Sonic 4 was first introduced to XBLA with episode 1 in 2010. It brought back the classic
2D era we all know and love, along with a visual overhaul and new control mechanics.
Whilst it wasn't as satisfying as the originals, Sonic 4 Episode 1 was still a step in the
right direction, considering the blue hedgehog hasn't done very well in today's era. Episode 2 picks up right where the first ended, and it addresses many problems the first had. Although, it still keeps many issues intact, which hold it back from greatness.
When you first boot up Sonic 4: Episode 2 you realise how good it looks. It's stunning HD
visuals really light up the TV. Sonic, and environments are extremely sharp. It does look slightly better than Episode 1. The controls also seem to have been tweaked. Sonic now
feels much more lighter on his feat, and it gives it a more classic touch. Although it's far from greatness. Just like in Episode 1, Sonic still seems to be fiddly to control when moving slowly. Level design also feels to hold many cheap deaths, but it seems to be designed much better than in Episode 1.
The most welcoming edition to Episode 2 is the return of Tails. This brings an all new gameplay experience. Sonic and Tails can team up in a number of ways. For example, pressing X whilst in mid-air will have Tails carry Sonic, whilst flying. This is great for reaching higher ground, or getting past enemies. Sonic and Tails can also form into a speeding ball, allowing them to smash through obstacles and flatten foes.
Another character introduced is Metal Sonic, which is inspired from the Sonic CD era.
This is also a nice welcome, but it's the special stages I most admired. Here, Sonic and tails must race through a three-dimensional tunnel, collecting rings in the process. It's very fun, and a nice change from the 2D aspect.
The Boss battles though are the weakest feature. They feel very uninspiring, and lack
what the Boss battles used to be in the originals. The first Boss battle was made far to easy, just due to the fact you can use Tails to carry you mid-air and attack. It just seems to lack that classic touch the battles used to have, and they are now fairly boring.
Overall, Sonic the Hedgehog: Episode 2 is a better game than it's predecessor, but not by much. The comeback of Tails and Metal Sonic are a welcoming surprise, but it still suffersfrom some controller issues, along with uninspiring Boss Battles.
Review by Gareth Smith