Sonic Generations was a god send to me; it was a mixture of all I loved (and love) from my favourite game franchise in one game, I was very excited to play it for the first time; watching the opening movie made me just want to get into the game and play it.
Something I want to get over with first is how great it feels to play redesigned versions of classic levels like City Escape and Green Hill Zone. It feels fantastic.
It takes a little while to get to the game, one or two slightly irritating – but fittingly sonic-y – cut scenes to tackle; but when you get into it, it is rather good. Green Hill Zone is what I call a Sonic masterpiece, it introduces you to the nostalgia trip, and is in competition with Planet Wisp and Sky Sanctuary for the best level in the game. Green Hill Zone starts the game perfectly, as it sticks out as the most iconic Sonic level; it plays fantastically for each Sonic and is designed brilliantly, and the sound is fantastic for it, especially in Act 2. The soundtrack, actually, is one of the best aspects of the game: staying true to the series’ tradition and giving it a cool new twist.
There are 7 levels in the game, featuring 2 acts each; and navigating through them in a decent little hub-world works well. The first act is a recreation of the original level in the style of Sonic in his first games. The second is a recreation of the original level in the style of ‘modern’ sonic – essentially playing like an improved Sonic Unleashed day level. The first acts are fantastic remodels of the old Sonic style and play maybe a little better than they did at first, which is fantastic; however, it is a bit of a shame that items like shields don’t appear while playing the game (they can be bought with rings as an extra, but it isn’t really the same). But these first acts are essential to the game and all in all are a real joy to play; they also look very, very nice. But when I switch on the game, all I want to play is the second act of each zone – which is what I am getting to now.
The second acts of each zone are the definition of fun; they are also the definition of speed. They are stylized, unique, designed brilliantly and are immensely fast. The Sonic you play as focuses on this incredible speed; you need a certain amount of skill to control him correctly, creating a nice little learning curve. It flows fantastically when in motion and looks great, and the redesigned original levels are my vision of perfect. These levels focus on the fun, and so, it is indeed very fun. But focusing on this aspect does take away some of the art of intricate platforming and that of controlling your speed using acceleration as in the classic Sonic levels (which the first acts do extremely well); but I suppose the sheer fun and speed of it all overwhelms that fact. The two acts sort of balance each other out – but that ‘sheer fun and speed’ makes me keep coming back for more.
And then there’s the bosses and rival battles, in which you play as either Act 1 Sonic or Act 2 Sonic, depending on the situation. For example; in the first boss, you play as Act 1 Sonic against the Death Egg Robot – which is a fantastically atmospheric boss – and in the second boss, you play as Act 2 Sonic against Perfect Chaos – which is also a brilliant boss. The thing is, every boss is at least very good: there is a perfect blend of atmosphere, fun, platforming and a well rounded amount of challenge in each (the level of challenge getting bigger as the bosses go on). The rival bosses also are great, switching between the two Sonics and having good contrast between each battle.
This game isn’t flawless, though, it tends to focus more on Act 2 Sonic (or ‘modern’ sonic) and he is playable for 4/6 bosses and rival battles – Act 1 Sonic only getting 2/6 – this gets rid of a bit of the balance -; there’s also the thing that it is simply too easy to get an S rank (I want it to be a great achievement when I get one of those!). Then, there is the question of how long it is. The answer is it is short: probably too short. It’s a shame, because I really love the game, but it felt like it ended too quickly; only taking me 5-7 hours to complete. But, then again, Kirby games are classically ‘short and sweet’… But Sonic games aren’t? But all these faults are few and far between and are for the most part minor and are all largely over shadowed by how brilliantly designed all the levels and bosses are and how great they feel to play.
Sonic Generations is short, maybe too short; but that doesn’t matter too much when it’s a fantastic Sonic game and one of the best. It’s fun, fast and, well… Fast. It grabs all the great things that I remember from Sonic games – my favourite ones or not – and stuffs it all into one brilliantly entertaining game. Pretty much any flaw you’ll find in this game will be minor and be mostly overwhelmed by the ‘sheer fun and speed’ of it all and how great the level design is – feeling great to play. It’s probably one of my favourite games ever, and It’s certainly the best nostalgia trip I’ve ever played.
So I give it: 93/100.
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