Xbox 360 Review: Sonic Generations

Sonic and friends travel back in time for the hedgehog’s 20th Birthday!

Ah Sonic. The blue spikeball turns 20 this year and who would have thought he’d last 2 decades and still be going strong? Well, with the exception of his past 3D disasters like Sonic 2006, Unleashed and Black Knight, but it hasn’t all been bad…Colours was decent, Sonic 4 Episode 1 was a step in the right direction and now there’s Sonic Generations, which is easily Sonic’s best game since Sonic Adventure 2, although it’s actually a lot better than that…

The story makes about as much sense as any other Sonic game of the past decade, so don’t go expecting a superb plot because it’s not here. Essentially, a mysterious being eats up Sonic’s friends and their timelines, reducing Sonic’s world into a state of limbo. But there’s 2 Sonics that work together to fix the time space continuum by revisiting old stages of their past such as the Green Hill Zone, Chemical Plant Zone and so on.

There’s a good balance between Classic and Modern Sonic and having played the game till the end, which is sadly far too soon for my liking…it’s a great game and it seems that Sega have finally listened to what the fans have been saying. Make a Sonic game that combines old and new elements, while bringing us back to the stages we loved. It’s also good to see classic zones from the perspective of Modern Sonic and vice-versa with the new stages and Classic Sonic.

It isn’t all perfect though, the cheap deaths that we have come accustomed to since Sonic turned 3D still rear their ugly heads from time to time, plus the camera can be zoomed in too much at times, which makes it tricky to anticipate what is coming up be it an enemy or a wall that will slow Sonic down to a complete stop, which isn’t the best thing to happen. You can buy upgrades for both Sonics like shields, turning enemies into coins etc.

I was a little disappointed that only a few classic Sonic levels from the Mega Drive era made it into the game, I don’t really understand why we got a re-imagining of a Sonic 2006 level, but its nice to see the others. I only hope they release even more classic zones as DLC because the game really needs extra content since it’s over quickly. Well, not that quickly if you decide to try and complete the 90 challenges, a minimum of 9 have to be completed to get to the end but luckily you can pick what ones you want.

There are also 10 red rings hidden in each stage, 5 for each Sonic and races/battles against Sonic’s rivals like Shadow, Metal Sonic and Silver for Chaos Emeralds. I was surprised that there are only a few bosses in the whole game when there is a huge backlog of enemies that Sonic could have fought against once again. I would have loved to actually fight against Metal Sonic instead of avoiding him like in Sonic CD, or even recreate the Sonic and Knuckles fight. As a Sonic game goes, it’s actually pretty easy and doesn’t put up much of a challenge. Even the achievements are mostly easy, with the exception of beating the last boss without taking a single hit. Getting S Ranks is easier than usual…all you need to do is not die during a level and make it in a decent time.

In terms of presentation, Sonic Generations looks brilliant and vibrant. The levels have had a good visual upgrade, although the cinematics are a bit on the pixelated side. Voice-acting is cheesy as always, but I like how the game pokes fun at itself and Sonic’s past disasters. I love Classic Tails’ line asking Modern Tails where Sonic keeps all those rings and it’s a good question! There are some funny moments and it’s all good, while the soundtrack is a brilliant reworking of classic and modern tunes, it also helps that you can pick the song for the stage you are playing…which helps when you are sick to death of hearing the same track over and over.

The Verdict

Sonic Generations is a great dedication to 20 years of Sonic and paves the way forward for where the series needs to head, let’s just hope Sega doesn’t come up with any more crazy gimmicks like Werehogs, giving Sonic a sword or giving Shadow an Uzi…