Between E3 and Sonic Boom, it has been quite a hectic week for Sega fans. With the reveal of City Escape in Sonic Generations, Sega has given gamers a look at the next nostalgic touchstone in a game all about making you feel like a kid again. But that’s only seeing the game in action – as Sonic the Hedgehog 4 proved, how the game actually feels when its in your hands is equally important. And while that will ostensibly be solved by the upcoming Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 demo, until then, all we really have to go on is what other people tell us it plays like.
Thankfully, quite a few people have done that. IGN, for instance, gushes all over the game, though does note a few technical hiccups:
I’ve been rolling with Sonic since the original SEGA Genesis. I even owned a SEGA CD, and I’m pretty sure I can recite “Sonic Boom” from memory. I’ve never been as devoted to the Sonic franchise as others have, but I’ve always kept an eye on the blue hedgehog’s journey over the years. At E3 this year, I attended a brief Sonic Generations demo with a few other members of the press. It was, surprisingly, an emotional experience.
This stage is even more special to me because I live in San Francisco now, thanks to my job at IGN. When I was younger and playing Sonic Adventure 2 in the basement of my house in Buffalo, New York, I had no idea that City Escape was modeled after San Fran. Now that I live there, the whole experience has come full circle.
Sonic Generations wasn’t running as smoothly as it should, but there’s still time for the developers to polish the experience and get it to the place Sonic fans expect.
Other folks who have attended Sonic Boom and E3 have also noted that, at the very least, the Playstation 3 version of Sonic Generations seems to be suffering some performance issues.
Over at Gamespot, the preview they’ve posted also seems to have been written by a pretty unabashed fan of Sonic the Hedgehog, as he drops numerous obscure references:
For over a decade the fans of Sonic the Hedgehog have boomed an outcry for a return to the classic side-scrolling high-speed action. They exclaimed “nay” to finding the computer room, interspecies romances, or a red sea of furry anamorphic pals. This time around, Sonic’s new friend is Sonic: the classic ’90s chili-dog-eating, family-band-playing, fastest-thing-alive version. Not wishing to alienate current-gen fans, both the New Age and the old-school Sonics are fully playable, and they travel through levels custom-tailored to their respective play styles.
It does not, however, contain much in the way of an opinion on the demo – it simply reprints many of the facts provided by Sega PR during their live demo.
Gamepro gets points for having the only written Sonic Generations preview that contains information about the 3DS version of the game, and he does not sound impressed:
I was able to spend a few minutes with Generations’ 3DS iteration as well, and while it looks promising from both visual and gameplay standpoints (the 3DS’ modern mode borrows moreso from Sonic Rush than Sonic Adventure ), the early, buggy, and chuggy build available on the showroom floor had quite a ways to go before completion.
But leave it to Sonic fans themselves to provide the most comprehensive guide to how Sonic Generations controls, such as this post from Chimpo at Sonic Retro:
He’s heavier than Modern Sonic. A lot heavier. This takes some getting use to but after a while you get a hang of it. Jumping is a lot better than its ever been since the Genesis days. It’s not perfect but it’s not Sonic Rush either. Bouncing off badniks functions more like a double jump than it did in the original game. No matter how high you bounce on them from you always jump back at a fixed height. I actually like this change because it was used extensively in the level design. Now my second biggest problem is the rolling.
Like I said before, it’s completely useless. It shouldn’t even be there if that’s how its going to work. I tried numerous the demo numerous times to try and in numerous locations. I tried it the Genesis way and the Sonic 4 way (hold forward while rolling) and no matter what, Sonic would eventually slow down. I found a sweet ass steep hill with a loop there and tried rolling. Still nothing. It’s worthless and you’re better off spin-dash canceling than rolling if you want to go down those hills fast.
My biggest problem with the game is not the controls. It’s the scripted events. I’m sure we’ve all seen numerous videos where Sonic goes down the S Tube, runs over a crumbling floor, hits a yellow spring and is launched back down into the pit to hit another spring. I’m sure a lot of us thought we could hit that but unfortunately its scripted and there is no way out of it. Another event happens at loop before the mountain. A lot of the springs in the game are fixed as well. Jumping on them causes your horizontal control to be locked until a certain point so you can’t get that extra distance from the climb up that you normally would. This was very annoying in one section of the level where you hit a yellow spring to get to a swinging platform above you, but just to the right of you there’s a breakable platform you can run on and use to get to another spring that will let you get past the platform section. These fixed events are annoying and just take control away along with the enjoyment.
I didn’t get to try out Modern Sonic too much but it felt like a much more refined version of Unleashed and that’s a good thing.
If they can reduce the number of scripted events and make rolling on its own actually useful then Classic Sonic would be absolutely perfect. It may not be Genesis Perfect but it’s damn close and damn well enjoyable.
Overall, Sonic Generations sounds like it is shaping up to be the next evolution of everything learned from Sonic Unleashed, Sonic Colors, and maybe even Sonic 4. I must admit I’m finding myself getting genuinely excited to try the game out for myself as soon as possible.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go obsessively refresh the Xbox Live Marketplace until the demo gets posted.
This post was originally written by the author for TSSZ News.