2011-11-10

Sonic Generations – Sonic Is Fast And Fun. Glad He’s Back.

by Yo Snyder

I was never much of a Sonic fan, but I didn’t dislike him either. I
played his early titles on the Genesis, but wasn’t very good at them. My
first console was the N64, and I’ve been more of a Nintendo guy since
that time and therefore have been more in Mario’s camp as a result. I
did enjoy Sonic’s adventures on the Gamecube, but haven’t really played
any of his other games. So when Sonic Generations rolled around,
and in the midst of a very busy release season, the title didn’t
generate a lot of interest for me, but I wanted to give it a try. What I
found was a game that mixed the very best of old and new school Sonic
and is a nice respite from the big production, high intensity, high
profile releases that are dominating the gaming scene right now.

Sonic Generations celebrates the past twenty years of Sonic’s
history, so for dedicated fans, there’s probably much more for you to
enjoy than casual fans such as myself. The real treat is  exploring HD
versions of classic Sonic levels, and they do look beautiful. Better
yet, you can explore them as either classic Sonic with fast and furious
2D speedy platforming, or as modern Sonic with a behind-the-shoulder
perspective and more 3D platforming elements. Since I’m more familiar
with modern Sonic from his adventure games and thought the racing and
grinding levels were the best parts of those games, I really enjoy doing
more of that here. However, the classic Sonic levels are also a blazing
blast and plenty of fun but again, probably more so for long-time Sonic
fans. Some of the later levels aren’t quite as much fun, but they also
come from Sonic games that suffered from being not quite as good, but
overall, whether it was classic or modern, I was always having a good
time.

However, some of my same issues with both versions of Sonic still
show up here. One is merely a result of my own lack of skill; classic
Sonic goes so fast I rarely have time to react to enemies or obstacles.
Surely this is something that can change with practice and learning the
levels, but then again, most of the time I’m going so fast I don’t even
see enemies until I’m bouncing back from them in a shower of lost rings.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t really a complaint because Sonic is at
his best when he’s blazing along at blistering speeds, I just wish I had
better reflexes so I wasn’t losing rings as I run headlong into an
enemy or a bunch of spikes that I don’t notice until I’m on top of them.
With modern Sonic, the issue is more one of spatial relations. It can
be hard to judge some of the jumps when you get into the 3D areas where
you aren’t really racing but more jumping and exploring. I missed
several jumps just because either I couldn’t quite judge it correctly or
the controls didn’t quite do what I expected them to. These are minor
issues, and familiar ones, and didn’t ruin the overall fun, but they
were frustrating.

Also, the pacing slows down a bit as you try to unlock access to each
boss. You have to do things like go through a previous level with
knuckles who will uncover coins. You need to collect a certain number of
coins while completing the level within a certain amount of time. I
appreciate the attempt to break things up a bit by giving you something
different to do, but after getting used to flying through the levels as
fast as possible, these more task orientated missions with their
start/stop flow is a little jarring and not nearly as enjoyable as the
rest of the game. Also, I know there are varying opinions about Sonic’s
cast of supporting characters, but rest assured, they play a fairly
minor role in this game, and when they do show up, it’s for something
that makes more sense than just trying to include them in the game
because they’re supposed to be there.

Sonic Generations is fun;
that may come as shock to cynics who feel the series probably peaked
with Sonic the Hedgehog 2. However, it’s true. It’s fast, furious fun
with a fun take on classic levels and the cool mechanic of being able to
switch between old and new school Sonic. There’s also plenty of secrets
and unlocks to score, and so while it may not break any new ground when
it comes to platforms, it does successfully return Sonic to his roots
and gets him back on track; and that’s a great thing. Yes, Sonic is fun
again, so if you need to rest your tired trigger finger and do something
a bit lighter on drama and heavier on fun, don’t hesitate to give Sonic
Generations
a try.

Score out of 7:

Graphics: 6 –
Bright, colorful, beautiful. Especially for some of the classic levels,
this is a real treat. A fast, fluid framerate doesn’t hurt either.
Really, this is a good looking game that just looks like it’s fun to
play; I’m glad that it is.

Sound: 5 – All the classic sounds are
back and sound just as they should, although don’t expect major
improvements in voice acting. It can get tiresome to hear the same music
blasting over and over as you go through a level, especially when it
has lyrics, but otherwise it’s a fine sounding game.

Controls: 5 –
Pretty good overall. Modern Sonic still has some of his quirks in
trying to navigate a 3D space with speed and a slight floatiness to the
controls. Otherwise, they’re pretty tight and responsive, as they should
be for a platformer.

Gameplay: 6 – It’s just a lot of fun when
Sonic goes fast. Again, I enjoy the 3D perspective the most because of
the adventure games I played, but the 2D version with classic Sonic is
still a blast. Plus, with upgradable skills, scores to earn, stars to
collect, and more, there’s plenty to keep you busy. Some to the slower
sections with other characters “helping” you aren’t quite as fun, but
they’re few and far between.

Story: 4- Does it really matter or
even have to make sense. Classic and modern Sonic are brought together
to run fast and defeat evil; what more needs to be told?

Content: 6 – It’s a fun, family friendly game everyone can enjoy. So go ahead, enjoy it.

Final:
5 – There are only a few nagging issues that hold Sonic back, but
overall this is a really fun game and should be a wonderful return to
form for longtime fans who’ve enjoyed the series throughout the years.