Monday, November 14, 2011

Sonic Generations | Review

So our good friends over at SEGA have sent us the latest in the Sonic series by way of one of the coolest packages ever!  Being it's Sonic's 20th Birthday, they pulled out all the stops; this is SEGA's Mario, after all.  Coming in a large shoe-box type package, therein lies a copy of the new game.  Also, some really cool collectibles in the form of a blue 3D ViewMaster (you know the one from your childhood that you could view stereoscopic images with), a 20th Anniversary pin, a seperately boxed Gold Ring, numbered for authenticity as well, and lastly a dvd and history/art book.  Quite the presentation I must say.  But since this isn't an unboxing, but rather a review of the aforementioned title, lets get right down to it.

Old School

New School

I remember, back with the launch of the Dreamcast, (9/9/99) the new 3D Sonic Adventure.  This was the first time the franchise had made the transition to a 3D playing field, and though I imagine it difficult, they were able to keep the speed, and the frantic sense of "I'm going so fast, I'm almost out of control, but not" feeling that is synonymous with the series.  Sonic Adventure was a day-1 purchase for me, and we played the heck out of it.  Fast forward 11 years (and what seems like 20 titles) later and we're greeted with a new entry which tries to mix up the best of the 2D with the best of the 3D.

Read the rest of our review after the break

The biggest pieces of what make a Sonic game great, are the level-designs, the sense of speed, and the controls to make you feel like you can actually harness that big blue ball of fur.  Everything else (ahem, story) is pure filler.  Sonic doesn't really need a story, I mean, there is one, but it's purely unnecessary.  I just want to run fast!  But, since this is a review, we'll set the stage for you.  In a very meta-like move, Sonic is celebrating his Birthday with all of his friends (Tails, Amy, Knuckles, etc) when they're rudely interrupted by a new space-time-continuum enemy that teleports all of his friends away.  Not cool, man, Not cool.  So of course Sonic has to set aside his hot dog (who knew Sonic was a dog man?) to go rescue his friends.

The hub/overworld in which you launch into the game is actually pretty cool.  It begins very minimalistic, and stark white, with a black and white version of the first level Green Hill Zone.  As you beat each level (two versions of each level, one 2D, and the other 2D/3D Hybrid) the hub will begin to color and add more platforms that begin to take shape that there's a bigger overall platform to explore.

Levels are comprised from the "best of" all the Sonics over the years, but of course, re-imagined.  There's the aforementioned "Green Hill Zone" that starts things off, then you'll quickly be whisked away to other familiar locales like the "Chemical Plant", "Sky Sanctuary", and "Speed Highway" to name a few.  From the outset, you can choose to tackle either the easier 2D version, or the more difficult 2D/3D variation.  Gameplay for the 2D is side-scrolling at it's best, but your moves are limited to classics like the Spin Dash and the Spin Attack.  The more modernized 2D/3D utilizes the control scheme of just about every Sonic since "Adventure".  Bottom line, it's a Sonic game, meant to be easily accessible, and that comes across clear with the simple, yet intuitive controls.

Apart from the main levels, you can replay for better times, thus garnering a better grade to earn more points to buy stuff from the little shop (all the way to the left in the hub-world).  Heck, with enough points, you can even unlock the original Sonic game indicated with a pixelized SEGA Genesis floating in the overworld.  There are other various collectible red stars, as well as other side-missions/quests/races, etc.

Overall, the game is pretty solid, if you're a fan of the Sonic series, you won't find many Sonic titles that can match up to this one, and if you're younger or new to the franchise, it's an instantly addicting game. Replayability is pretty high up on the list as well, so it's great value for the experience, especially for any of you completionists out there. gives Sonic Generations an 8 out of 10.

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