Sonic Generations Review
The blue hedgehog strikes again.
I remember playing Sonic the Hedgehog on my Sega Mega Drive eons ago, and loving the breakneck speed at which the fuzzy blue dot would dash around the levels against the evil Doctor Robotnik. Since then Sonic has come a long way, with a string of remakes and new adventures over the years. The latest effort from team Sega is Sonic Generations, which attempts to revitalize the traditional 2D adventure with some exceptional 3D gameplay.
The story here is a bit of a puzzler – an ominous looking being interrupts Sonic’s peaceful picnic by sucking up all of his friends and trapping them in the various levels of the game. Sonic himself is then thrust into a void where he meets himself from his Mega Drive days, and the two Sonics must team up to rescue everyone and save the day. Yes, the storyline makes little sense, but it’s easy to overlook thanks to the rather spectacular gameplay. Sonic Generations features several classic levels such as Green Hill Zone which have been updated and brought to life with some impressive visuals. You essentially play each level twice, once as retro Sonic and the other as future Sonic. The gameplay with retro Sonic is the same as it’s always been, with fast side-scrolling action through the updated levels. But when you swap over to Act 2 as future Sonic, the gameplay takes a very different turn, with a front-facing view as you tear across the 3D landscape. Future Sonic also has a homing attack which he can use on enemies or to zero in on springs and platforms. You can also boost forward by holding down the square button, and recharging your boost meter is as simple as collecting rings. While you’re essentially playing through the same level as before, it feels like a brand new experience thanks to the multiple paths available and the sheer speed at which you can zip through the level.
As you complete the various acts and rescue your friends, you will have the opportunity to unlock some of the stacks of content available in the game. By facing various rivals you can collect the ever cherished chaos emeralds, or if you complete other challenges you can unlock alternative music scores or artwork. You also have to collect special keys which will let you unlock the boss stages so you can progress forward. The white void you’re initially thrust into soon comes to life as you progress through the game, unlocking further levels and challenges. In addition to this, you can customize Sonic’s skills before you start a level, with everything from extra rings to a longer boost. These skills can be easily acquired from the Skills shop and then equipped or swapped around when you’re not in any of the levels. You can even spend your hard earned points to get a Mega Drive controller and play the original 16bit version of Sonic!
Apart from the ton of unlockables and challenges, there are two online modes available to see how well you know each of the levels. My favorite was the ’30 second post’, where you blitz through a level as fast as you can, and wherever you are at the end of 30 seconds is marked by a post. You can then look up other players’ posts and try to beat their progress for that level. I didn’t see a lot of people playing this mode, so maybe it’s not something that would appeal to most fans.
Visually the game does do well in most areas. Each level packs a meticulous amount of detail, and though most of it flies past it’s still pretty to look at if you spend a few precious moment standing still. The audio is also superb, with the only disappointment being that the original “Saaaay-gaaa” is not present when the game starts. The occasional cut scenes can be a bit cringe worthy with the dialogue, but you can thankfully skip ahead and get back to the game.
Sonic Generations is a great game for fans of the series as well as anyone looking to play Sonic for the very first time. With plenty of unlockables and challenges to beat, this is the surefire Sonic game to get so far.