Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II Review

Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II Review

Aug 27, 2012

I’m a life-long Sonic fan. Sure, I’ve had a rough relationship with the series since the turn of the millennium, but I still love the series deep down. I just tend to be a harsh critic of it. Sonic 4 Episode II is my latest title to criticize. This is the latest 2.5D revival of Sonic, featuring 3D graphics, but gameplay on an entirely-two-dimensional plane. Sonic is partnered with Tails, which allows him to fly briefly through the levels, along with other new abilities. The levels are new designs based on themes inspired by the classic Sonic games. In particular, Sonic 2 has a telling influence on the levels in this game.

Sonic 4 Episode II the more that I play it is quiute simply the fact that instant death is such a prevalent part of the game. Levels that feature multiple bottomless pits that essentially test the player’s life count in order to provide artificially-inflated challenge just do not feel like much fun. They’re really just frustrating, and it’s not satisfaction I feel when I succeed at a particular death trap; it’s relief. Good games give the player a positive feedback loop, and Sonic 4 Episode II fails at that.

It’s a shame because there’s such a promising core here. Integrating the Sonic and Tails cooperation in to the game is such a great combination for a Sonic game. Yes, Tails has been able to fly Sonic before, but it hasn’t been integrated into the game quite like this because the levels were designed for non-flying characters. Becauase there’s no choice but to use flight at times, there’s an ingeniousness to the levels. And the new combo abilities such as the powerful high-speed rolling that Sonic and Tails can do are well-integrated. The non-linear level structure is a great choice to go along with it.

Yet, I keep coming back to the annoying death traps, and they still just aggravate me. It’s almost not because of the deaths by themselves, it’s the fact that this level design crutch keeps getting used. The core here is so promising, and frustrating sudden deaths keep the game from achieving its full potential.

I’m still looking forward to a hopeful Sonic 4: Episode III.