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[SA2/B] Which Story Do You Prefer to Start With?


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So, this is a question that's come to my mind since I started replaying SA2 recently again on Series X - I've always naturally started with the Hero Side story, because I tend to think of that as the 'main' story, and City Escape as the game's big opener, both due to it being the very start of the Hero Story, and it being the demo level we've got for the trials, along with the fact that it's also generally considered one of the best tutorial levels of the series. 

However, I recently discovered a apparent small detail that I never knew existed - that if you were to play the Dark Side story first, it in turn makes Hero Side somewhat more challenging - specifically in that if you collected Eggman's armour upgrade in the Dark Side story prior to fighting him as Tails in the Hero Side, Eggman retains the upgrade, making it so that he takes heavily less damage from Tails' shots, compared to if the Hero Side story was done first.

On top of that, given that the Dark Side story actually does represent the very beginning of the game's plot by detailing Eggman's attack on Prison Island, and showing him freeing Shadow, there is pretty much valid reason for starting there, just as much as there is starting with City Escape.

So this honestly made me curious - what story do you tend to start with? Do you start with the Hero Side story in order to experience City Escape as the opening level, and try to get this mystery of why Sonic's being hunted down by a government squad, and who committed this apparent crime under his name, or do you prefer starting with the Dark Side story, beginning from the very initial start of the tale, with Eggman freeing Shadow, and learning about Shadow's existence from the very beginning? Do you prefer to start with the absolute thrill ride that is City Escape's bombastic opener, or do you prefer experiencing what it's like to play as Eggman for the very first time as you blast through Iron Gate? Do you prefer a more eased up difficulty curve from the hero story, or do you prefer doing Team Dark first to make the Hero Side a little more challenging?

Do you prefer playing as the heroes, and experiencing more of a traditional story, or do you prefer playing as the villains, and being the ones actively setting all of the plot threads and threats into motion? 

Personally speaking, I'm still always going to be a Hero Story person. I can't imagine playing SA2 without City Escape and Metal Harbour leading the charge story-wise. City Escape's opening cutscene still remains one of the best opening cutscenes in all of the series for me, and while I certainly understand the appeal of starting the story off from the very chronological beginning with Eggman, I just prefer playing as Team Hero, and then experiencing how Team Dark placed all of the events of the story into motion from there.

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Definitely Hero side.  It has the more exciting opening, and I feel like the Dark Side story jumps around a lot, moreso than the Hero Story does.  The Hero story kinda works either way, while the Dark Story seems to intend to fill in gaps from the Hero story.

The ending also feels like more of "an ending" on the Hero Story, whereas the Dark Story intentionally ends on a cliffhanger leading into the Last Story.  Without the Last Story immediately following up on it, the Dark Story ending seems unsatisfying, like "what the hell, why don't we see him actually fire the laser? What a cop-out."  Of course, with the Last Story unlocking immediately, you're not left wondering that for long.

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Hero side lets me play an actual Sonic level right off the bat. Shadow's first level is like...fuckin four levels in or something? If I get the itch to play Sonic I want to play Sonic, not trudge through the filler gameplay.

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I actually start with Dark Side these days! I like the DBZ-esque payoff of spending a lot of time with the villain before the hero emerges, and Dark Side kicking off the game chronologically just makes that fit feel better. Probably wouldn’t recommend to first timers unless they can stomach a LOT of Eggman gunplay tho LOL

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If I’m simply doing one story at a time, Hero first, typically. Though I appreciate that if you play Dark first, it doesn’t tell you how Sonic survived the escape pod trap if you didn’t know.

If I’m feeling crazy, I start on the Dark story, and flip between the 2 stories for a more chronological telling.

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Eggman's my favorite character, so in a way, I think it makes more sense to save the best for last.

So I usually do the hero story first, then play the dark story: featuring five glorious Eggman levels and also some other stuff.

That said, I played the dark story first the first time I ever played the game.

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This is interesting because me and my brother alternated when we first got SA2. HE started with the dark story while I did the Hero side.

He had way more time to play tho so I saw the Dark story first. Interestingly, if you play the Dark story first, its where you get the impression that Sonic actually died during the emerald exchange (I was eight ok) so him showing up as the final boss was a legitimate shock.

And it also motivated me to finish the Hero story and only then that's where you discover how Sonic survived.

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I started with Dark the first time because I was so intrigued by the thought of playing as Eggman. Then I promptly got torn to shreds by Hot Shot without having had a level to come to grips with the speed-type gameplay. After that, I went over to the Hero story. I bounced between the two stories every so often, sometimes because I got stuck and frustrated in one of them. (I was not very good at video games back then.)

I do remember reaching the end of the Dark story first, and wondering how in the world Sonic survived. And also thinking the "Farewell, Sonic... forever." line meant that it was the last Sonic game. I can't remember the exact circumstances that led to that, if I was just more interested in the Dark Story, or if I got stuck in Hero. I remember having a really hard time with vs. Eggman on the ARK, so maybe that's why.

As for nowadays, I like the speed and shooting stages about equally, so either way is a great opening. I usually base my decision about which to start with on which trailer I want to see at the end of the story. And that's usually based on which one it's been the longest since I've seen, so... I guess I bounce back and forth.

...Incidentally, I find it interesting that I see so many people around the internet say things like "everyone starts with the Hero story." Every single friend I've ever shown this game to in-person has immediately picked Dark their first time playing.

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Staring with heroes is a more natural evolution of the story.

It starts as your another Eggman scheme. Sure, there is Shadow and Rouge, but they are just lackeys.

Then you play villains and hey, something slightly deeper is going on. This Shadow guy is up to something.

And boom, right into answers. if you start with villains, the hero story is... not dull, but it isn't revealing much.

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I only remember starting with the dark story once. I think it was specifically because I realized I never had before for some reason, so I figured why not? I think I might do it again next time I play through the game from the beginning.

You know, I'm curious how many people bounced between the two stories. I think even the first time I played the game I finished the hero story before moving on.

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