Monday, December 12, 2011

Sonic Generations Review

Sega offers us a two for one deal, but is it a purchase worth making?

Flash back to 20 years ago when the now beloved blue woodland creature rolled onto the Sega Genesis and into our lives. From that point on Sega would have a mascot to rival Nintendo's Mario. Sonic would not only appear in many more games, but also he was on backpacks, lunchboxes, t-shirts, and Saturday morning television. Sonic has grown up with multiple generations of people, but his games have not been able to keep up the pace. Once Mario and crew made the jump to a 3D world, Sega knew that Sonic was required to do the same. Ever since that moment Sonic has been on a slow decline in quality with lackluster gameplay and presentation. The only avenue left to experience a high quality Sonic game was on portable systems or by revisiting games of the past. With the arrival of games like Sonic Unleashed, Sonic the Hedgehog 4, and Sonic Colors; Sonic Team has been taking steps in the right direction to perfect the Sonic formula for the current era. Sonic Generation takes all the good constructed in the past few years, while leaving out most of the baggage to deliver the Sonic game many fans have been waiting for since the Geneses era.
Sorry fishing levels this time.
So what brings these two Sonics from two different time frames together in the first place? During an attempt at a surprise birthday party for Sonic, a giant purple creature breaks through the sky sucking up Sonic's friends and setting everything into a limbo. In the limbo the two Sonics clash and team up to restore their worlds back to normal. The story is about as basic as you can get. Do not to expect anything ground breaking when it comes to story telling in the Sonic franchise. If anything the story in Generations is a step in the wrong direction. Luckily cutscenes are few and far between and are at least animated well with the inclusion of the mediocre voice acting Sonic games normally carry. I am also happy to note that Classic Sonic is not ruined with voice acting and remains mute for the full game, only speaking with his actions. If you are not a fan of the English translations, an option to change to multiple other languages is included. Listening to Omocha in Japaneses is quite the treat. 

Sonic Generation's sights and sounds do not disappoint. Viewing re-imagined worlds from a classic and modern perspective is great. All the levels are vibrant and colorful with a sense of scale. Of course when compared to other games of the this console cycle Generations is not up to par, but when you put it up next to similar games of it's category its a sight to behold. Frame rate is crucial for a game based on speed, and this game stays smooth throughout, with only a few slight slowdowns from time to time.  Overall the graphics do not disappoint, but what about the sound? Sonic music junkies are defiantly in for a treat. Featuring many original and remixed tracks from Sonic's past. Trust me...there is something to love for everyone. Each track can be played on any stage. Therefore if you cherish the Classic Sonic music of ole or are in favor of the love it or hate it guitar rifts of new, you have a choice on any stage. Also all of those iconic spring and and ring sound effects all return to add to the nostalgic value. 

Presentation is great, but what a Sonic game really boils down to is the controls. Luckily you need not to worry for both Sonics control great. Classic Sonic lacks the move arsenal of Modern Sonic to give him the feel of the 2D Sonic from the early 90's. All while Modern Sonic boosts through 3D stages at blistering speeds similar to his latest outings. With both versions of Sonic controlling so fluidly it gives older and younger generation of Sonic fans something to agree about. The controls are still not perfect, with a few slip ups here and there, but they deliver enough satisfaction to not distract from the experience.
Don't expect much of a fight from this  dude.
 The core experience of Sonic Generations is short. Getting from Green Hill Zone to the final boss battle can be accomplished in roughly 4 to 5 hours. If your only goal is to experience Generations from start to finish you may be disappointed. If you are willing to dig deeper into Generations though, you will find plenty of content to keep you craving more.  Missions are included with each stage in Generations for both Sonics. These missions range from anything to racing a doppelganger, to getting help from one of Sonic's friends. Some of these missions can be a lot of fun and add new challenges to the core game, while some are very dull and a bit of a hassle to complete. Thankfully most missions can be completed by choice and not forced upon the player. Boss battles with rivals from the past also made the cut. Sadly these fights lack in the quality found in the stages. The boss battles quantity also feels too low. There has been many phenomenal battles in Sonic's past and it is a shame to not see them revisited. The player is also able to upgrade their hedgehogs with new skills and abilities, such as faster recovery or classic shields from the past. Lastly an  option to play the original game that started it all is included, once you purchase a classic Genesis controller from the shop. 

More of this would have been nice.

Sonic Generations is a love letter to fans. A letter that may not encourage new players to jump on board the Sonic bandwagon, but one that will make any Sonic fan from the past 20 years grin. Generations falls short in some aspects, but makes up for its short comings by providing gamers with what it promises. I cannot think of a better way to celebrate the blue blur's birthday than giving Generations a run through. This game is a drastic step in the right direction for Sonic. Lets just hope he does not fall off his pedestal again. 


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