So After the Sequel has finally been released. Not really a problem to me that it came out later than it should of (at least I think) because I'm not a very big fan of Before the Sequel. I mean the story's fine, the cutscenes and music are fine, but I don't follow the Sonic World engine much because of it's floaty physics and I don't find it nearly as fast as the classic titles or something as such. I know, you shouldn't be comparing it to the classics or anything, but... Sonic Worlds does bug me a bit.
The game takes place right after Sonic 2 even though Sonic 3 is immediately after Sonic 2. I can't exactly tells what's going on in the story, so please help me here. I see that there's this missile or something in a mountain surrounded by one of Eggman's robots I think. Giant machine, I don't know. Also Angel Island is falling... rather slowly I'd say. In the third zone, the Death Egg crashes into it... what happened during the other say, 5-6 zones? By the end, Sonic and Tails... I'm not sure actually. A bright light comes from the island and falls to the ocean with no large waves or anything, so I'm assuming that they stopped the island from causing a giant wave during the whole drop. Sonic and Tails fly to the island kicking off Sonic 3's story.
The gameplay is pretty much like Sonic Before the Sequel or any 2D Sonic game. You move left, right, jump, you have the spindash and the super peel out (but the charge is similar to a spindash). Sonic and Tails also have new moves. Well not really moves, but power-ups. One of which is a spike shield which protects you from spikes and can let you land on the ground much faster...? Well it's good for getting height if you bounce on a badnik, but I haven't found much of a use for that. The bubble shield returns from Before the Sequel, so no, it doesn't let you bounce, but rather lets you double jump and you can breathe underwater. The fire shield comes back from Sonic 3... or is a new item in the -- the Sequel games, whatever. It has the same properties as a normal fire shield; boost forward in midair.
Sonic and Tails also have their own exclusive power-ups. Both of which are from the Kirby series. Sonic gets Beam. By holding the 'X' button, you can charge up a Wave Beam. Tapping the 'X' button will simply make you do a slash. Tails gets Mirror. Holding 'X' allows him to do Reflect Force and pressing 'X' in the air allows him to use Mirror Body. I don't mind this concept. The only problem is that you can't move while charging for a Wave Beam or Reflect Force. That I find very annoying. I'd rather have it pull of a Megaman and still move while charging or attacking.
Each zone brings something new to the table and I quite like it. Only the first zone isn't very new but that's only because Lake wanted to see if he could make a better version of the previous first zone (I forgot what it's called. Please remind me). I do prefer the themes of the stages more than the previous game and I think there's less zone overall in this game. I'll have to check on that. Even if there were less stages, After the Sequel does contain much longer zones. I don't think any are as annoying or over-staying their welcome.
There are two modes, Story Mode and Classic Mode. Story is simply going through the game, no Special Stages and cutscenes are apparent. You still get to fight the last boss in your Super Form so don't worry about that. Classic Mode does contain Special Stages which you enter by collecting 50 rings by the end of the stage. I do actually really like these Special Stages. They're pretty much a 2D version of the Sonic Heroes Special Stages, but 100% less horrible control. You're simply chasing the emerald and hitting these blue balls will allow you to boost forward a bit. Hitting a green ball will slow you down. Pass the emerald to win it. At the point of this review, I've only played up to 2 Special Stages, I don't know how hard they get, but I would think they will become really difficult by the end.
Eggman's fights are just as good as the Sonic Before the Sequel ones I think, but one big problem is with some of the bosses where there's two sections to it. If you die, you have to begin from the very beginning of that stage. No checkpoints. So to me, it wastes time and it's very annoying. The best example I can think of is the Cyan City boss; I finish the flying section and get to the 'Metal Sonic' fight. A few times I got hit (and kept being hit for some reason) and died. Then, I begin at the beginning of the stage. This happened twice and it nearly drove me away from the game because of the wasted time... but I had to beat the game.
Each stage also contains these rings with a star in the middle of it. Collecting it will allow you to access the special version of that level after you beat the game. So that does add to the replay value. I just suck at looking for items like this.
The music in this game is good... but not many of them stick in my head. Horizon Heights' Act 1 and 3 I enjoyed, Foilage Furnace's Act 1, I liked Redhot Ride's Boss, and I enjoyed the remixes of MaxieDaMan's compositions... but that's all that really comes to mind. I do hope though that an OST will be released much like Before the Sequel had.
The graphics of this game are much more enhanced compared to Before the Sequel. Sonic and Tails have been completely reworked (though Sonic was like this since Before the Sequel Aftermath). I like the looks of the environment and some of the tile sets look more original than recolouring the original tile sets. The badniks seems much more original and I'm glad that Eggman's mobiles do NOT have a face, but I really didn't like that; it didn't seem Sonic to me.
Overall, I think the game was pretty fun. I like the zones, the level design, partly the music and I think the new power-ups are cool. I still think the Sonic Worlds control is a bit "meh" to me which is partly the reason why I don't entirely like to come back to this game or Before the Sequel. The biggest problem I have with Before and After the Sequel is that... even though it has Sonic, Eggman and all, I don't get Sonic out of it. I don't know what it is, but I just don't get Sonic. It's probably the whole design of the zones and the music. However, I can see this being in the Sonic series.
I know people will disagree with my whole opinions of this game. Don't get me wrong, I do like this game, but I feel like I've played better fan games or hacks. So my overall score for this game is 8/10.