Sonic Generations Review

Sonic Generations proves that two Sonics are way better than one.

Sonic and his furry posse haven't had the best run in recent years, but the ailing hedgehog finally returns in good form for his latest outing. Sifting out most of the cruddy elements from recent games that soured longtime fans and pushed some folks away for good, the development team hits a real sweet spot with Sonic Generations. Blending the tried-and-true classic 2D Sonic gameplay of the '90s with a refined, tighter version of Sonic's recent 3D jaunts yields a nostalgia-laden experience that favors blazing speed over schlocky gimmicks. When you add high replay value and a heap of extra goodies to that winning formula, you get one of the better Sonic games in recent memory.

Generations stars not one but two different versions of Sonic that coexist simultaneously in the same realm as a result of the game's time-bending plot setup. An upbeat picnic party gets ruined when a dark, powerful menace sucks up all of Sonic's pals and scatters them through time and space. Left stuck in a void, modern Sonic meets up with his retro self from the 16-bit era, and the two team up to recover their buddies and set things right. The story is laced with pleasantly light humor and serves as the vehicle for bringing the old and new eras together. Saving your friends trapped in time on the hub world requires you to warp back to memorably reimagined stages culled from past Sonic games. You have to tackle every level twice--once with the old-school Sonic and once with the modern Sonic--and that might sound like a cheap way of extending the adventure, but each hero's run offers a very different experience.

Playing as the original Sonic has you zipping through the undulating side-scrolling stages to collect gold rings, stomp foes, and navigate tricky platforming sections in 2D in a similar manner to the old-school games. Armed with just the spin dash and a need for speed, old Sonic brings back a great classic vibe. Returning for Act Two as the newer Sonic delivers a behind-the-shoulder, forward-moving 3D perspective that sometimes shifts to 2D for intermittent stretches. They're faster-paced runs that cover familiar terrain without being copy-and-paste repeats of the same stage designs. Modern Sonic has alternate moves like midair homing attacks and a speed boost instead of the typical spin dash. Both hedgehogs have somewhat unique moves, and each handles a little differently. The controls can feel a tad clunky when shifting between the old and new characters, and it's easy to lose track of what set of abilities you're working with during the common 2D stretches in each act. That's something that you get used to with time, though. There might be moments when you jolt to a dead stop or struggle through some of the platforming sections, but the challenge isn't so steep that you can't overcome the game's tougher areas with a little practice.

Sonic's surroundings have never looked better.

While the punchy, speed-driven gameplay keeps Generations upbeat and flowing, it's the impressive level designs that really seal the deal. Outside of the hub world, all of the main areas you explore are updated re-creations of stages pulled from a handful of past Sonic games. Multiple paths are the order of the day here, and obstacles like moving platforms, springboards, spikes, water areas, foes, lasers, and tons of other varied challenges are sprinkled generously throughout each branching route. Levels are also a real visual treat. Regardless of whether you're playing as old or new Sonic, the bustling background scenery shifts and pulses with life beyond the chaos erupting in the foreground. There's a ton of detail crammed into every area, and though much of it speeds by at a breakneck pace, it's gorgeous when you spare a second to notice. More deliberate transitional sections where Sonic gets chased by a rampaging truck armed with whirling buzz saws, hops across the noses of leaping killer whales, or rides a missile skyward really add some stellar flourishes too. Though few in number, the epic boss encounters showcase a similar pizzazz.

The collection and speed-run-focused vibe in Generations naturally encourages replay, but there are also a lot of minigames and content to unlock. Some are integral to progressing deeper into the game as well. After completing the main acts in each section of the hub world, you have to collect three keys to unlock the door to the next boss encounter. Gaining access to the key requires completing a series of minigames, such as racing duels, rival battles, and score challenges. Some are more enjoyable than others, but you can pick and choose which ones you want to play to unlock the key. With the main stages, the optional minigames, and the desire to go back to get a perfect score, there's enough content to chew on for a long time if you feel so inclined.

Switching from 2D to 3D offers a nice change.

Mixing the best elements from old and new Sonic games together into a seamless experience works out amazingly well. It's clear the Sonic team went above and beyond this time around to spit shine this game into a thing of beauty. It may have missed a few warts here and there, but Sonic Generations doesn't skimp on the speed or the fun.

The Good
Blends old and new Sonic elements very well
Dazzling stage designs
Lots of unlockables
High-speed action
The Bad
Switching between Sonics can be confusing
8
Great
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25 comments
l3igl3oss
l3igl3oss

More 3D sections than Colors, which was a great game on its own, make Generations a must have Sonic game. Impressive number of alternate routes! Sonic Unleashed started something with the Day-time stages, but they were too narrow and linear... Stages like Seaside Hill in Generations put a smile to my face =) Oh, and those Boss battles!

eze_sl89
eze_sl89

this is one of the best sonic out there, if only they had included sonic 2 and 3 and S&K as unlockables, this would be the ultimate SONIC experience ever. too bad they only included sonic 1 as a bonus. But apart from that, this is THE sonic game. it represents very well

Bayonetta2013
Bayonetta2013

Switching between the classic and modern Sonic was confusing...? You pressed a button...switch...how hard can it be?

disneyskate
disneyskate

Generations 2 isn't happening because sonic team wanted the game to make an homage to all the years they had with sonic, so generations 2 would have to be it's own game, which isn't what sonic team was going for in the first place.

disneyskate
disneyskate

Generations 2 isn't coming out because this was meant to be an homage to all of the years of sonic, so if they made a sequel it would have to be it's own game which isn't what they wanted In the first place.

AdultGamer1971
AdultGamer1971

After playing more of this game, I must say that it is the best Sonic game since the originals - I am finding that even the 3D is working much better than I expected.  Plus there is minimal annoying dialog from lame "B" characters, and less cheesy rock music.  The earlier versions of 3D Sonic just pushed the cheesiness too far - this new collection is very well made - beautiful graphics, tight controls, better music, less dialog - hopefully they will make "Generations 2" and showcase even more old classic tracks revamped.

AdultGamer1971
AdultGamer1971

Playing this game reminds me shows how good the old Sonic 2D games were - in my opinion the 2D levels are the most fun here.  3D Sonic has just never worked - admittedly things run must smoother here than in the past but 2D Sonic is where Sonic belongs. If they simply remade Sonic 1, 2 ,3 and Sonic and Knuckles with all new graphix, I would buy them all over again - this game gives tastes of this.

 

Here's what was and is so wrong about the 3D era Sonic - cheesy talking Sonic and totally cheesy music with cheesy lyrics (original sonic - no talking and cool instrumental music not filled with cheesy guitar solos), way too much in terms of special moves (tricks in the air??? - cheesy - old Sonic was fun simple platforming with a little speed), and extra cheesy characters nobody cares about (old Sonic you play as Sonic 90% of the time)!

 

2D Sonic feels great in this game, 3D Sonic is much improved but I would rather have more 2D levels, original instrumental music and no cheesy voiceovers, or lame B level characters (The vibe of the 3D Sonic characters remind me of the "Poochy the Dog" episode from the Simpsons - "to the extreme!!!")

BenFair
BenFair

The 2D levels are way too fast for me. Makes it unplayable

ChaosUndivided
ChaosUndivided

Great game. If you can master the levels then get online and set some records. It looks awesome when you can flawlessly pass a stage especially with 3D sonic.

DarthTall
DarthTall

Truly impressed by this one. Had a lot of fun playing through it.

Jedilink109
Jedilink109

What I want to know is HOW can he say that switching between Sonics can be confusing??? You hit the Y button and you're switched...

Curtis_G_Player
Curtis_G_Player

bonnin40 and SonAmyFreak4Eva are right ! This is the BEST sonic experience you can EVER have. I follow sonic since 1992 and after a bunch of SEGAs frustrating attempts they finally got it right and nice. It is already on my favorite collection of Greats Games of All Times, together with: Doom III, UT3, BioShock, Silent Hill 3, Heroes of Might and Magic III, The Beast Within and others...

SonAmyFreak4Eva
SonAmyFreak4Eva

This is probably the BEST 3D Sonic game ever! If you have an Xbox 360, PS3 or PC, I highly recommend getting this game. :3

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

Bought the game for the PC, I has to admit 2D Platforming part is awesome, but 3D Platforming is kinda crap though! :evil: Sonic should stay with 2D, with nice change camera angles, just like "Pandemonium" does..

bonnin40
bonnin40

This game is THE definitive sonic experience. it gives you the feel of the old genesis games, and gives you a feel for newer 3d sonic, letting you expierience something from almost every sonic game, in one sitting. An amazing game, easily my favourite on the Xbox,and possibly in the past decade!

omidsaint
omidsaint

The BEST Sonic Game In The World

s4dn3s5
s4dn3s5

I'd say this is the best thing coming from Sonic Team since Sonic Adventure 2

Sonic_P
Sonic_P

The best Sonic game!

Jedilink109
Jedilink109

Just bought this game a few minutes ago on Steam...can't wait to see how it is. :D

ninjapenguin1
ninjapenguin1

Fun game, best Sonic in years. Just wished they would have featured more of the old games...

Iamshmee
Iamshmee

@disneyskate First of all you can edit within the first 5 minutes of posting a comment. Second I just think if they made a sequel it would just be more variants on classic and modern stages that weren't covered in  this release, more characters and other things.

MKID232
MKID232

 @Jedilink109 He more means that each sonic plays with enough differences that sometimes it gets confusing when you try to use an ability on one sonic that is exclusive to the other sonic.

zen120
zen120

 @Ladiesman17

 Honestly, I really enjoyed the 3d levels more, because they had a great focus on speed and were just fun to play through.  The 2d levels, while fun and filled with great platforming sections, feel a bit stretched out and get boring for me.

Sonic Generations More Info

  • First Released
    • 3DS
    • PC
    • + 2 more
    • PlayStation 3
    • Xbox 360
    Sonic Generations brings a mix of classic and newer Sonic levels, letting you play through them in classic 2D or full 3D.
    8.6
    Average User RatingOut of 1242 User Ratings
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    Developed by:
    Sega
    Published by:
    Sega
    Genres:
    Action, Platformer, 3D
    Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
    Everyone
    All Platforms
    Cartoon Violence