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.

GDC 2012: Hands-On with Sonic 4 Episode 2 and Virtua Tennis Challenge from Sega

GDC 2012: Hands-On with Sonic 4 Episode 2 and Virtua Tennis Challenge from Sega

Mar 13, 2012

Sega was at GDC showing off some of their latest titles, and mobile was a big focus for them. Including new titles and updates for iOS, they showed off a pair of Android games: Sonic 4 Episode 2 and Virtua Tennis Challenge.

Sonic 4 Episode 2, the next episode in the 2.5D Sonic revival series, was shown running on a Transformer Prime, with two levels available for play. Fans will be glad to know that the physics system has been revamped from the original; no longer is it possible to stick to walls, defying gravity as Sonic runs up at impossibly slow speeds. It feels much more like a classic Sonic game.

The game uses both a jump and action button, used to fly with Tails when in mid-air, and to do a forward rolling attack when on the ground that keeps going until canceled out or when they hit a wall. The Android version will support external gamepads such as the Xbox 360 controller, along with the Xperia Play. The on-screen joystick has been improved from the original, though.

The Android version launches later this March, and will be available for two weeks exclusively on Tegra 3 devices. When asked, Sega said that the game should run on any device that will run Sonic 4: Episode 1.

Next up was Virtua Tennis Challenge, developed by the same team at Sega who developed classic iterations of the franchise. The game was shown running on the Xperia Play, with full support for the device’s controls, using the d-pad and four face buttons to serve and return shots. The analog touchpads were not in use. The CPU opponent is very tough to start off with; expect to get annihilated when starting out.

The game also features a touch-based control scheme, utilizing gestures in order to pull off the 5 shot types. Bluetooth multiplayer is also available for playing with up to 4 people wirelessly. This one is scheduled for release at some point in the near future. That was their Android showing, and no other details were available on future Android titles from Sega, but this feels like it will be a bigger push from them on the platform.

Sonic 4 Episode 2 Coming Early to Tegra 3 Devices This March

Sonic 4 Episode 2 Coming Early to Tegra 3 Devices This March

Feb 28, 2012

Sonic 4 Episode 2 has been confirmed for Android devices, and it’s coming really, really soon for a certain subset of them. Phandroid is reporting that after playing the game hands on at Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona, that the game will be coming to Tegra 3 devices this March. Probably the most prominent of Tegra 3 devices currently available is the Asus Transformer Prime, though more devices are rolling out with the chip, such as the LG Optimus 4X HD. Still, this will mean that only a limited number of people will be playing it on Android at its March launch, though the game will be available for Android at large in mid-April.

The second episode in Sega’s 2.5D Sonic 4 series (the first episode of which recently launched on Android) will bring Tails into the mix, with special attacks available for Sonic and Tails together. A trailer for the game has recently been released, showing off some of the game’s new levels. We’ll have more on this game as it approaches release.