I haven't really played a Sonic game since 2006's Sonic the Hedgehog. Why?
Because I played 2006's Sonic the Hedgehog. It was god awful.
And word of mouth hasn't been too polite to most of the games following it since.
But when I saw Sonic Generations staring up at me from the bargain bin I figured... Why not?
Give that tired old hedgehog another chance.
And while it isn't as awesome as the greats of the series from back in the day, it is no 2006's Sonic the Hedgehog. It is a perfectly decent, playable game that I can recommend with little reservation. And as a fan of Sonic in general, I'm happy to see him be in something that ain't just plain terrible.
So the story is there's this mysterious entity that messes with time and space, which is bad.
But it allows the chubbier, smaller sonic of the past to meet up with the too-cool-for-school, kinda douchey Sonic of today in order to set things right.
There are three era's with three levels pulled from or inspired by levels from Sonic's past games, each with an act one and an act two.
Act one you play with classic, side-scrolling, spin-dashing sonic and act two is played with Sonic Unleash inspired, modern day Sonic - sans the dumb werewolf stuff. Modern Sonic is played with a mix between a behind the back, 3D perspective and a more classic 2D perspective - though of course modern Sonic lacks the spin dash and can instead boost, as well as an aerial homing spin dash.
Complete a level with both hedgehogs and you'll restore the world and save one of his friends from the extensive, supporting cast Sonic has built up over the years. Frankly I would've been happy to let Charmy stay in his timeless limbo, but them's the breaks I guess.
Complete a set of three levels and you'll unlock challenges for them.
Complete at least one challenge from each of the three areas to unlock a boss key, which you can use to open the gate and fight a boss - beating them will get you a Chaos Emerald and allow you to progress to the next set of levels. Rinse and repeat, pretty much.
As far as gameplay is concerned I feel like the 2D Sonic levels are a bit stronger, though I'm perfectly willing to admit that might be more because it's tickling my sense of nostalgia than anything. I feel like the camera is perhaps zoomed in a bit too close for these, but it feels like old Sonic and that's all I wanted from Classic Sonic.
Modern Sonic is no slouch either, though it does fall into the trap that most 3D Sonic games have of feeling a bit like it's on rails. The sense of speed is awesome and it's fun to look at, but you don't feel like you have a great lot of control over where you're going. I did better at the 3D Sonic levels, I S-ranked a fair few of them, but I feel like that's because it didn't require me to do as much more than anything.
There is some actual platforming required but I feel like this is where the game falls a bit flat.
Sonic's too fast and skiddish for accurate platforming in 3D. Most of my deaths have come from just sliding my way off platforms in the Modern Sonic sections. That and sometimes for seemingly no reason the homing dash will overshoot whatever you've targetted by a significant margin and send you hurtling to your doom, which is immensely frustrating.
The boss fight's that cap each set of levels are fun and challenging, but I feel like a lot of the challenge just comes from a lack of proper instruction as to how you're meant to be beating it.
I did okay, but that's only because I watched my brother play through the game before hand and struggle for a bit attempting to figure out what it was he was meant to be doing exactly. If I didn't I feel like I would've fallen into the same traps he did.
Visually the game is quite stunning.
Very vibrant and colourful as you'd expect and it's kind of Interesting to see modern Sonic standing side-by-side with classic Sonic for comparisons sake. Same with Eggman/Robotnik.
I adore the games soundtrack.
Of course it pulls a lot from classic Sonic games, though as I missed pretty much everything after the 16bit era I missed tunes like "Escape From The City" which is awesome in a cheesey, pop kinda way. Pretty much the same thing can be said for a lot of the tracks, but I love them in spite of everything.
Soundwise the game's fine, has the classic Sonic sounds you'd expect.
Only really falls short on voice acting, which I guess has never been the strong suit of the series.
Pretty much every time someone talks in these games I want to punch them in the fact.
Though I'm thankful they didn't try to force a voice on classic Sonic. They did with classic Tails for some reason, but whatever I guess!
So there you have it.
It's a non-crappy Sonic game and that's great.
Between all the levels and then the challenges branching off them there's plenty of decent Sonic content to keep you busy until the next one - here's hoping they keep the same standard of quality in whatever follows this, because after playing this I actually have some small hope for Sonic's future. It'd be a shame for him to just disappear.