Sonic Adventure is a no-frills re-release on Xbox Live Arcade from Sega
- This faithful port of the original Dreamcast release might please the most hardcore Sonic fans, the soundtrack is still remarkably catchy.
- The graphics look blocky and washed-out, no widescreen option or any gameplay improvements, horrible camera work, offensively awkward controls, terrible voice acting
Often regarded as one of the system's best games, Sega's Sonic Adventure led a strong library of Dreamcast launch titles back in 1999. But even with all the rave reviews, it was still marred by awkward controls and a spotty camera. Eleven years later, those nagging issues greatly hinder this bare-bones, no-frills re-release on Xbox Live Arcade from Sega. It's almost not Sonic's fault -- 3D games just don't age well -- but this lazy port makes the Blue Blur look slower than ever.
When it comes to video games, regret and hindsight are two of the most frequent feelings we have when it comes to old technology. If only we had known how hard they would be to find in 2010, most of us would have kept our Super Nintendo systems and Sega Saturns in mint condition. Given a second chance, how many of us would have held onto those yesteryear games that would later become precious, highly priced relics?
Luckily, we live in an age where nostalgia equals cash, and Sega's playing that game like a champ. Case in point: Sonic Adventure -- one of the most fondly remembered titles of the Dreamcast era -- is the first of several games that will find their way back into our living rooms by way of downloadable content. It's an all-time classic, and personally, one of my most fondly remembered gaming experiences.
But now that I've played the re-release on Xbox 360, I wish that Sonic Adventure had stayed where it belonged -- in my memories. Sure, there are several games that age well over time, but writing this review has shown me that Sonic Adventure is a sobering exception to that statement. In fact it's only now that I realise the Sonic games are still battling the same problems that they did back when Sega was playing with the big boys: bad controls, an awkward camera, terrible voice acting, frustrating level design, and way too many sidekicks.
Sonic Adventure on Xbox Live is exactly the same as the Dreamcast version, and that's a bad thing. Aside from some minor touch-ups on the graphics, absolutely nothing has been done to improve or refine the original game. Every gameplay quirk that I ignored 11 years ago sticks out hideously, which is especially sobering since I'm revisiting a video game that I once considered cutting edge. Sonic runs like his shoes are lined with butter and the entire world is made of glass; Knuckles flies like a brick on a string; Tails will occasionally pass right through solid objects and platforms; Big the Cat's levels are so plodding that they're downright tedious; and even Amy's controls are as broken as the rest, although her mission mode is still the most varied of the seven.
It's really too bad, because every character has huge and colourful levels gracing each of their individual mission modes, and even though the mechanics at hand leave a lot to be desired, they're still fun in small doses. Moreover, it's interesting to see the story of Sonic Adventure through the eyes of all the different characters, since they all play a small role in taking down Eggman and Chaos. But by the time you play through the entire game, all the rough edges on this title really cut down on the fun factor. It's particularly bad with platforming sequences, since the control and camera will always work together to ensure that you either plummet to your death or wind up not being able to see anything. When your camera gets wedged into a wall for the tenth time in one level, it becomes clear that little to nothing was done to tune up this re-release whatsoever.
In fact, there's even problems with the auto-save mechanic: during my play-through of Sonic Adventure, I unlocked a ton of achievements as I progressed through the game. But even though I let the auto-save do its thing, when I rebooted my Xbox 360, my file only showed an hour of gameplay with 20 percent completion on the Sonic missions. Hopefully this was an isolated incident and not a glitch, but given the lack of improvements on the source code, I'm not optimistic.
No matter how you look at it, Sonic Adventure feels like a rushed port. There's no widescreen option, so the game's bordered at a 4:3 ratio with an ugly blue background. The "DX" content from the director's cut is also sequestered in a separate purchase package, giving the base purchase no extra value. Sure, there's surround sound and Achievements, but that's literally every extra flourish you'll find in this repackaging. Seeing how this port turned out, it seems like a bad precedent for how the rest of the Dreamcast Returns line-up is going to fare (and Crazy Taxi is already undergoing editing due to music and product licensing).
Looking back on it, even in 1999 Sonic Adventure was criticised for its poor controls and awkward camera. But while these problems were minor and commonplace then, they're flinchingly noticeable now. Seeing Sonic Adventure repackaged and shipped out to the current console generation like this just leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and no matter how I want to look at it, nostalgia goggles don't compensate for a game that's so fundamentally flawed by today's standards. Sega's asking price may be $10, but you can buy the original Dreamcast game for less via online stores like Amazon. Do that, because it'll put you in the right mindset to properly enjoy the game -- by today's standards, even Sonic's glory days aren't looking so good.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Google Daydream VR headset
Acer Swift 7
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® Portable SSD
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Surface Pro 4
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- You can download Nintendo's Fire Emblem Heroes for iOS and Android today
- Nintendo's Fire Emblem Heroes looks sharp, but will it survive the freemium transition?
- Nintendo's bringing Super Mario Run to Android in March, but Fire Emblem's coming first
- The Switch is a mix of Nintendo's past consoles
- Dead Rising 4 impressions: 'Tis the season to BBQ zombies with your flaming sword
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- CCUnix AdministratorNSW
- CCDevOps/Senior Sys Admin - eCommerce - Contract - Sydney Northern BeachesNSW
- FTWeb Developer / Applications AnalystQLD
- CCSenior Project CoordinatorVIC
- TPICT Contracts Compliance ManagerWA
- CCSenior .NET DeveloperNSW
- TPDigital Process Business Analyst - Digital Transformation**NSW
- TPSenior Business AnalystQLD
- TPIT Project ManagerNSW
- CCSenior Networks Specialist - DNS PlatformVIC
- CCSME in Openstack, AWSNSW
- FTSenior Functional Consultant - Data Analytics - TelcoVIC
- CCADABAS Natural DeveloperNSW
- CCStorage System EngineerNSW
- CCBusiness Test Lead - BRT/UATNSW
- TPEnvironment Specialist(DevOps)QLD
- FTProject Manager (Software product development)VIC
- FTMicrosoft ProgrammerSA
- FTSales Account Manager | Cloud Solutions | Global Tech GiantNSW
- CCBusiness Analyst - Cyber SecurityACT
- FTBusiness AnalystNSW
- FTFull Stack DeveloperQLD
- FTSenior Full Stack .Net Developer with Strong SQL DevNSW
- CCSAP Consultant - SAP Native HANA to DesignWA
- CCTechnical Consultant - ITSM/HP Service ManagerVIC