|System: Xbox 360, PS3, 3DS, PC|
|Dev: SEGA/Sonic Team|
|Release: November 1, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Mild Cartoon Violence|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
This generation has been a rough one for Sonic. Were-hogs, knights, and aliens have all tormented the Blue Blur, and the resulting games have been pretty awful. Many people, including myself, had all but given up on Sonic, and it was beginning to look like the long-running franchise might be driving itself into the ground. However, Sonic Generations promises an old school take on the Sonic world, along with plenty of new levels featuring a modern Sonic. Is this Sonic's redemption?
The short answer: Yes. Sonic Generations is not a perfect game, but it's the best Sonic game I've played in over a decade. It features a paper-thin story about worlds being destroyed or something, and Modern Sonic (with his skateboarder attitude and fast moves) gets scuttled away into a world with classic Sonic (who is cubby and silent). The two Sonics must then work together to conquer this growing threat. And the resulting ride is something very special.
Sonic-Generations is very self-referential, which is great for those of us who have enjoyed the series for a long time. Stages from all of Sonic's classic and modern adventures are re-imagined here to great effect. Nothing feels like a direct carbon copy, but if you've played through at least some of Sonic's back catalog, there will be a feeling of nostalgia here.
However, the game doesn't spend its entirety living in the past. Each level has two playable areas, one for each Sonic. The new and classic Sonic levels are completely different, playing to each Sonic's strengths. Classic levels feature plenty of fast and furious platforming and insane level design that classic fans will remember well. New levels feature plenty of 3D stages and twitch-based areas where you'll have to react fast to rapidly changing landscapes.
Both level types are very well-done, and I can't say I preferred one over another. This was actually a nice surprise for me, as I genuinely expected to absolutely love the Classic Sonic levels and merely tolerate the Modern Sonic levels. The design team has done a great job identifying exactly what works from previous games, delivering a fast-paced, streamlined experience that actually makes Modern Sonic feel modern instead of overstuffed and convoluted.
Though Sonic Generations is certainly geared toward longtime fans, it's also very accessible to those new to the series. In fact, if you haven't ever played a Sonic game before, Sonic Generations is a great jumping in point, as it features 20 years of history stuffed into one neat little package. Though you might not get all the "in-jokes," the game has a standalone story that will get new players into the groove without much awkwardness. And if you are worried about the classic levels feeling too old for those accustomed to newer games, don't fear; everything here seems extremely modern.