Title: Sonic Generations
Platform: 3DS (360, PS3, PC)
Developer: Team Sonic, CriWare
Review by: Bill Jones
After so many failed attempts to bring Sonic back to his 16-bit prominence, it feels good to be able to write that Team Sonic has finally created a Sonic game worth caring about again, a Sonic game that boils things down to what we used to love so much about the series, a Sonic that we actually enjoy racing left to right across the screen, a Sonic that successfully spans generations and make us love that blue hedgehog again.
Sonic Generations has a story, though it is thankfully skeletal and simply serves to explain the different styles of gameplay present. A black hole has opened and some evil beast has created a wormhole through time that has brought Classic Sonic and Modern Sonic (and their Tails counterparts) together to fight against the threat, with which Dr. Eggman/Dr. Robotnik is most definitely involved.
Players play through stages inspired by the classic levels from throughout the Sonic series, and each level is played in a Classic stage and Modern stage. At the beginning, Classic Sonic is simply limited to his spin attack, while Modern Sonic features super speed to grind, slide and boost. Ultimately, the two are able to teach each other a few tricks, though, as the game progresses. After each stage, gamers play through a special stage to earn chaos emeralds. Boss fights also come every few stages, first giving players a race to win and then a boss to defeat in battle.
Old-school fans will inevitably enjoy the classic moments more than the modern ones, but both are well designed and keep the action fast (for the most part), the way Sonic should be. Sure, stages like the Casino throwback tend to slow things down and in the process serve to remind us why Sonic is at his best when he’s fast.
Ultimately Generations is downright enjoyable, and even builds to a solid finale. There are plenty of extras and alternative ways to play the game, adding longevity. Even the 3D elements on the 3DS version are enjoyable, and the depth adds something significant in the Chaos Emerald tube stages. It is even a nice touch to see Modern Sonic talk but Classic Sonic remain silent.
But the title is not without a few drawbacks. Again, the slow moments serve to take gamers out of things. There is also a feeling during certain stages (more often the Modern ones), that most of the game runs on the player holding the analog to the right, and only at a few key moments is some planning and skill actually necessary to get to the finish line. It essentially seems like it’s on auto-pilot and more cinematic than interactive at times, but that somehow remains enjoyable. And somehow, Sonic finds a way to celebrate his 20th anniversary in a way fans can actually embrace.
For more info, sega.com
Pads & Panels received a copy of the game courtesy of the publisher for review purposes.