Sonic Generations - PS3 Review
Twenty years ago Sega unleashed a new character upon the video game world that would only be surpassed by Nintendo's Mario in worldwide recognition. While Mario has remained in the forefront of gamers minds due to numerous, often great, titles Sonic's reign has been less enticing with Sega struggling to move the speedster into the, now commonplace, 3D game world. Recently Sega returned Sonic back to the series' 2D roots with Sonic 4: Episode 1 which was a decent title - despite a controversial change to the physics system. Now, with Sonic Generations Sega are bringing together both 2D and 3D gameplay in one package.
|Sonic heads around the classic loop.|
In Sonic Generations Sonic’s universe is thrown into chaos when a mysterious new power creates ‘time holes’ which pull him and his friends back through time. As a result he encounters some surprises from his past history including Classic Sonic, Sonic as he appeared in 1991. Modern Sonic and Classic Sonic must defeat this strange new enemy, save their friends, and find out who really is behind this diabolical deed...
After a brief intro level the game places you in a colourless, white, hub world where you can switch between the new Sonic who enters the 3D levels, or the classic Sonic who will play the 2D versions. In fact, the way in which Sega have integrated the two generations of Sonic into this title and brought them into a single, complete game is very impressive. The "Classic" Sonic retains the Sega Genesis/Megadrive gameplay and levels, and remains faithful to the original gameplay. The "Modern" Sonic provides a viewpoint behind Sonic as he runs into the screen while "Modern" Sonic also includes powers such as a boost, quickstep and homing attack. It's also possible to modify the gameplay styles through various option settings.
|The game includes plenty of 2D gameplay...|
Levels in the game include Green Hill (Sonic 1), Chemical Plant (Sonic 2), Sky Sanctuary (Sonic 3), Speed Highway (Sonic Adventure), City Escape (Sonic Adventure 2), Seaside Hill (Sonic Heroes), Crisis City (Sonic The Hedgehog 2006), Rooftop Run (Sonic Unleashed) and Planet Wisp (Sonic Colors). It's clear that Sonic Team have worked hard to take the best from each generation of Sonic games, but they aren't straight ports with enhancements to levels, particularly with the visuals (more on them later). Being able to play through each level in both 2D and 3D forms adds a new twist.
Besides the main levels the game throws up plenty of challenge levels too where the objectives vary from a speed runs against an Sonic's double, a Ring Time challenge to collect enough rings in a level, a Switch level to find your way to the goal and much more. Rival Battles for Chaos emeralds can be found as can Boss Battles although, to be honest, these are both a little disappointing due to a lack of depth. Overall though this is a very entertaining title with gameplay that brings out the best of the franchise.
|... and includes "modern" 3D sections too!|
There are some other nice additions to this game too. Most relevant to the actual gameplay is the Skill Shop where you can purchase new abilities or increased powers such as automatically landing on your feet when damaged, restarting with 10 rings, reduced slowdown when running up hills or in water, an extra life, extra speed or the ability to play the Sega MegaDrive Sonic. These all affect the gameplay in various ways and are a great way to extend the games life. As you play through the game unlockable content will be available and may include 13 different movies (which are the in- game cut-scenes), 50 pieces of music, 130 pieces of artwork and 14 character bios and models. Again, you can spend considerable time unlocking all this content which adds to the games longevity. Finally Sonic Generations includes online leaderboards and rankings.
The developers have included an Online Mode of sorts with a Ranking Attack where you can challenge online times set by gamers around the world, and also a 30 Second Trial mode where you see how far you can progress in 30 seconds.
So what about disappointments? Well, the biggest is that there is no co-op gameplay modes. Given that Sega have developed a 3D mode for the game - it should have been easy to create a split/screen or online co-op mode but as Sonic Team have stated they wanted to focus on the single player. Fair enough. The other issue we have with this game is that, at times, controls are a little twitchy - this is primarily in the 3D levels - but it's certainly a lot more refined and workable then previous, almost unplayable, 3D Sonic titles such as those on the Dreamcast. Finally it was disappointing that Sega didn't include those wonderful rotating maze gem levels from the early titles - we enjoy those and they could have made some nice/fun use of the PS3's Sixaxis controls (btw does anyone make use of that any more?!).
|You can't tell here but Sonic Generations moves super fast! |
Visually Sonic Team have done something very special with Sonic Generations. Each level, no matter the era, has been given a lick of paint with much richer backgrounds, more detailed enemies,
One rather nice addition to this latest Sonic title is that of support for stereoscopic 3DTV's which adds a true third dimension to the game.
Unfortunately while the game looks super slick, frame rate issues do occur on occasion, particularly in the 3D levels, but also in the 2D levels when the world is panning around. it's a little annoying and something that should have been ironed out prior to the games release.
Sonically Sonic Generations hits all the right notes with all those classic Sonic sound effects evident from the collecting of rings, the noise when Sonic jumps, or the super speed boost sound. Music, composed by Jun Senoue, is pretty impressive with plenty of classic tunes remixed into the game that will be instantly recognisable.
|Sonic Generations includes the classic truck chase level.|
Certainly the biggest improvement to the audio in this release is that of the speech which is nowhere near as corny as we've heard in the last decade or so. There are still moments, but at least the dialogue is scripted a little better, and less groan-worthy.
Developed by Sonic Team, Sonic Generations is the best Sonic game in a very long time. In fact, I would go so far as to say this is the best the series has been since the MegaDrive days. Those for a love of the little blue hedgehog would do well to check this release out.
Review By: Dave Warner
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|GRAPHICS||Visually Sonic Generations is the best looking game in the franchise. Occasional frame rate hiccups.||87%|
|SOUND||Sonic has never had great audio, but this is the best we've ever heard. Finally speech that isn't super corny.||78%|
|GAMEPLAY||Finally Sega have given us the 2D gameplay we love, and the 3D levels are the best they've ever been too.||87%|
|VALUE||Not as many levels as we'd hoped for, despite two versions of each, but plenty of challenges, rival and boss encounters. A tonne of unlockables and very replayable too.||84%|
|OVERALL||As a big Sonic fan Sonic Generations is a very welcome return to form for the franchise and one which all fans should enjoy.||86%|