With a few screenshots of Sonic 4 Episode 2 being leaked onto the net thanks to a XBLA listing, SEGA have finally revealed some fresh new ones and boy do they have that HD excellence look. A couple of the leaked screens (see below) confirmed that a bonus stage similar to that in Sonic 2 would be making an appearance, but also that Metal Sonic rears his mechanical face again, hijacking one of Tails invention’s.
However, the newly officially revealed screens by SEGA on their forums reveal more details about the overall design of the game. Teasing us with some of the most gorgeous visuals seen in a Sonic title yet, let alone a XBLA title. For all those who had a few issues with the Episode 1 graphics engine you will be pleased to know SEGA are using a new and highly improved engine which is full of details and amazing to look at.
If you look at the screenshot above and pay close attention to the waterfall, you will see the reflection of the rings through the water. For me, this small detail alone is a large improvement over the waterfall from the first episode. It really does seem that there has been a fair amount of work put into some of the finer details that you don’t always think about.
The levels look to be jam packed with visual splendour. The Carnival Zone and Ice Cap Zone seem to have been merged into one which should give way for some great level design and it’s certainly interesting to see that SEGA are trying to mix things up a bit by merging zones.
We can also see that you will access the special stages via the big ring at the end, and not by the star posts as per Sonic 2. While this has been getting debated about on the SEGA forums, I for one prefer the idea of the big ring at the end to get to the special stages. This is something that I miss it’s one of the little things that I have always associated with the Sonic franchise and just feels wrong without it.
So while the game on the surface is pleasing on the eyes, there are some questions that arise from these visuals that SEGA are yet to confirm. As you will notice, there are no homing reticules which begs the question as to if the move has gone all together, if it’s optional or just removed for the purpose of making the screenshots look extra snazzy. The two biggest questions are is Tails going to be a playable character (which I am going to assume yes) and if so, will there be paths on the levels that Sonic can’t get too?
Now these could be answered soon when SEGA confirmed that “the gameplay trailer will be revealed on Gamespot week on Thursday, February 23rd at 9am US Pacific Time.”
I really enjoyed Episode 1 and I am sure that I am going to enjoy the second episode. I just hope that SEGA include a Tails Avatar costume to unlock in the game as that would just be epic. They could add in a Knuckles one with Episode 3 as they would go great with the Sonic, Super Sonic and Dr. Eggman costumes I already have.
Missed out on Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Episode 1? Make sure you check out our review of the title right here.