3DS

North America

3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (3DS) Review

by Ryan Grove - October 8, 2015, 8:02 pm PDT
Total comments: 10

9

Superbsonic

While modern Sonic the Hedgehog games have been under heavy scrutiny since the Dreamcast days, it seems that lately people have become more critical and outright dismissive of even the original Genesis titles. This is a shame, because despite some flaws, the original trilogy is still a lot of fun, and Sonic 2, now in new 3D classic form, is arguably the best of the bunch.

Many stages in Sonic 2 are absolutely incredible achievements in multi-path platformer design. Levels like Chemical Plant, Casino Night, and Emerald Hill are still as beautiful as they were 23 years ago on "Sonic 2sday." Trying different routes to find the quickest or easiest way through a stage is still addicting today. However, some of the mid-to-late game stages like Mystic Cave and Oil Ocean range from dull to frustrating (and occasionally both). Thankfully, this version includes a stage select mode, which allows you to just play the stages you love.

The usual Sonic "problem" certainly rears its head here. Your mileage may vary for how much this issue annoys you, but it’s just part of the Sonic experience: sometimes momentum can result in damage, lost progress, or death. While Ring Keeper Mode (start each life with 10 rings, only lose half when you take damage), save states, stage select, and Super Sonic Mode (unlocked after you finish the game) don’t fully compensate for this inherent issue, they certainly make it far less frustrating.

Remember those 3D half-pipe bonus stages that blew your mind as a kid? Unfortunately, they haven’t aged well. Imprecise and difficult, they’re really just not that fun to play these days. Thankfully, with Super Sonic mode unlockable from the main menu, there really isn’t any reason to revisit them.

While some gripes permeate my experience of playing Sonic 2, even the most frustrating death can’t take away the thrill of hitting a corkscrew loop in Emerald Hill. Or the goofy joy of bouncing around Casino Night Zone as the brilliant Masato Nakamura soundtrack plays. The game was a bold, uncompromising challenge to Nintendo’s previously untouchable reign, and you can see that scrappiness in every moment of the game, for better or worse.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a game of massive highs and crushing lows. Thankfully, M2 and Sega have made those lows much less frustrating in this 3D version, making this the definitive way to play this imperfect, but essential, classic.

Summary

Pros
  • Incredible soundtrack
  • New features reduce frustration
  • When it's good, it's SO good
Cons
  • Some stages have not aged well

Talkback

MarioOctober 08, 2015

Just played through it and loved every level. I don't get your complaint about momentum, would you just rather hold right the entire time? That's a game with no obstacles or deaths. Momentum is something you control, you should maybe think about that next time you play. Great game design doesn't age because you forgot something.

ClexYoshiOctober 09, 2015

Quote from: Mario

Just played through it and loved every level. I don't get your complaint about momentum, would you just rather hold right the entire time? That's a game with no obstacles or deaths. Momentum is something you control, you should maybe think about that next time you play. Great game design doesn't age because you forgot something.

No. See, there's this thing called Dick-headed level design. you are defending it. I most certainly don't want a game without challenge, but not being able to stop for a set of spikes the designers purposefully put juuuuuuuust off screen after a red spring or that stupid trampouline in Aquatic ruin that launches sonic STRAIGHT into a swarm of whisps is most certainly not the most polished level design out there.


I am not trying to remove Sonic 2's classic status. I do not want a hold right to win game. I made a Mario Maker level to mock that sort of level design. There has ALWAYS been inherent jank-factor in the sonic games. Even the most stalwart fans of this series will go "Ugh, the stupid pit in Mystic Cave with the Spikes" or "bah, screw that barrel from Carnival Night in Sonic 3" or such. I thought Sonic games didn't feel as tight as Mario as a kid, and I still feel like that now.

Actually, the first Sonic game I REALLY liked was Sonic Advance. I enjoyed playing as Amy Rose because she had a way to stop herself quickly and get around level design quirks that the spin dash was awkwardly invented for. the trade off of course is that she wasn't as well defended and that as a player you had to very skillfully time button presses with your jumps as you moved quickly if you wanted to not have game flow broken.

If it wasn't for how much value you get with S3&K, I'd hands down say Sonic Advance is my favorite 2D sonic game.


As for Sonic 2, I'm kinda ambevalent about it. I like Sonic 1 and Sonic 3 or S&K better.... and even then, I like Sonic 1 Master system better than Sonic 1 for Genesis. I'm still tempted to pick this up this port, although the equally as excelent Taxman/Stealth IOS/Android port of Sonic 2 is only $3, and features stuff like playable Knuckles, Super Tails, a finished version of the legendary Hidden Palace zone, the original prototypes for Hidden Palace that were in the Simon Wai prototype that was leaked to the internet years ago, and of course the fact that the game was rebalanced for 16:9 displays.


The last thing I can suggest is that if you're a Wii U owner that you skip the $5 port of an old game on yet another portable device and instead consider maybe getting a copy of Freedom Planet? because Freedom Planet is a hell of a lot more fresh and fun and doesn't have Hill Top zone.

TOPHATANT123October 09, 2015

The best sonic game. While this 3d remake sounds well done I can't justify buying the game yet again since I own plenty of copies of it across many different platforms including DS. I think the bad level design argument is overblown and doesn't apply as much to Sonic 2 as it does for 1,3 and CD. The only parts I can think of that are totally BS unfair is that spike pit in the Mystic Ruins and the final boss of the game where you don't get any rings. The ideal way to play the game though is with the knuckles expansion cart.

Donkonade KongOctober 09, 2015

I think the first two Sonic games get lumped into the "hurr durr throw you straight into death" arguments too much.  I don't remember that ever being the case.

What I DO remember, is that the game gives you a pace & momentum that makes you want to keep going fast, and as the player, you keep holding right because you enjoy how it feels.  Then your carelessness makes you stop considering that there are obstacles in the game & you make a mistake of running into an enemy, set of spikes, or careen off a cliff.

Sonic's worst shortcomings are about the platforming, which has never felt as satisfying as Mario games, and also become the primary part of the gameplay in the 2nd half of the games.  I've always loved this series in spite of that.

ClexYoshiOctober 09, 2015

and that's why I love Sonic Advance so much. Amy Rose's gamepla in that felt like a sonic character who was built to do platforming with her ability to augment how far a spring sends her and her high and long jumps to get around points that demand you be moving at a decent clip and know where the jump is.

That's also why I love freedom planet's slight concession to physics to make the platofmring in that game flow SO much more better than it does in any Sonic game.

fred13October 09, 2015

Does the multiplayer work? Does it require both people own the game?

Donkonade KongOctober 09, 2015

Quote from: ClexYoshi

and that's why I love Sonic Advance so much. Amy Rose's gamepla in that felt like a sonic character who was built to do platforming with her ability to augment how far a spring sends her and her high and long jumps to get around points that demand you be moving at a decent clip and know where the jump is.

That's also why I love freedom planet's slight concession to physics to make the platofmring in that game flow SO much more better than it does in any Sonic game.

Haven't played the advance games, so can't comment on that.  Might take a look.

This is also why I think the Sonic franchise hasn't translated well to 3D  I imagine it's difficult to find a fair way to bump up the difficulty in them without forcing platforming when they've rarely done it particularly well, especially while keeping the sense of speed you expect from Sonic.




Evan_BOctober 10, 2015

You know, the more I play Freedom Planet, the more I think the physics aren't tweaked well at all, because there's really barely any platforming in the game. You run fast, you get stopped by a platforming section. I've been playing as Carol and she has absolutely no sense of speed about her, which makes the classic Sonic full-loops laughable when you have a character that literally walks up them. A lot of the speed moments in Freedom Planet are, sadly, set pieces, while Sonic 2 and 3 used speed as a reward as well as a set piece.

Anyway, here's hoping M2 gets a shot at S3&K, my favorite title in the trilogy.

ClexYoshiOctober 10, 2015

Quote from: Evan_B

You know, the more I play Freedom Planet, the more I think the physics aren't tweaked well at all, because there's really barely any platforming in the game. You run fast, you get stopped by a platforming section. I've been playing as Carol and she has absolutely no sense of speed about her, which makes the classic Sonic full-loops laughable when you have a character that literally walks up them. A lot of the speed moments in Freedom Planet are, sadly, set pieces, while Sonic 2 and 3 used speed as a reward as well as a set piece.

Anyway, here's hoping M2 gets a shot at S3&K, my favorite title in the trilogy.

I'll agree that speed is a setpiece thing with Carol, but the big way you earn speed with Lilac is with hitting dive kicks on slopes. current carol Any% speed runs are nearly tiwce as long as Lilac runs... I think Carol was built to be able to explore levels more than anything.

Evan_BOctober 10, 2015

If Lilac was meant to build up speed they wouldn't have me scouring the level for the right slopes to do it on, or they would have given her an energy bar that actually allowed for that sort of thing.

Yeah, yeah. "Get good," but Lilac's moveset is based around a highly precise speed runner's sort of gameplay, and none of the characters feel like they have good speed at all. At least, not in the traditional Sonic sense. And if that's the case, I think it's necessary to stop comparing Freedom Planet and Sonic since the latter revolves around speed while the former revolves around multiple play styles that tackle it's platforming challenges in different ways.

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Genre Action
Developer M2

Worldwide Releases

na: 3D Sonic The Hedgehog 2
Release Oct 08, 2015
PublisherSega
RatingEveryone
eu: 3D Sonic The Hedgehog 2
Release Oct 08, 2015
PublisherSega
Rating3+
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