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October 19, 2010
Sonic Adventure - PS3 Review
Release Launch Price Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
23/9/2010$AU15.95SegaSonic Team (original)
Sega Studios Shanghai
Media HDD Space Resolution Move Controls Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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Classic Sonic pose in Sonic Adventure on PS3.
Can you believe it will have been 11 years since the Dreamcast launched in Australia with Sonic Adventure being one of the earliest titles hitting shelves only six weeks after launch. At the time we quite loved the game as you can see in our review here and when Sega gave us the opportunity to review the PS3 port we snapped it up. The original game was a good technical showcase for Sega's new system at the time, with the game not only looking great but also providing quite a few thrills. Now over a decade later, Sega have ported the game to PS3 and you can download the game through the Playstation Network for $15.95 right now. We've got our copy and thought we'd relive the experience.

The storyline in Sonic Adventure is pretty vanilla; Once again Dr Robotnik/Eggman (depending where you live) has returned to disturb the peace. He is searching the lands to steal all the Chaos Emeralds to create a new monster whose powers increase with each new emerald embedded within him. Sonic's task, with the help of 5 friends (Knuckles, Tails, Amy, Mr Big and E-102), is to rescue the trapped animals, return the Emeralds and defeat Dr Robotnik forever. Sound familiar?

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Sonic running from the whale!
Sonic Adventure is, as the title suggest, an adventure styled game which sees Sonic, or one of the aforementioned characters running through a series of levels to clear it of bad guys, and recover the emeralds. Each character has its own abilities, strengths and weaknesses, and each can unlock different areas in the game world. Sonic Adventure is comprised of almost 50 different play areas (and you can download the DX expansion for a few dollars on the Playstation Store as well) which includes main action stages, sub-games, bonus rounds and bosses. The variety is astounding. One minute you will be running at break neck speed through a tunnel or down the side of a building, while the next minute you will be driving mini hovercraft and a few minutes later you will be in a casino playing pinball. But one of the most eye popping and exhilerating stages occurs inside a tornado which you get sucked into and must try to escape from.

While it's fantastic to have Sonic Adventure available on PSN for download the port isn't the brilliant, or at least enjoyable nostalgic, release we had expected. Sadly the development team hasn't managed to fix the camera and control issues which while acceptable in its day, certainly don't cut it some 11 years later. Quite often you'll navigate your character into a tunnel or around the corner only to have the camera remain stuck in place, and thereby 'lose' your character. This really does affect the gameplay and with developers now well and truly used to 3D games and cameras it sticks out as a major issue.

So this is a port of the Dreamcast original which obviously ran on previous generation hardware and as a result the visuals in this game aren't a patch on PS3 developed games. But we need to look at this as a port of a classic game and while there are a few frame rate hiccups (which may have been in the original but we can't recall) overall the game is presented with a very clean look. Sega have retained the games 4:3 aspect ratio which may disappoint some, but to us we have no issues with that.

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Sonic Adventure is lightning fast in places.
Another aspect of the game which hasn't stood the test of time too well is the audio. The game has retained the rock music from the Dreamcast original and it's certain to divide opinions, but it's the quality of the speech which is sure to disappoint with a rather poor quality overall. Sound effects are fairly limited too, but as we mentioned in the original Dreamcast review the sound of the rings being collected is classic.

So Sega, I absolutely love the idea of you re-releasing your Dreamcast classics on PSN - and there really are some brilliant titles in that catalogue to pick from, but if you are going to release them with some upgrades make sure they actually play well too. Surely fixing the twitchy controls or the poor camera angles should have been top of the list, and yes, it would have added cost to the development, but it would have transformed the score from something quite average, to something quite a bit higher. Still those looking for a nostalgic Dreamcast fix may want to pick this up. Everyone else, best left alone.

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSLast generation visuals as expected but the PS3 handles it pretty well.
SOUNDThe rock music irritates, the speech is quite poor quality, the effects are decent.
GAMEPLAYThe controls are twitchy and the camera angles soon annoy - should have been fixed prior to release.
VALUEFor $AU15.95 this is decent value for a nostalgic hit - others may want to save for the much better looking Sonic 4.
OVERALLSonic Adventure is a game which struggles to stand the test of time with too many technical issues hampering what should have been an improved experience. I do urge Sega to continue with this program though as there are so many more classic Dreamcast games that we'd love to see, and which would provide much better ports.

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