First Impressions and Problems
Sonic Adventure 2 Battle for PC is probably something I thought I'd never see and now it's here. Part of my first impression is that this is going to be the game I greatly enjoyed on the Nintendo Gamecube. For some of you, this game is a throwback to the Sega Dreamcast for the original version of this game. Here's what I've seen from the game so far -
1. Launcher Options
The game gives you plenty of resolution options but very little ability to change graphical fidelity of the game. Nvidia/ATI graphics card control panels surely come in handy for this game for things such as FXAA. It supports keyboard control and DirectX Input gamepads only. I haven't tried the keyboard controls, but needless to say, it's Sonic; it's a puzzle-platformer; it's going to run a lot better on a controller than on keyboard hands down. Also note that if you do not have .NET Framework 3.5, the launcher will refuse to run period (Windows 8 users will run into this)
2. Fullscreen Mode
Attempting to launch the game in any resolution with full-screen mode enabled will cause the game to crash after the Sonic Team logo screen. Looking upon the forums, there is no way presently fix this. In many games, we don't get windowed mode and it's very much appreciated when we get it. You can only play this game in Windowed Mode which is helpful but in my opinion, simply not as fun. You also cannot shut down the game with Task Manager without logging off windows or rebooting the PC when this occurs. Crashes also seem to occur when using the 1920x1080 resolution in Windowed Mode as well.
3. Refresh and Frame Rates
I'm using a 120hz monitor and if you are too, you're going to have problems with this game. The game is locked to 59 and 60hz refresh rates. It's also locked at 60 FPS maximum. Because full-screen mode crashes the game, you have to run the game in Windowed Mode. Universal law of PC Games is that any game running in Windowed Mode is locked to the refresh rate of your monitor. In my case, that's 120hz. The game running at 120fps suffers from the emulator/console port plague of "double the framerate, double the speed of the game". The game goes at double the speed, the music goes at the 60 fps rate, and things bug out. Try playing the first level of City Escape with a gamepad at 120fps; your controls will utterly be ruined and the game will be impossible to control. The only solution is to have your resolution running at 60 and force V-Sync (Adaptive V-Sync will work if you use Nvidia).
A flawless 60 fps throughout the entire game, but that actually makes me finally realize after a decade that the Nintendo Gamecube version also played at flawless 60FPS as well (minus the wonders of Antialiasing) and it should play exactly like the Gamecube version, if you have a controller.
4. Chao DLC
Oh my god, those wonderful little things are back and very much a plus. I am very much disappointed that Chao Karate is a DLC item and very much wish the game was a straight $12 game with everything in it. Sonic Generations Pinball DLC should be indicative of the weird DLC practices of SEGA and this is no exception.
5. Online Leaderboards
Very much a plus that this is actually here. This already means the game has more capability than the original Dreamcast or GCN versions. Online matchmaking multiplayer for the Battle component would be amazing, though split-screen Versus modes are hard to come by on PC and also very good. This game could have been a far greater ahead of it's time thing if Chao could be handled online, kinda like how Pokémon went in 4th and 5th generations and massively expanded the amount of people you could play with.
6. First Level
I played City Escape. The level that most every person who owned this game played over and over and over again. Why? Rings baby! RINGS! That level is one of the most highest earning ring levels in the game and is farmed by Chao breeders alike for that very reason. All of you are guilty, don't even lie :D . The level is exactly the same as the GCN version (lots of comparisons to this, because that's what I grew up with this game on). I very much appreciate the refined music in the PC version. It feels like I can hear the whole level and for many people, the music, the rings, the boss fights, will be a major nostalgia trip for anyone involved.
I have not dabbled into the Chao portion of the game. Needless to say, there will be no access to gold or silver chao eggs like you could in the Gamecube version through the use of the Gameboy Advance Sonic games. This game most likely also has no degree of compatibility with Sonic Adventure DX Director's Cut, which also uses a similar Chao system but I personally favor SA2B's Chao system over DX. I also noticed the game has the "File Select' system which makes me question if there is a shared Chao Garden file like on the Gamecube version and limited to a maximum of 24 Chao (8 per garden). Hopefully on the PC version, we can have more than 24 Chao because they're so cute ^_^
Final Thoughts - This game has been probably a decade on the wish list and ever since Steam's ability to give us Sonic games (points at the Steam group that demanded this game come to Steam), this is one that has been on our minds. Many people will buy this game for one thing and that's C-H-A-O! CHAO! I remember the Story Modes of this game and from personal recollection, the 2nd to last boss in the game is the hardest one (you GCN and Dreamcast veterans know EXACTLY which boss I'm talking about :P ). If you were looking a port of one of the best 3D Sonic games of all time, then this would be it. Do not expect too much of an advancement over the original 60 FPS on the Gamecube version and if you have a 120hz monitor, be cautious of picking this up without a few modifications. I really hope they can fix the full-screen crash and other issues everyone is having but I'll probably say that this game is worth the $12. $12 is a reasonable price for quite an old game renewed into the world of PC, with the PC port exclusive bugs >_<
If you like Sonic and/or making lots and lots of Chao (so cute! ^_^) then Sonic Adventure 2 Battle for PC is a good nostalgia throwback to a time of Rings, Chaos Drives, Animals, and the seven Chaos Emeralds.
Update - Disabling the Steam Overlay when using fullscreen mode will cause the game to result in a sonic2app.exe error and stop responding instead of locking the system to the point of no return.