Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2

After playing through Episode 1, I was not looking forward to Episode 2; Episode 1 was terrible; poor gameplay, poor graphics, heavily relying on nostalgia without using the right gameplay or music, it was broken from the get go. But after playing Episode 2, it’s safe to say Sega listened to the complaints and tried to improve the game for Episode 2, so is it any better?

The game was developed by Sonic Team and Dimps and published by Sega and was released on May 15th 2012, so we had to wait 2 years for another episode. The plot continues from the first episode, Sonic finds out that Dr Robotnik (still calling him Robotnik) has returned, but why? Well Little Planet from Sonic CD has returned, and this is where Metal Sonic comes in, he’s still a scrap of metal but Robotnik revives him.

And this is where we can actually play as Metal Sonic in five levels, you can only play as him if you got both episodes, and it’s the first episode except its one act per level and you start from Mad Gear Zone all the way to Splash Hill Zone. This is pointless; he controls the same as normal Sonic, why would you add more content for a character that has no differences in terms of gameplay.

But back to the story, Sonic finds out that Robotnik is building a Mark 2 of the Death Egg. Sonic reunites with Tails to stop Robotnik. You play as Sonic with Tails following you like Sonic 2 in five stages: Sylvania Castle Zone (feels like a cross between Aquarius Zone and Marble Garden Zone), White Park Zone (another snow level), Oil Desert Zone (remake of Oil Ocean Zone), Sky Fortress Zone (an obvious remake of Sky Fortress Zone from Sonic 2) and Death Egg Mk.II Zone (my favourite stage)

The gameplay has improved, but by a small amount, the controls don’t feel sluggish, but then I realised it was still floaty so the gameplay is the same but I’m happy the controls feels less sluggish. The homing attack is still around and can be annoying; still pointless. There are some levels that go too long, well The Sky Fortress Zone Act 1 & boss go on for far too long; unnecessarily long winded and pointless.

The physics haven’t changed at all so that’s that. The graphics have improved and they look a lot better, all levels has detailed and lively backgrounds, something that was missing from Episode 1. The bosses are better and can be creative; it’s not too difficult but still has a good challenge.

With all that they added a gimmick that almost ruins the experience…Tails. With Sonic 2 he was just there dying every second and it was entertaining; now you rely on him all the time. About 60% of the game consists of using Tails for one thing or another and this is where the game comes to a crashing halt, all that speed you’re accumulating comes to a stop, jump and press a button and make Tails fly, and it takes time to activate it, you can also just press a button on the ground and do a crazy spin dash with Sonic and Tails spinning around, it slows down the game and it can get irritating and becomes dull very fast; but if you’re nearly about to drop then Tails can help you by picking you up, fly and continue on, so it’s useful for a couple of points in the game.

There is a multiplayer but Sonic is always player 1 and Tails is always player 2, you can interchange and it takes away the sense of freedom of playing the game, chances are if the 2-player mode didn’t work in Sonic 2, it won’t work here.

The special stages are better though not as good as Sonic 2, it works the same but the slopes in width size are smaller but I have no problem with it. The music hasn’t changed, there are some pieces I do like this time around but the overall soundtrack is more or less poor.

Overall, this was a better experience, not much has improved but what was improved was good, the overall experience of Episodes one and two was a disappointment from the get go. I went into this game expecting disappointment anyway but the experience was the gaming equivalent of a mixed salad bag, being offered something fresh but adding other unnecessary stuff to it.

But I credit it for improving with Episode 2 but now were waiting for Episode 3, but we don’t know if we’re going to get one; so this is the Sonic equivalent to Half Life 3…well only we’re actually looking forward to that game.

It’s sad to see Sonic in such a messy state with Sonic Boom (or Sonic 06: Part 2), it proves that Sega are willing to just kill him some more, he has a movie made by Sony on the way, but it’s an animated/live action hybrid film (oh boy, it’s The Smurfs all over again). Sonic’s future is on its way to Bubsy 3D territory, a beloved gaming character being dragged on the pavement, tired of stupid decision after stupid decision, all people want is a good speedy Sonic game, no mess, no fuss; but it seems Sega never listens to the fans and keep on doing stupid decision after stupid decision; then Sonic Boom happened…come back blue blur when you have a competent game.

You can get it on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, Android, iOS, Ouya and Nvidia Shield.

Rating: 3/5


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