13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Short on content, long on fun,
This review is from: Sonic Generations (PS3) (Video Game)
A... good Sonic game? A GOOD Sonic game?! What crazed Bizarro world parody of Earth is this upon which I find myself? After so many years of the has-been hedgehog turning out terrible game after terrible game (Last year's surprisingly good 'All Star Racing' excepted I guess, but it wasn't strictly a Sonic game) it seemed not unreasonable by this point to just roll your eyes at the very idea of a new Sonic game (Although some of us still kept coming back for more every time. Not my proudest moments.)... but believe me when I say that Sonic Generations is easily the best Sonic game since the series moved to 3D. I'm sure the irony of the majority of the game being based firmly in 2D play mechanics is lost on no one.
Foregoing the pointlessly long winded narrative structure of the majority of the 3D Sonic games, Generations' story is kept as minimal as possible, using only the bare minimum of cutscenes to establish the story that sees some sort of time travelling monster causing havoc for both 'classic' Sonic (As he appeared in the Mega Drive Sonic games) in the 'past' and 'modern' Sonic (The Poochie D-esque annoyance he's become today) in the present. With the two stranded in a white 'limbo' outside of time and unaware of each other's presence there, they both must travel through levels revamped from every Sonic game from the very first title right up to last year's Sonic Colours, each played in 2D for classic Sonic and in a hybrid 3D/2D mixture for modern Sonic that has the appearance of the 'daytime' levels of Sonic Unleashed in execution, but are significantly better put together here. This essentially gives you every level presented in a Mega Drive era fashion (Gameplay wise at least) and also in a full 3D fashion, and it works fantastically.
The 2D stages adhere surprisingly closely to the play mechanics of the original Mega Drive titles, correcting the missteps that made the recent downloadable disappointment Sonic 4 such a bad idea by actually making it play just like the older games, with none of the new nonsense tossed in (Goodbye homing attack) for these levels aside from the visuals of course. It actually FEELS like Sonic 3 to play, which is just how you'd want it when the game is aiming for what this one is. The 2D levels are fun, well put together and do real justice to their originating sources. The 2D altered versions of levels from 3D Sonic games have some really cute touches to them as well, with Sonic Adventure 2's 'City Escape' being a real highlight in my eyes. The 3D hybrid levels with modern Sonic take a fairly different approach, but not so much as you might expect. There are a lot of 3D sequences, yes, but at least half your play time in these levels will also be spent in 2D... except that these modern levels DO feel a lot more like Sonic 4 in execution but with several tweaks that make it a lot more fun to play such as the 'speed boost' ability that sends you flying forward at ludicrous speeds, with you having to collect rings to keep the boost gauge full. It cannot be overstated how great the sense of speed during these moments are, most especially when controlling Sonic in the full 3D segments. There are some of the usual niggles in here like suddenly appearing obstacles, traps or enemies that you will usually be going too fast to possibly react to in time and some control annoyances with the 3D bits, but beyond that, I was amazed by how intuitive and easy to handle the controls were in the game. I think what highlights best just how much better this game is than what came before it is the level 'Crisis City'... a post apocalyptic, lava filled city level which is lifted from the 2006 3D Sonic the Hedgehog game. In THAT game, Crisis City was a deeply frustrating level where you were constantly being bombarded with sudden pitfalls, tons of enemies and a level which seemed to go on forever in addition to the poor controls the game itself had... and in Sonic Generations, this level is recreated for modern Sonic in such a way that it LOOKS identical to see in motion, but the tighter controls, more focused, reasonable length level design and challenges that don't feel cheap make it a completely different experience to play. I died something like 7 times before finishing this level in the older Sonic game... in Generations I did it in one shot with minimal hassle... which in a way brings us to one of the main problems with this game: difficulty.
This is not a hard game. The challenge is fairly minimal throughout, with enemies proving to be little more inconvenient than jumping over a stone in front of you. The bosses are a little harder, but still aren't up to much, with the best I can say about their difficulty being that some of them are looooooong. One of the later boss fights where you have to battle Dr Robotnik in some sort of big flying dragon type robot went on way too long for my liking, lasting longer than any regular level of the game I had done up until that point. Then on top of this the final boss of the game is absolutely infuriating. Not because it is actually hard or anything, but more because the way it is designed is just horrible, and really ruins everything that the game did so right beforehand at the worst possible moment. There is also a point to be made about how short the game is, as apparently it took me just over 6 hours to complete... and that's with doing a whole bunch of the challenge levels too, rather than just blasting through the story. I'd be very surprised if it took the average player of reasonable skill more than 10 hours at the most to get the Platinum trophy for this one. Which may sound fairly decent for a Sonic game (Especially when you consider that the original Sonic the Hedgehog, included on the Generations disc as a bonus, is barely ONE HOUR long in it's entirety) but still felt very 'slight' to me. There is replay value here though, and at the end of the day it is very enjoyable to play, but worth full retail? Debatable.
Graphically, the game is just marvellous. The characters and levels are brightly coloured and super fast moving with rock solid performance from beginning to end. I did find that the lighting looked a tad 'odd' in places, but beyond that, it's a superb looking game. The soundtrack is pretty great too, made up of numerous remixes of various Sonic soundtracks from throughout the character's history. The... ugh... voice acting is what you've come to expect from a Sonic game at this point, but Sonic Team made the very wise decision to not have 'classic' Sonic talk at all, which works perfectly thankfully and makes for some amusing physical comedy that is streets ahead of the crap you get from modern Sonic's repellant 'supporting cast'.
All in all, this is a really great game. It's fun, it's easy to play and provides a genuinely enjoyable nostalgia trip charting the history of the Sonic series (Both good and bad) in a really well judged manner. It is very light on content though and the difficulty is pitched very low, but these are probably minor gripes (now that the game's price has dropped quite a bit at least) against the fact that this is easily the best Sonic game since his Mega Drive days. It is superb.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 31 Jan 2012 12:36:27 GMT
An excellent review John, as usual. And a definite +1 for comparing Modern Sonic to Poochie.
In reply to an earlier post on 14 Sep 2013 22:52:13 BDT
Last edited by the author on 14 Sep 2013 22:52:59 BDT
D. Birkhead says:
Also RE: Robotnik's Dragon machine fight. It is possible to kill him much more quickly but you have to be very fast and go up on the rails as well as on the ground. It's one of the areas of the game that actually benefits from any extra skill you've built up.
+1 for the final boss though. Wish they'd stop introducing wierd monsters and gimmicks (werehog included). I guess it started with Chaos in Sonic Adventure but I didn't mind him for some reason. I would love to see an oldschool plot though more like what they did with Sonic 4 Ep II, but in 3D. Robotnik, Death Egg and Metal Sonic are what will bring Sonic back.
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