I didn't hesitate. I saw it on the dashboard of my Xbox 360, confirmed my $15 purchase towards it and began downloading it immediately. I'm sure you can imagine how much trust I instilled on Dimps and Sonic Team to deliver a worthy sequel to Episode I; and to my surprise, I was spot on!
Tails is not just making an appearance here for good looks though, he actually does help out Sonic in a variety of ways. With the push of a button, you can have Tails pick up Sonic, in mid-air and carry him over to another destination. You must tap overtime or continuously to give Tails some flight, but he will grow tired over time, so you must be a bit strategic about how far to travel given the level. Tails can also fuse with Sonic to form a Rolling combo that allows them both to dash in a given direction with great speed...faster than Sonic could do alone actually.
Is Eggman Fed Up?
One thing that I noticed while playing this game, aside from the gorgeous visuals and great level design, is the increased difficulty. Episode II is tough, often reminding me of my younger days of trying to complete a run of Contra (Yes, I know) The game was brutal to me at first. The way the levels are designed and how the enemies are placed is almost guaranteed to make you slip up on several occasions. Even the first boss you encounter was a trial of hardship, as I desperately tried to find ways to damage Eggman and nothing was working. I literally had to close my eyes, focus (Jean-Claude Van Damme style) and remember my training. As soon as it came to me and things clicked, I made quick work of Eggman and pushed forward.
By the time I reached the endgame, I really felt like Eggman had it out for me, for real this time. It doesn't help also, that he's revived Sonic's second nemesis, Metal Sonic to topple you in the process. Yep, the robotic hedgehog makes an appearance this time around and has a few tricks up his sleeve to stop Sonic. One particular moment in the game, you actually have to race Metal Sonic, and he has laid traps to slow you down. If you don't make it to the finish line before he does, you die. Just like that.
Metal Sonic as an enemy however, is a constant threat. He has several traps in store for you as I've mentioned earlier, and when he's not scheming with Eggman, he's pummeling you with wide area energy attacks that are capable of homing in on Sonic and cause a lot of frustration. Between Eggman and Metal Sonic, Sonic and Tails have quite a lot on their plate. Eggman definitely seems to have the upper hand this time around, and it certainly shows.
Sonic 4: Episode II is definitely a defining sequel within a sequel. It's improved from a visual look and style standpoint that feels great and continues to capture Sonic's sense of speed very well. From a nostalgic perspective, Sonic fans will see a lot of Sonic 2 in this game, namely, levels like Aquatic Ruin and Oil Ocean to name a few. One of my favorite levels in this game is actually the final level. I don't want to spoil the experience honestly but the camera is toyed with in such a way that it brings a new feeling to Sonic games that I have never felt before. I hope that Sonic Team experiments with this further, as it could bring some fresh new experiences for Sonic in the future. Episode II's soundtrack is probably the weakest part about the game honestly. Almost all of the tracks are forgettable, especially the Special Stage track. I usually don't harp on music too much but Sonic has always had some cool, memorable soundtracks and this is not one of them.
Episode II is an improvement from Episode I in just about every way, from visuals to level design, to collectables, down to just how Sonics moves and feels. At the rate that Sonic 4 is going, I only have high hopes for Episode III. I wouldn't doubt that Knuckles will punch his way into the next episode introducing a lot of elements from Sonic 3 that made it one of my favorite Sonic games of all time. As it stands now, Episode II has enough content and replay-ability, for a $15 price tag, to last even a casual Sonic player for quite a while.
|Replay Value/Game Length:||9|
|Final:||8.6 out of 10|
|Written by Jason "Senshaitian" Lataillade||Write a User Review|