Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sonic Generations - Review


Sonic Generations is the game released to celebrate Sonic's 20th "birthday." In order to do so, SEGA decided to take our hedgehog on a trip through time to revisit worlds from his past; however, this time there is a twist! Sonic isn't the only one who joins us for this adventure, but "Classic" Sonic makes his return as well!

Story:

Sonic Generation is very light on it's story elements, but there is at least some story to get you through the game. The game starts with Sonic going to his birthday party which his friends have planed for him without him even knowing it. Sonic spends some time with his friends, but soon a strange black creature crashes the party. This strange creature captures all of Sonic's friends and leaves him in a world without color. As the game goes on Sonic meets up with his younger self, and they both set out on an adventure to save their friends.

The story is very light and only has any real development near the beginning. Once Sonic meets up with his younger self, the game takes on a classic style with Sonic simply running through the levels. After each level Sonic saves one of his friends, which have something to say to him in return, but that's actually about it. While having a basic story isn't a bad thing, it can be a bit of a let down for fans expecting more. A lot of the characters you meet along the way are sort of just "there," and the game never does offer any real explanation. Even characters from other dimensions and timelines are here to support Sonic, and no one seems to notice just how out of place they are.

Gameplay:

Sonic Generations features two very different styles of gameplay, Classic Gameplay and Modern Gameplay, and it features three different eras: Classic, Dreamcast, and Modern. Although each level does in fact come from a past Sonic game, they have been completely redone to fit the new gameplay styles. While the Classic Sonic levels play a lot like they did back in the day, Modern Sonic's have been completely revamped.

Classic Gameplay -


Act 1 of every single level will have you playing as Classic Sonic in Classic Style levels. These levels play just like they did back during the Genesis days! Sonic can only run, jump, spin dash, and use items that he picks up. The spin dash HAS been mapped to a button for quicker access, but it can still be pulled off by holding down and pressing jump as well; really this is the only change that was made to the Classic Style.


The Classic Gameplay is a little bit faster than it was during the Genesis days, and the levels do make use of 2.5D effects. Sometimes you'll be able to get on paths which lead to the foreground, while other paths will actually take you into the background or behind objects. The Classic Style always stays 2D, but it does make use of the 3D world. Although it isn't quite the same as the old days, it does still have that 90s feel to it.

Modern Gameplay -


Modern Gameplay is the same style of gameplay that we've seen in the past two console releases, Unleashed and Colors. Now I actually didn't care much for either of them games, heck I didn't even think a good Unleashed Style Sonic game was possible, but things have been GRATELY improved this time. Modern Sonic's gameplay switches between full 3D, and 2.5D during each level. Modern Sonic's levels are VERY long levels with many long paths which also branch out into others. Although speed tends to be the main focus in these levels, there are quite a few platforming parts, and there are places that will require fast reflexes. Modern Sonic has the ability to boost, a boost meter is seen at the bottom of the screen which fills up as you collect rings/kill bad guys, he has the ability to lock onto enemies and homing attack, and he also has the ability to slide and drift around corners, and even side step.

While boosting the screen will actually be coming at you at over 300 MPH, which will require you to be able to react fast. Sometimes you'll have to side step to dodge objects that are falling in front of you, other times you'll have to be able to drift around a corner without flying off the screen. These parts can be quite challenging at times, but they can also be taken slower if players have a hard time with them. You just have to keep in mind that stages grade you based on speed, so it's always best to try and go as fast as possible.

(It's really nice to see classic levels in HD)

Sonic Unleashed and Colors featured the same type of gameplay, but there were a few major differences. In Unleashed and Colors MOST of the levels had invisible walls that forced you to go along a set path. The 3D levels felt like 2D levels with a behind view, and you really couldn't explore at all. There were a few branching pathways, but these were still very limited. Sonic Generations on the other hand, fixed this.

Sure there are still a few invisible walls to keep you on track, but the levels themselves are actually a lot more open. Since all of the levels are remakes from past Sonic games, SEGA had to make sure that the Unleashed style would work for them. The gameplay feels much smoother, Sonic no longer slides around as much, and all of the controls are much tighter as well--making the game much more enjoyable than other recent releases.

Although there are only around 9 levels in this game, two acts per level, there are actually levels hidden inside of levels! Although you might be playing "Seaside Hill" from Sonic Heroes, you could find yourself running through parts of "Hydrocity" as well. It's just really nice to see how SEGA was able to hide parts of other levels in completely different levels! If you've never played a Sonic game before you really wouldn't notice these parts, but any true fan would be able to spot them right away.

Missions -

Missions are just side quests that can be completed as extras. Sometimes these missions have you racing other characters, other times they make you use other characters special powers to get you through the levels. Really these are just extras, and they offer a wide range of different gameplay styles (Time Attack, Collection, Battle, Race, Mini Game, and so on).

The Skill System:

The Skill System is kind of a mix between past power ups, and the level system we saw in games like Sonic and the Secret Rings. By doing different goals in the game, players are able to unlock different skills that either Classic or Modern Sonic can use. Each character can equip up to 100 points worth of skills, each skill requires a set amount of points, to use in just about every level in the game. There's a wide range of skills to unlock in this game (including faster speed, endless boost, and the skate board in any level), and it's up to the player to decide how to mix and match them.

Music:

Sonic Generation's music is mostly made up of remixes from past Sonic songs. Each stage includes two remixes of their original songs, and a few other remixes were thrown in for the side missions. All of the music sounds great, and you can even unlock originals! To go along with the unlockable music, there's also a music select option for each stage! Want to run through City Escape (from Sonic Adventure 2) with Endless Possibilities (Sonic Unleashed's Theme Song) playing in the back ground? Well, you can do it! It takes a little while to unlock all of the songs, but it's really nice to know that most of the well known songs did make it in. It's really nice fan service for long time fans.

Graphics:

The Graphics in Generations really do look nice, but they are also more of a cartoony style. It fits well for Sonic, but it isn't crazy detailed like Sonic The Hedgehog (2006), or other 360/PS3/PC games. Please don't get me wrong though, this isn't a bad thing at all! Although I loved seeing all the detail in Sonic 06, Generations still looks really nice. The only down side is the fact that the world flies by so fast, you really don't have time to look at it! Sure you could always slow down and take your time to enjoy the world, but it's something you most likely wont want to do.


Although the game graphics do look really nice, some of the Cutscenes were actually compressed which caused the quality to become a lot lower than it should be. This is only a problem in a few cutscenes, since most cutscenes are actually rendered in real time, so once again its actually not a big deal, and it's only a problem that effects the 360 version of the game. It's still a shame that we won't be able to see these cutscenes the way they were made.

Online Leader Boards:

The final feature included in Sonic Generations is the inclusion of Leader Boards! Leader Boards allow you to speed through each stage and upload your score to a global server! This gives all players a reason to shoot for that high score, and it also gives them the chance to prove who truly is the fastest thing alive!


Besides the normal Leader Board mode, a second "30 second" trial has been added as well. The goal in this mode is to simply run as far as you can into a level before your 30 seconds are up. This mode can be a LOT of fun, and it's a nice way to show off to your friends just how fast you really go, but there is no global ranking for this mode. This is friends only sadly... Either way, it is still a fun mode to mess around in, and it really challenges you to just try and push a bit farther!

The Good and the Bad:

Overall Sonic Generations is the game that many Sonic fans have been waiting for. It brought back Classic Sonic, it improved the Unleased gameplay, everyone's favorite songs are back, and we get to see remastered versions of some of our favorite levels. The custom soundtrack option is nice, the graphics look nice, and the gameplay is also nice and smooth. This is a game most Sonic fans would really enjoy, and it doesn't matter what generation is your favorite!

Even though it is a pretty good game overall, the compressed CGI cutscenes look bad, the game lacks difficulty (I was able to S rank every level on my first try), and there really wasn't much of a story. I was also hoping to be able to play as characters OTHER than Sonic, but that didn't happen. Really, Sonic being the only playable character could be seen as both a good and a bad thing, but it really just comes down to what you prefer.

In short, Sonic Generations is a good game, but it's one of them games that can really only be fully appreciated by fans. This game allows you to relive the past 20 years of Sonic's life, and is filled with nostalgia. In the end, I give Sonic Generations a solid 8/10.

It's a good game, but it still has a few minor problems. If you're a fan of the Adventure games, you're going to miss the other characters, and if you're a die hard classic fan, you may end up not wanting to play as Modern Sonic. These few things may keep the game from being a perfect 10 for you, but I can still safely recommend it to just about anyone!

Even if you're just a fan of platformers, this game is worth *at least* a  rent!

Thank's SEGA, it's good to be home.

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