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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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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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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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Even More Sonic 4: Episode 2 Pics And Info

It seems like the news on Sonic 4: Episode 2 just keeps coming, just recently some additional information has come up via Sonic Stadium and just had to post about it 😀

Firstly it has been reported that unlockable Avatar Awards will be available for Xbox Live owners and they’ll have the chance to dress their Avatar’s as Sonic’s nemesis Dr Robotnik/Eggman. Here’s the pics below:

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And secondly SEGA Japan have launched their official website for Sonic 4: Episode 2 which features character profiles, a Zones section and a co-op play section among other things. And even better is the fact that the website has released 24 new screenshots for the game showcasing some co-op gameplay, platforming and puzzle-solving elements too. Here’s some of those new pictures:

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It’s great to see a return to the snowboarding sections in a Sonic game, it’s very reminiscent of Sonic 3, Sonic Adventure & Sonic Rush Adventure.

From these new screenshots it has also been confirmed that they cover all three Acts of Sylvania Castle Zone (Aquatic/Marble Arch Zones from Sonic 2 & 3) and White Park Zone (Ice Cap/Carnival Night Zones from Sonic 3). So if you take a look at all of the screenshots it is interesting the way in which they have gotten all of the locations to connect to each other. To see all 24 screenshots click here!

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2012 in Media, Video Games

 

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More Sonic 4: Episode 2 Pics & Info

Okay so hot off the heels of the first video for Sonic 4: Episode 2, we now have 7 new screenshots with some additional information to come with them. Firstly in terms of information it has been confirmed by Sega that Tails will not be a playable character for 1 player mode and will only be playable as the second player in Co-op and while that is little disappointing at the same time I don’t think there’d be that much of a demand to play as Tails than if it was someone like Knuckles. Also coming in is a list of achievements for Sonic 4: Episode 2 thanks to Xbox360Achievements. It has also been reported via Sonic Stadium that the names of some of the zones in the game have been confirmed/translated. and here is what they stated on the website: “We also know the name of three more stages, castle stage we’ve been seeing in a lot of screenshots: Sylvania Castle Zone, Sky Fortress Zone and the snow stage, according to translations from Sonic Retro and SEGAbits, is called White Park Zone.” Okay so now onto the last bit of news that comes in the shape of the new screenshots.

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SEGA Europe Sonic 4 Episode 2 Screenshots 2

SEGA Europe Sonic 4 Episode 2 Screenshots 3

SEGA Europe Sonic 4 Episode 2 Screenshots 4

SEGA Europe Sonic 4 Episode 2 Screenshots 5

SEGA Europe Sonic 4 Episode 2 Screenshots 6

SEGA Europe Sonic 4 Episode 2 Screenshots 7

While a lot of these screenshots don’t necessarily show off anything we haven’t seen before, it does however continue to illustrate how pretty the game looks and show off some more additional enemies and certain gameplay scenarios. Also if you look at the first screenshot you can see an unmistakable red ring just chilling ahead of Sonic & Tails. And if you’ve been playing Sonic games recently then you would know that those red rings were first made apparent in Sonic Colours and then continued in Sonic Generations, so one can assume that their appearance in this new game will be to increase the game’s replay value and possibly unlock some new content for the game. Only time will tell.

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2012 in Media, Video Games

 

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Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 Gameplay Trailer

So here it is, after waiting 7 days after the “official” release of  the screenshots (click here to see my blog post on it) for Sonic 4: Episode 2 by Sega and their massive announcement to release a gameplay trailer  a week afterwards, we now have the first proper trailer for the game and I am here just to give you my immediate thoughts on it.

Now straight from the outset when the gameplay in the trailer begins you can see that this game is a totally different beast from the first episode of Sonic 4, but at the same time there are many notable similarities that don’t make it seem all that different from the original and in a way that isn’t a bad thing because this new Sonic series will need some consistency from game to game or things would look incredibly out-of-place.

So let’s start with what’s new, well for one let’s talk about the visuals, this game looks incredible and so different from the last game in terms of art direction, character animation, the environments, everything just seems to have a different tone and feel than it did before in Episode 1. The Sonic character model seems to be fairly similar to the last game, but he seems to have a new coat of paint, a sharper level of detail and his animation seems to be increased from what it was before with more movement when he flies around when being bounced around on springs which is interesting to see. When it comes to Tails I think he has been rendered pretty well, this version of him in 3D on a 2D playing field looks pretty well and has a lot of similarities to Sonic 2 & 3 in terms of movement and animation. Both Sonic & Tails seem to have adopted their more “modern” looks from more recent Sonic games like Sonic Generations because it is clear from the art style their colour tones too. Even small things like the look of Sonic & Tails’ curled up spin dash form look very pretty good with a great deal of detail, motion blur and vivid-looking colours too. When it comes to the environments every location looks at least 5x better than Sonic 4: Episode 1. Fact. All of these places are rammed full of life and detail in the foreground and backgrounds with loads of animation and detail. Beyond that the game happens to have some similarities to Sonic 4: Episode 1 in terms of the weight and physics of the Sonic’s movements, which isn’t a bad thing since again consistency is good, let’s just hope the physics are up to the challenge this time around.

From a gameplay standpoint there seems to be a much more greater emphasis on co-op gameplay as Sonic & Tails happen to be together a lot in this trailer, straight from the beginning we see Tails carrying Sonic while flying (like in Sonic 3), but we also see that same sort of helping aspect can be applied underwater with Tails lending Sonic an extra hand in the water (probably due to Sonic’s inability to swim) and like most other Sonic games Tails is trailing behind sonic as he blazes off ahead, though there are surprising moments where Tails is ahead of Sonic! Wow the times are a changing! Sonic & Tails even seem to have some power-up where they team up into what looks like a massive spin ball of death and smash through anything in their path which looks pretty neat too. Aside from that the game looks pretty similar to Sonic 4: Episode 1 and other previous entries in the series on the Sega Megadrive/Genesis; you still collect rings, smash enemies, bounce off of springs and spin dashing all over the place, you know all the good stuff.

But funnily there seems to be references to other Sonic titles of the past, some more obvious than others. When it comes to environments two of the levels happen to have a clear resemblance to two levels from Sonic 3 and those levels are Marble Arch Zone and Carnival Night Zone. And while they are clearly referenced from Sonic 3, they seem to have more of their own look and feel and don’t feel like carbon copies from previous Sonic games like other zones did in Sonic 4: Episode 1 in some cases. One other level that could be inspired from Sonic 3 is a snowy level that may be a reference to the Ice Cap Zone, though I believe it may be more of a reference to Dimps work on other Sonic games like Ice Paradise from Sonic Advance 2 (because of the Christmas theme) or Blizzard Peaks from Sonic Rush Adventure (running away from an avalanche). Either way these levels do have similarities to games of the past, but it doesn’t seem to overdo it here. Also in this trailer there seems to be a greater emphasis on perspective as Sonic & Tails look like they move from the foreground to the background when being bounced around on springs and I find that really interesting as that was one of the same techniques implemented in the Nintendo 3DS version of Sonic Generations, so again it looks like more modern aspects of Sonic gameplay seems to be finding its way into this new game.

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Okay so to summarize, overall as a first look into what to expect for Sonic 4: Episode 2 I am generally intrigued. I am curious to see where Sonic Team and Dimps take this game and so far everything looks like it’s on a much better level than Episode 1. If the developers can brink us a good co-op experience and get the handling and physics system down then we may be witnessing a great Sonic game in the making yo. Luckily we won’t have to wait too long as the game will be coming out in Spring 2012 so that is definitely close by. I’m excited now 😀

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2012 in Media, Video Games

 

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Sonic 4: Episode 2 Official Screenshots

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Okay so after getting the first set of screenshots of Sonic 4 Episode 2 on February 14th Sega have just recently released another 9 screenshots as the first proper “official” screenshots after first set were leaked online by Microsoft (but when is Sonic game info not leaked online? Its been happening for years lol). These screenshots still look pretty cool and showcase some fancy-looking graphics for the game and I’m loving it so far. But again this isn’t the game in motion so all us Sonic fans are still waiting for an animated visual confirmation that the game is better than the last in every way shape and form and we hope that the developers have committed to their promises to improve the gameplay, animation and physics. Luckily apparently its been mentioned via the Sega Blog that the first gameplay trailer for Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 will be out on Thursday February 23rd at 9am US Pacific Time. So that’ll be a date to keep open in your books if you’re a Sonic fan.

Anyway here’s those new pictures:

Sonic 4 Episode 2 Official Screenshots 1

Sonic 4 Episode 2 Official Screenshots 2

Sonic 4 Episode 2 Official Screenshots 3

Sonic 4 Episode 2 Official Screenshots 4

Sonic 4 Episode 2 Official Screenshots 5

Sonic 4 Episode 2 Official Screenshots 6

Sonic 4 Episode 2 Official Screenshots 7

Sonic 4 Episode 2 Official Screenshots 8

Sonic 4 Episode 2 Official Screenshots 9

Well as I said in the last Sonic 4: Episode 2 blog post these screenshots look very promising and have a very realistic and detailed style when compared to the more cartoony and cel-shaded look of the previous game. Now don’t get me wrong, Sonic 4 Episode 1 looked great, but this game is on another level and both episodes couldn’t be more different in a lot of ways.

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2012 in Media, Video Games

 

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