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Best Sonic Game Story

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I wanted to know which Sonic game everyone thinks has the best story. While forming your opinion please disregard gameplay, graphics and any other non-story related elements. Only consider plot, characters, and setting.

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SA2 is a strong candidate. Yeah it has plot holes. But if you can ignore it, the story is dramatic, there is mystery, a bit of heart (even if Amy talk about humanity is cheesy as hell), epic moments. It's animation (presentation) is better than SA1, takes itself more seriously than Colors, less seriously than 06, doesn't have any terrribly cringy dialogue, pace is quick and energetic. Listening to Gerald's final monologue still gives me chills at times.

With that said, I give it a second spot. No, the best story in my opinion is Sonic Battle.

1 Characters. Ok, admiteably Kncukles or Amy are getting franderized, but we're spending time wih them. Rouge, Knuckles, Shadow, it's awesome watching all those characters together. This is the only game when you can watch Sonic and his friends just chill, isntead of fighting giant monster. Humor in this game makes me smile, not because it's 'the Simpsons funny', but because I enjoy watching this guys.

2 Heart. Due to righ pacing the game feels like a cartoon, but when we finally reach climax it's really touching. Emerl's death is my opinion the saddest scene in any Sonic game, possibly whole franchise. It's major strenght is that Emerl trully bonded with all those characters (and by extention player), which makes it even stronger than Gamma's death or saying goodbye to Chip (in my opinion anyway)

3 Presenation just works. You would never think that GBA can give great story, but sound and moving icons have just live to tell the story and just vague enough for you to fill the blanks in movement for yourself

(Special mentions: Sonic 3&K could tell fairy epic story with no dialogue, SA1 would hold up if it wasn't was voice acting and stiff animation, Rivals 2 has really nice character interactions, both fairy tales had it moments. Games like 06, Heroes and Unleashed have moments that I really like.)

Lastly I'm masochist and really like Marine in Rush Adventures.

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I've always thought Sonic Unleashed had the best story. I feel like it had the best mix of serious and light-hearted comedy.

I dunno, I can't word it too good, but I feel like the story writing was pretty spot on in that game. The fact that it's arguably Jason's best work as Sonic makes it even better too.

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Rach story has strengths and weaknesses so it's hard to single out one.

Unleashed has a lot of heart, but is lacking in stakes given that the world blew a part and everyone is going about their daysnlike nothing happened. SA2 has a few plotholes despite being well narrated and consise, but it has high stakes and emotional investment that makes it memorable. S3&K has no dialogue and it story isn't very elaborate, but it is simple and not too difficult to figure out despite that.

Really depends on what category you're looking for. 

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Sonic 3&K doesn't just have the best story, it has the best implemented story out of any Sonic game. Unlike most Sonic games where the story usually feels tacked on or a burden, S3K's story does exactly what a story in a Sonic game should do. It shows the scale of what's happening (it's a bloody Death Star, and you get some fantastic shots of Angel Island in entirety at points), it shows the danger of what will happen if the antagonist wins (the Death Egg's eyes igniting the volcano in Lava Reef act 2), it explains exactly and precisely the reasons for why everything is happening the way it is. Knuckles attacks you, gotta get the emeralds back. Knuckles destroyed a bridge, you are now in Hydrocity. You jumped onto a ship, now you are in Flying Battery, and it shows the motivations of the characters perfectly, including seeing a brand new character switch sides, understand his backstory (albeit only vaguely), and completely understand his positions. And this is all done WITHOUT ANY TALKING. It's also a fantastic climax to a story that had been building up for some time, and it feels legit. 

And I know you said not to implement any elements of gameplay and graphics but I feel it's necessary to include those since having a good story is one thing, but good implementation is a completely different thing that's just as important, if not more. 

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Well, no story in particular stands out to me as particularly good. I guess I can give comments on each game I've played, though:

Sonic 1-3k: Mostly a product of the time, they didn't have much in terms of story. It was fairly simple and straightforward, pretty easy to follow, even without any sort of dialogue and minimal character interaction. S3nK did the best job of bridging between levels of pretty much any game. But I wouldn't really want to continue with this minimalistic style in modern, main series games.

Sonic Adventure: I feel like this game's story had the best tone for a modern Sonic game. It was an interesting new take on Sonic's story. It was fairly serious and had its moments of gravity, but still had levity to it and it never came across as being too edgy like the games that followed it. Seeing the stories intersect and certain moments from different perspectives is interesting, However, like the Classics, it was a product of its time, but it did not age well. Even in retrospect, this game's presentation quality is pretty bad. The dialogue translation, the voice acting, the animations... it all was just so lacking that its an active detriment. But that's me being shallow and pedantic.

Sonic Adventure 2: This game began the sudden trend of everything being all depressing and grimdark. I do appreciate certain elements of it- it had a stronger emphasis on the history of the world the games are set in, Eggman's backstory was explored a bit, and it gave us Shadow. But the game's full of plot holes, and even more low quality presentation than Adventure. And with how heavy-handed it is at times, it kinda loses the adventurous charm that the first Adventure had. Not quite as bad as 06, but I still don't get why people rate it so highly.

Shadow: I treat this game like a bad MST3K film. Its one of the most ham-fisted stories I've ever seen in a game, and its dialogue is just hilariously bad at times. There are a few things I like unironically: The choose-your-own adventure and morality aspects of it were an interesting addition, even if it lead to things like going from saving Cream to assassinating the President in the same playthrough (though I do fanon that Shadow and Cream are friends). The Black Arms didn't feel terribly out of place to me- they had cartoony bug eyes and roundish biology like stereotypical retro aliens. And there are some things I can't like: The whole concept of Shadow exploring his past makes no sense, since we already knew pretty much everything from SA2, and he could literally ask anyone about it. 

Sonic 06: No. I kinda wanted to just leave it at that, but I won't. I'm not going to cover the obvious. Here's probably one of my biggest issues with it: It had easily the most redundant casting of any game. Knuckles in particular was just absolutely unnecessary, and he just completely came out of nowhere. Blaze's whole character and backstory were thrown out. At best, this is like Manos: The Hands of Fate, where its a case study in what not to do when designing a movie (or video game, in this case)

Okay, so here's the thing about the grimdark era of stories: I'm not opposed to a usually "family friendly" franchise going for a darker tone. One need look no further than Digimon Tamers for proof that it can work. The thing about Sonic, though, is that the games attempted to go for a dark, serious narrative while still trying to maintain an E rating. Like in Shadow, Black Doom blows up Central City and at least another 50 square miles of territory, but fortunately, "everyone was evacuated." Combined with the general lackluster production quality, they all just came across as bad in any case. Maybe Forces can at least give us a story that wasn't bad because it tried to be somewhat dark.

Unleashed: I put this on the same level as Adventure. It had a good story, fairly adventurous tone (world tour and all that), never came across as too dark and edgy or had terrible characterization. Chip was probably one of the better one-shot characters we've gotten, but I'm not exactly clambering for his return. I think its too bad that this was Jason Griffith's last Sonic game, because he finally got the voice down and didn't sound like Barney the Blue Hedgehogsaur. And the CGI cutscenes were actually really good (dat intro). If I had to criticise a couple things: The story kinda drops off after Spagonia, and not much really happens again until Adabat, when Chip suddenly realizes he's a God. Chip pretty much completely supplants Tails as Sonic's buddy, and is barely relevant after bringing Sonic to Spagonia, and Amy does even less. For the world being blown up, there doesn't seem to be much of a response by its people. And Sonic's werehog transformation kinda feels like a wasted opportunity since its just Chip, Tails and Amy being kinda freaked out for a few seconds. Supposedly Shadow and Knuckles were in an earlier draft, and I kinda wonder how it would've turned out.

Generations: It had about as much of a story as Destiny.

Lost World: The only worse story is 06. Everything about this game's story was just bad. The Zeti are a collection of uninspired stereotypes, barely developed at all. Sonic is lolbaldymcnosehair, Tails is on his period, Eggman is... something. I guess his line about eating hearts is meant to be threatening? There isn't even an attempt to bridge between the game's levels, many of which are just so surreal that it doesn't look at all like its even meant to be in the game. They talk about the Lost Hex like its kind of a big deal, but its kinda just... there, I guess? Who freaking knows what the point of this game is.

So I guess when I lay it out like that, its a toss-up between Unleashed and Generations.

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Black Knight.

It focused in on character interaction and really got into the details about how Sonic see's the world around him. The story had just the right amount of tension and even used the credibility Sharah built up following SatSR to have Merlina heel turn and stab you in the back. Between running through the Knights and their concept of Chivalry, Sonic overcoming his trials in a very Sonic like fashion, the evolution of the respect between Sonic and Caliburn and Sonic's confrontation of Merlina and her world views, there was so much in that story that just stroke all the right chords for the character.

The story telling was subtle, impactful and effective. You can't ask much more out of it.

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3 hours ago, Flyinpenguin117 said:

[Sonic Adventure 2], and even more low quality presentation than Adventure.

Can you elaborate on that? As much as I love SA1 characters barely moved. wiith idle animation on very quick loop, while object were glued to their hands, rather then held. How SA2 could been worse when characters moved, jumped, twirled gave thumbs up, etc.

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I'm gonna be super lame and just say Sonic Adventure 2. Sure there's a lot about that game that irks me, but it's like, the idea of the game's story fascinates me and I think Sega had a lot of cool stuff going on to contribute to the series' mythos. I like its ideas such as Sonic being framed and having to clear his name, Rouge the government agent who attempts to double-cross Eggman while pursuing her own selfish interests, the backstories behind Shadow and Eggman's familial history, and the dark atmosphere surrounding the space colony.

However these are all masked by really, really fucking bad presentation. The cutscenes are awkwardly animated, the pacing is all over the fucking place, the dialogue is mostly garbage and the voice acting is a mixed bag, and the overall gameplay itself is a rainbow of haphazard design. Not to mention, a lot of aspects of the story itself are half-baked, like Knuckles and Tails's presence. Knuckles serves absolutely no purpose except to give Rouge a reason to run around some levels, and he doesn't even successfully stop the Biolizard with the master emerald. I did enjoy that Amy managed to one-up Tails in rescuing Sonic, though, but even her role is comparatively minor to SA1's.

Still, I think SA2's plot had a lot going for it, and it's probably the most ambitious Sonic plot that worked for me in some fashion. I just wish it was handled way better

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5 hours ago, MetalSkulkBane said:

Can you elaborate on that? As much as I love SA1 characters barely moved. wiith idle animation on very quick loop, while object were glued to their hands, rather then held. How SA2 could been worse when characters moved, jumped, twirled gave thumbs up, etc.

More bad voice acting, bad translation, terrible audio mixing, characters talking over each other, etc.

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Personally, I feel that Sonic Adventure 2 and Sonic 3 and Knuckles had the best story lines.  

I loved the darker and edgier tone of Sonic Adventure 2 and I loved the way that they explored the tragic backstories of Shadow and Gerald Robotnik as you really feel their pain and sorrow at losing Maria to ARK.  I also liked how the stakes were much higher for Sonic and the gang, especially with Sonic getting framed and nearly getting killed when Eggman tried to throw him into space.

Sonic 3 and Knuckles may not have any dialogue, but they really showed the gamers just how the story goes and the story just flowed so fluidly.  It managed to show us Sonic and Tails arriving on Angel Island to Knuckles being tricked by Dr. Robotnik to Robotnik creating the Death Egg all in a space of a few hours of gameplay.  I especially loved the cutscenes in this game, especially the one where Sonic and Tails are running up a crumbling staircase in Sky Sanctuary to get to the Death Egg.

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lol my first post. cringe

I think three years later I still feel the same about SA2's story being the best, and I'm a little more forgiving of its presentation's shortcomings this time around. The pacing of the story is awkward, especially with how it jumps around and some scenes don't seem to get as much focus as they should, but I think the voice acting is better than I initially gave it credit for, especially compared to SA1 where these actors were still adjusting to their roles. I still don't like how Knuckles doesn't accomplish as much as the other characters, but Tails' role is fine even if he's mostly an assist to Sonic. But his arc is a clear continuation of SA1's and it's cool seeing him be more confident and pro-active.

What I appreciate about SA2 much more now is how incredibly varied the emotions on display are. Eggman is confident and bombastic, but he gets pissy whenever he's barking orders at Rouge and Shadow, and he throws a tantrum after giving his moon-exploding speech just because things aren't moving quite as efficiently as he wants them to. Sonic is the most hotheaded he's ever been in the series and Shadow is one of the few things to genuinely get under his skin. Despite his reduced role, Knuckles himself alternates between serious and comedic, and some of his scenes are the funniest he's ever been (his fight with Sonic over who gets to control the shuttle coming to mind). Compare this to the newer games where characters act more like cardboard than fleshed-out people with quirks and insecurities, and I think the Adventure writers knew what they were doing by making Sonic and the gang feel like they were reacting appropriately to everything that was happening around them. SA2 makes me give a shit about what's happening because the characters do, and that's really the most I can ask for from a Sonic game.

My main problem with SA2's story is GUN itself. I really don't like how they're a faceless entity who seem to factor much less in the present day than they did in flashbacks. They play a huge role in Shadow's backstory but they really don't do much in the game itself other than capturing Sonic early on and pursing him. After Prison Island, they might as well not even exist! Plus I think them killing Maria could have been handled much better, especially since this point never seems to be directly confronted in the story after it happens (I can't even recall if the characters learn about Maria or not in the last story, and if they did then it felt glossed over). Just as an idea, I always kinda felt that it would have been far more poignant if she had died a natural death due to Gerald losing funding over his research and the ability to take care of her. I mean she was already apparently terminally ill from what I remember, did she need to take a bullet to hasten the process? Death in Sonic games is perfectly fine the way it's handled in general, though, I have no problem with that sort of thing. But I think in this game it could have been given more weight than it gets.

Gameplay's still a mixed bag though and I only ever find myself willingly replaying Sonic and Shadow's levels, so eh. This is one Sonic game where I think I actually prefer its story over the gameplay. It's not perfect by any means, but it's the hardest the series has tried at writing a complex, nuanced plot with high stakes and the character emotions to back it up. And I think it succeeds where it counts because of the shadow (HEH) it casts on the games that came between it and Unleashed.

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Y'know seeing this bumped I took a moment to think about it, and this is probably a pretty odd choice...but I think I'd say Rush Adventure.

It's real hard for me to think of any Sonic story that I've enjoyed that doesn't come with some big trailing "but". I can pick out bits and pieces that I like; some good scenes, a solid arc for a character, a theme that is interesting to explore...but, the game's struggling against the technology to actually sell the impact of the story, but, all these other characters get shit arcs, but, I don't like the overall tone and direction of the story, but, the game doesn't explore its themes deep enough, and so on.

Rush Adventure's story is by no measure ambitious, but I think it's the only Sonic game with a story that never falls below "acceptable". Admittedly it's been a long time since I've played so maybe there's some dumb little thing I've forgotten, but the worst I can remember from it is that Nega still never justified his existence beyond there being a parallel world, but even then he's only barely in it so you could practically ignore him. Otherwise, the story's a pretty fun romp. Marine's a fun character and has some of the most successful character development in the series, Blaze is there and rounded out more as a character, Whisker works better as the Eggman of Blaze's world than Nega ever did...it's a game that had a pretty clear idea of what it wanted to be and it managed to hit the mark, and I respect and enjoy what it accomplished.

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Yeah, I'm gonna have to put in another casted vote for SA2. 

I really enjoyed Black Knight for its writing and the way it tackled it's subject matter but the actual sequence of events that happened in Adventure 2 are just more interesting. The story really benefits from having six characters to play as explored through two campaigns. I'd say the majority of Sonic games that did this tend to have that sort of advantage because of the fact that exploring who these characters are and what they do to contribute to the plot is way more interesting than following one dude around and seeing how he reacts to everyone else. At least that's how I usually tend to feel about it. There are exceptions.

Mostly, I just really admire the way the story is told. I still hold the entire sequence of events that happened on Prison Island to be one of, if not, the best story sequences to ever happen period in the history of Sonic. I've talked about it at length before but goddamn it's just perfect. All these characters just come to that island with different goals and intentions and all their plans get fucked up when the characters they didn't expect to be there either delay what they were trying to do or throw things off coarse entirely.

I love Eggman getting delayed by Tails and Amy, who are here to rescue Sonic, something that Eggman doesn't even know about. I love that Rouge ends up locked inside the facility with the Flying Dog and Shadow has to go save her but then Sonic and him cross paths and then they fight, shaving even more time off the clock. Sonic has no idea that if Shadow doesn't get to Rouge in time, a woman he doesn't even know is going to fucking die. It's glorious.

That one scene where Eggman is explaining his plan to Shadow and Rouge and you can see clearly that there's points where it could easily go wrong and how Eggman points out that they only get one try before they head off is magnificent. The plan ends up working too, just not at all as the way he outlined it due to circumstances out of his control, like Amy, Tails, Sonic, and the island itself retaliating against him in ways he couldn't have known. 

Then after the island blows the fuck up, we just cut to Knuckles on Pumpkin Hill, cause he's a character who's got his own shit to worry about to.

Man, I miss that feeling. It ain't about being complicated. It's about taking advantage of the cast you have. SA2 said, we have these characters, let's give them all a different thing they want to do and toss them on an island together and see how huge the clusterfuck is. I love it.

I'd have chosen the Chaotix story in Heroes but everyone would have seen through that as the bias bullshit that it clearly is though. 

Also, a shout out to Unleashed for making the world feel like one huge character in and of itself. It had an excellent beginning and an excellent ending but the middle definitely suffered from a lack of a sequence of story events. I think the only notable one they had was the situation in Chun-Nan but the rest kind of fell by the wayside, which is a shame, because I love the way exploring that world makes me feel. Doing that for a game like Forces would have been monumental but alas...

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SA2's awkward pacing is mostly the plot trying to convey a lot of information without being obtrusive. I didn't notice this until my last playthrough but most of the cutscenes are rarely more than a minute long just so they can move onto the next thing. It was obvious this was going to be their intent for the game so it might have been better to try a plot with less moving parts. but I appreciate them trying to do something a little deeper while minding the player's patience. It's kind of silly to me now to only give Sonic 3 a pat on the back here for that because they're basically always working on the best approach here.

 I enjoy most Sonic stories fine but most of them also peter off or lose focus. The Classic era stories haven't really held up for me due to their simplicity. I think Sonic CD comes off better than Sonic 3 due to blending the gameplay mechanics and narrative really well. Sonic 3 makes a lot of cool decisions to make travelling the island feel like a journey with a rising sense of tension but outside of those climactic moments the story goes long stretches without any real new developments. The rhythm of Knuckles springing a failed trap is a great start but doesn't really hold up over 14 stages IMO. Story obviously wasn't these games focal points so I don't see the point in harping on it too much but I don't see the point of holding it in high regard either. 

The Adventure games are probably my favorites just because they treat most of the cast as characters capable of growth rather than cardboard cutouts or cartoon mascots. New characters are added but largely with consideration to how they add to the existing dynamic of the cast with Rouge especially being a brilliant foil to Knuckles and Shadow coming pretty close to being a great foil to Sonic. Tikal's story is one of my favorite pieces of narrative content the games have introduced. The cast is realistically large and well rounded without it feeling like most of them are neglected. There's some interesting progression with twists and turns. Some depth to draw from without being too obtrusive. The jokes are funny, leaning into everyone's quirks instead of leaning on metahumor. There's also a lot to dislike here but I don't think about the other stories and characters nearly as much.

The Dimps games aren't in any position to fully realize their ideas a lot of the time but the characters they introduced ended up being some of my favorite. Blaze, Marine and Gemerl are interesting additions who's character arcs follow through nicely. The only reason I don't rate them higher is because Sonic, Tails etc. end up being a bit bland in all of them. This is a problem that would get way worse in the future games than it does here though.

I also just like it when Sonic games lean into how immature the whole cast is so Sonic Riders was always a good time. I don't care what anyone says.
 

Storytelling in the series comes up pretty short across the board but each Sonic game usually has at least one character, scene, theme concept that I fall in love with so I never really regret choosing to see how they play out. Not the best narrative content you can find in games by any stretch but considering it's genre you could also do a lot worse.

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While not a masterpiece per-se, do I believe Sonic Adventure 2 is the one I would choose.

It felt pretty ambitious, but that alone doesn't really hold up most of the time; it was paired up with an engaging plot and series of event resolutions that, while fantastical, were still somewhat believable.

 

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On 6/16/2017 at 7:43 AM, FantasticMrRobb said:

I've always thought Sonic Unleashed had the best story. I feel like it had the best mix of serious and light-hearted comedy.

I dunno, I can't word it too good, but I feel like the story writing was pretty spot on in that game. The fact that it's arguably Jason's best work as Sonic makes it even better too.

I've never liked Jason Griffith, he's actually my least favorite Sonic. Something about his voice I find a little too cheery and annoying for the character, not to say that Sonic isn't cheery at all, but he doesn't convey enough of the cocky, borderline ass that Sonic can be at times. I prefer Drummond for that era. 

(.... Schwartz is the best ever Sonic, fight me). 

But I think I agree about Unleashed being the best story. I'm not that rigid on what I think a Sonic story can be, other than the basic principles of writing and the overall tone. But at least that game was pretty consistent throughout with a good sense of seriousness/urgency and typical Sonic vs Eggman banter, etc.

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Either Sonic Adventure game win out for me. They felt very anime-esque, starting with super-simple plots that become more complex as the story continues on and the characters develop. Man, I miss those days...

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2 hours ago, UpCDownCLeftCRightC said:

...but he doesn't convey enough of the cocky, borderline ass that Sonic can be at times

He can't convey that if the Sonic he got is rarely written that way...

Cheery also isn't really an appropriate term to describe his Sonic at all, really. He's usually more relaxed.

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It's a tricky subject, personally i feel that Unleashed had the best tone, it knows when it has to be lighthearted and when it has to be serious. Plus, Chip and Sonic friendship feels genuine (at least to me) and it led to a pretty heartwarming scene that remains one of my favourites to this day.

However, Unleashed while has a pretty great beggining and end but it doesn't have a lot in the middle so outside of some interactions the main plot is kinda empty but by no means bad (besides, you definetly get a lot more of worldbuilding through the eviorments and the people that live in the cities).

 

Sonic and the Black Knight however, it's to me, a short but pretty enjoyable adventure that shows a great characterization (and my favorite) of Sonic. He is cocky, he is Rebellious but at the same time, he is kind, heroic and confident, and his dialogue it's great troughtout the game that just makes the story a joy to sit through (It reminds me of the IDW comics, and Ian Flynn's work throughout the archie comics and those are my favorites interpretations of the character aswell), because of this the interactions between the characters and Sonic are really good and enjoyable.

Plus the voice acting it's great, Jason's Sonic really peaked in this game, he sounds very natural and it adds to the experience.

 

But if i had to choose my favorite story overall, i would say SA2. Yeah it has some problems like the plotholes and the voice direction but i mostly find some of those in the localization, the japanase version has little to no problems outside of the presentation and some minor problems. SA2's story it's pretty focused and manages to show character interactions and development without sacrifying the plot itself, making some really iconic moments for the franchise like Sonic's escaping the GUN helicopter, Tails not giving up even if Sonic's seems to have died, Shadow's overall arc that made him a fan favorite, Sonic and Shadow's race in the ark and the ending after the final battle with the finalhazard showing some heartfelt interactions between the characters.

 

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SA1. All of the playable characters had their own unique storyline, with their own themes and mood, and yet the storylines influnced each other and all built up to a common epic climax.

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A lot of people have already said what I could better already, so I'll keep my post short for once.
This is based off of the games I've played so far, not out of every game. I still find it funny two of these are both written by Maekawa.

Classic: Sonic 3 & Knuckles
Adventure era: Sonic Adventure 2
Spin off: Sonic & The Black Knight

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That's just the character...

And the story being "about" him doesn't really impact the plot at all until the 2nd to last level.

The only thing to dislike is the lack of anything happening in the middle, which really could've used that time to show Eggman actually trying to control Dark Gaia's spawn more than once.

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Unleashed is my absolute goto for how I think serious Sonic should be done. I don't want to be a jerk about anyone's favorite game but I've never been a fan of SA2's plot. I don't just something so against the tone of the franchise about Sonic being chased by the government and Shadow's backstory. It's feels like it doesn't want to have fun and instead wants you to know how deep and meaningful it is and I personally don't like that in a game serious that's known for being colorful and over the top.

Unleashed though I feel hits the right spot. It's serious but still remembers that it's a Sonic game so it's ok to lighten up a little and have some funny moments. Plus I'll be honest I'm not really one who cares about the deep lore of the Ancient Echidnas or Gerald or shit but I am interested in the lore surrounding the Gaia Temples and why and how they connect to the Chaos Emeralds and just how old the Emeralds are. I guess what I'm getting at is Unleashed made a fun vibrant world that I actually cared about.

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