|System: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, 3DS|
|Dev: SEGA/Sonic Team|
|Release: November 1, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Mild Cartoon Violence|
by Patriel Manning
Fans of Sonic the Hedgehog are some of the most resilient. Over the years, they've been in the unenviable position of having their hopes dashed after nearly every new entry in the Sonic series. Numerous cameos and disturbing alter egos had many fans longing for the days when 16-bit graphics were the best graphics anyone had ever seen. It's no surprise, then, that when SEGA announced Sonic Generations, it was met with a fair amount of skepticism. We'll reserve our judgment until the full release, but from what we've seen so far, this is definitely a step in the right direction, if not a flat out sprint.
Sonic Generations is basically an amalgam of everything good from the great 2D Sonic games we remember, with the good bits of the more recent 3D Sonic games—sans Werehog, of course. During our time with a demo build of the game, we were able to take a good look at both the classic 2D and modern 3D game modes. All of the stages are available for both game modes, which allows for some interesting experiences. If you're familiar with any of the 3D Sonic games that have been released since Adventure for SEGA Dreamcast, controlling 3D Sonic shouldn't be a problem. The homing attack from previous games has been preserved here, and the sense of speed is fairly ridiculous. The Blue Blur handles just as you'd remember, with a few exceptions. Pressing X/Square allows you to roll into a ball at speed, avoiding dangerous objects. The control scheme appears to have been streamlined because of this, though the difficulty remained mostly intact. The level design in 3D mode is a mix of classic level elements—like the corkscrew and the loop-de-loop—mixed in with reimagined versions of old favorites. The result is a real treat that conjures up just enough nostalgia, from both old and relatively new Sonic adventures, to enhance the experience.
2D Sonic is what old school fans are worried about, though, especially since SEGA's last attempt at harking back to the days of old, Sonic 4: Episode 1, didn't exactly nail the "feel" of old school Sonic games. That had to do mostly with the way Sonic controlled. The physics felt a bit too tight in comparison with the titles from the Genesis days. Classic Sonic always controlled with a sense of weight and momentum, making him a challenge to control at speed. That, coupled with the level design in the first four games, made for some memorable gameplay, and Sonic 4: Episode 1 was missing that key element. Controlling the Hedgehog wasn't a real challenge. He didn't preserve any noticeable level of momentum, so controlling him didn't feel like a genuine classic Sonic experience.
That's changed in Sonic Generations. If you dash around recklessly here, it probably won't end well, just as in Sonic's first foray into the world of gaming. Don't rely on the homing attack, either, as this move isn't available in 2D mode. All you've got is the Speed Dash, a jump button, and your wits. The stages also harken back to the multi-tiered designs from Sonic's 16-bit efforts, most notably Sonic 3. It would be a mistake to say that they're completely 2D, though, as there are a few clever changes in perspective here and there. The control scheme never changes, though, even in the brief 3D sequences.
We noticed that the physics seem a more "classic" feel, though truthfully, there's still some room for improvement. Controlling Sonic feels decidedly better than Sonic 4, though he still feels a bit stiff in comparison to the Genesis titles. Hopefully, by release this November, Sonic Team will have polished the game to a shine. Stay tuned to Cheat Code Central for the review in the weeks to come.
CCC Contributing Writer