|Sonic Adventure 4: Californication|
Sonic the Hedgehog series
Hedgehog Engine (Graphics)
Havok Engine (Physics)
Action-adventure, open world, platform, third-person shooter
PEGI: 12 (Europe)
Mouse and Keyboard
Sonic Adventure 4: Californication, also abbreviated as SA4, is an open-world action/adventure video game developed by Sonic Team and Traveller’s Tales, and published by Sega.
The game is confirmed to take place in late 2014, one year after the events of Sonic Adventure 3. The story is slated to occur over a three-month period; starting in September and ending in November. The setting is the state of California, along the west coast of the United Federation.
Sonic Adventure 4 spans the city of Westopolis, including incorporated cities of Ginoa Hills, San Perro, Glockton and Mentalwood; well-known cities Duro Beach, Jartina, Fillmore, Savin, Huehurk and Cocodina; Riverbed County containg the spring break resort Heat Springs along with the infamous Heck Valley desert; Sovereign and Citrus County along with their many major cities; the tall and snowy Mount Lirio; and the huge West Coast National Forest.
Characters and Premise
Fourteen different characters, two different teams, all in the same place for different reasons, but their stories intertwine with one another, all leading up to an epic finale. The Actors, which consist of Sonic, Miles "Tails" Prower, Knuckles, Amy Rose, Cosmo, Mighty the Armadillo and Gemerl the Robot are in California to conspire to stop the evil Dr. Julian Robotnik's next scheme. The Doers, which consist of Jet the Hawk, Rouge the Bat, Marine the Raccoon, Shadow, Blaze the Cat, Silver and E-123 Omega, all arrive in Westopolis for different reasons, but have to conspire to stop an old foe's plans. What none of these characters know is that their group jobs are just a setup for an elaborate conspiracy in the city.
- Game Writer's Description
Sonic Adventure 4 doubles the amount of playable characters from Sonic Adventure 3, giving fourteen different playable characters; Sonic the Hedgehog, Tails the Fox, Knuckles the Echidna, Amy Rose, Mighty the Armadillo, Cosmo, Gemerl, Jet the Hawk, Rouge the Bat, Marine the Raccoon, Blaze the Cat, Shadow the Hedgehog, Silver the Hedgehog and E-123 Omega. However, now there are only two stories to choose from, with swapping between characters in whichever story chosen.
Other major characters include Dr. Robotnik, the Actors' main antagonist; Johnny, a robot from another dimension who is the primary villain for the Doers; and UUPD Chief Carlos Banderas who works with the Doers.
Gameplay is virtually the same a the previous title, with the seven different types: platforming, flight platforming, treasure hunting, precision platforming, shooter-like mission-based levels, on-rails shooting levels, and strategy platforming mixed with puzzle-solving. However, now there are two different stories with 14 playable characters: seven characters to a story. The two stories consist of the "Actors," consisting of Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Cosmo, Mighty the Armadillo, and Gemerl the Robot; and the "Doers," which consist of Jet the Hawk, Rouge the Bat, Marine the Raccoon, Blaze the Cat, Silver, Shadow, and E-123 Omega. Sonic and Jet are speed, Tails and Rouge are flight, Knuckles and Marine are treasure hunters, Amy and Blaze are platforming, Silver and Cosmo are mind powered, Shadow and Mighty are mission based, and Omega and Gemerl are on-rails shooting.
Speed gameplay (Sonic and Jet) involves a lot of fast movement and occasional platforming in order to get to the goal ring. Sonic has the abilities of the Homing Attack, Light Dash, Boost, and Sidestepping. Very similar to Sonic Generations' Act 2 stages.
Flight gameplay (Tails and Rouge) includes platforming while dealing with air mechanics, flight strategy, and light combat. Virtually the same as Tails' stages in the original Sonic Adventure.
Digging stages (Knuckles and Marine) involve finding three tablet pieces in each stage, with a radar telling the player when close to one. The player can also collect the pieces in and order they lease. Identical to Knuckles' stages in the first Sonic Adventure.
Platforming levels (Amy and Blaze) involve platforming with more precision and movement, but with some occasional speed. The characters have the abilities of Homing Attack, Spindash, using her Piko-Piko hammer/Tornado Dash, and Tornado jump. Almost exactly like Amy's speed gameplay in Sonic Heroes, only replacing the Rocket Accel with the Spindash.
Mission based gameplay (Shadow and Mighty) revolves around a mixture of gunplay, clue searching, occasional platforming, and light puzzle solving. The player has seven different weapon categories (melee, sidearm, sub-machine, shotgun, assault, throwable, and launcher) and can carry any amount of weapons in each category. Is similar to Grand Theft Auto IV mixed with Shadow the Hedgehog with a little bit of influence from L.A. Noire and the Uncharted series.
Mind power gameplay (Silver and Cosmo) involves using psychokinesis/plant abilities and platforming to fight enemies, solve puzzles, and complete levels. Cosmo's gameplay is almost exactly like Silver's, but instead uses plants to do her work, which will change depending on the area of the map she is in (i.e. desert plants will be much different from mountain plants). Similar to Silver's gameplay in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), but with more emphasis on combat.
Other Gameplay Systems
Rail Shooting Ally
All story characters can call in a robot ally to help them (Gemerl for the Actors, E-123 Omega for the Doers). Rail shooting characters can launch missiles, boost, and even use light gunplay. Identical to Tails’ stages from Sonic Adventure 2. Can choose to either play as them or have them by the current character's side.
The health system for all the characters is the same; collect rings to survive, get hit and you lose ten rings a piece until you lose all of them, and if you get hit with no rings, you lose a life. You earn points by destroying robots, setting animals free, and collecting rings, and at the end of the level, your overall score is tallied up and added to the international leaderboards. To keep scores fair involving rings, every ring lost subtracts 1,000 points from the board, but if picked back up, the score goes up 1,000 for every ring collected.
Open hub worlds from the first title return, with a map showing the specific general area of where to go, along with side quests, with the option to go to your destination by foot via using the current character’s abilities, by hailing a taxi to your destination; you can also choose to skip to your destination if you please, using the train, each character’s specific car or get in a random pedestrian’s car. You can place markers, which give you a GPS route where you want to go, as well as listen to radio stations in vehicles, even in taxis.
The emblems from the previous Sonic Adventure games and Sonic Heroes also make a return, with ten hidden in the open world for each story, collected for completing levels, and one in the final boss, totaling up to 120 emblems in the whole game, and for every five collected, rewards such as artwork, behind the scenes videos, music sound tests, and digital models of all the game’s different characters.
Boss fights are prevalent throughout the game on both stories, which can completely vary depending on that character’s gameplay style. The remaining number of missions are all story stages. These contain absolutely no emblem collecting involved.
There are unique side quests for each separate character, which can completely vary depending on area or time.
There are also many games and side activities around the map: darts, pool, bowling, car racing, air hockey, hoop shooting, batting cages, robot hunting, boardwalk games, and dancing. New side activities include lowrider contests, police duty, and helping other characters with their own issues. They are based on either score or position at the finish line. You can also hang out with others to do these, or just do them with the current character. Eating with others is exclusive to hanging out. Up to three other characters can hang out with your current character.
In addition to each character having their own unique vehicle, the player has the opportunity to take any car, plane, boat, motorcycle, helicopter, or jet ski they find, or they can just go on foot if they please. The player can also roll their vehicle over if it flips.
Various businesses exist all over California, from restaurants, vending machines, food stands/vehicles, and the places mentioned in the side activities. These all contain special interiors and act as alternatives for filling up on rings when the player cannot find any in the open world.
A new feature in this game is currency in rings. After playing a mission (whether for the first time or replaying it), the character will get an amount of rings that can be used on buying and customizing personal vehicles, changing the current character's physical appearance, buying food from around the map, or buying little souvenirs like that of Sonic Unleashed (HD).
Radio stations featuring licensed music return from SA3. Similar to Grand Theft Auto, there will be a DJ hosting each station along with humorous commercials for parodies of real life products. However, the songs will be censored like SA3. Words like “f**k,” “s**t,” “ni**a,” “bi**h,” and other vulgarities are censored, although mild ones like “d**n,” “h**l,” and “cr*p” may not. However, station introductions; dial numbers and jokes about the listeners, are still present, along with the DJ’s opinions in the world and particular story events at certain times, and all the commercials, songs, and song intros are played randomly.
About six months after the game's launch, an add-on pack known as Westopolis Wintertime was announced. It was released in November of that year and takes place after the main story.
The story involves Dr. Robotnik creating a special satellite that throws the entire west coast into a snow blizzard, hoping to shift the global weather around the world so people give in to his demands. The incident occurs in late November, and it's up to all the previous characters plus a few new ones to fix the mess.
The add-on added the West Coast Plaza Mall (modeled after the South Coast Plaza in Orange County, California) in northern Citrus County, a huge indoor setting to explore with a myriad of activities and sidequests inside. Snow is also added throughout the entire map, leading to some gameplay changes in the open world.
In addition, the radio stations are updated with four more songs to each station, with new station Main Radio being added for the pop music, as Planet Pop Radio becomes Noel Radio, playing exclusively Christmas music.
- This is the first Sonic the Hedgehog game in the series to be rated T by the ESRB, most likely due to drug and alcohol references present throughout the story and in the licensed songs.
- This is the first Sonic the Hedgehog game to take place in a real-life area; the state of California. Despite this, all of the places in the state are entirely fictional.
- This is the first time that Cosmo appears in a Sonic the Hedgehog game, as well as being a playable character.
- The subtitle is a double reference:
- The song by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, which appears on the in-game radio station Radio A.X.
- The Showtime television program of the same name, which the game references.