The long-awaited Episode II is finally here, does it improve the past mechanics of Episode I? Or are we just looking at the same game with little improvement at all? Well hopefully this review lets you know if it’s worth the release day purchase or not, or if it’s just better off to wait til it lands in sales.
One of the biggest differences in this episode compared to the past episode, is that we now have Tails, while that may annoy some players and make other players excited to see their favorite two-tailed fox back in action, it adds in new mechanics to Sonic that we have never seen before, where Tails must be used to get past certain parts of a level, used to help defeat a boss, so Tails is no longer that side-kick that just follows Sonic around, instead he proves he can be useful.
Although, sadly enough, besides the new types of Special Stages (very similar to Sonic the Hedgehog 2′s ones), there isn’t a lot of changes made, it still has that slow feeling to Sonic that so many of us complained about in the previous episode, along with the homing attack, which while that’s nice, it doesn’t really give a classic Sonic feel to it.
The audio definitely does sound like any other Sonic’s soundtrack, which is a good thing, this game provides new tracks and remixes of old tracks (and example of which is Metal Sonic’s Stardust Speedway Race from Sonic CD), it’s a really good soundtrack and it’s never something that Sonic games fail in, the sound effects are spot on too, everything sounds exactly like it did in the original Sonic games, including that really annoying drowning signal sound, whilst annoying, it actually makes you hurry up and find an air bubble, so in a way, some of the audio makes you become more focused in the game, which is a really good thing when it comes to any kind of game.
The graphics have been greatly improved since Episode I, its graphics were more cell-shaded, looked very cheap like, it was something that you could make in Flash, but now they are done better, they are no longer cell-shaded and no longer look as cheap as they did, this is one of the areas that you will definitely see a difference in, while it still takes on that cartoon style, the smoother textures really just make the game look nicer, along with that, the stages look really well made, as do most Sonic stages, they will definitely remind you of the stages back in the old Sonic games if nothing else in the game does.
There isn’t much story in this at all, it’s very much like the old Sonic games, where you would get short cutscenes, but it left a lot for your imagination to decide what was going on, there is two stories in this Episode, providing you had Episode I before hand, you will have unlocked Episode Metal which is a story about Metal Sonic and how Eggman brought him back after the events of Sonic CD, if you are able to play this, you might want to play it first before playing Sonic’s story, it is like Sonic & Knuckles in a way, where if you connected your Sonic 2 or 3 game to Sonic & Knuckles, you would have been able to play Sonic 2 or 3 using Knuckles, this is what’s going on here.
The main story is about Sonic and Tails, yet again, Eggman is up to no good, he captures poor animals and turns them into Botniks, to help him defeat his greatest enemy of all time, Sonic, who isn’t going to go down without a fight, as you can tell, this is the story most of the classic Sonic games follow, story didn’t really develop in Sonic until the Adventure series, so don’t expect much of a story here, do remind Sonic the Hedgehog 4 is a continuation from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and is based on the classic Sonic games.
Besides the new Tails features being there, the gameplay hasn’t changed too much sadly, Sonic still feels slow, the homing attack is still there, which is still as picky as ever when it comes to working, sometimes, I would go to home attack an enemy, the target disappears during the attack and Sonic falls to his death, so it can be a bit frustrating at times, other than that, it plays fine, you are still working through obstacles in each level, each zone in the game has three acts, and one boss which you get to fight after those three acts are completed, there is a total of four zones in the game, along with one final zone, the newly added Red Star Rings have been added to the stages, this wasn’t in the previous episode, these rings don’t really offer much to the gameplay, they don’t have any special abilities attached to them, they are purely there to collect, if you collect 50 rings in a stage, at the end of the stage you will see a giant ring which you can jump through and you’ll unlock a special stage where you are in the chance of grabbing a Chaos Emerald, like in every Sonic game, if you collect 7 of these, Sonic will then have the ability to change into Super Sonic, beware though, while as Super Sonic, rings deplete and it will be an instant death if they go down to 0.
And if you had Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I, you will be able to play as Metal Sonic in that episode’s stages, Metal Sonic is played similar to Sonic himself.
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II is okay enough, it’s not horrible, but it’s not like the best Sonic game ever, it might be best to wait for this to go into sales if you’re not a big Sonic fan, for me, it was a day one buy as is most Sonic games, if you’re unsure, you can download a trial version to your console, see how the controls work out for you as this is most people’s and my only fault with the game is that the controls don’t feel fluent enough, there was little done between Episode I and II with these, it has improved a bit in other ways to Episode I, so it’s worth a try at least, as for achievements, if you aren’t very good at Sonic (classic style), you might expect not to be obtaining a lot of these, although if you got the completion of the first one, you should be able to complete this one no problem, the game also comes equip with avatar rewards, this time being the Modern Eggman suit.