Despite all the rage I have for this company, credit has to be given where credit is due. Due to financial situations and only having 17 points on PSN, I checked out S4E2 and said hell with it.

This game might’ve been the only real time that Sega listened to the fans for once. You see… they bothered to fix the mistakes and improve on what people asked for. I could care less for the Sonic design because I’m not that anal about details but holy shit did they make some eye candy zones!

The first zone capturing the essence of Marble Garden without making it an overbearing cutscene hotspot as well as giving it a nighttime backdrop was a damn good touch. As well, the ice cap zone that blends a theme park in the ground that looks like Balloon park from the racing mode (makes more sense than Ice Factory with a random casino level or a desert with a candy…. dimension.) and the Oil Desert itself actually looks more like the setting from House of the Dead 3.

Music is still copying styles for the hell of it, but they’re much better this time around. Oil Desert is a lil’ catchy I might add.

Initially, I took offense with the notion that the “team action” would be a required element to progress through the game. And while that is true, those moments are infrequent and not a complete bother except for Zone 3 of the Ice Cap where you have to swim through ice walruses (I hate those mother fuckers so much.) Still, I’d rather not be chained to an otherwise ok mechanic. Why is there a mini-cutscene to activate the damn thing anyone? Breaking the flow much?

Then there’s the special stages. The only tolerable one from Sonic 2 that Sega was intelligent enough to keep….. and they completely fucked that up. Mostly due to controls. In all variations of the Sonic 2 Special Stages, the controls were very loose and you could have Sonic zoom from side to side to collect rings. Feels like they done jacked up the friction in dis bitch. Sonic has no mobility for shit, so now the ability to collect rings is based on scripted timing. While it’s not necessary to get every ring in the stages, you have to memorize each of the paths coming up so you can get just enough of them without skipping a beat.

Another issue I have is the boss fights. Sonic games have gotten progressively worse boss battles as the games went on and on, and one of the biggest offenses is that many of them don’t have a clear definition of how you’re supposed to defeat them. It took me nearly 30 fucking minutes to figure out that I needed to use the flying “action” halfway into the first goddamn boss fight. And there’s a hit timer that prevents you from slapping him on the chaps after a second, damn I hate that shit!

Honestly, the Advance series didn’t have this kind of bullshit. If you’re gonna make a 2D Sonic game, don’t bring that asshole “3D boss pacing” bullshit into it! Boss battles are best when they do not have you waiting for the opponent to perform a specific animation after SEVERAL different attacks before you get the opportunity to strike. Boss fights must not last longer than 2 minutes tops. And thankfully it’s not an issue in this game (yet I think), but goddammit, those elements are right here… again!

Other than that, if they had continued making 2D Sonic like Episode 2, I’d support them on this. Unfortunately, like Nintendo and all developers sans Igarashi of Konami, there’s this implicit hatred of all things 2D, and instead (like Nintendo), they think they can just put “2D Sonic Aesthetics” into the 3D games and that the fandom will be ok with that. Thankfully, if Lost Mind is anything to go by, the fanbase isn’t that damn stupid.

Hmm… considering just how much better this game is than all the previous titles before it (specially that fucking Rivals), I wonder if this is why Ken Balough got fired.