Ah Sonic…You haven’t had the best development cycle in the gaming industry, highly questionable games and tons of rushing but you finally managed to do it. Sure Unleashed was good whenever you weren’t playing as the Werehog. Colors was good but motion controls are poop, handheld games have been good thou.
Many “critics” have called Sonic Generations a “best of” collection even thou in reality they took some levels, made new ones and modified the old ones. More on that later.
Anyway! Let’s get onto with Generations!
The game offers 2 kinds of different levels, 2D and 3D platforming.
That’s right, you can play Sonic like the classic games and Sonic like in the modern games. This is a win-win situation, however there are a few drawbacks in the level design.
The few drawbacks are creativity, you see. The game takes some of the best levels from older Sonic games that were released before Sonic Heroes, there are new levels too but they’re based on the older levels. All the levels do have minor changes to them thou, and while there is a lot of new stuff like in one level they took some mechanics from Sonic Colors, the rocket and spike Wisps are back in one stage only, each stage has 2 acts. 2D and 3D.
Important note, not a single level is copy paste. They all have been changed in some ways.
Let’s start with the classic 2D Sonic: The camera is much more “back” than in older games like Sonic 2, meaning that you can actually see in front of you. Sonic is more onto the left and you can see the level farther away, this is a very good thing and gives a lot more control to the player. Classic Sonic plays surprisingly fast, especially if you do the spindash all the time. It can get hectic and made with speed running in mind. Sure there are enemies and traps meant to stop you but they’re not a problem once you know where to jump, the multiple pathways to completing the stages are really fun and some are outright hard to get to. They really stuck to the level design of Sonic 2, Sonic CD and Sonic 3 & Knuckles.
Onto 3D then, the 3D levels are surprisingly very nonlinear with 2 or 3 level exceptions.
They are all great for running at great speeds but all of these levels have at least 1 area where you have to play in 2D, like the DS Sonic titles which are also pretty solid.
Instead of the spindash modern Sonic has a boost. These 2 simple mechanics bring completely different level design, while the basic idea is the same the design of the levels is adjusted to these mechanics. Like how modern Sonic can do the lightdash, press a button on a shiny string of rings and Sonic flies through them. Overall, both Sonics are very well designed and each level brings different spins to them to keep things fresh.
The challenges that you can complete for unlockables are mostly solid, beat a level in certain amount of time, beat a level with some changes, beat a level using some friends as gimmicks like Knuckles digging coins that you have to collect a certain amount. All but a few exceptions these are actually pretty solid.
The boss battles are mainly just reused bosses from older Sonic games with a few changes, all the bosses except the last 2 are all solid. There are minibosses too, you get to fight Shadow and Silver. They’re a bit too easy but it’s not a huge gripe.
The unlockables are really good-esc, you can unlock art and music. We all care about unlocking more songs in our Sonic games now don’t we? Unfortunately there aren’t many songs, I mean, it has 56 songs, most are just 1 song with 2 versions. One for modern and one for classic sonic. They are mostly great but you can’t have certain songs like songs from Sonic R (shit game but some great songs), Sonic Heroes and Shadow The Hedgehog (admit it, it has a few good songs). And it’s missing some Crush 40 covers like the Crush 40 version of Sonic Boom, from Sonic CD. The original Sonic Boom song is in the game thou, but Crush 40 version is better. (^-^)
The game only has one piece of DLC, Casino Nights. It’s Sonic Pinball, that’s it. It’s not bad but it’s just pinball…
The gameplay is just fluent, nothing forcefully stops your speed, there aren’t unnecessary boosters and spinners like in Sonic 4, the platforming is genuinely fun and bit challenging if you want the best time possible. Both the 3D and 2D gameplay are solid, nothing truly stands out except a tiny part in Seaside Hill with modern Sonic but in the end it’s just to break the norm, they do that with many levels in different ways but they are always fun.
Even thou there is only 1 level I do not personally enjoy that much nothing is bad, everything just works with the exception of the 2 last boss fights. It’s genuine fun.
Everyone who has played a Sonic game should have an idea what kind of an art style they tend to go with, friendly, goofy, colorful and simple. But in Generations it’s just gorgeous, the environments look beautiful and are very well done, a lot of objects in the world even can be interacted with.
The graphical fidelity is quite impressive as the game runs very well despite having so much on the screen, especially with these graphics. Overall, the game is well optimized or they did something with the environments which allowed them to make detailed beautiful levels without stressing machines that much.
The multiplayer is basically nothing else but beating a friends score, it’s nothing special but for a Sonic game, It works.
It might not be much for many but Sonic games are single player games, with this time race that players can do with their friends can be very competitive and can be a time sink if a lot of your friends have the game and everyone tries to beat each other’s times.
Oh my god! The game is modder friendly! Well, not as friendly as some games like Elder Scrolls but still!
If you have the game on PC you HAVE to download some mods to improve your gameplay experience, like the Unleashed Project. Which puts all Sonic levels from that game into Generations, no Werehogs.
I personally like being Shadow and playing new user created levels, and trying to speed run the game to the best of my abilities. Not the challenges or bosses, just the main levels.
There are tons of other great mods out there, but also some…questionable…like a stupid pony replacing Sonic…Ugh *Shivers*
Surprisingly, the game runs pretty smoothly at 60 frames per second on highest settings and is surprisingly well optimized BUT!
There are 3 HUGE problems:
1st You cannot change your settings in depth, the games configuration tool selects the resolution for you and you have no choice in changing any advanced settings like every single PC game ever.
The only options you get to choose are AA, V-Sync, reflection quality (can’t turn off by the way), Shadow quality (also can’t be turned off).
But I was still expecting problems with the game when I played it on my PC, it’s a lot different from the 360 version as you can play it in actual 1080p HD with 60FPS without slowdown. The only moments I’ve gotten slowdown is mysteriously when I play offline, without being able to connect to Steam.
Sonic is known for good music, however not a single Sonic game has a soundtrack that is 100% awesome because they try to change things up every now and then. Same is done here, their soundtrack mostly consists of remixes or re-usage of songs from previous games. Like for example, many songs from the classic Sonic games have been remade here and a lot of them are unlockables.
By the way, the only instance when Live & Learn plays is with the boss fight with Shadow, you can also choose any song to play during any level that you have unlocked. One more reason to play those challenge levels.
The story or Sonic Generations is a bit bare, as they rushed the production again a bit to meet a deadline, a business decision that almost killed the entire franchise before.
Anyway, the story of Sonic Generations is that modern Sonic and friends are celebrating Sonics birthday. (How meta?) But a being called Time Eater comes along and takes Sonic and friends through time and thus comes along the ability to play as modern Sonic and classic Sonic.
Remember when I said that it was a bit bare? Well, the story has tons, tons and tons of potential but they don’t utilize it at all. This is however a “good” thing as when they rushed the game they sacrificed some story moments instead of gameplay.
The immersive experience of Sonic Generations is great, the music, the visuals, the speed, the sound effects and level design. This is the ultimate Sonic experience, if you have any interest in Sonic or are a Sonic fan already then this game is perfect for you.
This is the pinnacle of Sonic games, the older Sonic games like Sonic 2 and Sonic Adventure 2 have not aged well because of their technical limitations and Sega’s bad habit of rereleasing their games without any improvements.
Final score of the game broken down:
Good, a bit lazy but it works for the favor of the game and fits the 20th birthday of Sonic, everything works and nothing is really broken or bad.
It’s not bad but nothing special, it’s just Pinball. But the VERY fair price of 1.59 Euros is worth it if you like Pinball.
The controls are fluid, the speed is fast but manageable, the 2 different gameplay styles are well made and work. The game is simply put fun, the only time when you can even remotely get frustrated is when you’re trying to beat a level under a minute or with one of the only 3 bad challenges, but when you beat them you unlocked the unlockable and you have no reason of going back so it’s no biggie.
Graphics don’t make a game but they can most assuredly help making a great one, the art style fits and looks gorgeous. Nothing is made in a realistic style, everything is in that good old modified anime style, Sonic style.
Even if you’re moving at high speeds you are still going to be looking at the beautiful environments, it all just fits.
It works, even thou it’s literally just beating a friends time it works. It’s not tacked on like on many different games and it’s always a good feeling to have those bragging rights when you beat your friends high score.
The ability to mod a Sonic game is amazing, Sega has never made a Sonic game with PC in mind, this is quite literally the first time something like this could happen and frankly, it’s amazing.
It runs pretty well, it automatically detects some settings but you don’t have a lot of control over anything but it’s still pretty well optimized.
It’s a Sonic game people, the soundtrack largely consists of actual music, you know, where actual people are actually playing actual instruments. There is no fear for crap that some people call music even thou there isn’t a single person playing anything.
A huge lost opportunity, but we do get the idea of what’s going on and since when hasa Sonic game had a solid story like this? Genesis games, Heroes and Colors are pretty much the ones with an actually solid story, sure the story of the Adventure games were a bit entertaining but…Plotholes…Besides, both of those games stories were used in the anime, Sonic X.
Awesome, buy it. Just buy it, you will not regret it. Preferably the PC version because it’s the version I reviewed and you can mod it, PC wins. Also you can choose to use a keyboard or a controller as it is a PC game and the mouse does absolutely nothing, there are only few controls and they’re pretty freaking easy.
Both, new and old Sonic fans will enjoy this. Even if you only like Sonic in 2D or 3D this game has something for everybody, it is just a great birthday game for Sonic. Much better than his 15th birthday, remember the year 2006? Anything is better than that prototype, I’m serious. It’s a prototype, not finished.
Get this jewel off of Steam, just do yourself a favor and do it.
Boycott Not Bad Great Must Have
A MUST HAVE.