Here's the deal: your enjoyment of this straight-up, bare bones port of the Dreamcast's flagship launch title depends entirely on how you feel about Sonic today. Over the past decade, Sega's mascot has become one of the most polarizing characters in video games. You cling to memories of the Blue Blur's golden years on the Genesis, or you accept his new role in games targeted at children while enjoying the few good releases on the Game Boy Advance and DS, or write him off completely as a relic from the 16-bit era with no relevance to modern gaming. Unfortunately, it's hard to recommend Sonic Adventure on PSN to any one of these groups. If you played the original version on Dreamcast, you probably still have it sitting in a box somewhere. Go, plug that dusty old system in and remember the good times, because unless you need some Trophies, there's nothing here for you.
There are plenty of people who think the best games ever have already been made. To them, no RPG will ever surpass Chrono Trigger, no Zelda title will best A Link to the Past, and the simplicity of Tetris keeps it head-and-shoulders above the other puzzle games. The thing about these games is that they have all aged incredibly well of serious doses of polish and influencing many subsequent games in their genre. Sonic Adventure, while playable in its time, simply hasn’t been refined in the ways modern 3d platformers have.
Movement is, naturally attached to the left stick, with primitive camera controls mapped to either shoulder button. However, opportunities to effectively use them are limited to times when you are completely stopped and trying to look around a corner. Everything else is done on either the “jump” or “dash” button. Need to interact with a person? Then you use the dash button? Don’t do it properly? You dash anyway, probably off a cliff.
Thankfully, there really aren't many times that Sonic is required to interact in a meaningful way with his stale, robotic world, but you really remember the bad more than the good in this game. Just like you'll remember the unforgivably terrible voice acting, accompanied by needlessly exaggerated facial expressions. The tenth time Sonic yells "Whooooaaa!" while sticking his tongue out like Gene Simmons, you'll start to wonder just what kind of attitude Sonic is supposed to have anymore. His unenthusiastic cry of, "No," makes me feel awkward and ashamed at every death. Which, more often than not, occurs due to bugs such as hitting a wall and falling through the floor, or the game's finicky wall-running.
The soundtrack is still great…but having to dig so deep to find something worthwhile in the purchase of Sonic Adventure makes the optional DX Director's Cut add-on an even tougher sell. For $5 you get access to 60 extra missions, spread out amongst the six characters. You can get some trophies and unlock some things that should be pretty cool. But is anyone but the most driven, obsessive fanboy going to do this? No, so don't bother with the DLC.
Should I really be giving a 13-year-old game such a hard time for not aging well? Perhaps a better question is, should Sega really charge $10, plus $5 for a mission pack, for Sonic Adventure when there are re-releases on the PSN that received graphical updates, online support and bug fixes? This is still the game that introduced us to Big the Cat and made us play for too long as characters other than Sonic just to unlock the exciting, full ending. We get no widescreen support, no updated menus or maps, just a few trophies and the convenience of not having to drag out your Dreamcast to relive the start of Sonic’s still-in-progress tailspin. I could recommend this game if it came with a download code for the amazing soundtrack, but since that isn't the case, only the die-hard Sega junkies need apply here.