This is another one of those "Steam needs a Mixed option" reviews. Ultimately I am recommending this game because I enjoyed my time with it despite it having a fair number of flaws. I will explain further ahead, I just wanted to get this out of the way first. Sonic the Hedgehog 4
is the sequel to the critically acclaimed classic, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (& Knuckles), a game that, in my opinion, did not require a sequel. Because of how successful Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (& Knuckles) was, it's almost guaranteed that Sonic the Hedgehog 4
will be disappointing to any long-term Sonic fan in some way or form, but that isn't to say that the game is a complete disaster, it's actually quite fun if you can overlook some of the bad features it has, which I will cover next.
Right off the bat you will see that this game does not play like any other 2D Sonic game in the past, there is barely any sense of speed and the physics actually feel worse than those in the first and original Sonic the Hedgehog. Spin dashes often slow down your momentum rather than increase your speed and jumping feels very clunky most of the time, this can be especially frustrating on the Casino Street Act 2 stage where you have to use careful platforming to jump across a bridge of moving cards.
Poor physics aside, the levels and stages are fun to play for the most part, but they are sadly just rehashes of previous levels from the older Sonic games, just branded with new names. Splash Hill for example is the same as Green Hill, Casino Street is a mix of Casino Night and Carnival Night, Lost Labyrinth is naturally very similar to Labyrinth from the first game and Mad Gear is Metropolis from Sonic the Hedgehog 2. The boss fights are also rehashes of bosses from the same levels they are almost direct clones of. Sonic the Hedgehog 4
as a sequel was essentially expected to have some new levels, unique areas and boss fights, but there are none of the above featured in this game. Everything will feel familiar but different, and unfortunately not in the good way like Sonic Generations
was able to accomplish.
What this game (or Episode, as Episode II is supposedly better and I haven't gotten to it yet) lacks is originality, something that all the old games managed to achieve so effortlessly, with all levels and bosses feeling unique despite being so limited at the time, so ultimately as a sequel, Sonic the Hedgehog 4
is a disappointment. As a standalone Sonic game however, it can be a fun experience if you take it for just that and not the "successor" to one of the best games ever made, similar to Doom vs Doom 3 as the first example that comes to mind.
Yes, this game has a lot of problems and lacks originality, but I still found it to be fun and I enjoyed my time with it, that is why I'm ultimately going to go for "yes" as opposed to "no". Long-term Sonic fans, take it from another seasoned Sonic the Hedgehog player, you are most likely going to be disappointed, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that you won't enjoy it at all, it takes a little bit of adapting to get used to the the new feeling of movement in this game, but once you get the hang of it, it's a fun to play.
So that's about it, you will either enjoy your time with this or you won't. In the end, my advice is to play it and judge it for yourself.