What's important about Episode 2 is that it IS that Sonic 4 we've been waiting for! It's complete with all-new zones, Tails, catchy music (Catchier than Episode 1, too), and even more elements that made the Genesis Sonics so great (It has momentum, people!).
As with the gameplay itself, it's pure 2D Sonic platforming action remastered, and boy has it held up pretty well! Everything has that exciting feel from the original Genesis games. The graphics are beyond-awesome (Check out them backgrounds!), the music is catchy as heck, and the game as a whole is just flowing with excellence! 4 zones (Not counting Death Egg Mk. II Zone) may sound like this would be a short game, but the levels themselves last for 2 to 4 minutes (Sonic 3 and Knuckles did this as well)! I timed myself once, and the game lasted 1 hour and 35 minutes, which is just as long, if not slightly longer, than a Genesis Sonic title. And that's without collecting the Chaos Emeralds, via Special Stages, and Red Rings scattered around in levels. Both of those elements make for some nice replayability.
And of course, we have Tails. How does Sonic's sidekick help enhance the gameplay? Well, if you have played Sonic 3, you would know that he could fly, and even helped lift Sonic out of danger. This game has that feature, but now you can also have him hold onto Sonic as you control him swimming underwater! This is a MUST for me, because I really don't enjoy playing water levels so much. It's not as cheap as you may think it is, because you still have to worry about the surrounding enemies and Sonic's amount of air. And of course, we have the cool-lookin' Rolling Combo attack (Think Sonic's Spin Dash x 2).
The story is being followed amazingly here. In Episode 1, we can't focus on that so much since we're seeing Sonic go through suspiciously familiar environments as he did before. Here, BOOSH! Metal Sonic comes into the action, after being revived by Eggm-er... Robotnik, except he's more badass than ever! Metal Sonic doesn't mess around. In Sonic CD, he's just introduced and you have to instantly race him (He kidnapped Amy, too, but...you know what I'm trying to say. He didn't play a BIG role). And let's not forget Robotnik, who has went on to create HUGE machines used for boss fights! Speaking of which, unlike Episode 1, this game manages to actually be challenging! I usually beat Episode 1 in a walk. Meanwhile, there's actually some difficulty here! You may get a couple Game Overs during a first try at the game.
Although this is one heck of a Sonic game (especially as a Sonic 4), there's still a few minor things I'll have to mention. For example, I think the boss fights could last a little shorter (1 or 1 1/2 minutes) rather than 3 minutes, and I still think the price tag is a bit steep for a classic Sonic game (Hey. It deserves being in that category in my book).
But overall, this is it. This is Sonic 4! And it definitely proves itself worthy of the name. If you are on the fence for a Sonic game, you should go get this game, even if you don't own the classic Sonic games already. If you are wondering to buy either Episode 1 or 2, WHY THINK ABOUT IT? Skip Episode 1 and go straight to here (Although owning both results in allowing you to download "Episode Metal", letting you play as Metal Sonic through enhanced levels)! But before downloading, BE SURE TO HAVE STEAM INSTALLED. That program/service is required for this great game.
UPDATE: I've recently gotten ahold of Sonic 4: Episode Metal. Really, it's Metal Sonic traveling through 4 levels, with each based off of the 4 zones of Episode 1. The only real problem I found is that Mad Gear Zone has a few pretty cheap areas that'll cost you some lives. Other than that, it plays just fine, and it's a nice way to kill 15 minutes
The Sonic 4 Saga continues in Episode II with the return of a beloved side kick and fan-favorite villains!
Following the events of Episode I, Metal Sonic has returned to form a formidable alliance with Dr. Eggman! To face this new evil, Sonic will have to call upon an old friend to help him save the day! Now joined by Tails, race across four brand new Zones and take down fearsome new badniks with deadly combination moves in order to put an end to this dastardly duo’s plans!
New and Improved
Episode II features an all-new engine; bringing you gameplay with updated physics and Zones in stunning HD graphics.
Team up with a friend via Bluetooth and take control of Sonic and Tails as they battle against Dr. Eggman and Metal Sonic!
Lock-on with Episode Metal
Users who own both Episodes I & II will unlock an exclusive scenario featuring Metal Sonic! Explore four Acts across four reworked Zones from Episode I and experience the story of Metal Sonic's revival after his defeat in Sonic CD!
See more at Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Episode II Kindle Fire