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Sonic Generations: PS3 Review


20 years. Makes you feel old, doesn’t it? This silly little game we all played on our Mega Drives when we were kids is now a 20 year old pillar of gaming. He’s certainly had his highs and lows, but like any respectable person, he can look back with no regrets. And that’s exactly what Sonic Generations does.

Let’s start from the beginning; Tails lures Sonic out to a seemingly harmless picnic which turns out to be a surprise party for his birthday. After some brief enjoyment, an enormous, unwanted, purple monster called the Time Eater crashes the party and sucks Sonic and all his buddies into different times and locks them in a crazy sort of limbo. It’s here where Sonic teams up with his ‘classic’ alternative from the past in order to restore the time-line, free his friends and defeat the Time Eater.

First of all, thank God that SEGA understands that Sonic is not about realistic worlds and apocalyptic mayhem. The plot is wonderfully light-hearted and well suited to the speedy, blue rodent. The atmosphere is celebratory and revisits its’ history with an incredible attention to detail and treats it with enormous respect. Instead of half-heartedly porting the stages over intact, each is given two different, unique layouts; one for Classic Sonic and one for Modern Sonic.

The game is an enormous melting pot of different gameplay styles which can be customised to suit your preference (more on that later). The defaults play as you’d expect; Classic Sonic runs and jumps around 2D worlds with only the spin-attack to aid your speed and offence. It’s nostalgically simple and the stages are designed with this in mind. Modern Sonic comes with all the special abilities a current Sonic game brings; homing attacks, boosting, sliding, grinding, stomping and light-speed dashing. Just like Classic Sonic, Modern Sonic is wonderfully intuitive to play and his additional speed makes for one hell of a visceral adventure.

Now let’s take a short moment to discuss some of the gameplay issues. Now, this might be a little spoilerific, but it’s an issue that needs to be addressed; Sonic Generations has a rather cool little unlockable that allows you to play the original Sonic the Hedgehog on the Mega Drive. While this is a nice little touch, it does exacerbate some of Classic Sonic’s shortcomings. Classic Sonic is bizarrely ‘heavy’ and there feels like there’s a slight delay regarding jumping. It’s only a small niggle, but when you press the jump button and when Sonic actually jumps doesn’t appear to happen in real time. The delay is minute but it is noticeable, especially when the original game is there for all to experience. The other bizarre design choice is that when Classic Sonic is injured, he does not flick straight back into action like the original game; he performs a short ‘getting up’ animation that spoils the flow to a certain degree (this can be bizarrely corrected with a skill that can be bought in the game’s shop). As I’ve mentioned, these issues are small and never spoil the game, but with the original game there for comparison, they certainly feel a little wonky.

On the other hand, Modern Sonic does not suffer these issues and even techniques like the homing attack and drifting have been improved over past titles. The homing attack is now performed using the same button as jumping and the turning circle while drifting has been tightened to make it feel a little less unruly.

All of this can be tweaked to suit the way you play better. Each Sonic has five load-outs that can be equipped with different perks like shields, bonus rings and extra lives. These can all be bought from the game’s shop using points earned in the stages. This is a fantastic little addition that suits Generations’ focus on multiple playthroughs thanks to the two Sonics.

Presentation is the biggest draw when it comes to Generations. All the zones are re-imagined in HD with amazing detail that harks back to the Mega Drive days. The depth of each stage is vast and makes you feel like these stages are actually a part of a real place and not just some quirky game-world. Colours are vibrant and playful bringing back memories of the SEGA games of yore.

Music rounds this amazingly well presented package out in spectacular form. All the stage themes have been remixed and remastered to evoke the memories of the original tracks while offering something new at the same time. This ethos sums up the entire game perfectly and makes for a fantastically enjoyable experience that is celebratory at the same time.

There’s also a raft of additional missions for each stage and for each Sonic that extend this game’s replay value way beyond the credits. There’s some fantastic creativeness to some of these missions with bonkers concepts like giant badniks and more traditional racing missions against other characters. The rewards for taking part in the missions also offer a variety of different unlockables that we don’t want to spoil!

Sonic Team have done an amazing job of making Sonic’s 20th anniversary a special one. Fans of Sonic the Hedgehog will revel in Sonic Generations’ nostalgic throwbacks to different games in the series, while experiencing new stage layouts and missions to test their Sonic reflexes. New players will also enjoy the game thanks to the game’s entirely new plot and new stages that can be approached with no prior knowledge of the series.

Well done Sonic Team; this is a perfect tribute to 20 years of speedy platforming. It should also be commended that Sonic Team made a Sonic ’06 level enjoyable!

Happy 20th Birthday Sonic the Hedgehog!

8/10

Written by Sonic Yoda on 03/11/2011


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