Sonic Generations Review (PS3)

Despite his speed, Sonic has been lagging behind his once arch-rival, Mario, in the gaming industry. Mario has gone from strength to strength with each outing but Sonic, in the last few years, has been far from impressive. Whilst Sonic Colours was somewhat of a redemption, it didn’t instill that addiction I had from playing the older games in Sonic history. That changes with Sonic Generations.

Brothers in arms

With Sonic Generations, Sega definitely understood that messing with the old formula didn’t take them anywhere in particular. However at the same time it shows that Sega is not giving that up either. So what we have is a game that provides the good old Sonic goodness, but at the same time experiments with other possibilities.

Similar to Mario, story in these games are hardly worth mentioning, but this one does provide a little more justification for the game’s premise. The timeline was distorted, because of Dr Eggman’s evil scheme, and Sonic’s friends were all sealed in time. This left Sonic in limbo, but because of this time distortion the Classic Sonic was also brought into limbo and met up with the Modern Sonic. Together they have to release their friends from captivity and work together to set things right again.

One good part of this game is that Classic Sonic does not speak at all – which I feel gives him and edge on the ‘cool factor’ over Modern Sonic – also the shorter, chubbier look makes him a lot more adorable than the slim down version of Modern Sonic. Classic Sonic is lighter in colour  and and features large anime eyes as compared to the proportional look of Modern Sonic. Basically Classic Sonic is everything you remembered about how Sonic was during his golden era.

The gang is back

The game plays out in both 2D and 3D perspectives. Each stage has a classic version (2D) and a modern version (3D). To roughly classify them as 2D and 3D does not justify the level designs though. The 2D classic version is infact 2.5D – in a way that you can move to and fro, on the screen, in certain areas, giving the game a sense of depth. For the 3D modern levels, the game switches between 2D and 3D, from time to time, messing with your perspective. Sega did throw in a bit of variety in terms of gameplay. In some levels you are on a skateboard or you can choose to drive the Sonic Kart to proceed, which are interesting and welcoming additions.

The level designs are great and nostalgic. You are still collecting rings and red stars and all that stuff, but the levels are brilliantly designed and some puzzles are mind bogging. You will probably die several times before you clear the later stages, but the moment you clear it you know that your hard work has paid off. Also the graphics and tunes give you a great nostalgic feel, and even when you are at the stage selection screen you still feel like you are in part of the story world.

All the 2D goodness and...scrapping Metal

Once you have cleared a certain number of stages you can unlock the challenge levels, which then unlock the boss level. Some may find this too much work, but some of the challenge levels are quite interesting and enjoyable to play. The friend levels also give you opportunities to play with Sonic’s friends, whom are mostly out of action in the main game because of the story. Also completing these levels will yield collectables in the form of artwork, music, power ups etc. Speaking of power ups, this game allows you to power up your Sonic by equipping them with new abilities to be used inside stages. This will prove handy in the later levels where more skills (or luck) are required. Oh! You can even unlock the Mega Drive Sonic game too!

Sonic Generations, while brilliant, is not without issues however. For example, the shifts between 2D and 3D in the modern versions of each stage sometimes prove to be too much to deal with when you are speeding through a 2D or 3D area, and then it suddenly changes the perspective and can cause untimely deaths. Sonic is about speed and thus the level design should be laid out in a way that you have sufficient time to respond to such changes. For me it is less about skill, but a cheap way to extend the playing time of these short levels. Also, sometimes the targeting became more of an annoyance than help. In one of the challenge levels you need to work with the environment against your enemy, but then the targeting kept on messing up, e.g. targeting the environment when you need to hit the enemy, causing frustration to the highest degree. This kind of issue is particularly apparent in boss battles.

Where should I go next?

Sonic Generations is a refreshing instalment in the franchise. It is great to see that Sonic can stand on his own, again, instead of just playing cameos and guest roles to Mario. While we love Sonic in Super Smash Brother Brawl and to a lesser degree in those (um) Olympic games, what we want from Sonic are good old games that we can enjoy with his speed and quirkiness. Sonic Generations definitely has achieved this.

Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

About the Author

Level up freak. Level 99 is a norm not a goal. Love my JRPGs and RPGs in general. Also love my platformers and puzzle games. Was addicted to Zoo Keeper, Magnetica, Animal Crossing, Disgaea DS, Dragon Quest IX and White Knight Chronicles. Prefer to spend my time away from gaming as an actor although do have a full time job that keeps my mortgage going. But generally love anything creative. And if anyone tells you gaming is a waste of time, tell them you have great eye, hand and brain coordinations that they will never have!