A cash in with little value to those who aren't long time fans.
Let me begin this review by saying I am a very big fan of the Sonic series. I have played just about every game in the main series from Sonic the Hedgehog all the way to this. I enjoyed the originals, both Adventure games, and even the infamous Sonic Unleashed quite a bit. Being a long time fan of this series, I saw Sonic Generations and I was instantly thrilled with the concept. A throwback to older games, as well as a revisit to new ones. What could go wrong?
My hype for this game got larger and larger as the dates rolled near November 1st. I was really looking forward to this game, so when I got it day 1 I was very excited to start playing it. I started the first level and I instantly loved this game.
I kept playing it constantly until I had finished just about everything the game had to see, in 2 days. I just knew there was something wrong with this game. It took me quite a bit of time to understand exactly what was wrong with this game It's been awhile, and I think I finally have it figured out.
The story in this game is very light. It's almost not worth mentioning. I know you may say that Sonic games don't need to have a big story, and I guess there is some truth to that, but I personally really enjoyed the stories of Sonic Adventure, Sonic Adventure 2, and Sonic Unleashed, and it's somewhat sad to see Sonic Team not even try to convey a story anymore in this series. Instead, what we have here is mainly an excuse plot meant to somehow tie all these unconnected levels together. Part of what I enjoyed of the narrative of the previously mentioned games is that the story tied the levels together so nicely, and made the whole game flow really well, as well as making events seem important and interesting. Generations, however makes none of it's events seem significant at all, and makes the cutscenes and plot rather uninteresting. A few witty jokes aside, there's not much of a narrative here.
Fortunately the gameplay here is rather well done, but leaves quite a bit of room for improvement.
The stages staring Classic Sonic are pretty well done and entertaining. The physics mostly feel right, and it is very much an improvement from Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1, but still, there is much to be desired. Jumping through these levels is really fun, but occasionally the spin dash feels overpowered and the level designs can be rather annoying. They seem to rely on bottomless pits and risky jumps for most of the challenge, and although everything is well presented, many of the level designs simply feel thrown together without much thought. Regardless of what I am saying, I did enjoy this part of the game to a degree.
Modern Sonic's side of the game was also pretty entertaining. Running through these stages is fun and fast, although not without problems. Sections that require precise platforming are very annoying, as this gameplay model was simply not built for that. You'll find yourself flying off stages a lot during these segments due to your character's controls. The segments in the stages that involve running fast and using homing attacks to make platforms out of enemies are this games most entertaining moments, and I wish Modern's levels were simply made of more of them.
Aside from the just the main levels, each one of them has 10 challenges attached to them for both characters. Many of these feel incredibly tacked on and just a way to artificially extend this game's length. Some of which involve simply running through the stages again, faster or with more rings. Others, are about teaming up with another character and using them to achieve some task within one of the levels. These can be the absolute worst, and are also very brief. They do very little to improve this game's quality or length.
There is also 5 red rings to collect in each stage. These, again, feels like the game trying to artificially add replay value and length. All of the other 3D Sonic games are guilty of this, but here, collecting them hardly seems worth the effort.
Making their way into the game are 6 boss fights from past Sonic games. These are all quite underwhelming, and are over very quickly. Particularly disappointing for me was the boss fight against Perfect Chaos from Sonic Adventure, one of my favorite bosses from the entire series. The original boss fight was a climactic, epic encounter that was a really long battle. In Generations, however, involves platforming through a small section and hitting him 4 times. The others are similarly disappointing. Then there is Time Eater, this game's last minute final boss. This was a terrible idea, as this character/machine had next to no build up at all, and was very undeveloped and uninteresting. His boss fight seemed like it was trying to throwback to the endings of all the 3D games, with both Super Sonic's fighting Time Eater, but the boss fight was very simple, easy and brief, that it lacked an epic feeling.
This game was, in general, too easy and short. If this was designed for long time fans, I have a hard time imagining why they would make the ranking system and levels so easy. I almost never didn't get an S rank on stage, even when I was playing absolutely terribly. Everything just needed more fleshing out, and maybe a few revisions.
Graphics and Art
This is an area where this game really succeeds. The game looks absolutely beautiful, with incredibly detailed backgrounds in each level, truly bringing it to life. Everything has very fluid animation and looks great, with the blank white hub world being the only uninteresting spot.
All the enemies and character models look true to their originals, but with new features added making them look really interesting. I have no negative's to say about this games art style and character designs, as they are all done absolutely flawlessly.
On the technical level, everything runs at a solid frame rate, but it isn't without a few graphical glitches. A few times I found that Modern Green Hill was COMPLETELY INVISIBLE. But apart from that, the effects and textures all look really nice, and despite not looking quite as visually stunning as the older Sonic Unleashed, this is still a really good looking game.
This game has an incredible soundtrack, spanning some of the best songs out of the entire series. The remixes of the songs for each level sound incredible, and the bonus remixes are really amazing too. It's a shame to see not all of these songs are remixed, but it's nice to have such a catalog of music from the Sonic series.
Sonic Generations is a game that should have been more then it was. It is obvious that many of the people who worked on this game weren't too passionate about this project, and didn't put much effort into it. The presentation of this game is absolutely masterful, but gameplay fails to match. Challenges and Red Rings merely feel tacked on, and just ways to make this game seem longer and more full of content then it actually is. I can't recommend that anyone pay a full $50 dollars for this game, and if you aren't really into the series, you should avoid this altogether. If your a hardcore fan, I would hold off on this until it is at least cheaper. I hope the next Sonic game has a bit more work put into it then this, because as it stands, Sonic Generations is merely a cash in.