Sonic Generations | Flashback Review
Sonic Generations (360, PS3, PC)
Released on the Xbox 360, PS3,PC and separately for 3DS back in 2011, Sonic Generations has the latest technology to match with its high paced adrenaline fueled platforming. However, does this new blue hedgehog 20 year anniversary edition cross the line, or has Sonic’s best days been left behind?
Sonic the Hedgehog is arguably one of the more common gaming heroes that spring to mind over the wide range of gaming heroes we have come to know today. For some it brings back memories of the greater part of Sonic’s career during the time of Sega, before the shift to 3D when Sonic’s reputation was commonly lowered into bitter memories of poor game design. For these gamers, Sonic Generations aims to be a combination of some of the more memorable level design, music and boss battles that have spanned the many titles released over the past 2 decades.
From the moment you start the game, your given a brief flash back to the past before being raced back to the current time. It’s Sonic’s 20th birthday and his friends have prepared a surprise picnic party in honour of this occasion. After some sub-average banter (groan), a giant time ghost of doom appears to promptly kidnap Sonic’s friends leaving him knocked out cold (just another ordinary day in the life of Sonic). Upon waking, he finds himself trapped in a Limbo like place devoid of colour and life, until he spots a familiar looking structure off in the distance. After completing a rather familiar zone to the series, Sonic meets up with Tails and together they determine the only way to bring life and colour back to the areas around them, is by giving them the gift of supersonic speed. This is where the real game begins.
While the Sonic series hasn’t always been the most understandable when it comes to plot, there is one thing it has always done well. Sonic is as speedy as ever, and now there are two Sonics to race with. Classic Sonic, a combination of the old school 2D style game play with new shiny graphics, and Modern Sonic, a homage to the more recent sonic games with wide open areas and 3-Dimensional movement. Each of the 2 Acts across the 9 worlds that are featured in the game are split between these two styles. Despite this, adjusting to the different play styles never proves too difficult and is a clever way of appealing to all fans, both old and new to the series. Your goal is simple, to get from the start to the finish in the fastest time possible. To make it more difficult, you have only a set amount of lives with which to reach the goal. Unless you have some rings stored away taking damage will cause you to lose a life, and, upon running out of lives, trigger the game over screen.
Throughout the game you’ll find yourself pulling off many classic spin-dashing, boosting, sliding and soaring moves across many of the beautifully rendered areas featured across many of the previous sonic titles. This ranges from Green Hill Zone, first featured in the very first sonic, to Planet Wisp, featured on Sonic Colours for the Wii. These worlds are a joy to run across, and as you fall into that familiar pattern of plat-former style jumping, you’ll find yourself new paths for faster completion times, a pleasant way of increasing the approx short 10 hours of main story playability. There are also bonus events scattered throughout the worlds such as challenges to get through a level without taking a hit which further increase the playtime. However these events are a bit hit and miss in enjoyment. The music, despite being copied from the previous games each world features from, have been polished to such a level that it’s always a pleasure to listen to as you zip through at record speeds.
There is no denying that the main purpose behind this game is to provide an eye watering collection of nostalgic moments and fan fiction for the many fans the blue Hedgehog has collected over the years. However, even newcomers will find something new here, as there are plenty of fun moments to be had. If you’re a fan of New Super Mario brothers or Rayman Origins and seek a bit more of a fast paced challenge, it would be hard to go past this.
Not everything in Sonic Generations is flawless however. Some of the rough edges in platforming design, especially during the modern Sonic levels, will leave you with some bitter moments. There is nothing quite like pressing a button for the third time in an attempt to do a homing attack, only to have you fall to your death while you’re left to grind your teeth in frustration. It’s moments like these though that separate the true enthusiasts from the rest of the crowd, as the retry option is selected for the 5th time on a level in order to get a couple of seconds cut down on a previous set time.
Sonic Generations is a well-designed platformer, with an amazing soundtrack, a ho-hum story, average amount of playability and a combination of both great but also frustrating level design. While sometimes not for the faint at heart, it serves as an enjoyable experience for both fans to the series and newcomers alike. A step in the right direction, Sonic Generations is a welcome member of the sonic collection.