Guest Author - James Shea
Combining the gameplay of both old-school and new-school Sonic the Hedgehog games, "Sonic Generations" is designed to appeal to both retro and modern gamers.
"Sonic Generations" is a game designed around a simple premise: an ancient horror has screwed around with time, forcing two incarnations of Sonic The Hedgehog to team up to stop him. The real unique thing about Sonic Generations is that both versions of Sonic have gameplay related to their games, and the player must use both to beat the game.
"Old" Sonic represents the original Sega Genesis era. As such, his stages are side-scrolling platformers with controls naturally reminiscent of those games. Old Sonic can roll up into a ball, bounce on enemies to defeat them, and so on. It's basically just easy to say that if you've played Sonic 1-3 or Sonic & Knuckles, then you know what Old Sonic is going to play like. Conversely, "New" Sonic represents the 3d era, including games such as Sonic Adventure, Sonic Unleashed, and Sonic Colors. New Sonic has more of a sense of "going forward", with long tracks that stretch far ahead of him and boosting abilities to create even more acceleration. Both maintain the same basic theme of "go fast, collect rings", but the way they go about it is almost entirely different.
The stages in the game are basically a "Best Of" collection from previous Sonic games. Every major game has a level or two represented, and most of them were fan favorites in their own game. Each stage, naturally, has an "old" and "new" run-through, maintaining the same style and aesthetic while switching up the actual gameplay. Some stages that are present in the game include Green Hill Zone from Sonic 1, City Escape from Sonic Adventure 2, Rooftop Run from Sonic Unleashed, and Planet Wisp from Sonic Colors. The stages are rendered beautifully, and the classic stages especially benefit from the upgrade in graphics. They're as large as classic Sonic stages are meant to be, too, with lots of alternate paths, routes, and branches that support the concept of exploration without distracting from the sensation of speed.
The only real "new" addition in terms of gameplay is the game's skill system. Beating stages gets you points that can be used to purchase "skills", which can be then equipped by the player. These skills range from things like increased running speed to increased traction to bonus rings at the start of a level. Each skill uses up points, and you can only have 100 points worth of skills equipped at a time. In short it's really just a way to add some more player style to the game, so the player can support their preferred gameplay style with a loadout that's designed to support it. It works well without being intrusive.
The gameplay is tight and controls reasonably well, though the camera in some of the stages could use some work. The PC controls are pretty simple even though the game is obviously designed for a gamepad; apart from a few exceptions there's only three buttons you need to deal with regardless of whether you're playing Old or New Sonic. Again, it's better to use a gamepad if you have one, but the game can pretty easily be played with a keyboard.
The most comforting thing about Sonic Generations is that it sticks to the basics. It's a game about Sonic's original concept: going fast. There's no gimmicky stages that interrupt the solid basic stuff, as was the case in many more recent games (most intrusively Sonic Unleashed). It's a game entirely about playing as Sonic the Hedgehog, and its only real change is that there's two types of Sonic this time. Overall, anyone who's liked any Sonic game - past or present - would do well to pick up Sonic Generations. Those few who haven't experienced the series before couldn't pick a better game to start with.
We purchased this game with our own funds.
Buy Sonic Generations from Amazon.com