Sonic Adventure 2 and the Battle Mode downloadable content were developed and published by Sega. They were released on October 5, 2012 for 800 MSP and 240 MSP, respectively. Copies were provided for review purposes.
Sonic Adventure was a bit of a mixed bag. The original release was lauded by fans of the franchise, but the overworld aspects were confusing, as was its what-the-heck-is-going-on plot. When it was re-released in 2010 via Xbox Live Arcade it was met with much of the same. While the 3D platforming was almost enjoyable everything else weighed down the game. Sonic Adventure 2 was released a few years later and seemed to, at least initially, address player concerns. Gone was the overworld and much of the complicated plot. But while it was an improvement it still had minor flaws.

Now Sonic Adventure 2 joins its older brother on the Xbox 360. It brings the same sense of speed as it did 11 years ago. There are several over-the-top moments that bring a measure of enjoyment to the game. Unfortunately it still suffers from the same issues it did in 2001. This is a straight-up port aside from the fact that the GameCube-exclusive Battle Mode is available for purchase separately.

Here’s what we liked:

Run fast, run hard – There’s a certain rush felt when you’re controlling Sonic at incredible speeds. 2D or 3D it, it’s all the same feeling. Your adrenaline begins to pump as Sonic blazes through the landscape, and when you inevitably barrel right into a bad guy there’s still that same skip of a beat. It’s what makes Sonic games what they are, and Sonic Adventure 2 is chock full of these moments. Even when not controlling Sonic or Shadow players will feel immersed in the Sonic universe. Controlling mechs as Tails or Dr. Eggman feels great, as does control of Knuckles or Rouge. Players looking for some classic Sonic moments won’t be disappointed.

Fairly priced – Sega seems to have a good grasp on what their classic games are worth. There’s no price gouging of 1600 MSP for an old game. 800 MSP gets you an experience that will leave fans feeling fulfilled while still having a full wallet. Gameplay lasts more than 10 hours, and it never feels like it’s dragging on. Time-wise Sonic Adventure 2 puts out much more than your average 800 MSP game.

Here’s what we didn’t like:

What’s going on? – Players not steeped in the Sonic lore will be confused out of their gourds.  Sonic Adventure 2 attempts to tell a story via cutscenes, but any given cutscene only lasts a minute or less, and much of that time is spent with characters simply staring at each other. Only a fraction of the cutscene reveals any of the plot. By the end of the game you have only the most basic idea of what’s going on.

No love in the port – There’s only so much that can be expected of an HD port. Nobody expects the programmers to go back into the code and add all sorts of current-gen rendering effects. But even the simplest to fix issues still exist. Often during cutscenes you won’t be able to hear the dialogue due to the hard rock music that’s turned up to 11. And for that matter, Sonic Adventure 2 is an abnormally loud game. Be prepared to turn down your TV a few more notches the first time you fire up the game. Thankfully this game doesn’t have as many glitches as its predecessor did, meaning you’ll spend less time frustrated and more time going fast.

Fans of the Sonic franchise will find a lot of mileage in Sonic Adventure 2. It’s chock full of great character moments during its long story mode. It has all of the elements that make the Sonic franchise great. Unfortunately it also comes with the baggage of its initial Dreamcast release. It is, at times, confusing, and has a few glaring issues that sour the overall experience. Members of the I Love Sonic fan club can pick this up and be totally satisfied. The rest of the world should try the demo or wait for a sale.

Score: Try It

As for the Battle Mode DLC, we’re hard pressed to recommend it. While it’s a mere 240 MSP, play is limited to two players, and only locally. It includes 21 maps for battle and a Chao Karate game mode, nevertheless the lack of online play even in an Xbox LIVE party severely cripples the audience this appeals to. Most of us will be left wondering why this was split out into DLC. Only the most hardcore Sonic Adventure fan will enjoy it.

Score: Skip It