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Critics' ranking of Sonic games since 1999: Roughly correct, or way offbase? *UPDATED*

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Based on scores from GameRankings and MetaCritic, the following is a ranking of every (new) Sonic game released since 31 December 1998 (when GR went online), plus a few older ones that had some reviews to speak of. Unfortunately, this means a lot of older games (mostly spin-offs) are not included. What do you think? It seems roughly accurate to me, at least as far as my own personal enjoyment of the games goes.

 

1.) (tie) Sonic Adventure 2

1.) (tie) Sonic the Hedgehog 3

3.) Sonic the Hedgehog 2

4.) Sonic Advance

5.) Sonic Adventure

6.) (tie) Sonic Mania

6.) (tie) Sonic the Hedgehog [1991]

8.) Sonic Advance 2

9.) (tie) Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed

9.) (tie) Sonic Rush

11.) Sonic Advance 3

12.) (tie) Sonic Colors

12.) (tie) Sonic Rush Adventure

14.) (tie) Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing

14.) (tie) Sonic Generations

14.) (tie) Sonic Pinball Party

17.) Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine

18.) (tie) Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood

18.) (tie) Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I

20.) Sonic Heroes

21.) (tie) Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games

21.) (tie) Sega Superstars

23.) (tie) Sonic and the Secret Rings

23.) (tie) Sonic Battle

25.) Sonic R

26.) (tie) Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games

26.) (tie) Sega Superstars Tennis

28.) Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games

29.) Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

30.) Sonic Rivals

31.) (tie) Sonic: Lost World

31.) (tie) Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II

33.) Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice

34.) Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball

35.) (tie) Sonic Rivals 2

35.) (tie) Sonic Unleashed

37.) Sonic Riders

38.) Sonic 3D Blast

39.) Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity

40.) Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games

41.) Sonic and the Black Knight

42.) (tie) Shadow the Hedgehog

42.) (tie) Sonic Shuffle

44.) (tie) Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal

44.) (tie) Sonic Free Riders

46.) Sonic the Hedgehog [2006]

47.) Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric

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Mmm...

My two cents revolves primarily the Adventure titles and the whole "hasn't aged well" motto that has surfaced as of late.

When you think about it, no 3D game from that time has aged well. Mario 64 has graphics just as bad, if not more-so than the Adventure titles.

Gex isn't too pretty either... Many games are just outright ugly from that period. Nostalgic and fun! But ugly...

Can't fault them though, limited hardware and a ton of 3D virgins stepping into new development territory are the factors to blame.

From a game play perspective, titles like Mario and Banjo-Kazooie are extremely solid, and to that argument so is the Adventure titles game play. All very solid, with the primary issue being one, too many different game play styles in one game, and two, this or that game play not suiting Sonic, which is more a personal opinion than a factual argument by and large.

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Where is Rivals 2?

 

I feel like its criminal to have Unleashed that low. There are a looooooot of games on that list that I feel could be leapfrogged over without hassling too many feathers.

 

I'm not usually a fan of lists compiled like this - mainly because so much of the ranking ends up being tainted by the climate that the game was being released into. Case and point, Sonic 4 Ep II. That game is functionally, technically and innovativly superior to episode I in every possible way. However, because the vitriol and backlash for Ep I was so great, it will forever be seen as a worse title, as people kinda took their frustration over the first one out on it. Not that Ep II is some kind of masterpiece mind you, but I don't think you could make a decent argument that Ep I is somehow 10+ slots better? No way.

And then the opposite is true. As a huge fan of Sonic Rush, it hurts me to say it, but the reason why this list is top heavy with handhelds has as much to do with the state of the console titles at the time of release as it does with those actually being good games. The negativity and the backlash from 3D efforts like Shadow and 06 made the 2D sidescrollers media darlings. the Advance titles and the Rush series benefited big time simply by being something people could latch onto during the franchises most troubled times. That no doubt leaded to some artificial inflation in their scores/ratings/whatnot.

 

Eh, my personal preferences don't match up much to this list. But I wasn't expecting them too anyway.

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This list is pointless the second Sonic Adventure 2 comes anywhere near the top. I'm also disturbed by how high Secret Rings is.

7 hours ago, Chris Knopps said:

When you think about it, no 3D game from that time has aged well. Mario 64 has graphics just as bad, if not more-so than the Adventure titles.

Gex isn't too pretty either... Many games are just outright ugly from that period. Nostalgic and fun! But ugly...

When people say Adventure has aged badly, they're not talking about the graphics. And if they are, they're being dense, besides say, the piss-poor animation.

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Well as an expert ranker I can tell you this list is hogwash.

Like, specifically, Sonic Adventure 2 has aged very poorly from a mechanical standpoint, and Sonic Pinball Party from what I've played of it just seems bad. The fact that even ties with Generations is kinda crazy to me. Also, for as much as I dislike them both, Sonic 4 Episode 2 is heads and shoulders above Episode 1.

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 All-Star Racing Transformed is way way too high!   Also I would personally put the Sonic Rush games above the advanced games, Heroes should be above Chronicles (that game should be a lot lower on the list)  And Shadow should be above Black Knight.  Other then that though, decent list I guess.

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47 minutes ago, KingScoopaKoopa said:

Is Pinball Party really that good? Have I been missing out all these years?

I played it and It's not the worst thing ever, it's just generic and forgettable as all hell. and because there are so much better pinball games out there, it's ultimately not worth the money. (Hell Sonic is not even the ball here like he usually is, it's just a generic pinball.)

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Re: SA not aging well... the problem with the Adventure games is that they could have been the slightly bumpy take-off to a more robust 3D Sonic experience, but instead enabled the tropes many fans and critics have come to cite as the main offenders to the 3D series until Sonic Colors; embarrassingly dark stories, lack of consistent gameplay mechanics and focus, playable characters that don't play like Sonic (ie the titular gameplay expectation) at all, presence of glitches or finicky controls, you name it, most of it can be traced to the Adventure games. 

Because of this, Sonic Adventure isn't remembered as fondly anymore, which is troublesome because the frustrating reality is that even in its own context it made strange design choices that didn't quite represent the spirit and core gameplay focus of the Genesis games it was based off of, or at least it didn't focus on them nearly enough. We're closing in on two decades since Adventure 1, with a good 10 of those years drawing from either it's games gameplay or its tone in some exaggerated form or another.

The criticisms may be too harsh, but they're to be expected when Sonic Team hasn't done much else. 

Spoiler

Colors was a blessing. :P 

 

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9 hours ago, Sega DogTagz said:

I'm not usually a fan of lists compiled like this - mainly because so much of the ranking ends up being tainted by the climate that the game was being released into. Case and point, Sonic 4 Ep II. That game is functionally, technically and innovativly superior to episode I in every possible way. However, because the vitriol and backlash for Ep I was so great, it will forever be seen as a worse title, as people kinda took their frustration over the first one out on it. Not that Ep II is some kind of masterpiece mind you, but I don't think you could make a decent argument that Ep I is somehow 10+ slots better? No way.

And then the opposite is true. As a huge fan of Sonic Rush, it hurts me to say it, but the reason why this list is top heavy with handhelds has as much to do with the state of the console titles at the time of release as it does with those actually being good games. The negativity and the backlash from 3D efforts like Shadow and 06 made the 2D sidescrollers media darlings. the Advance titles and the Rush series benefited big time simply by being something people could latch onto during the franchises most troubled times. That no doubt leaded to some artificial inflation in their scores/ratings/whatnot.

 

Pretty much hit the nail on the head here. I always felt that there was another reason for S4E2's lower score though:

Back in the late 00s, one of the main complaints from non-fans in regards to the Sonic series was how unfocused and removed from the core idea it had become. Cries of "Why does Sonic need a sword?", "Why does Sonic need a car?" "Why is Sonic a werehog for half a game?", and "Why does Sonic need so many shitty friends?" were rife. S4E1 may have been as superficial as anything, but non-fans and critics were just glad to see a console Sonic game that went back to basics, with a barebones, lighthearted plot, 2D gameplay at the forefront and Sonic as the only playable character.

Then we got Sonic Colours, a game with a barebones plot, 2D gameplay at the forefront and Sonic as the only playable character.

Then we got Sonic Generations, a game with a barebones plot, 2D gameplay at the forefront and Sonic as the only playable character.

Then we got Sonic 4 Episode 2, a game with a barebones plot, 2D gameplay at the forefront and Sonic as the only playable character.

Not only was the "Superficially classic" approach getting stale by this point, but Generations' classic gameplay only served to make S4E2's offering look worse by comparison, and the mandatory co-op moves came across as gimmicks that detracted from the core gameplay.

Personally, I found the critical slamming- almost dismissal- of Unleashed outside the fandom to be a bit of a shame (since the WiiS2 edition got higher scores, the PS360 version should be even lower on the list). I know it has its fair share of flaws, but it's clear just how much effort went into the game, after so many lazy and unpolished titles like Heroes, Shadow and 06. I've heard that the reason for Unleashed's low scores was down to residual backlash from Sonic 06, but that doesn't explain why the likes of Secret Rings and Chronicles were reviewed a lot more favourably, despite generally being considered worse elsewhere.

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It's very inaccurate, for reasons most people here have pointed out, or we all know anyway. Sonic Unleashed really shouldn't be that low, Sonic Pinball party should be far lower, etc. I think there's a lot of bias here that varies depending on when the games were made. I mean, SA2 was never good enough to get a 89% on Metacritic (although it certainly isn't as awful as people make it out to be today).  There's a lot of wacky issues with a lot of Sonic reviews anyway. For some games, it's better to just go with user reviews. 

I've always wondered why the Sonic Riders trilogy are so low. Putting aside Free Riders, Sonic Riders and Zero Gravity actually seem like pretty decent games and are rated pretty well by users. When I asked here I heard a lot more positivity towards the games. I only played Riders (~8-9 years ago), but I don't remember it being so awful that it deserved a 59% on metacritic. 

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It's basically a meme that Sonic Adventure 1 and 2 are seen as jokes at this point. The xbla re releases started that surge of people saying the games sucked and then every popular reviewer and let's player (Game Grumps, Projared, Best Friends, etc) went back to them and all hated it which created an echo chamber of new hate towards  both games and that's where we're at now. Needless to say, I sure as heck wouldn't put Sa2 at number 1 because of this 

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3 minutes ago, Soniman said:

It's basically a meme that Sonic Adventure 1 and 2 are seen as jokes at this point. The xbla re releases started that surge of people saying the games sucked and then every popular reviewer and let's player (Game Grumps, Projared, Best Friends, etc) went back to them and all hated it which created an echo chamber of new hate towards  both games and that's where we're at now. Needless to say, I sure as heck wouldn't put Sa2 at number 1 because of this 

Keep in mind SA1 was ported from the worst version of itself, that being the PC version. Many people forget this fact.

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Just now, Soniman said:

But most casual non Sonic fan folk don't care about that and assume the problems with that port was universal 

Should we not make it our objective to point this out that being the case instead of simply adhering to the gripes of the game being universally bad when it was just bad porting decisions?

In the case of SA2 well... I dunno, I found that it played fine back on the Gamecube...

(I just hated the treasure hunting...)

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Instead of trying to defend the fact that the only easily accessible port of the game is bad from people who have drawn some reasonable conclusions about it, you should hold Sega accountable for releasing bad ports to begin with, because if they don't change something this same thing is going to happen when the games get re-released again on PS4 and XBO

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OP is partially incorrect, GameRankings does have reviews of games earlier than Sonic Adventure. The problem with that is that the number of reviews for those games barely crack double digits, let alone reach the base threshold of 20+ reviews in order to be represented on the standard aggregate score list ranking. 

It's worth keeping in mind when going through the list is that most, if not all, of the reviews that are counted towards the aggregate scores of the games (their original release, anyway); are those that were published at the time of the game's release; and not after the fact / based on "today's standards". Re-releases would normally be an ideal rule of thumb to see how a game holds up today, but that's iffy as Sonic games (especially the 3D games) don't have the best track record of quality ports; and reviewers do factor in the quality of the port / re-release itself when re-examining an older game.

Moreover, even at the time of release, the consensus of reviewers over certain games doesn't (always) match the consensus of the fans. There exist a few scores that ranked Unleashed lower than Sonic 2006 for example, which were enough to send a lot of fans fans into a frenzy (granted, most of the reviews for Unleashed were far more positive compared to Sonic 2006; but these reviews were still egregious enough for most people). Likewise, Sonic 4: Episode I got a generally positive response from reviewers, but many fans of the classic fans held a more negative opinion of the game. Speaking of which...

13 hours ago, Sega DogTagz said:

I'm not usually a fan of lists compiled like this - mainly because so much of the ranking ends up being tainted by the climate that the game was being released into. Case and point, Sonic 4 Ep II. That game is functionally, technically and innovativly superior to episode I in every possible way. However, because the vitriol and backlash for Ep I was so great, it will forever be seen as a worse title, as people kinda took their frustration over the first one out on it. Not that Ep II is some kind of masterpiece mind you, but I don't think you could make a decent argument that Ep I is somehow 10+ slots better? No way.

I believe I can, and I say this as someone with a low opinion of Episode I. Dare I even argue I don't think I've ever seen a objective review of Episode II that is positive. (Spoilered below due to length and admittedly being off-topic...)

 

The game's existing design --going off of Episode I-- overall takes a hit with the implementation of the co-op mechanics. What used to be a single-player experience is now twisted into a forced co-op campaign that nobody was asking for (emphasis on forced co-op here--people did ask for co-op, but not to be implemented as it is in this game). This is not how you contain consistency in what is supposed to be an episodic series.

This is most obvious with the game's level design, which is now retooled for the worse. Various points throughout the game, levels are structured to support the use of them in the most blatant manner. It's not enough that the levels are designed in which the player cannot proceed before they use them; no, the  game even commits to telling you when and where to use these with giant, floating tutorial signs, which can even be seen in the more difficult, later levels in the game--neither of which was the case with Episode I. Most of the game's co-op moves, by the by, do not even require two players; flying, swimming, and the Rolling Combo can be initiated by just one player, which begs the question of why even having the level design to be designed like this in the first place.

These all add up into serious breaks into whatever gameplay flow you can attain with the game, as you always have to stop in your tracks to perform these moves. And that is referring to any gameplay flow that isn't done without just relying entirely the Rolling Combo, an example of a gameplay move that is far too unbalanced for its own good. The speed and invincibility it offers, coupled with the minimal tradeoffs tied around, makes playing through almost any level a complete breeze; being more overpowered than even Super Sonic, despite not being an locked gameplay mechanic (and speaking of which, none of the combo moves factor him into the equation, as Super Sonic is instantly depowered once any co-op move is triggered--which removes Super Sonic's only major drawback, consistently losing rings and not returning to normal until he loses all of them). As much as I am critical of the homing attack's general implementation in Sonic 4 as a whole, it does not have the ability to entirely steamroll over entire stretches of level design in the same vein Episode I does.

There's also a fair amount of game materials added to Episode II that don't seem to have had any thought in regards to their implementation. Sky Fortress has that one odd button-mashing screen ability minigame that only appears in one act, and is never used, let alone referenced at any point, again. It's not even integrated in the level design or matches the zone theme, it's only there for the sake of it. Episode I has nothing like this. Likewise, Red Rings, which weren't in Episode I, are just tossed around without care in Episode II. They aren't even hidden in most circumstances (though in fairness, secret rooms/pathways in general, which even Episode I had, aren't a thing in Episode II), and they don't amount to anything outside of a achievement when they are collected. They are a pointless metagame.

The automation is also much worse than Episode I as well. There are excessive uses of dash panels and "spring corridors" that in most cases are far from necessary. None of the use of dash panels in Episode I comes close to the Oil Desert Act 2 of six dash panels placed on a wall.

Bosses take a needlessly long time to fight compared to those from Episode I as well. There are bosses that can take up to 15 seconds of the players time, just dancing around in the background before they either actually try to attack or allow themselves to be attacked. They also use the short and exceedingly repetitive "pinch" music from Episode I throughout the entire level, which is a step back from Episode I which only used that for second fighting stage of bosses. The standard "clown" boss music used for the first staged, as silly as it sounded, was at least more than a ten-second melody loop.

Speaking of which, music is admittedly a more subjective stance, but I'd say the melodies were a step back from Episode I (which I considered most of which to be okay, just held back by bad instrumentation) and the instrumentation was no better compared to the first game.

Many elements of the game are still recycled from prior Sonic games despite that Episode II would be a more original experience. The only level that could be said to be a wholly original level is White Park. Sylvania Castle  Aquatic Ruin, though it does stand out in originality more in comparison Oil Desert and Sky Fortress, which are clearly based off of Oil Ocean, Sky Chase, and Wing Fortress. Then you have the Special Stages, which are obviously Sonic 2's half pipe Special Stages with no pretenses whatsoever, and the final zone being...not Death Egg, but Death Egg mk II. With one level being a straight rehash of Sonic CD's boss.

Even the game's story, as otherwise basic as it is, can't even avoid very simple mistakes. Episode I, save for the Metal Sonic hint, is very clearly self-contained otherwise. Episode II and its Episode Metal's prologue attempt to wield Sonic CD into its canon, and does it really sloppily with has Little Planet depicted in the Bad Future during Episode Metal, which contradicts Sonic CD's canon good endings (either achieved through destroyed generators or collected Time Stones); and then just leaving Little Planet abandoned in space within a de-powered Death Egg mk. II at the end of Episode II, and unlike Episode I, there is no stinger that (would had) hinted at what would follow with all of the Chaos Emeralds collected. Granted, stuff has been found inside the game's code that alludes to an Episode III which involves the Master Emerald/Angel Island, but it's still rather questionable that they left the story in Episode II with these hanging plot threads if they really weren't confident or had decided not to push forward with a third episode. I know some may laugh at the idea of questioning canon in a series as convoluted as Sonic, but again, these are simple mistakes that could had been very clearly avoided.

And its worth noting that many of these faults are existing complaints form in Episode I, that were left unchecked or even exacerbated. The use of automation, the music, and content originality; these were a lot of things Episode I got raked on. That's not to say there aren't any improvements to Episode II over Episode I (almost everyone agrees the graphics are an improvement), but not only are there still a lot of leftover problems left unaddressed or made worse, the majority of these improvements aren't really meaningful changes in the long.

As much as Episode I is a disappointment to me, I will at least admit that I can give it some credibility in feeling like a coherent product that, despite for as much as it gets wrong, does seemingly strive for some semblance to the Genesis games. Which is something I can't say for Episode II, it feels like a product that feels just slapped together with being properly thought through; and in most cases, doesn't even try being like the Genesis games in terms of trying to be a classic game, falls even shorter than Episode I did.

People keep asking why Episode II got the scores it did under the argument that they are undeserved, but IMO they have the question completely wrong. They should be asking why Episode I reviewed what it did, not Episode II.

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3 hours ago, Gabe said:

I believe I can, and I say this as someone with a low opinion of Episode I. Dare I even argue I don't think I've ever seen a objective review of Episode II that is positive. (Spoilered below due to length and admittedly being off-topic...)

  Hide contents

The game's existing design --going off of Episode I-- overall takes a hit with the implementation of the co-op mechanics. What used to be a single-player experience is now twisted into a forced co-op campaign that nobody was asking for (emphasis on forced co-op here--people did ask for co-op, but not to be implemented as it is in this game). This is not how you contain consistency in what is supposed to be an episodic series.

This is most obvious with the game's level design, which is now retooled for the worse. Various points throughout the game, levels are structured to support the use of them in the most blatant manner. It's not enough that the levels are designed in which the player cannot proceed before they use them; no, the  game even commits to telling you when and where to use these with giant, floating tutorial signs, which can even be seen in the more difficult, later levels in the game--neither of which was the case with Episode I. Most of the game's co-op moves, by the by, do not even require two players; flying, swimming, and the Rolling Combo can be initiated by just one player, which begs the question of why even having the level design to be designed like this in the first place.

These all add up into serious breaks into whatever gameplay flow you can attain with the game, as you always have to stop in your tracks to perform these moves. And that is referring to any gameplay flow that isn't done without just relying entirely the Rolling Combo, an example of a gameplay move that is far too unbalanced for its own good. The speed and invincibility it offers, coupled with the minimal tradeoffs tied around, makes playing through almost any level a complete breeze; being more overpowered than even Super Sonic, despite not being an locked gameplay mechanic (and speaking of which, none of the combo moves factor him into the equation, as Super Sonic is instantly depowered once any co-op move is triggered--which removes Super Sonic's only major drawback, consistently losing rings and not returning to normal until he loses all of them). As much as I am critical of the homing attack's general implementation in Sonic 4 as a whole, it does not have the ability to entirely steamroll over entire stretches of level design in the same vein Episode I does.

There's also a fair amount of game materials added to Episode II that don't seem to have had any thought in regards to their implementation. Sky Fortress has that one odd button-mashing screen ability minigame that only appears in one act, and is never used, let alone referenced at any point, again. It's not even integrated in the level design or matches the zone theme, it's only there for the sake of it. Episode I has nothing like this. Likewise, Red Rings, which weren't in Episode I, are just tossed around without care in Episode II. They aren't even hidden in most circumstances (though in fairness, secret rooms/pathways in general, which even Episode I had, aren't a thing in Episode II), and they don't amount to anything outside of a achievement when they are collected. They are a pointless metagame.

The automation is also much worse than Episode I as well. There are excessive uses of dash panels and "spring corridors" that in most cases are far from necessary. None of the use of dash panels in Episode I comes close to the Oil Desert Act 2 of six dash panels placed on a wall.

Bosses take a needlessly long time to fight compared to those from Episode I as well. There are bosses that can take up to 15 seconds of the players time, just dancing around in the background before they either actually try to attack or allow themselves to be attacked. They also use the short and exceedingly repetitive "pinch" music from Episode I throughout the entire level, which is a step back from Episode I which only used that for second fighting stage of bosses. The standard "clown" boss music used for the first staged, as silly as it sounded, was at least more than a ten-second melody loop.

Speaking of which, music is admittedly a more subjective stance, but I'd say the melodies were a step back from Episode I (which I considered most of which to be okay, just held back by bad instrumentation) and the instrumentation was no better compared to the first game.

Many elements of the game are still recycled from prior Sonic games despite that Episode II would be a more original experience. The only level that could be said to be a wholly original level is White Park. Sylvania Castle  Aquatic Ruin, though it does stand out in originality more in comparison Oil Desert and Sky Fortress, which are clearly based off of Oil Ocean, Sky Chase, and Wing Fortress. Then you have the Special Stages, which are obviously Sonic 2's half pipe Special Stages with no pretenses whatsoever, and the final zone being...not Death Egg, but Death Egg mk II. With one level being a straight rehash of Sonic CD's boss.

Even the game's story, as otherwise basic as it is, can't even avoid very simple mistakes. Episode I, save for the Metal Sonic hint, is very clearly self-contained otherwise. Episode II and its Episode Metal's prologue attempt to wield Sonic CD into its canon, and does it really sloppily with has Little Planet depicted in the Bad Future during Episode Metal, which contradicts Sonic CD's canon good endings (either achieved through destroyed generators or collected Time Stones); and then just leaving Little Planet abandoned in space within a de-powered Death Egg mk. II at the end of Episode II, and unlike Episode I, there is no stinger that (would had) hinted at what would follow with all of the Chaos Emeralds collected. Granted, stuff has been found inside the game's code that alludes to an Episode III which involves the Master Emerald/Angel Island, but it's still rather questionable that they left the story in Episode II with these hanging plot threads if they really weren't confident or had decided not to push forward with a third episode. I know some may laugh at the idea of questioning canon in a series as convoluted as Sonic, but again, these are simple mistakes that could had been very clearly avoided.

And its worth noting that many of these faults are existing complaints form in Episode I, that were left unchecked or even exacerbated. The use of automation, the music, and content originality; these were a lot of things Episode I got raked on. That's not to say there aren't any improvements to Episode II over Episode I (almost everyone agrees the graphics are an improvement), but not only are there still a lot of leftover problems left unaddressed or made worse, the majority of these improvements aren't really meaningful changes in the long.

As much as Episode I is a disappointment to me, I will at least admit that I can give it some credibility in feeling like a coherent product that, despite for as much as it gets wrong, does seemingly strive for some semblance to the Genesis games. Which is something I can't say for Episode II, it feels like a product that feels just slapped together with being properly thought through; and in most cases, doesn't even try being like the Genesis games in terms of trying to be a classic game, falls even shorter than Episode I did.

People keep asking why Episode II got the scores it did under the argument that they are undeserved, but IMO they have the question completely wrong. They should be asking why Episode I reviewed what it did, not Episode II.

Yeah, I'm right there with you about this being a possible de-rail. I'll spoiler a response, and if we need to keep going we can take it elsewhere.
 

Spoiler

 

You made a lot of valid points, but in the vast majority of those points, I feel like you kind of proved mine.

Cherry picking around your argument, you point out that Ep II only has a single "wholly original" stage in White Park. (A well liked and pretty well received stage idea at that). You are completely right in that assessment, as the rest of the stages do indeed borrow trope ideas from the classic games in the series, however from a quality of game standpoint, that is still superior to what we were given in Ep I, which featured no original stage ideas, no original boss ideas and not even a new badnik. If your going to give Ep II a hard time for not branching out on its own or having its own original flavor, how can we give episode I a pass for literally doing nothing new and committing the ultimate unforgivable sin of giving us Green Hill Zone 16.0? How can you punish Ep II more for having an Oil Ocean like stage than you are willing to punish Ep I from literally pulling the stages and badniks and bosses right out from previous titles. Did we really need more checker wrecker balls in our life? If your going to look at levels and call them out for being a "straight rehash" of a Sonic CD boss, then what is stopping me from heel-turning on that statement and pointing out that every boss is an unimaginative rehash in Ep I?

At least Ep II has some new bosses, and one undeniably new stage. I don't see how its fair that you can hold that against that game, without punishing Ep I for it even more.

Moving on, you said it yourself, you don't need a second guy to pull off any of the combos. Lets not bash it like it required you to have a little brother or something. It is still consistent enough with Ep I that a single player can traverse its stages. The only difference is that they expanded on the movepool quite a bit - which is pretty much expected of a sequel. We would have rallied against it if it didn't bring anything new to the table. S2 brought the spindash. A move that changed Sonic forever and is fundamentally OP to the entire premise of Sonic 1. S3 brought increased functionality with Tails. Vastly increasing where Sonic could go and what you could do. Tails being able to fly you across gaps is OP in the sense that this is a platformer. You just removed all the challenge. S4 did more of the same. Ep I introduced the homing attack. OP in the sense that the homing attack was utter blasphemy in the 2D space, as you didn't even need to aim your jumps much to traverse the stage or use badniks as stepping stones. I'll hardly yawn when you call the Rolling Combo OP, as that's not new to this formula of introducing things. It gives you much less control, then lets say the boost, so its not like we haven't seen worse offenders. If you want to talk about breaking flow, there were a heck of a few bubbles chains in Ep I that did pretty much the same thing. Why let those off the hook?

If you make the argument that is breaks the flow too much, then I'll point in the other direction. Sure the input lag for starting a combo move was a buzzkill, but the submarine combo made traversing aquatic areas faster, which hastened the pace and kept the flow. The rolling combo, when used in non platform sections hastened the pace and even bowled over enemies that required multi-hits, which sped up the game and kept momentum. It helped the pace at least as much as it hurt it. Which leads into automation. Sonic Ep I only had two real ways of getting a player from point a to point b. Spring or Homing Chain. We can point and laugh at all the dash panels and what not till our faces turn as blue as Sonic, but its no argument that the combo moves cut down on the reliance on automation that Episode I had. It didn't need a spring to catapult you above a high ledge. Every once in awhile, it held back on the automation and made you do it with Tails. If you want to bash Ep II for having too much automation... I don't see how Ep I escapes that fate either. The second act even cut down on the infamous bubbles chains. If anything, Ep II should score a bit higher in that department.

Then if you want to keep going, you can look at the physics. We've broken this down around these parts time and time again, but Sonic 4 Ep I is an abomination in that department. It doesn't feel or play anything like the classics it wants to emulate. At the very least, Ep II took corrective measures in its coding to bring it closer to that end. Its ho-hum physics corrections are leagues better than the WTF are they thinking we got from Ep I.

To me, it looks like most of the gripes you bring against Ep II could well be turned around and thrown against Ep I, which oftentimes seems to be an even worse offender. The music loops, and the flow of the game being exceptions to that.

However, in light of that (and I think its a safe agreement when I state that) Ep II has more diversity, more creativity, more content, more original content, better controls, less automation overall, better graphics and an actual attempt of a real story line over Ep I. With all that going for it, how can I look at a list like this and justify that Ep I ranks some 12 spots higher than Ep II on its own merits? That makes no sense to me. That is utter madness. Irritations over music loops and boss invincibility phases can't make up that kind of difference.

In my most cynical stance, I could say Ep I strong points could be seen as being a more streamlined experience, with tried and true bosses that stick to the formula and does little to offend by not branching out as far. Its safer by all means. But stacked against the litany of stuff that Ep II does better, I can't say I agree with you about it deserving a better score than Ep II or a higher spot on this list.

 

 

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Everything before Adventure I didn't like, so this list is fine by me!

Hmm...

Heroes at 14? No...

Unleashed tied for 27th? No...

I don't know about this list here. After all, everyone's opinion is different. Based on my thoughts though, I think it could use quite a bit of rearranging.

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On 2/5/2017 at 1:34 PM, Soniman said:

It's basically a meme that Sonic Adventure 1 and 2 are seen as jokes at this point. The xbla re releases started that surge of people saying the games sucked and then every popular reviewer and let's player (Game Grumps, Projared, Best Friends, etc) went back to them and all hated it which created an echo chamber of new hate towards  both games and that's where we're at now. Needless to say, I sure as heck wouldn't put Sa2 at number 1 because of this 

  The internet is a horribly idiotic echo chamber at times.  Sonic Adventure 1 & 2 are both still super fun to play, even today!

 

 Sure the cutscenes may not have aged well, but the gameitself is still as fun as the day it was released! IMHO anywho.

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