Sonic Generations (PC/360/PS3) (2011)
Sonic Generations is a game that plays heavily on your nostalgia. Whilst playing this game, I felt like I was reliving the great parts of Sonic’s history. However, when you can manage look past your sentimentality, it becomes apparent that Sonic Generations is a weak game at its core.
Generations tries to combine the breathtaking speed of Sonic Colours with the simplistic platforming of the classic games. The inclusion of two separate gameplay styles seems like a good idea in theory, but the game doesn’t capture either the beauty of Sonic Colours, or the fun of the original trilogy. Instead, Sonic Generations feels like an awkward blend of the two.
Playing as Classic Sonic offers a poor and clunky imitation of the classic games. These ‘Act 1’ stages have you running in a 2D plane, collecting rings and destroying badniks. The gameplay itself isn’t terrible, but the lack of momentum keeps these levels from being anything above mediocre. Playing as Modern Sonic offers gameplay in the veins of Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Colours. These stages have you running at blazing fast speeds in 3D sections, and at painfully slow speeds in the 2D sections. This lack of consistency downplays the exhilarating 3D gameplay, making the game feel slow overall. That said, there are some stages that offer both lively 3D gameplay and bearable 2D gameplay; levels such as Green Hill Zone, City Escape, and Seaside Hill. The Act 1 stages, however, I find very dull and tiresome. Another problem with the stages is that, despite the rich history that Sonic has, there is are only 18 acts in the game. It is a lot shorter than it should be, limiting its appeal.
The re-imagined boss levels far exceed the regular stages’ standards. Most of Generations’ bosses felt dangerous and enthralling. My favourite boss was the Egg Dragoon, but other bosses that stand out are Perfect Chaos and Shadow the Hedgehog. The only disappointment here is the final boss, which feels uninspired and tedious.
Generations has a large amount of replayability. Whilst I hardly ever found myself replaying the dreary stages, some of the challenges offered by the game offered an engaging change in pace. These challenge stages often include Sonic’s friends, and have you running through an altered version of a stage. There is also a ‘Hard Mode’ option for every boss fight, which offers additional fun.
Where Sonic Generations stands out is its nostalgic appeal. Every stage in this game is a beautiful recreation of another beloved stage from Sonic’s previous outings. On top of this, the game has a large variety of wonderfully remixed songs and music. The ability to play any of the unlocked music in any stage is also a remarkable experience, that adds new flare to the main stages.
Whilst Generations hits a certain sweet spot in my heart with its charming graphics and exciting bosses, the attempt to combine 2D Sonic gameplay and 3D Sonic gameplay just doesn’t seem to work out here.