Sonic Generations PS3 Review
Publisher – SEGA – Developer – SEGA – Genre – Platformer – Players – 1 – Age Rating – 7+ – Other console/handheld formats – Xbox 360, Wii, 3DS
Sonic the Hedgehog has reached his milestone 20th year, though during that period he’s hardly been in the most consistent of series’, with Sonic Adventure for instance introducing some fresh playable characters, often taking away the focus from Sonic himself, whilst more recently Sonic Unleashed boasted fantastic Sonic sections, but also gave the ability for the blue, speedy hedgehog to transform into a lumbering werehog by night, which were horribly designed and often infuriating sections.
Sonic Generations was released to mark the anniversary of Sega’s iconic character, so you’d hope that this wouldn’t suffer from such questionable decisions.
On a basic level, Sonic Generations certainly gets things right, wholly focusing on Sonic himself, or I should say two Sonics. Because of an interference with time itself, the cocky and spikier modern day Sonic and the original smaller, chubbier and mute incarnation of the character are together in one world, a fitting premise for the hedgehog’s 20th anniversary game.
Each of the two Sonic’s function just as you’d expect them to. So when taking charge of today’s version, ability wise he possesses his boost, his not always reliable homing attack and sidestep manoeuvres. These sections take their cue from the wonderful daytime sections in Sonic Unleashed, so are played from a combination of 2D and 3D perspectives and are immensely fast – likely to be too fast for those that prefer more considered platforming.
Meanwhile the old Sonic sections take place entirely in 2D and when he’s running his legs spin round, jumping on the other hand will be accompanied by the delightful, classic sound effect. He’s slower and has his spindash ability, and younger players or those unfamiliar with Sonic’s earlier years might very well find his move set to be restrictive, though many older fans will be delighted that the physics are much more faithful to classic Sonic than Sonic 4’s were.
With both versions of Sonic you’re able to equip skills, by visiting the skill shop. For the sake of balance, you’re only to equip a limited number at a time, though you’re able to save different combinations that you can easily switch between whenever you feel the situation calls for it. They consist of an instant brake, elemental shield and Super Sonic, amongst other things.
The game features zones inspired by those featured in a combination of old and more modern iterations of the series, each of which has remixed music and is comprised of two acts, both a 2D and 3D version, resulting in a hugely nostalgic game for long time Sonic fans. The likes of Green Hill, Chemical Plant and the Sky Sanctuary are inspired by the 2D Mega Drive games, whilst the 3D levels include stages from the likes of Sonic Adventure, Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Colours. It’s also a pleasant touch that Wisp planet from Sonic Colours has wisps and Sonic Heroes seaside hill has a vehicle to hop into.
Strangely some of the series’ more fondly remembered games are either hardly covered or have been ignored altogether, whilst 2006’s much maligned Sonic the Hedgehog – a game that most would rather forget and certainly not celebrate – hasn’t.
The zones have all the springs, ramps, loops and hazards that you’d expect them to, and are largely beautifully designed. Some will decry the bottomless pits, but stages are designed to be replayed and mastered and have multiple routes to explore, high ranks to strive for and red rings to find.
Completion of all of the currently accessible zones will unlock challenges, not all of these need to be conquered to make progression, though completing three will earn you a boss key to face the boss and gain access to more zones. These are often more challenging than the main game and alongside the rank system, leaderboards and such, allow you to get a few extra hours out of what is a short game. Challenges consist of races, time trials, one ring challenges where you’ll have to make do with one ring for an entire level, amongst other things.
The bosses themselves are lacking in imagination and aren’t great encounters, whilst most are too easy. Meanwhile obtaining Chaos Emeralds will see you face off against a mini boss of sorts, that are easy and a far cry from the challenging bonus stages of earlier games.
Sonic Generations is largely a successful celebration of SEGA’s most famous series, and devotees that have stuck with the series from the very beginning will find it pleasantly nostalgic and perhaps also a bit heartbreaking on occassion. It looks to both the past and present and if the overall quality is any indication, Sonic the Hedgehog, still has a long, bright future ahead of him yet.