This is the celebration Sonic has deserved.

User Rating: 10 | Sonic Generations X360

The "Sonic the Hedgehog" series has definitely had its ups and downs, and that can be seen clearly in its 3D ventures. For every "Sonic Adventure," there's a "Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric." While the "Sonic" series had its downer entries in the mid-2000s with "Sonic Heroes" and "Shadow the Hedgehog," 2006's "Sonic the Hedgehog" soiled the franchise's reputation, and led to many future games like "Sonic Unleashed," "Sonic Lost World" and "Sonic Forces" receiving more polarizing reception. Still, the blue blur hasn't had it all bad in 3D: 2010's "Sonic Colors" remains one of his better entries, and "Sonic Generations" was a beloved anniversary title when it launched in 2011. Mixing 2D and 3D gameplay while bringing back stages from many of the previous entries, it was pretty major for the series when it released. Having finally played it myself...I can outright say I have a new favorite "Sonic" game. Sorry, "Sonic Mania," you've got some competition.

"Sonic Generations" feels like the celebration Sonic has deserved, as it's truly a "best of all worlds" mixture of the 2D and 3D styles with incredible amounts of polish. The controls are fluid, the platforming is fantastic, and the game strikes that perfect balance between being accessible and easy to get into but still having a nice bit of challenge. I think the game also handles its nostalgic throwbacks pretty wonderfully by factoring its classic characters and locales nicely into the story, and wow, are those locales recreated amazingly. Having grown up on what the game describes as the "Dreamcast Era" of "Sonic" (even though "Sonic Heroes" wasn't a Dreamcast game), it put a huge smile on my face seeing stages like Speed Highway, City Escape and Seaside Hill recreated so lovingly in both 2D and 3D. It really helps that the visuals are breathtaking (which is unsurprising for a "Sonic" game), and they help bring these classic worlds and characters to life even more. Furthermore, even though the game is not very long, the vast amount of challenges and unlockables leave for a lot of extra replay value. Also, I feel I should add this since it just recently happened, but having played the game on the Xbox Series X, the fact that this version of the game is now playable at 60 FPS only makes the platforming gameplay even smoother.

In terms of negatives...I mean, I guess some of the drifting controls can be a tiny bit awkward? But you only use them for rare portions of the game, and they aren't that major, so...yeah, I got nothing.

Overall, "Sonic Generations" feels like the culmination of Sonic's best moments. It brings together the best parts of 2D and 3D Sonic gameplay while placing them to the backdrop of a nostalgic return to the past. It's taken a long time for me to find a "Sonic" game worthy of my highest possible rating, but finally...we're here. "Sonic Generations" is truly a gem in this long-running series, and it's a game I highly recommend playing yourself. If you're like me and you own an Xbox Series X|S, the 60 FPS boost means there's no better time than now to give it a whirl!

Final rating: 10 out of 10 "Fantastic"