3DS Review: Sonic Generations

Can the blue spikeball still impress after 20 years?

The console versions of Sonic Generations was met well with critics, as it was mostly a return to the hedgehog’s roots, which was well overdue. The 3DS version takes this even further by only adding in 2D levels, so what’s the difference between Classic and Modern Sonic? Not a lot as Classic Sonic gets the Homing Attack after a few levels, but Modern Sonic gets to boost as well. So, what can we expect from the handheld version?

Well, firstly forget cutscenes….there isn’t any in the entire game, instead we get “treated” to static images and text boxes with the occasional line of voice-work thrown in, which is disappointing considering the console versions got quite a few cutscenes. The story remains the same as the Time Eater makes both Sonics go back to past levels and re-do them. The 3DS version includes levels that weren’t in the console versions like Mushroom Hill, Casino Night (unless you got the pre-order DLC) and oddly, even more bosses appear like the Big Arm boss from Sonic 3 and the Bio-lizard from Sonic Adventure 2.

Getting the Chaos Emeralds is also different, instead of racing against Metal Sonic/Shadow/Silver for them (although you still have to do that) you gain them by running down a tube as you collect balloons to sustain your boost, while avoiding spikes to slow you down as you try and catch upto the emerald, it takes me back to the old days of Sonic 2…except these are quite easy, as is the rest of the game. Although having said that, there are some design choices that are questionable…like giving the player only 2 lives, which can become very frustrating when you come across a level that is full of cheap deaths.

Another problem is that the game is very short; I breezed through it in a few hours. You can unlock Missions to do such as finishing a level without killing an enemy or beating times, but these are pretty dull in comparison the main game. Multiplayer can be local or online, but these are essentially just races to the end and wear thin quickly. I’m also confused as why the game doesn’t actually show any other Sonic characters other than Tails in the “cutscenes”, now I personally can’t stand the likes of Rouge or Charmy, but to ignore them completely is odd when the console versions didn’t.

The music is nice and a good remix of classic tunes, voice-acting is minimal due to the text boxes…but it’s still cheesy. The visuals make good use of the 3DS hardware, although Sonic does seem to get quite small at times and the 3D effect isn’t always as impressive as it perhaps should have been.

The Verdict

Sonic Generations is short when compared to the console version and once it’s done, there’s little reason to replay it for anything other than nostalgia for the classic levels, yet some of them are designed poorly and lead to many cheap deaths. I did enjoy my time with the 3DS version, but I found it over all too quickly…