Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode 2

Year: 2012
Platform: Xbox 360
Publisher: Sega
Genre: Platformer
Review Date: 5/27/12
Rating: ***

It's been two years since Episode 1 came out, which made me wonder if additional installments were ever going to happen. Fortunately, Sega came through and Episode 2 improves upon the first episode in nearly every way. Additionally, if you played part 1, you get three bonus levels featuring Metal Sonic, which effectively doubles the content of the game. Episode 2 starts out strong, with Sonic and Tails landing their plane at Sylvania Castle. The level is gorgeous and reminiscent of "Sonic 2," and the gameplay is definitely classic Sonic. Whether you like Tails or not, he comes in handy as he can carry Sonic to otherwise inaccessible areas and save him from fatal falls. The music is pleasant and catchy, and strikes a nostalgic chord. Unfortunately, the enjoyment steadily drops the longer you play the game, and the difficulty ramps up sharply. A lot of this is due to the fact that almost every level has a water portion, and I hate water levels. They are simply no fun, and what's worse is that Tails can steal your much needed air bubbles. Whenever I ran into water in earlier Sonic games, I would search for a path to get around it, but the overly linear level design in this installment doesn't offer such luxuries.

After defeating the first boss machine, all of the other levels become unlocked, which allows you to get a taste of the entire game. The other two worlds are based on a theme park and an oil refinery, but unlike Episode 1, there's no easy way to stock up on extra lives. While I was disappointed and quickly frustrated by the game, it's not necessarily the game's fault. You have to be in a certain mood and mindset to play a Sonic game, and I simply don't have the time and patience to develop the skills necessary to succeed. I've been playing Sonic games for twenty years now, and at this point I want them and expect them to be easy to play. I've already put in the time, so now all I want is results. I suppose that's the curse of being an adult and an older gamer.