Sonic Generations – The Review
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.
When I first caught wind of a new Sonic game that featured classic Sonic and modern Sonic in one game I was as giddy as a school girl. When the demo finally arrived, I was even more excited, as I felt that old Sonic the Hedgehog vibe finally coming back. Now that I have played the full game I can easily say that Sonic has overcome his Sonic and the Black Knight days to burst back onto the scene with Sonic Generations. It all starts with Sonics’ friends, who are throwing him a birthday party. Out of nowhere, a steampunk-esque shadow monster flies in and creates portals that suck in the Sonic crew, freezing each of them in different levels throughout the game. You must overcome this unknown evil and free your friends, bringing peace back to the world.
Each of the levels in this new installment has been recreated or retooled from previous Sonic titles dating all the way back to the original. The levels have been drained of their color, leaving you to bring life back to them. You play the first act of each level as the original Sonic in the side scrolling fashion of his youth. The controls are simple enough (the game will even give you button hints when an obstacle arises), but I felt a bit of lag when I used the analog stick for movement. This was most noticeable when I was trying to jump between platforms and ended up over jumping. I found that if I used the directional pad to control classic Sonic it was more responsive, and I died a lot less. In the second act, this didn’t seem to be much of a problem, so I switched back to using the analog stick.
Act two is played as today’s Sonic with a third-person, modernized view. You have all the abilities that current Sonic wields – my favorite being the targeting system. When you get close enough to an enemy you can press the A button to perform a homing attack, so you don’t accidentally hit your enemies and lose all of your rings. You run, jump, grind, and smash your way through these spectacular scenes. When you reach the end your total score is added up. The faster you complete a level and the amount of rings you finish with determines your score. You also get a grade that reflects your score; obtain a perfect on the level (by not dying) and your grade goes up one letter (e.g. a score of S is perfect and is a grade above A). You also earn credits to be used in the game’s shop. You can buy extra lives, shields, running shoes, and other items (most are a onetime use) to help you beat future levels. Beating both acts breathes life back into the level and revives one of your friends, who will offer you a tip, helping you through the game. After finishing a few levels you unlock challenge gates, which will then yield keys to the boss door. Defeat the boss to earn a chaos emerald, unlock the next set of levels, and move on with your journey.
Visually, the levels are gorgeous. Sonic Generations has some of the best lighting and textures I have seen on an Xbox 360 game to date. You will run through dark tunnels, across grassy hilltops, and over bodies of water. I found myself stopping at points just to check out the level and take in the scenery. The cutscenes were also very well done, with the exception of the opener. The first scene was very pixilated; this may be due to the way it was compressed to fit on the disc. I was playing the Xbox 360 version, so I am unsure if the other consoles have the same issue. This was only a small hiccup, however, and didn’t affect the gameplay at all. To accompany these beautiful levels you need to have a stellar soundtrack, and Sonic Generations brings just that.
The sound department blew me away on this one. Again, Sega took original tracks from their respective levels and re-imagined them. Classic Sonic gets more of a classic song, trying to keep with the theme that he is the original, while Modern Sonic gets a more elaborate soundtrack to fit his style. It was clever the way they married the musical and character style together. Theme is a huge aspect of this game and they stick to it very well. You can also unlock the different songs from the game and even some original artwork, by collecting hidden red stars in each level, which can then be viewed in your gallery. This adds replay value, as you will want to beat your high score and unlock all of the extras you can – plus it is a lot of fun!
There are online leader boards so you can try and beat the best level times in the world. To get a perfect score on every level is no easy feat, and you will want that perfect score to prove you are the best. There are enough challenge gates to keep you entertained for hours.
Sonic Generations has a lot going for it. The few minor problems like the touchy analog control and the one pixilated cutscene are easily overlooked when you really get into the core of the game. The story is well written, the levels are stunning, and the music is great. I really believe that Sonic Generations is the title that will bring Sonic back to the main stage of gaming. For this holiday season, I say this is definitely a must buy!
The verdict: 4.5/5.0
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