Developer(s) – Sonic Team
Publisher(s) – Sega
Director – Takashi Lizuki
Producer – Yuji Naka
PEGI – 7
Though I don’t believe it to be a great game by any means, I think Sonic Adventure is certainly the best direction that Sega has taken its long-running franchise. It’s the most enjoyable to play in my opinion, and also has the franchise’s best story attached to it.
Graphics – 8.5/10
From a technical standpoint, the Dreamcast was a gaming generation ahead of its time, with the most powerful graphics engine ever included in a home console. By that token alone, the visuals in Sonic Adventure were cutting edge. Though there were a few glitches left unpolished, nothing like had ever been seen. Conceptually, the game is a little bit weak, but for the most part, it’s as compelling as any other Sonic the Hedgehog game was before it. There were also some particularly enjoyable boss fights and enemy designs thrown in for good measure.
Gameplay – 7.5/10
What I like best about Sonic Adventure is the RPG element that was added to it in the form of multiple playable characters. Besides playing Sonic, players can go through the story as Tails, Knuckles, and Amy as well as two new characters to the series: Big the Cat and E-102 Gamma. However, compared to other 3D platformers, I wish much more could have been added for how big the in-game world is and how much of there is to explore; especially as there was a lot more than this in many other games featuring primary video game mascots at the time, such as Mario or even Crash Bandicoot.
Controls – 8/10
Again, I found myself having the same issues with the controls as I had done in most other Sonic games I’ve played throughout the years. It was pretty annoying in this game, as players can move around the open-world environment particularly quickly, and are consequently prone to banging into things very easily. It’s especially a problem whilst playing as Sonic, but it’s nowhere near as bad whilst playing with other characters, such as Big or Gamma.
Lifespan – 5.5/10
The entire game can be complete within around 7 to 8 hours, which is particularly underwhelming given that it’s a semi-open world game. Again, I’d put it down to players not having much to do outside the game’s main objectives, and there was definitely room for more to make this game as entertaining and as immersed as possible. It wasn’t as if side quests were unheard of even at the time, and I would point it out as the game’s most standout flaw.
Storyline – 7.5/10
Sonic Adventures follows Sonic and company as they resolve to collect the seven chaos emeralds before Dr. Eggman, who plans to use the emeralds to restore the monster Chaos to it’s full power and destroy the city of Station Square and build his own city. Though the story is simple in basic premise, there are certain sequences and individual character narratives that really stand out, such as E-102 Gamma’s own part in the game, for example. But what lets it down mightily is that the voice acting is particularly weak, to say the least. There are moments in the game whereby the dialogue was embarrassingly scripted, and it makes the game at times pretty difficult to take seriously.
Originality – 6/10
Though it stands out from other 3D platformers in the way that there are so many playable characters and gives the game a considerable amount of variety in gameplay, it is overall fairly generic compared to other 3D platformers around even at the time. I can’t help but feel that if the lack of side quests had been addressed during development, Sonic Adventures could have been much more than what it turned out to be.
Overall, Sonic Adventures is without a doubt the best game in the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, but it was easily improvable. I think the best and most effective way to revive the series would simply be to make another game like this but to tailor it in the manner of a typical sequel; have everything bigger and better than the former game.