Sonic Generations – Xbox 360
Platform: Xbox 360
Developer: Sonic Team
Release Date (NA): November 1, 2011
Nerd Rating: 6 out 10
Reviewed by Nerdberry
Sonic Generations was touted as the best Sonic game since Sonic the Hedgehog 3 for the Sega Genesis. Sonic Team promised to please both new and oldschool Sonic fans with the integration of 2 dimensional gaming into a 3 dimensional world. With the inclusion of new and classic gaming also came the inclusion of new and classic Sonic. Sonic’s visual appearance changed dramatically from his time catching Flickie’s in Sonic 3D Blast for the Sega Saturn (and the much inferior version on the Sega Genesis) and his time helping launch the Sega Dreamcast into the true 3D experience. When I saw the teaser trailer for Sonic Generations that showed both Sonic characters running side by side. I instantly drove to GameStop and reserved my copy!
Sonic Generations follows a less traditional Sonic plot which really adds more intrigue and makes it feel like something new rather than something old. To summarize: both past Sonic and present Sonic find their respective worlds to be erased by the Time Eater. They find themselves in an area called the White Space with no color, no texture, and no life. They soon discover that by exploring their past worlds they can restore its color, vibrancy, and living entities. Later in the game it is discovered that the answer to defeating the Time Eater is to collect the Chaos Emeralds (beginning to sound familiar?). All 7 chaos emeralds must be collected in order to defeat the Time Eater. With the help of Tails (past and present Tails), the 4 of them fight to restore the worlds they know and love and bring their friends back.
Sonic Generations is quite intuitive and I thoroughly enjoyed picking up the sticks to play this game. Upon entering Green Hill Zone for the first time, I felt a wave of nostalgia rush through me and I was overly thrilled with the respect paid and effort given to re-create the look and feel of the early Sonic series on the Sega Genesis platform. I want to use words like “paid homage” or “a nod to the original” but those words don’t quite fit here because it’s intentionally supposed to be JUST like revisiting the classic games.
Many of the levels from the original series are revisited in this game such as Green Hill Zone, Chemical Plant, Sky Sanctuary, and more. Not only do they recreate the music, the levels, the sound effects, etc but they are all updated with exceptional detail and vibrant colors. The grass in Green Hill Zone isn’t flat, it sticks up, which is new. But the grass is still checkered with dark and green strips of grass too, which is not new. Chemical Plant Zone still has all of the awful moving staircases and traps that make it difficult to get out of the pinkish water! Green Hill Zone still has all of the wooden bridges with fish jumping and springs hidden in tree tops.
The great thing about Sonic Generations is exactly the thing that they advertised it as: A new Sonic experience mixed with classic Sonic gameplay. In almost all Zones, the first act is a classic 2D kind of level (with some really cool 3D moments where the camera angle switches and follows Sonic from behind briefly as he flies through the air or sprints across a spiraling bridge) reminiscent of Genesis / Game Gear Sonic games. The second act is usually a 3D level in the vein of Sonic Adventure and the many GameCube / Wii Sonic titles. The 3D levels are breathtaking and stunning with the sheer volume of “stunts” Sonic performs (such as riding rails, jumping through hoops, flying through the air off of bumpers, and more) and the intense camera angles that change quite often.
Sonic Generations starts off as a truly fun game with genuinely new experiences that will bring back fond childhood memories for some (and make others wish they knew more about the Genesis games). With all of the grande graphical updates and attention to detail when recreating the classic stages, Sonic Generations is not without its flaws. One thing I noticed IMMEDIATELY is what feels like a slight delay in Sonic’s jump. This might go unnoticed by someone who doesn’t play the Genesis Sonic games, but I play those games quite often. The delayed jump took some time to get used to, but once I figured it out, it wasn’t really a problem at all. Another MAJOR drawback to Sonic Generations is: I feel as if the developers started to get kind of lazy the further into the game I got. All of that “whoa I remember this music!” or “This looks just like Sonic 3” feeling just disappears completely and that “retro” visual and physical gameplay just gets lost. It just doesn’t feel like an old game mixed with a new one after a while… it started to feel just like any other modern-age Sonic game. This was thoroughly disappointing and made me not really want to advance. Instead I found myself revisiting the first few stages and exploring them a little more (not much to explore though as this game is very linear).
Other faults of Sonic Generations are much like the same faults of all modern-age Sonic games. I feel like I have little to no control over much of anything that happens in the 3D stages. I just press forward and occasionally dodge something or press the A button to jump and then press it again to use my homing attack. The simplicity of it is nice but the simplicity is also boring. These simple 3D layouts make it seem more like a way to showcase Sonic’s speed and the beautiful animation created by the Sonic Team (which I will reiterate is masterfully crafted). There’s not much challenge but there is plenty of frustration. Sometimes you’ll be flying along a path and there will be little warning as to some danger ahead. OR you might see the danger ahead, but there’s little knowledge as to what you should do to avoid it. This sort of ambiguity causes a player to get pissed off and not recommend the game to their friends.
Overall, Sonic Generations offers a fresh take on an old, classic, and somewhat tired series (this coming from a true Sonic fan). The platforming is challenging and fun, but one will likely find themselves losing interest rapidly as the difficulty picks up and the gameplay, variety, and creativity drops down. Sonic Generations is visually remarkable and the cinematic events of modern-Sonic running at his fastest while being chased by something huge (such as a killer whale) and the camera angle switches to Sonic’s front so you can see the action behind him… THAT will make you crap your pants in awe. Sonic Generations is a fun pick-me-up on occasion but overall fails to really make you feel satisfied in the long run. If the price ever drops low enough, it might be worth a few bucks to add to your collection. Otherwise, it’s only an average game with very few extraordinary moments. Genesis Sonic… May you rest in peace.
Nerd Rating: 6 out 10
Submitted by NerdBerry
PS: GameStop offered an exclusive classic level (CASINO NIGHTS) when one reserves the game prior to release. When one plays the game they will discover this “free” level to be a boring pinball mini-game with some Casino Nights animation. Needless to say, I was MORE THAN DISAPPOINTED!
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