Episode II – emphasis on ‘sod’

Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II

This week saw the release of Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II, a mere 19 months after Episode I. Can Sega really get away with calling that episodic? It’s a bit of a stretch.

Perhaps Sonic the Hedgehog 4: It’s Not Long and Sonic the Hedgehog 4 v2: Let’s Have Another Go would have been more honest titles, given that Episode II has “all-new character animations and a completely reworked physics engine”. In short: not the same game.

Still, you can’t criticise Sega for trying to make it better. But you can for not really succeeding.

That’s not my beef though. What bothers me is that Sega left it so long, that one of the formats that Episode I was released on has become virtually obsolete. I refer, of course, to WiiWare.

On the one hand, it’s hard to argue with the decision, given that there have only been nine games released on the service so far this year. And Sega clearly don’t share EA’s addiction to releasing titles on as many formats as possible.

But on the other hand it means that, having bought Episode I on WiiWare, I can’t benefit from the bonus Episode Metal levels that are available to those buying Episode II on the same format as Episode I. Thanks for that.

So what are my options? I could take a punt on the PC version, in the vague hope that my sort-of-okay laptop might run it acceptably. But I can’t really know that without buying it, which is why – despite advances by the likes of Steam – PC gaming is still ludicrously unhelpful, with its indecipherable and non-committal lists of minimum and recommended system requirements. Or I could get the iOS version, as I did for Sonic CD, which stupidly remains unplayed to this day.

The upshot of which is that, in the time it’s taken me to dither about formats and get mildly agitated by it all, those less-than-stellar reviews have started to come in, and I might just not bother. Stupid Sega.