Review: Sonic Generations (Staff Roundtable)

The team all wanted to have their say with this one, so we Blake Draco and co give their own lowdown on the 20th anniversary Sonic title.

Blake Draco

We begin with Classic Sonic going through Green Hill Zone with the classic music re-mastered, looking somewhat like it did 20 years ago, with a few additional changes. As you get further along the Eras things get reversed and it’s more modern stages that have a cut and paste vibe with some extensions on them and the Classic ones showing you how it would’ve been if it was 2-D. First thing I noticed when controlling Classic was that the control scheme, felt heavy, holding the X button spindashes? Interesting. Also you can tap it, but you have to be quick, it’s unforgiving if you’re a second slow on its account as it’ll send you rolling without much power.

You can also hold down and A to do the same, keeping the analogue stick down will give you the vintage spinning in place animation. It took me some time to get fully use to the controls, now they feel comfortable at least. Once you get through GHZ, and reach the end with the classic goalpost, you’ll be ranked, do the run flawlessly without dying (a ‘Perfect Clear’) and in time you’ll get a S-Rank.

After that we’re treated to the game’s first cut scene, of (Modern) Sonic coming to a birthday party organised by the rest of the crew, this is just before the big bad comes along taking away everyone except Sonic. Who is now controllable in the World Hub, which is all white space, including the stages.

Apparently all the stages are unknown, even the ones from the last 2 years, showing that Modern has a severe memory problem when remembering places. All acts are split into two, with Act 1 being Classic and Act 2 being Modern. Act 2 relies on Modern Sonic’s speed and boosting, like all modern gameplay so far with more platforming thrown into the mix, some of which are really tedious (mainly Seaside Hill). After doing both acts on Green Hill Zone or any zone for that matter it’ll gain it’s colour and life back and you’ll save one of the friends. First is Tails, who when asked the question if Green Hill looked familiar remarks that it isn’t to him.

In-jokes are abound in the cutscenes as well as when finishing the stage and freeing the friends as Classic you’ll get some fun poked at him, such as looking more fat and so on. Oh this is also true for a certain cutscene, where there are two perspectives but you can only unlock and watch one. Which is a shame, I thought when you view the movie again from the collection room depending on who you are at the time it should really change, but it doesn’t. As you move about the white space between levels, the music will change and it does it dynamically changing where it meets the same note in order to try blend in, speaking about music all the music has been given either a slight or full remixing and it’s quite interesting to hear.

There are three stages per area split into Eras: Classic, Dreamcast (Inc. Sonic Heroes), Modern. Each area has a corresponding Boss fight at the end of it as well as their own Rival Battles, each one holding a Chaos Emerald which is needed to progress to the final boss.  There’s three rival battles and three boss battles to be had before you can get to the end.

Unlocking the Boss Fights you must find three keys, after all the acts for that Era are cleared, challenge gates appear on top of the areas above, each of them have been given their own unique level design in order to fit in with the look of the area you’re doing the challenge in. Luckily enough though you don’t have to clear all challenges to get a key (just an achievement), only one is needed and you can do that as Modern or Classic. Rival Battles are extra battles with prominent rivals during that era. Firstly, Metal Sonic’s battle is quite the feat, it feels worthy and when you mess up it’s due to yourself, Shadow’s is completely the opposite of how it felt, very underwhelming (All Hail Shadow is in here, just if you allow him to get all the power rings before you.)

Finally, Silver’s battle if you don’t have Omochao on takes a while to figure out but in the end is very satisfying. Each of these are given a hard mode after they have been cleared to if there was something that felt too easy it can be given a little extra variety. All the boss fights feel less epic then they should be, and the platforming on some of them are more likely to kill you then the boss will.

Along with the challenges are the return of the Red Rings from Colours, both Classic and Modern have their own separate rings to collect, this time when you collect a ring or several and finish they stay gone, instead of leaving behind a ghost, this makes it easier to track down the missing one or two that you always seem to have left. Red rings are also split and can appear on the higher and lower parts of a level requiring at least two runs a level. With collecting red rings and music notes from ringing the bell that appears after completing a challenge you can gain new artwork and music to be played on any level, and all of which can be seen in the collectable room on the far left of the screen. When collecting all five, you get a giant red ring instead and unlock a new skill for that version of Sonic, which can be added via the skill customisation at the skill shop, which is also where you can purchase new skills for both Sonics at using the credits you gain, there are also purchasable lives so that the credits can always be in use.

I do have some problems with the game as in terms of how many bugs have returned for the 20th Anniversary game such as the spike bug and for the modern version having the jump stick, there are a few new things to be added as well such as managing to spindash into an enemy and have it hurt you and half the stage vanishing. As well as my unknown ability to find hedgehog size gaps to fall through on Crisis City.

By the way I wouldn’t think about switching characters on the hub world, as it tends to load in every challenge gate again, when the much simpler way is to go to said challenge gate and switch over there as it won’t induce any loading times.

The Final Boss against the Time Eater has a cutscene that ties the game in with the last making it cannon for now, and plot holes everywhere when you play through and have enough time to think about it in all honesty. Beating the Time Eater requires you to hold X and find rings… But after you have you’re treated the ending and after that you unlock Super Sonic! Super Sonic… not being so super, apparently it looks fast but really isn’t, and the Modern Super gobbles up rings like they’re penny sweets, I’ve seen no improvements in the time I can get on normal then with the time I can get with the Super versions.

Anyway with that all done it’s time to look at the Online section, which contains Time Attack leader boards and the new 30 second trial which requires you to see how far you can get in a level in 30 seconds, although sometimes getting further isn’t necessarily the faster route. There’s a weird thing about going the same distance (and sometimes further) as someone else and having that not equal the same amount which is completely ODD and has no specific reason for it as far as I can tell .

Kjeld
I’ve downloaded the game off of Steam the day it came out, and good lord, what a game!Took about 3 hours to download it, but it was well worth the wait. When you first start up the game without configuring the keyboard controls, you may notice the default key mapping is horrible. Luckily, it’s not too much of a hassle mapping the keys to your preferences. When you’ve mapped your keyboard and are ready to play, prepare to have your mind blown! This game takes speed and beauty to the next level, really. In the first release, drifting does not work too well at all. It’s good that this and the default key mapping are fixed in a recent patch.The game is a bit hard to play with a PC keyboard, I honestly think playing it with a PC controller will make the game a lot easier to control. Even though, the game is really good and surely hooks Sonic fans old and new to their PC (or console). The stages are greatly designed, there are multiple paths to the end, and most of the time the upper path is the fastest (and the hardest to stay on). Not a lot of bottomless pits either, which is good news. There are some, but those can be noticed by big orange warning signs. It won’t take long to beat the main story though, which is a true shame. I think I reached the final boss in like, 5 hours or so. Not trying to spoil anything for you here, but I find it’s nearly impossible to beat the final boss without a PC controller. I’ve spend 4 hours trying to beat that critter, and I still haven’t beaten it. That may partially depend on my not-so-good gaming skills, but limited in-game depth vision sure is a problem in my opinion (at least on the PC version, not sure about the console version). The game does have lots of replay value though, let it be for all the different kinds of missions, or just for the beautifully designed levels and fantastic music. Oh yes, the music is absolutely amazing in this game! Even though it’s a mayor disappointment there’s no “real” theme song (apart from a remix of the Sonic 1 title jingle), the music in this game is just mind-blowing. Lots of elements from the classic tunes, all remixed into rocking modern songs.

Overall, this game guarantees you some great nostalgic time for sure, but does have some disappointments especially if you don’t have a PC compatible controller. But it sure is a fantastic game, in my opinion the best Sonic game in at least 8 years!

Vger

I enjoyed Sonic Generations, it was nice to revisit levels from Sonic’s past. The graphics look great and apart from a few broken bits here and there (come on most Sonic games have them) it plays very well. The only real issue I have is I completed it in a day, and I’ve not gone back to it since. Nowadays when I buy a game I expect it to last a lot longer than that otherwise I feel a little cheated. I know part of Sonic games is the re-playability of the levels which is there in Generations, it’s just managed to hold my interest that long this time. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen these level styles before and played them to death in their original form, I just don’t feel the need to re-play.

It’s a great bit of nostalgia but only really for a day.

 

Sonicmark

I recently got to try the Stereoscopic 3D on the Green Hill Zone demo of Sonic Generations:

When it comes to the 3D, Classic Sonic’s stages don’t really take full advantage of it. Due to the fact it’s a sidescroller. Sonic and the foreground are right in front of you, and the background layers are nicely positioned behind to give you the sense of depth. There appears to be a motion blur that happens on mountains way in the distance, which is also true when playing in 2D but it does help. Overall it’s a nice touch, but since it’s mainly on one camera angle, the effect is forgotten unless you’re really focusing on it. Because levels like Sky Sanctuary have a lot more distance to them with the Death Egg in the background, I hope the 3D adds to that fantastic view.

Where the 3D really lends it’s self is in Modern Sonic’s more cinematic stages: Modern Sonic himself does look very nice in 3D as his spines and legs have depth to them when he’s running, particularly when pulling off combos, it’s great to see him dancing around in front of the giant Chopper. Going through the stage very fast is riveting because the way the 3D works best is that things will fly at you! The rings when you get hit spill out, the sparks from grinding are going into your face (Cheers Sonic…) and Chopper gets a real sense of how huge he is. The effect is very immersive on these stages and if you have a 3D TV and haven’t already, I’d suggest you give it a shot. It does come with a slider, similar to the 3DS, for those who are sensitive to it or get headaches. I don’t know if I’d buy a new TV just for Generations, but it adds to the already great gameplay.

Overall, my experience with this game has been average at best with a few positives and a few negatives, most of the bosses felt like a former shell of what they use to be, though the work they did with making the challenge levels differ is a plus, and the distance attack is an addition that could be used in the games to come if the distance problem is worked out.
4

 

Author: Sonic Wrecks

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