As my first entry into the Sonic series, Sonic Generations is good, but not great

User Rating: 7.5 | Sonic Generations PS3
My relationship with SEGA's hypersonic hedgehog is a strange one. Despite me having called myself a Sonic fan for quite a while, Sonic Generations is my first Sonic game. I grew fond of Sonic through Sonic X, and other TV shows with the blue blur, like SatAM and Underground. Also the basic concept of a cobalt blue, carefree hedgehog that jogs at Mach 5 appealed to me.

It seems I picked an appropriate time for deciding I was ready for a Sonic game, because as far as I understand, Sonic hasn't had the best run in recent years, only just now finally getting his act together with Colors and Generations, but who am I to judge games I haven't even played?
The main reason for me choosing Generations over, say, Sonic Colors, is mainly because I have a PS3 (and 2), which I purchased in order to still follow the exploits of my first love of video games: the Ratchet & Clank series, but I digress.

My review of Sonic Generations will be split in six parts: graphics, gameplay, story, sound, difficulty and enjoyment.

A visual treat, period. Sonic Generations looks very impressive. I've heard others complain about a too slow frame rate (30 fps rather than the anticipated 60fps) thus depriving the player of a real sense of speed. To me it looks perfectly fine and scooting by the colorful and detailed locales is great fun.

The core of any platformer is of course the gameplay, and Sonic Generations passes this test with flying colors: You get 2 Sonic's to play with, what's not to love?

The game consists of a grand total of 16 levels, 7 of which are boss fights. That leaves us with 9 standard levels, or "zones", and all of these are taken from previous entries in the Sonic series: We have Chemical Plant Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Speed Highway from Sonic Adventure, just to name a few.

Each "zone" has two acts, one for each Sonic, and both must be completed in order to progress through the game.
Let's see how they play out, shall we?

First of we have Classic Sonic, the 90's version that so many Sonic fans know and love. The levels starring the younger (and, quite frankly, fatter) Sonic are almost entirely from a 2D-perspective, but most of his levels have small segments in which Sonic runs on autopilot, and these small bits are in 3D.

Now for the actual gameplay. As Classic Sonic, you can only go up, down, left, or right, and your only defense is to make clever use of the Spin Jump and the Spin Dash while you blast through the level. If you're a 90's boy, you're likely to feel right at home with Classic Sonic's play style, but even if you, like me, are a newcomer to the series it should be easy enough to get the hang of it.

And next, we have the Modern Sonic of the 21st century. With Modern Sonic your levels will mostly play from a 3D view centered behind the blue blur, but occasionally the game switches to a 2D view for some straighforward platforming, these parts are usually slower then the 3D segments, and that's good because it breaks up the action nicely between the fast-paced 3D segments.

In those segments, you'll usually be running incredibly fast. Modern Sonic has a lot more moves than his younger self, you'll be stomping, grinding, boosting, skidding and quick-stepping nonstop while making good use of the Homing Attack for dispatching the bad guys. The Sonic Boost, a rather recent additon to the series, is simply a speed boost that lets Sonic bulldoze through all breakables and enemies alike, as long as you gather enough rings to keep the boost gauge up.

Rings are of course commonplace in the game, and for Classic Sonic they serve one purpose, and one purpose only: making sure he doesn't die. If you get hit you'll lose your rings, and if you get hit without any you'll lose a life.

This also holds true for Modern Sonic, but he'll be using those rings to fill up his boost gauge as well.

Aside from the main levels there are also "challenge acts", each Sonic has 5 of these for each zone. These minigames offer a variety of different challenges, some recurring ones are "doppelganger races" in which you'll be racing a transparent copy of you to the goal. There's also plenty of others too, but they're so varied it'll make this review too long.

Finally, we have the boss battles, they are split into two categories: "Rival Battles", which are essentially mini bosses and "Boss Battles" which are actual bosses, the bosses can be fought after every three zones are completed, while the rival battles are within a zone.

Well, you can't really call the plot of Sonic Generations "complex": Modern Sonic comes upon a surprise birthday party his friends have organized for him, but suddenly, out of nowhere some shadowy creature shows up and sucks them all into portals.

When Sonic regains consciousness, he is in some weird white hub world (note: this is the point from which you'll be switching between levels), eventually Sonic meets his younger self and the Classic and Modern Tails as well. Ultimately, the shadowy creature seems to be able to leave areas stuck in this white limbo, and only by running really, really fast can you return color and time to these worlds.
So yeah, time travel is the explanation for two Sonics and somehow: a lot of speed fixes time.

Sounds silly? Yeah, probably, but face it: you're playing a game about a neon blue rodent that jogs at mach 5, you gave up your right to be incredulous a long time ago.

Since Generations was my first Sonic game I didn't really know what to expect. But the voice acting in general is well done and sounds sufficiently close to what I've grown used to with Sonic X (Save Blaze and Silver of course, but they are still good). The sound effects, which supposedly are a series staple, sound just fine too.

The music is also good, timeless classics such as "His World" and generally enjoyable music all across the board makes the game an audible treat as well, one of my personal favorites is the music that plays in the Metal Sonic rival battle.

Overall, Sonic Generations is great fun to play, but rarely much of a challenge.
The most challenging battle in the game is against the Egg Dragoon, and even that isn't anywhere near as difficult as, in lack of another Sonic game to compare with, the last boss battle of Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction (and Gamespot supposedly called that game too easy).

In fact, even on hard mode, the first two rivals and bosses hardly offer any challenge. OK, so I had to spank the Death Egg Robot two more times, but so what?
While Silver and Egg Dragoon at least offer something of a challenge, they're still easy enough to beat in just a few tries.

The last boss isn't much to speak of either, as the only improvement is pretty much an inflated life-bar.

Some of the levels with excess platforming segments can be somewhat frustrating, this is mostly Crisis City and Planet Wisp, but the levels are fun nevertheless, and aside from these parts the game is overall quite easy.

Then again, I like easy things.

Well, Sonic Generations is a good game, but it's one that wears out quickly. After a while, I grew tired, and the fun factor was rapidly disappearing. It's the type of game that's best experienced in short bursts.