||November 01, 2011
It's almost jarring to see SEGA finally deliver on their generation-old promises that SEGA "does what Nintendon't." They have finally re-purposed Sonic as a platforming mascot that is, for the first time in ages, wildly definable by its own merits instead of trying to play catch up, tagalong or sorority sister with its mustachio partner in crime. Instead, Sonic Generations decides to ditch the pli... See moreght of spending decades chasing Mario's happy go lucky hop and bop, vacational romps through paradise in favor of a vigorously fast and unforgiving speed drive through dystopia that honors expertise over bubbly luck.
Hear about all the graphics and sounds and other technical junk in the Sonic Generations video review.
The graphics for the PC version of Sonic Generations are noticeably better than the console counterparts. We tested the game on a fairly hefty system, at full specs. Sonic Generations isn't a particularly labor intensive game, but there are not very many options for lowering the specs, so keep that in mind.
Likewise sonic Generations is clearly a console game ported to PC, as the game is designed to be played with a gamepad. There aren't even any control options for mouse and keyboard (though you can technically play with a keyboard).
Sonic Generations taps into the nostalgia of two decades of Sonic fans, who, against all odds, have shown their love for the blue blur. The story, while largely superfluous, is an homage to Sonic games of the past. The twin hedgehogs battle against an unknown force trying to destroy time itself. They relive each others' memories, zooming through iconic stages from nine different Sonic games. It's almost like SEGA rebooted the entire franchise, and caught you up on 20 years of hedgehog with a single game.
Watching old-school Sonic zip around his new beautifully reimagined Rube Goldberg-ian playgrounds and MC Escher-esque mazes is pure delight, with SEGA finally managing to perfectly recapture what made this franchise so fun to begin with after years of missed attempts. Classic Sonic's new 3D character model (based on his original sprite-base origins) has an adorable, almost claymation-like appearance. You speed through stages, traverse careful platforming sections, and break open item boxes as if it were 1991 and you're still going nuts over "blast processing" and Jaleel White's voice acting.
In contrast Modern Sonic exudes an attitude that contradicts his age. This is an older, more experienced Sonic, yet somehow more of a kid. His memories aren't those of green hills and sky temples, but of alien worlds and burning cities. His levels focus on blazing speed, an unstoppable force destroying every enemy in his path. Part super hero, part professional skateboarder, Sonic lives up to his name by physically pushing the sound barrier with his speed. Every Modern level shifts at some point into a 2D platformer, showing off Sonic's new arsenal of attacks. Think of it as a bit of Sonic Rush in the middle of your Sonic Colors and you've got it.
Neither Sonic is perfect however. At times the Classic version can feel floaty, and his Modern counterpart can stop dead in his tracks with every minor error. But these feel like small complaints compared to the exhilaration of playing a Sonic game that never stops the action to make you battle with stretchy arms. Bouncing between the two distinct modes does sometimes cause mishaps, though; it's easy to forget that 2D Sonic lacks his 3D counterpart's homing attack, leading to some incidental ring loss and occasional deaths. Likewise Modern Sonic has a limited boost meter instead of a spin dash.