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Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 Review

Howdy ladies and gentlemen and welcome to another review from your jolly blogger friend the hypersonic55! Today I’m going to bring you my long-awaited review of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2!

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So after a long time of waiting and waiting and WAITING, Sonic 4: Episode 2 finally came out on as a digital download around mid-May… However I didn’t have the funds to get the game at the time, so I had to wait for the reviews to come around so I could get an idea of what to expect before I got the game myself. Suffice to say that the critical and fan response to Sonic 4: Episode 2 was mixed. Some fans loved it, while a lot of fans and critics didn’t. For those who didn’t like it the main points of their argument was that Sonic Team and Dimps fixed many things in terms of gameplay and handling of Sonic’s physics, but introduced some new problems in regards to the level design and the co-op gameplay with Tails. Well I was going to reserve judgment until I played the game myself. And so I downloaded the game on PSN around early June and I can say is that it wasn’t what I was expecting. I actually hated this game a lot when I first started playing it, but over the summer my opinion changed a great deal. So what’s my statement on the game? Well read on and find out.

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Plot

Following the events of Episode I, Metal Sonic has returned to form a formidable alliance with Dr. Eggman! To face this new evil, Sonic will have to call upon an old friend to help him save the day! Now joined by Tails, race across four brand new Zones and take down fearsome new badniks with deadly combination moves in order to put an end to this dastardly duo’s plans!

Gameplay

The gameplay is similar to Sonic 4: Episode 1, but there are a few enhancements. Episode 2 sees the return of Sonic’s friend Tails who can be controlled by a second player or the computer online or locally in co-operative play. Tails isn’t a playable character like 16-bit games, also Sonic can’t be played on his own and it forced to play with Tails. This game also introduces combo moves that Sonic and Tails can perform together from Tails carrying to places through the air to rolling up in a massive ball to do a big spin attack that’ll smash through walls, enemies and give you loads of speed. Other than those few enhancements everything’s still the same, you still have to go through 4 zones with 3 acts in each and a boss encounter at the end. After completing all 12 acts and all 4 boss encounters there’s the final boss to take care of too. You still have a world map can to use but unlike the last game you can’t pick acts in any random order.

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When compared to the last game Sonic handles a lot better than before, while he feels a little slower at first his physics are a hell of a lot better. Sonic has a little more weight to him, he rolls downhill a lot more and he’s finally stopped uncurling when coming off of ramps. However it still can’t hold a candle to Mega Drive/Genesis games, Sonic’s physics are still a bit off, how can you stand on a slope, press down and not go into a spin dash and gain speed? I don’t understand how Dimps and Sonic Team can’t get physics and the basics of momentum based platforming right. It’s ridiculous. Level designs are better than before, there are less bottomless pits and less gimmicky sections. However the game now has this camera that zooms in close to Sonic and then zooms out from him at points which makes it difficult to see what’s coming ahead and can lead to some unfair complications with hazards ahead. There are also some question level design in Oil Desert Zone and Sky Fortress Zone and there are still moments of unfair death via bottomless pits, a dodgy camera and bad enemy placement.

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Oh and the boss battles, holy man… I HATE THEM. Well more specifically I’m talking about the Dr. Eggman fights. They are so long and drawn out and some of them require pinpoint precision to defeat and should you fail to defeat the boss you’ll have sat there and watch the introduction animation every bloody time and it’s so tedious. The boss fights are one part of the game I never revisit because they are so slow, so tedious and not worth retrying at all. Though I can say that the Metal Sonic fights are way more fun and entertaining and not as tedious, though they are bloody hard at certain points. And finally there’s the Special Stages in this game which are modelled after the ones in Sonic 2, and they aren’t as fun as the versions from the 90s. These Special Stages still have you running through a half-pipe collecting a specific number of rings before reaching the goal, if you have the reach the target amount you get a Chaos Emerald. And obviously after collecting all seven you can once again become Super Sonic.

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Presentation

Graphically the game is really good and miles better than the first game. Rather than that flat-looking 2.5D looks of Episode 1, the graphics in this game have been reworked with a 3D style that’s way more colourful and visually appealing than before. The character models for Sonic and Tails are more in line with their recent games like Sonic Colours and Generations, I love this look and it really works well on a 2D plane too. The rest of the art and animation in the stage locations are incredibly detailed and look amazing, from the snowy locations of White Park Zone to the epic vast skies of Sky Fortress Zone and then there’s the Death Egg Mk. II Zone which has some amazing lighting and a great presence to it.

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In the audio department it is a bit of a mixed bag, Jun Senoue comes back as composer for Episode 2 and while this soundtrack has been reworked with more electronic instruments it doesn’t always work out. While Episode 1 didn’t have the best soundtrack, it did have some memorable songs. Episode 2 has some highlights with Sylvania Castle Zone Act 1 & 3, White Park Zone Act 2, Oil Desert Zone Act 1 and Sky Fortress Zone Act 2. Death Egg Mk.II Zone would be better if it was longer. Everything else in this soundtrack is either okay or just pants. I don’t like reworked version of the Sonic 4 theme, it just sounds awkward and clunky, White Park Zone Act 1 sounds annoying, Oil Desert Zone Act 2 is just the worst track ever and the Boss music is terribly short and repetitive.

Conclusion

In the end Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 is actually a decent game, there is much to appreciate about this game from the incredible visuals to the improved physics. However this game isn’t perfect by any means, this game should have been better than Episode 1 by miles and it should have been the best thing since Sonic Generations. However as it stands, Sonic 4: Episode 2 just feels like Sonic 4: Episode 1.5, it improves on a few things, but it still leaves many of the inconsistent or bad factors of the previous game intact and also finds ways to introduce new issues in this latest episode too. Sonic 4: Episode 2 for me is a good game once you get into it, but it’s still not the amazing Sonic game that I wanted.

Rating: 7.5

Well there’s my review, I know it’s a little late but I had to get this review done before the year was out. Anyways I hope it was worth the wait and as always leave me a comment below as well.

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Posted by on December 28, 2012 in Game Reviews, Media, Reviews, Video Games

 

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Month of Nostalgic Game Reviews: Sonic The Hedgehog 2

Howdy ladies and gents and welcome to Day #11 of my Month of Nostalgic Game Reviews where I’ll be giving you reviews of some of my most nostalgic video games from my childhood. Today we have what I consider to be one of the best games ever and probably is my favourite game of all time, and that is Sonic the Hedgehog 2!

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No words can truly describe my love for this game. It is my favourite Sonic game ever! Gameplay, graphics, audio, replay value, nostalgia, it works on all levels. This game I fell in love with when I was young and I never stopped talking about it since.

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So Sonic 2 was released in 1992, just a year after the last game and was developed in America with some of the key Japanese developers from the game working with them. In this sequel you could do everything that you could in Sonic 1, except this time it was like 10x bigger and better! The premise for this game has Sonic once again heading off to defeat the evil Dr. Robotnik, except this time Robotnik wants the power of the Chaos Emeralds to the deadly Death Egg (an armoured space station). In order to stop Robotnik, Sonic alongside his new friend, Tails, must get through the levels, collect the emeralds and beat Robotnik.

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In terms of gameplay most it remains unchanged. In levels you still run from left to left, collecting rings, using power-ups in monitors, defeating enemies and avoiding environmental hazards. Though there’s many changes and improvements made to the basic formula like:

  • Sonic 2 has much bigger levels, faster gameplay and new move the “Super Dash Attack”, (or “Spin Dash”), this move allows Sonic or Tails to curl in a ball and spin while stationary, and when you release you get a speed boost.
  • In Sonic 2 there are a total of eleven zones; the first seven zones have two acts each, while Metropolis, the eighth zone, has three acts, and the last three zones have one act each. At the end of the last act of most levels, Sonic confronts Dr. Robotnik.
  • Star posts that are checkpoints now serve a greater purpose in Sonic 2. When you collected at least 50 rings, star posts can be run past for an optional Special Stage.
  • You also have the choice playing as Sonic, Tails or both. When you pick both player 1 controls Sonic while Tails runs along beside him. A second player can join in at any time and control Tails separately, but the screen always stays centred on Sonic, frequently leaving Tails off-screen.
  • Collecting all seven Chaos Emeralds in the Special Stages will allow you to turn into Super Sonic. After collecting 50 rings in any level Sonic will transform into a golden version of himself with his spikes turned upwards. As Super Sonic your speed and jump height is increased and you’re invincible, however you can still die by drowning, being crushed, falling into a pit or running out of time. Also while in this state you lose one ring per second. When you run out or reach the end of the act, Sonic reverts back to normal.
  • The Special Stages in Sonic 2 introduce us to a 3D-like half-pipe course, where you need to collect a certain amount of rings in order to advance through checkpoints and eventually at the end collect a Chaos Emerald. Players had to collect rings and avoid bombs, bombs would make you lose rings and if you failed to collect enough rings then you left the Special Stage early.
  • Sonic 2 also introduced multiplayer whereas Sonic and Tails you could race against each other through Emerald Hill, Casino Night, and Mystic Cave, or try your hand at the special stages.

And to be honest that’s just the basic outline of the changes and rectifications that was made with Sonic 2, there is so much more to the game than what I have mentioned here.

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Back when I was young I played this game continuously, having both good and bad times. This game was way more accessible than Sonic 1 because the gameplay and level design was much better. I loved the Chemical Planet Zone, which was my favourite level, the music, level design and visuals of that levels was totally badass. The graphical quality of this game really astounded me when I was young and it still does. I used to play this game a lot on my own and with my sister as Tails. This game was my life. Though When I played I’d always get to a certain point and fail, then get really pissed off and then start hitting my Mega Drive and game cartridge. I was very violent and I am surprised my gaming stuff survived my beatings haha. I still go back to this game now and then on Sonic Jam and every time I play I feel the nostalgia hit me every time, it just feels so good. 😀

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And obviously the legacy this game left behind was huge. Sonic 2 was obviously referenced heavily in Sonic Generations and it was the direct influence for Sonic 4: Episode 2 with the use of Tails and the visual level designs too.

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In conclusion Sonic 2 was and still is the best Sonic game ever. Most Sonic fans feel the same way with the exception of those who love Sonic 3 more. But anyway this game had amazing graphics, gameplay, an amazing soundtrack and replay value. There’s a reason why it’s so highly praised by fans and critics and why it sold over 6 million copies. It is one of the king platforming games in existence and it is mandatory that everyone plays it. It is that good. 🙂

Well there’s my review of my favourite game ever, now come back tomorrow for my review of Sonic 3! 😀

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2012 in Game Reviews, Media, Reviews, Video Games

 

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My Indecisiveness in the summer time.

It seems at this point in the summer I have a lot of free time to laze around and do nothing and as much as I love being a lazy man of the world I do actually like to do stuff in my spare time. Luckily I have many things at my disposal to do, unfortunately I have a few to many options open which means that choices collide and clash meaning that I then become indecisive and never end up doing anything.

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This is what my decision-making looks like on a near-daily basis.

Normally when I wake up I have a basic idea of what I want to do. I’ll normally go on my laptop and decide what my next motive is from there. But since it’s the summer time I feel like I should be doing more and capitalizing on my free time. Before I finished my first year of uni I said that I’d get so much done in the summer, but as of yet I have yet to scratch the surface of the plans that I sent up for myself. While I have encountered moments in time where I have done exactly what I wanted to do, those times are sparse at best and need to be in bigger supply. So what are my options? Well I’ll tell you below:

Sketching

Now this is something I like to do, technically speaking it is what defines me. I’ve been drawing/sketching since the dawn of my existence, however in recent years it feels like I haven’t been as committed to it a I should be. After I came to uni I started sketching again, but now that the summer’s here I have barely drawn a thing and that’s problematic. I thought with all this free time that I would draw more than usual and get some of my comic ideas and portraits going, but I have yet to get into that kind of groove. Every time I want to sit down and draw something else interrupts me or I can’t find the incentive to work. I just hope that I can find that groove and start sketching properly before the summer ends.

Here’s a picture I drew of a friend of mine, this is what I want to be doing all the time during this summer.

Gaming

If there is one thing that I need to start doing more of it is gaming. I call myself a gamer, yet I barely touch my consoles and have long gaming sessions like I should be and that is because of my indecisiveness and laziness. I’d say in the last quarter of 2011 was when I was in proper gaming mode when I was playing Sonic Generations and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Since then in 2012 I became the proud owner of a Nintendo 3DS and have been discovering the wonders of the portable console along with my casual playing of Mario Kart 7. But even then my gaming hasn’t gotten to that epic level yet.

Recently I have gotten a hold of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 and at first I really wasn’t into it, but after giving it a try I’ve liked it a lot. Its miles better than the first game in terms of graphics and control, but I need more time to assess the gameplay and level design. I’ve also tried out Transformers: War for Cybertron and also far its a pretty crackin game and I’m annoyed that I hadn’t played the game sooner, it’s gameplay is fast, kinetic and very fun. Transforming is great and the visuals and voice work is pretty damn impressive. And lastly after around 2 months of being lazy I finally got around to playing Kid Icarus: Uprising on my 3DS. While the control scheme for the game does feel awkward at times, the overall aerial and ground combat is incredibly fun and addictive, the graphics are fabulous and the voice work and soundtrack is very well-crafted.

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I’m currently playing through this game and I’ll soon have my review up on my blog and on YouTube asap!

Me and gaming have a long way to go before we are back to the place where we were back in 2010 when I really cared for video games with a passion. I just want to be gaming the way that I did before; all the friggin time! 😀

Writing/Blogging

Well the funny thing about this is that I do it nearly all the time, but recently things have started to slow down and my uploading of posts has slowed down significantly. This blog was created for work purposes when I started uni, but after a bit of tampering it turned into my own domain to write freely about anything on my mind. And for the first few months it was crazy, but around March to April things started to slow down and by May things really got inconsistent. My reviews are one of the more solid things on my blog, my film reviews and my episode reviews of the Ultimate Spider-Man are the main things that I blog about. But other than that my material on my blog has been rather lacking and needing much more consistency. Well I have a lot of drafted blog posts, but its all about the inspiration and timing, some times I feel like blogging and other times I can’t be arsed. But blogging has become part of my world since uni began  many months ago and I would like it to continue. So yeah this summer I need to get my blogging stuff back in check, for sure!

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If nothing else specific comes up soon, then this will be the next thing I blog about. Look out for my comprehensive Spider-Man review!

Watching Movies/TV shows

As you may be able to tell from all the film reviews that I do on my blog and on YouTube, I love films. I live for them. It just fills my life with happiness.

Outside of films, I love TV too, though these days I don’t have a TV of my own to watch shows regularly so I play catch up online and recently I’ve gotten into a lot of American TV. Outside of watching my animated shows like The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the Ultimate Spider-Man, I have recently started watching Fringe and I am obsessed! The show is so well-thought out, so cool and it has everything; science fiction, action, drama, mystery and so much more. Never have I been so addicted to a show since Boardwalk Empire. And speaking of that show I still need to watch the second season of that. And then there’s other HBO series that I’ve been meaning to watch now which is Game of Thrones. The second season has just ended and from what I have heard from my friends it sounds incredible and don’t wanna miss out on this epicness anymore. And then add to that my Idris Elba obsession that’s been going since last year, I really want to watch the two shows he’s most known for; The Wire and Luther. Both are critically acclaimed shows and have a lot of hype, however I have yet to see them, so I was hoping that this summer I would finally get around to watching both of them. But annoyingly I never like to watch more than one show at once because it messes with my continuity. So I say that I won’t watch another TV show until I’ve gotten up to date with Fringe, but even then, after finishing that show, finding a new one will be difficult with al of the material I have to work with. XD

I could even decide to clean my room, though I doubt I will due to the fact I shall be leaving my flat in a few weeks. But as you can see I have a variety of options at my disposal and yet I never know what to do or what to tackle first. When I do one thing, I feel like I should be doing something else at the same time and sometimes when I don’t pick something specifically I just avoid the choice altogether and do something else or worse, I do nothing 😦 I am hopeless in these types of situations haha.

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This sign should really be given to me because I really have a bad habit of not being about to make up my mind on the simplest of tasks.

Well one could argue I shouldn’t be freaking out about trying to do so much in such a short space of time since I still have the whole of July and August to sort it out. However my indecisive behaviour can become terrible on occasions to the point where I put off things for days, which then turn into weeks and then months

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2012 in Life

 

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Lazy Times and Lazy Blogging

Howdy to all who read my blogs, basically today’s blog post about how my laziness and my blogging inconsistency in recent times and the reason behind it… But let’s be blunt here, I’ve gotten lazy. Period.

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Now this is a pretty good example of how lazy I have gotten in recent times.

In the last month my commitment to my blogging hasn’t been as strong, so that’s why I have only mainly done one or two uploads very sparsely over the space of several days rather than doing one every two or three days. Some days I’d swing by WordPress and I’d want to blog but then just say to myself “I can’t be arsed.” And in truth that’s just the way I’ve felt for a while. I was just feeling super lazy and felt no obligation to write anything even though I had so many topics and drafted and ready to publish. Though laziness has not been the only thing stopping me from blogging.

On top of my lack of blog time I have had a lot of uni work to take care of in the last 3 weeks. There has been a good few deadlines that have needed to be met and most of them have involved essays and after all of that bloody typing I was doing I really wasn’t keen on coming back here to do the same thing. I’m sure you can understand that 🙂 University has been a tedious process in the last few weeks and the assignment have drained all of the fun from my body so when it would to blogging, the inspiration wouldn’t be there. Oh speaking of uni I’m done! Yeah I just finished my first year and I am loving the freedom. I don’t have to wake up early anymore, I don’t feel guilty when I’m doing anything other than my work and I don’t have to be anywhere of any degree of importance. It’s a fabulous feeling… However that freedom comes at a cost. Now that I don’t have uni to keep my schedule in check I have nothing to do and it sucks. It normally means I’m just hanging around my flat being bored as hell. Now I would do something outside if there was things to do around here that wouldn’t cost me money. The only to do is go out and party and while I would love to do that, I am not financially in a position to do that all the time. Which leads me into another point; I need a job. I’m constantly looking and yet I get no response and it’s a very tedious process, but it needs to be done so I can have some stability XD

In the end I would love for it to be the summer and just chill the hell out with no problems in my mind.

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Just like Calvin & Hobbes here I would love to chill somewhere with a smile on my face, totally carefree.

Eventually I’ll wait for days like these to come when the summer rolls around. For now I have many things to sort out. Firstly I really want to get Sonic 4: Episode 2, I have heard such a mixed response about the game and I just want to get a hold of it and tamper with it for myself. Like watching The Avengers again. Unfortunately I have still only seen it twice and it breaks my heart. I should have seen it at least another 2 times since about 3 weeks ago. I don’t think I’ll be getting around to it until I go back home next week. I just home it’ll be in the cinema for that long or I will cry 😦 And speaking next week… THE MCM LONDON EXPO IS AROUND THE CORNER!  Yes, indeed it’s almost Expo time again. This convention is a place I have been attending for the last 4 years and while I am regretfully only going for one day this May, I will be doing the full adventure in October, that much I can promise! But for now I can’t wait to meet up with my best friend Chris and be able to do this whole Expo experience again.

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2012 in Life

 

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Sonic 4: Episode 2 Launch Trailer

Howdy ladies and gentlemen and welcome to another blog post. Today’s blog post will be on the latest and probably last trailer of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2. If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, take a look below:

Now it has been quite some time since the last Sonic-related blog post, even though there was a few updates here and there from loads of screenshots to the information about the beta build of the game being leaked and available to those able to grab it quick enough. But to be honest I was hoping for a bit more substantial news to blog about, that and the fact that I’ve been feeling a tad lazy in recent times lol. But anyways now it’s time to talk about this new trailer and man, it’s completely nostalgic! A massive trip down memory lane yo 😀

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In this launch trailer for Sonic 4: Episode 2 we finally see the final zone, which is the classic Wing Fortress Zone from Sonic 2. Now before this trailer had come out, a good few months ago I had heard in an interview with a Sega representative that the final zone would be a level from the past, though I was curious to know what place would be. So now that I see that its Wing Fortress Zone I’m really interested to see what they’ll do with it. From the trailer it looks like they’s combined Wing Fortress Zone with elements of Sky Chase Zone too and I also can see some references to Sonic 3 & Knuckles where Sonic & Tails are travelling those rings like in Death Egg Zone. And that HD makeover of the level, wow, it looks insane. The levels have been reimagined and redesigned, but still retaining that original nostalgic feel looks fabulous. We also get to see a lot of other features like two of the boss fights, more Sonic & Tails teamwork and areas of the game where it takes advantage of that 2.5D visuals and let’s Sonic move form the foreground  to the background. And overall everything looks lovely and I’m totally hyped for the game.

And the last thing to mention in the lock-on feature, just around 3/4s into the trailer we see some small footage of Metal Sonic traversing through those older Sonic 4: Episode 1 levels. It is a neat concept and if Metal’s gameplay is different from Sonic’s then it may be worth a play, though as an overall additional feature it really isn’t that special and the trailer really tries to sell it to you, like you NEED it! But in truth you don’t really lol. Here’s some new pictures released today of Metal Sonic in action;

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So overall I think I have to say that I am very much excited for Sonic 4: Episode 2 and I’ll be interested to see what the reviewers say about this title. If it isn’t better than Episode 1 (which I’m sure it will be) then I’ll be pissed, but I am sure that Sega know better than that (they better). I think it comes out over here in the UK tomorrow I think I will obtain it very soon.

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Media, Video Games

 

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Life and Stability

Good day to you people of WordPress and welcome to another blog post. It’s strange a haven’t made a done anything on my blog for a few days now which is very strange by my standards, though I have had a lot on and have had to change the material I was going to put up. So in the end I decided to talk about where I am in life and stability, two things that are quintessential to anyone trying to get by in this world.

My life since becoming a university student has been a turbulent rollercoaster ride of ups and downs that come with being a student away from home and living that lifestyle that you only here about it stories. While my experience here in Sheffield wasn’t like I anything expected, in a way I wouldn’t take it back because it’s all part of the learning experience and of course, growing up too.

Since coming to university I have realised that stability is a necessity, everything needs a sense of perspective and normality, without it things can go wrong, it can turn mess with you emotionally and send you into a world of chaos! In my case when I came to university to do my animation course I treated it like I did with college; I worked but I was also lazy a great deal of the time coz in my mind everything was stable enough for me to handle. My laziness never really came back to bite me in the arse until January when I had to had in 3 assignments in one day and let’s just say everything ended in a very messy fashion due to bad timing and computer malfunctions. It also didn’t help that while all of this chaos was going on in my course I had problems with my finances. To sum it up in an abbreviated fashion my accommodation cost more than the amount I got from student finance, so I was behind on many payments and in a constant fear of being kicked out. I had to borrow lots of cash off of my family, I had to sell my Nintendo DS and games and also cut down on the amount food I ate just to stay afloat. It was a dark time in my world that almost broke me completely. I lived in an unstable where everything was in a constant state of flux…

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For a while this was the level of stability in my world…

Luckily things started to look up after March started up, there was my return to the cinema that got me back into a familiar groove when I went to see John Carter and The Hunger Games in one day in the Cineworld in Sheffield and then there was my birthday a few weeks ago that put me in the happiest place I’d been in for a long time. And I finally got a taste of stability when I paid off all of my money that I owed to my accommodation. All that fear and panic that had plagued my mind for months disappeared and I felt like a massive weight had been lifted off of my shoulders! So with this newfound level of freedom I went back home in the Easter and watched The Cold Light of Day, Wrath of the Titans and 21 Jump Street in the cinema which felt like the normal me. I also bought myself a Nintendo 3DS with Mario Kart 7 and Kid Icarus: Uprising which has put me in a good groove. Seeing my family back in Luton and London put a massive grin on my face (the free dinners made me epic happy! XD) and when I got to catch up with all my lovely friends in Luton and on one trip to Milton Keynes it was a great feeling!!

However it hasn’t been all plain sailing. When I came back home for Easter I was faced with many moments of frustration and  grumpiness because of the people around me and the overall atmosphere that comes with being back in Luton. Firstly let’s start with my friends, now don’t get me wrong I love my friends, they’re my heart and soul yo. And it is hard to live so far away from them in Sheffield whereas before I went to university they all used to be within walking distance back in Luton. So when I’m away they tell me so much that they wanna hang out and that they miss me, however when I got back most of them didn’t wanna hang at all besides a select few. And it’s not like I didn’t try to contact them, I sent text messages but they never got back to me or others I hollered at on Facebook who said they would hang out only from them to cancel or say that something had come up. That’s just a few of the scenarios that I’ve had to put up with. I think a lot of this was due to scheduling conflicts and the fact that I came back at an awkward time in the Easter when my friends had other plans. But some people really didn’t have an excuse as they didn’t have anything on and just didn’t get back to me. The main issue with some of my friends is the communication element. There is none.

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Miscommunication. A very troublesome thing in life. It happens a lot to me.

I try to contact friends by every means possible and yet I never get a holla back. And that’s what really frustrated me when I spent my 12 days back in Luton. All those so-called friends really didn’t seem all that friendly and it was really annoying because a lot of them I wanted to see but couldn’t because they were useless in the communication department…

Also I didn’t realise until I hanged in Luton for a week how much the place saps the energy out of me. Outside of the cinema, my friends and seeing my family, there’s no reason for me to go back home for an extended duration of time. I mean I don’t hate the place and I have a lot of nostalgia there, but going back recently has just felt long, tiresome and funky. This Easter I saw a good few family members which was great, I got to hang with my best friends and went to the cinema and caught up on some long hours of TV. But other than that it just felt horrible. I missed Sheffield extremely after just a few days and wanted to get back there so soon. So yeah I got back to Sheffield at the start of this week and the normality of hanging around my flatmates kicked in and I felt at peace with myself. While I still have a fair amount of uni work to get on with in a short amount of time and I still haven’t got my finances completely sorted yet, I’m sure with hard work and a little hope I’ll get by. Plus I have a lot to look forward to with The Avengers coming out next Thursday here in the UK which I’m totally hyped and can’t wait for anymore and then in May I get see Men In Black 3 which will have to be good because its got Will Smith in it XD Also waiting to play Sonic 4: Episode 2 and break in my PS3 too. Then there’s the MCM London Expo, my place of happiness, I will be attending later on next month. And lastly of course the summer is edging ever closer so when that kicks in I’ll be bleeding it dry coz its my favourite time of year! So times can only get better from here 😀

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Life is a balancing act, you could fall at any time if you’re not careful. So keep your guard up yo!

So in conclusion I just want to tell anyone who is reading this that life needs stability for it to be enjoyed and whatever problems or troubles you have in your life weather them out and find your own sea of tranquillity. I think I have finally found mine. How long it’ll last will be down to time and whether fate will keep me in my happy place. I just hope all of you out there have a level of stability of your own too because it is necessary for life.

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2012 in Life

 

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PAX EAST: Sonic 4 Episode 2 Hands-On

Howdy ladies and gentlemen and welcome to another Sonic-related blog post. And today I have a lovley hands-on preview of Sonic 4: Episode 2 from the wonderful people at Sonic Stadium. So here it is yo:

“When Sonic 4 was revealed in 2010, it quickly became a very controversial game. Fans reacted with emotions ranging from joyful glee to seething, undiluted hatred. Criticisms ranged from the physics, to the level design, to Sonic’s…eye color. By the time of the game’s release, the more serious complaints were proven to have validity, though in despite of this criticism Sonic 4 Episode 1 received the highest scores of any console Sonic game in years, even managing eights from many of the larger websites.

One of the great things about releasing a game episodically is that it allows for developers to take fan and press criticism into account mid development. Sonic 4 is easily one of the best examples of this: Episode 2 features a large variety of improvements over Episode 1.

The state of the physics was the biggest criticism in Episode 1, and they’ve received a good deal of attention for Episode 2. Sonic no longer stops dead in his tracks when the player stops pressing forward. Instead, Sonic maintains all of his momentum once he’s gained it, regardless of whether or not the player presses forward or not. Sonic is also no longer predisposed to uncurling, as listeners of the Sonic Talk podcast will know, which makes bouncing off of enemies after rolling up into the air much easier and more fluid. The bounce from destroying enemies has also been improved, giving Sonic much more air. It’s not all blue skies and good times though, as one thing hasn’t changed: Sonic doesn’t get the momentum he should from rolling down hills. When you go into a roll on an incline, Sonic typically only gains a little speed, and if the incline isn’t steep enough, he can come to an outright stop on it. These are still not the physics of the classic Sonic games.

So, classic Sonic fans may still not necessarily be pleased. Aside from that though…Sonic 4 Episode 2 is still a lot of fun. Going by what I’ve played, it’s a much better game than Episode 1 was. For one, the game obviously has a bigger budget, and this factors into more than just better graphics: the levels here are more intricate. Sylvania Castle Zone Act 1 is larger and more complicated then Splash Hill Zone Act 1 is, with a combination of water and land based environments, a better balance between thrilling speed areas and slower platforming areas, and places that take some skill to reach. White Park Zone is easily more thrilling than anything in the previous episode, period. Sonic will be chased by avalanches of snow, board on flowing rivers of snow, and drill through snow filled caverns. This is all stuff we’ve seen in the trailers, of course, but during my play through I found these gimmicks to be much more satisfying then the gimmicks in Sonic 4.

Another big change between Episode 1 and Episode 2 is the inclusion of Tails. Now, SEGA has gotten a lot of flak for not including Tails as a playable character…but honestly? Those people are missing the point. In Sonic 2, Tails’s inclusion was more about co-op then it was actually playing as Tails. Playing as Tails was boring. He was just a Sonic reskin, he had no special abilities, and couldn’t even fly. Tails was, in essence, only useful as a player two character. That’s exactly the case here, except things have been expanded upon. Tails is there to allow for in game co-op and to augment Sonic’s own abilities, and it’s here where Episode 2 again differentiates itself from Episode 1. Tails and Sonic essentially act as a single character with expanded abilities, and this changes fundamental aspects of Sonic 4’s formula, now allowing players to fly around the stage to explore new areas, and enter a kind of “rolling attack”. This rolling attack is very fast and powerful, and can come in handy in speed areas with lots of inclines. To balance things out, it is also very hard to control, and using it poorly can either completely mess up a speed run or lead to a very quick death. These two new moves do a lot to help spice up the standard Sonic formula, and it never feels like it comes at the expense of the game’s pacing, as similar team based mechanics did in Heroes and Advanced 3.

Episode 2 is also a very beautiful game. It’s pretty obvious that Episode 2 had a much bigger budget then Episode 1, since graphically it looks almost like a retail title. The backgrounds of both levels are filled with detail. Sylvania Castle has a beautiful morning sky in the background, with a sun shimmering through the clouds as it begins to poke above the mountains, while White Park Zone has an entire carnival moving in the background. Snow will fall off of flowers as Sonic runs past them and give more life to the underwater areas of Sylvania Castle. Episode 2 has a lot of life and movement in it, and it all runs at a silky smooth 60 FPS.

Only the complete game will tell us just how big an improvement Episode 2 is over Episode 1. I won’t make any promises to classic fans, as the game still feels like Sonic 4, just a much improved version of it. Episode 1 had more flaws then just the physics, and as far as I’m concerned, if the level design of all of Episode 2 reflects the two acts I’ve played, I’ll be very happy. People who hated Episode 1 will probably still hate Episode 2, unless the aforementioned physics fixes or improved graphics and level design solved what they disliked about the first episode. Fans who liked Episode 1 will like Episode 2 a lot more though, if these two acts are any indication. This game had a bigger budget then the first episode, and it most certainly shows in the improved graphics and level design. I am confident this will be Sonic’s best digital offering yet.”

So what do you guys think? For me this hands-on sounds pretty promising and I have much more trust in the end result of Sonic 4: Episode 2, I’m just waiting until May so I can download this game and experience fun all over again! 😀

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2012 in Media, Video Games

 

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New Sonic 4 Episode 2 Video & Info!

Howdy ladies and gentlemen and welcome to another Sonic-related blog post. Just in the latter half of yesterday we got news about Sonic 4: Episode 2 regarding Metal Sonic.

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According to Gamespot, there will be a “lock-on” technology feature between Sonic 4: Episodes 1 & 2 where Metal Sonic will be playable in both episodes for people who have both games (similar to the “lock-on” technology featured on Sonic 3 & Knuckles). It’s also been mentioned that if you have both Sonic 4 episodes then you will have access to four exclusive levels! Insanely awesome stuff here. And then there’s the actual confirmation of the those previously rumoured dates for the game to come out, because now it seems like Sonic 4 Episode 2 will come out on May 15th for PSN, May 16th for Xbox Live, later May for PC, June for Android and July for Windows Mobile.

Oh and there’s a nice new trailer out showcasing a new level! Check it out here:

So as you can see here this new zone is one of the levels that was seen back when the first batch of Sonic 4: Episode 2 images were leaked onto the internet. This zone was shrouded in mystery until we saw more of the level design and layout in this trailer. The zone absolutely screams out nostalgia and clear references from the Oil Ocean Zone from Sonic 2 with the look, style and the parts where Sonic is sliding down the oil, but there are also references to Sonic 3 & Knuckles with the rising sand and robotic enemies emerging from beneath the sand. Overall it looks interesting with level structure, difficulty and a little variation from the previous levels, but for me I was a little underwhelmed by what I saw in this trailer, I had hoped it would be a little more fancy. I dunno, it just didn’t wow me like the last two trailers did.

Anyways, in conclusion I think this will be a fun summer for Sonic fans, firstly you’ll be getting the second episode of Sonic 4, but there will also be “lock on” technology between Sonic 4: Episodes 1 & 2 with Metal Sonic being playable with additional levels too. So yeah good times, again let’s just hope Sega deliver.

UPDATE: Oh and here’s some new screenshots of the new level entitled ‘Oil Desert Zone’ and screenshots of Metal Sonic in action too:

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As you can see here from these set of screenshots, there are many possibilities for new and interesting situations to go down after Episode 2 of Sonic the Hedgehog 4 is released. I’m mainly hyped for all this Metal Sonic tampering I’ll get to do, though it looks like he’ll revisiting old ground where Sonic had been before in Episode 1, I’m sure Metal plays differently to the main blue hedgehog. Plus Metal Sonic hasn’t been a playable character in any Sonic game properly since Sonic Adventure 2: Battle on the Nintendo Gamecube back in 2001! So yeah bring on May 15th!

More screenshots available here: http://www.sonicstadium.org/2012/04/i-dunet-believe-it-new-episode-2-screens/

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2012 in Media, Video Games

 

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More Info, Pics & A New Video on Sonic 4: Episode 2

After waiting for information on this game, we finally have some new information and media to look at concerning Sonic 4: Episode 2 thanks to the power of Sonic Stadium!

Firstly let’s tackle the information section. So what have we got on the cards? Well there has been an interesting interview with Ken Balough in the recent Segabits podcast about all things Sonic 4: Episode 2 and mentioning specifically about the game’s improved physics over the Episode 1. There is a specific mention about Episode 2’s new physics and here’s what Ken had to say about it:

You’ll notice the changes right from the get-go. We took fan feedback and made sure he doesn’t uncurl. So now when he rolls up those hills, he’ll stay in ball-attack form. The other thing was to start having the game have more momentum style physics similar to the Genesis. In act 2 of Silvania Castle, it starts off at a big hill. So if you just put Sonic towards the edge and have him tuck and roll (not spindash) and let him roll naturally, you can put your controller down because not only will he roll down that hill, but he’ll actually pick up speed and roll off a ramp (for example) and have it similar in essence to the way it was on the Genesis.”

So that is some good signs from what we’ve seen here, again it seems like Sega have paid attention to the fan feedback and applied it to Sonic 4: Episode 2 with the uncurling problem fixed and momentum-based gameplay returning. But again we need more legit video to see if there is a true difference from the previous entry. If you wish to hear the full interview and get more info on the game it is available to download or listen to online at: http://segabits.com/blog/2012/03/12/sonic-talk-4-episode-2/

With all this good news there has also come some bad news recently, in an interview talking to the website DigitalSpy, Takashi Iizuka has said that there are currently no plans for another episode of Sonic 4 with these being his exact words:

We are looking forward to hearing the feedback from the users for Episode 2, but we are currently not planning to release another episode. We just want to see how the users accept this episode.”

Now as it is mentioned on Sonic Stadium this is subject to change especially if the feedback for Episode 2 is good and if the fans demand it enough I believe the series could expand to a third episode with addition of Knuckles that a lot of Sonic fans have wanted for a while now.

Go on think about, we all want Sonic 4: Episode 3 to happen and we all want Knuckles to be in it. So what’s the deal SEGA? Give us what we want and confirm the next episode already! XD

Okay with all that info out oft he way here’s a load of new screenshots released by SEGA yesterday:

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There are 15 overall but I’m only showcasing some of them here, in the whole set you can see more of Sylvania Castle Zone and White Park Zone’s boss fights with Dr.Eggman and Metal Sonic. If you want to see them all they’re available to view at: http://www.sonicstadium.org/2012/03/new-sonic-4-episode-2-screenshots-show-boss-fights/

And lastly I save the best thing for last, another new video for Sonic 4: Episode 2 via the GDC 2012. While it’s for Android, it still gives us a good idea of how the gameplay will flow and work overall.

To best honest this is the best gameplay demo we’ve had of Sonic 4:Episode 2, the person playing actually looks like they know what they are doing and in doing so we can see some of the improvements that the game developers have made to this new entry in terms of the physics and momentum-based gameplay so it’s some good signs early on. there is also the confirmation that the mobile version of Episode 2 will contain two exclusive bonus levels. That is incredibly cruel and unfair to us console gamers, sure the same rule applied to the mobile version of Sonic 4: Episode 1 but those levels were irrelevant, but with this new game looking as good as it does will us console gamers be missing out on this new content? Only time will tell.

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2012 in Media, Video Games

 

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First Sonic 4 Episode 2 Hands-on & Walkthrough!

All I can say is finally, finally, FINALLY! After having all of these screenshots and the first gameplay trailer, we finally get to see an actual demo of the game in action to see how it moves and more importantly if the physics have been fixed or not. Thanks again to the power of Sonic Stadium we have 2 videos on show today. So here is the first video:

Holy man, whoever the person was who was playing this game sucked ass!  I hate when that happens, sure one could argue it’s their first time playing the game, but come on! Sonic games are hardly complicated and this person really did suck, fact. But other than that the game looks pretty in motion and that’s always nice. There is also come other information that comes with this video from Sonic Studium stating: “Last night, Sonic 4 Episode 2 made its surprise first public appearance at Mobile World Congress 2012, courtesy of SEGA and NVIDIA. The above demo is being played on a Tegra 3 Android device, streaming to an HD television. Today, SEGA also confirmed a mid-April release date for the Android version of the game. Though, keep in mind, only Android devices with the Tegra 3 chip will be compatible with this version.”

So while technically this isn’t a demo on the PS3 or Xbox 360 version, it does give us a fairly rough idea of how things will look on the HD consoles when it does eventually show up. And now it looks like there’s an actual month as to when the game is going to be released, mid-April. Interesting.

Alrighty then if that video didn’t get your blood pumping then this next one should. This video is at a much higher quality then the last and it is longer to, win-win situation here people! Also see if you can notice next to the demo of Sonic 4: Episode 2 that there is someone playing Sonic 1 on the left side there, I just find that very funny. So here’s the video:

Okay so what did we learn from this is a few new things:

  1. That the game will apparently feature 17 levels overall (which is a good thing considering how short Sonic 4: Episode 1 was)
  2. Sonic & Tails have to jump in the air to initialize the flying mechanic in 1 Player Mode
  3. The game is still set to be coming out May, not April as previously mentioned
  4. And lastly that even the Sega representative sucks at the game.

I mean while he could do a fair amount of the level, when it came to basic things like jumping on a platform holy man was he lame! And when it came to the water section the dude didn’t even know the basic principles of Sonic gameplay. He forgets to get a bubble for air and then doesn’t make it out of the water fast enough because he can’t play the game properly. Fool. Sorry to go into a bit of a rant people but it really pisses me off when people can’t grasp the basic aspects of gameplay especially when it comes to Sonic.

Anyway these demos have been for mobile-based devices and if this amount of quality can be squeezed out of the Tegra Android then I can’t wait to see it when it comes out on HD consoles. When it comes to gameplay Sonic 4: Episode 2 looks pretty decent, Sonic’s top speed looks better than before especially downhill, but the level was still fully loaded with springs all over the place and there’s still no sign of proper spin dash rectifications, but I guess that will all come in time.

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2012 in Media, Video Games

 

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