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Building upon the core gameplay of the original Sonic Adventure title, this GameCube remake of Sonic Adventure 2 is a vast improvement on the original in every conceivable way. It sports better graphics, an improved story, more enjoyable gameplay and fewer bugs. Of course, considering that its predecessor was at best an average game, that doesn't necessarily speak volumes for Sonic Adventure 2: Battle. Rest assured, though, that this 2002 Sega release is a quality title, to which the roughly 1.5 million people who have already purchased it can undoubtedly attest.
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Graphics and Sound
It's hard not to compare Sonic Adventure 2: Battle to its predecessor, Sonic Adventure DX. Both were originally Sega Dreamcast titles before being ported over to the GameCube, but for some reason this sequel features much better graphics. The character models are far more detailed, the environments are infinitely more visually pleasing, and the camera is far less buggy than the original. The voice acting is improved and is more audible, but unfortunately there's now an occasional problem with the cues, as one character will sometimes respond to another before the first is finished delivering his or her lines. Sloppy work in that department, Sega. On the other hand, the music is far better as well, especially some of the tunes that play during the boss fights and the main theme song, which plays during the final battle. In my opinion, that's a nice touch that I wish more games would take advantage of.
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This time around, the plot revolves around the first appearance of the Sonic lookalike, Shadow the Hedgehog, as he helps Dr. Eggman reactivate an old space station so he can use its weaponry to force the people of Earth to surrender to him. Like its predecessor, the plot of Sonic Adventure 2 is broken down into different viewpoints, though this time instead of focusing on individual characters, players choose to play through as the heroes (Sonic, Tails, Knuckes) and the dark side (Eggman, Shadow, and a newcomer named Rouge the Bat), and ultimate there is a final episode that requires both sides to team up and stop an even greater foe, the Biolizard. The writing is much better in this sequel, and the plot has more of a natural flow, thanks to the redesigned multiple viewpoint system.
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The core 3D gameplay of Sonic Adventure DX and many other action/platform style games returns, which basically means that the player will maneuver his or her character forward while fighting enemies, navigating leaps and collecting a variety of different items -- in the case of this game, rings for health and items for use in the Chao World minigame, which returns in Sonic Adventure 2 in a much expanded form. This time, there are three main variations on the gameplay formula. The Sonic and Shadow stages are high speed dashes much like the blue hedgehog's levels in the first Sonic Adventure game. Knuckles and Rouge need to hunt and dig for treasure, while Eggman and Tails travel in robotic suits that can lock onto multiple enemies, fire lasers and have health bars.
Each stage has a main objective, which must be completed to advance the plot line, as well as four optional tasks available, which will add considerable playtime for completists. One real highlight of this game is the incredible and innovative boss battles. In particular, the fights against the Egg Golem and the Biolizard itself are creative and challenging, and the music, as mentioned earlier in the review, definitely helps establish atmosphere during these epic conflicts. Furthermore, there are a variety of multiplayer games available this time around, including racing levels and one-on-one shootout battles, and these modes feature characters not otherwise playable in the game. In terms of gameplay, Sonic Adventure 2: Battle is a huge improvement over its predecessor.
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It is rather stunning what a leap forward this game is from the original Sonic Adventure. The graphics are much better, the storyline is better, and there's much more gameplay depth. As I said in my review of Sonic Adventure DX, both of these Dreamcast ports can be had for about the same price (definitely less than $20, and possibly under $10 if you're looking in the right places). If you really enjoyed Sonic the Hedgehog on the PS3 or Xbox 360 and you haven't played either of these Sonic Adventure games, it may be worth your while to pick them both up. However, there's no question that Sonic Adventure 2: Battle is the better value for the price.