It’s hard to believe that 20 years have passed since the first time we saw Sonic, the blue fuzz ball that spun and jumped into our gaming hearts. Since then there have been 21 games to feature Sonic as some form of playable character but only a handful have come close to the original. So to celebrate his 20th birthday Team Sonic has brought old Sonic and modern Sonic together in a battle across time, but is it really a reason to party?
In the honest truth, this is one of the better Sonic games to come around in recent years. Each of the stages feels more like an original Sonic stage, even with new tricks learnt using modern Sonic the end feel is still what I as a massive fan of the original games wanted.
As I said, Sonic Generations places the old and the new together after a strange monster breaks time apart and sends Sonic’s friends into different eras of his past. This cracking of time also brings classic Sonic forward in time to meet with his modern-day counterpart. These events set the two Sonics on a course to not only save all of their (future) current friends but restore time. If you’re confused then good! I certainly was for most of the story. It is certainly the weakest link in the game as there is not substance to it. It feels and plays out as an excuse to replay some of Sonic’s glory days in a modern setting.
The different zones that appear in the game are without a doubt the reason to play; you travel through three eras of Sonic including the Classic, DreamCast and Modern. Each era has three zones to play through which are split into acts (one for Classic and one for modern) and can be played through as either of the Sonics, with each having their own take on the world played. Modern Sonic’s levels take on a pseudo 3D/2D look with it working more on a platform puzzle based gameplay and enemy destruction than Classic Sonic whose gameplay is about traversing the zone in the quickest time possible. The competitive edge of Classic Sonic trying to outdo your friends in time-trial like pass the pad games is back. Speaking of which, there are online features which follow the same path. You have the option to compete against leaderboard of times for each of the acts and a 30 second race to see how far you can get in your chosen level. Fun but ultimately it gets old very quickly.
Much like the Sonics of old, the game is split into zones or worlds in which you need to complete both acts, in all three stages of the zone and then a series of challenges to progress to a boss fight and then the next zone. Each boss fight is protected by three padlocks that require you to search out keys to unlock. These keys are linked to the challenges that become available after you finish the zone’s stages; this is a big let-down in both terms of design and also the fact that these challenges are so hit and miss it’s unbelievable. The challenges, while varied, don’t offer the same amount of fun level that the main game does. Being forced into playing these challenges to progress just begs of an attempt to artificially inflate the game-time, smacking of lack of imagination. However, while you do need to play a few challenges you don’t need to play all of the ones within a zone to continue. But due to the updated design in term of the different worlds being all part of a seamless hub world, you can return to any previous world to replay the challenges and acts within, if you so wish to.
Sonic Generations isn’t the shining beauty that many fans of the blue haired hedgehog may have wished for, but it is a return to form for a series that had lost its way over the last few years. Having the mixture of classic and modern Sonic with their different takes on the worlds is a nice touch allowing for some impressive gameplay and great fun at points too. However, the use of challenges to increase the game-time is annoying and some of them are needlessly frustrating. But the fun factor wins out, if you’re looking for a solid platforming fix with a nostalgia element built in then Generations is for you.
Rating: GoodReview Policy
You can grab your copy of Sonic Generations from ShopTo from here (X360), here (PS3) and here (3DS).