Sonic 4: Episode I was a poorly executed game. Sega set out to revive Genesis classics to appease long time fans. Then they threw away everything that made them classics. The game was short, the levels were annoying, and the physics were broken. It boggles my mind how you could screw the formula up so badly. Run fast, go faster in a ball by gaining additional momentum. That was the whole point of Sonic. Sega wanted it to be a tech demo for the Genesis. A mascot who could roll into a ball to go faster was the chief design element of the character. Yet for some reason, Sonic would slow down in Episode I.
Thankfully, Episode II has fixed the woefully broken physics system. Though the demo's presentation is a little worrying. We get a taste of White Park Zone, an ice level. By taste, I mean you only get to play half of an act before getting booted out. The level design is standard fare and reminds me a bit of Ice Cap Zone from Sonic 3. Though not quite as well laid out. I'm not a fan of the art style Sega has been using for Sonic 4. Generations nailed what a 2D modern Sonic game should look like. They're more organic and have more depth. The classic art style was great on the Genesis but woefully dated today.
|Episode II gives us more of the same. Not a good thing. Courtesy SonicNewsNetwork|
The music is pretty flat as well. Let's compare White Park Zone's music to Ice Cap Zone from Sonic 3. Unfair? You bet it is. MJ can't write tunes for every game, well... not now anyways. Music has been the one thing that all Sonic games seem to be good at. Sonic 4 seems like a weak effort at best.
The only really notable gameplay change, besides physics, is the inclusion of Tails. He can fly and swim, which have returned from Sonic 3. He can also tag team with Sonic into big ball to smash objects, such as snow walls in White Park. It's neat to see Tails return but I don't think it adds much to the experience.
Reviwers that have played the full game have panned it as being mediocre. I review demos because I can't afford to buy everything that comes along. Sonic 4: Episode II doesn't seem all that bad. It's decent enough game no hiccups. However, it still falls short in a way that's difficult to describe. Sonic Generations is the perfect Sonic game for the modern era. Sonic 4 just doesn't come close.
Score: 6 out of 10
-Fixed physics closer to original Sonic games
-Lacks a certain je ne sais quoi.
-Bland music and dated art style
-Fails to live up to the high point set by Sonic Generations