Sunday 22 January 2023

Sonic Adventure DX on the PS3 review

Okay, I was going to save this for my yearly summary, but it ended up being a bit too long, so I've decided to make it a whole post.

Sonic Adventure DX on Playstation 3, a review.

Okay, the caveat on this one is that I have a lot of love for Sonic Adventure. Back when the the Dreamcast was first released, a friend of mine brought one over from Japan for me, with Sonic Adventure.  I played it and it was amazing, at the time, the graphics were something that probably most peoples PCs couldn't produce well.  

Sure the game was buggy, probably a bit rushed to get out at DC release and I had no VMU making progression hard, but hey, at the time I was commitment free and could waste much time playing games. 

And I did.

It was a tad janky, but nothing too frustrating.

Then the Aussie release date of the DC came around and again I got Sonic Adventure for that.  The AU/EU release had a bit more time spent on it and so it was refined and less janky than the original JP release.  The camera worked better and Sonic fell through less floors now.  I played that crap outta that one and I had a a VMU, which made things a lot less stressful.  I specifically remember howling and whooping at the incredible Super Sonic fight with Chaos, and then swearing and howling at the second half which was more of the same, with less cool music, and it took me fracking ages to do it for some reason until I got lucky.  

Good times.

Then I got the Japanese Sonic Adventure International release, which was the JP release of the refined EU version. I played that too.  This time, less howling and whooping ensued.

I heard about the DX version for GC, but not having a GC made me not worry, whetevs.

Many years later, I found out about DX on the PS3 and found there was a way to play as Metal Sonic. Nice, thought I, so I purchased the game and the additional DX option.  Sadly, I did not realise that to unlock Metal, one had to collect all the emblems.  I hated that in the original and after playing SADX on the PS3 (from now on SAD-X), I had no intention of replicating that torture.

The reasons it's torture:

  1. The challenges aren't that fun to do.
  2. SAD-X is a piss poor port that somehow, despite being on more powerful software, looks and plays worse than the original and has MORE bugs and shittiness than the original JP release.  How is that even possible?
SAD-X is shite.  The basic game would be nice and fun, but somehow they upped the jank of the game to levels not thought possible.  Like, the camera is worse, it controls worse, there's more cases of clipping, falling through levels, bugs and the graphical increase is er, is it an increase?  Not really, the models have lost textures, the lighting is so much worse, shading even more worse than the lighting and the pop-in area hasn't even been improved. In fact with the other things, it's somehow more obvious than it was before.

Sure, Sonic and his pals (aside from Knuckles) have gained fingers, but at what cost?

The real kicker to how bad the port gets really hit me when during a cut scene, I really noticed how terrible it was.  It was one in the past, with Sonic at the Master Emerald shrine which was meant to be on fire.  On the DC, it was all moody and things glowed red and fire seemed to create light and things looked ablaze.  SAD-X just had a jank red tinge to the background, and it looked... well... shit to be honest.  It truly baffled my mind. 

Another instance was playing as knuckles on the final boss, Chaos 6.  The arena is on top of the Egg Carrier, and I kept getting killed by this wierd black smoke stuff.  It was hard to see where is was placed and I assumed it was sent out by Chaos to keep you within a certain play field.  After some irritating deaths, I eventually worked out, somewhere along the lines, the platform you are standing on got broken, and the smoke is indicating that the floor is missing, exposing deadly electrical wires.  Weel, blow me down.  There ya go.  That fight just looked so awful and really wasn't all that enjoyable.  In fact, many of the boss fights are pretty awful.

Yes, I have a strange relationship with Sonic Adventure.

A really great video on youtube that covers the crapness of SAD-X is here:

When I heard people talking about SA being a bad game, I assume it's because they played this shitty arse version of the game.  If you pay on the DC, it's nowhere near as terrible as this spew fest.

However I believe I have gone off track.  Somewhere.

Odd lighting and graphic glitches aside, the game was still fun.  The Sonic levels were good and I much prefer this Sonic model to his Adventure 2 model.  Especially his run cycle.  Even the cut scene animation I prefer, SA2's motion captured models just look too whacky for me to handle.  The game plays smoothly when it's not bugging out and it manages to carry the same atmosphere too, most of the time.

Most of the characters levels are fun to play.  Personally I only don't like playing Big's fishing levels, they are just not all that engaging for me.  Sonic, Gamma and Knuckles are they better ones.  Amy's I think I would've enjoyed more but the SAD-X version seems to have made the controls for her even odder.  I remember in Twinkle Park, in the mirror section, she just wouldn't control well, this was partly due to me not knowing whether I was meant to be controlling the Amy in the Mirror(s) or not, whichever way I moved the stick, she went some weird direction.  I ended up just finding the way to make her go forward and holding it, using the invincibility after being hit to make it through.

It was truly a test of my patience.

Interestingly, I had the Japanese VA and English subtitles on.  Now that I have a much better understanding of Japanese than I did in the DC days, it was quite interesting seeing how accurate the Translation was.  Generally it was fine, but in Amy's story in particular there were some big differences, and thinking of the way her story progresses, it really destroys the way her character has been built since then.

Let me explain:
When Amy first shows up in her story, she has finished shopping and is reminiscing about how being rescued and hanging around Sonic was really fun, and she still wants to hang around Sonic and have fun.  I'm having trouble describing it, but it's not along the lines of Amy wanting go off on her own.

Then the bird falls and the robot comes.  Sonic shows up, Amy tells Sonic about the robot, to which Sonic says "I'll take care of this guy for you," BUT Amy sees Twinkle park open up and runs on in.  IF she hadn't been an easily distracted simpleton, Sonic would've smashed the robot and the bird would be saved.  Shitty Amy gameplay done.

There were a few other instances of the translation, not being wrong as such, but it could've definitely  have been better. 

Anyway, back to the game talk.  It was fun and I generally enjoyed myself and will probably play it again.  However it was nowhere near as good an experience as it should have been thanks to added JANK at extra cost.

I hear there is a well done PC version that restores and fixes a lot of what I've complained about, so I might go and have a look (I probably won't), so while it was a disappointment, Sonic Adventure DX was OK, I guess.  It's just a shame that they dropped the ball so hard on this one.

Play the original, or the fan made fixed version, I would only recommend the PS3 version if you're very desperate.   

Like I was.

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