Product Type: Sega Nintendo 3DS Game
Newest Review: ... version, with much shorter levels and a few music tracks which seem just like the classics, but with a few instuments added or changed.... more
Sonic Generations (3DS)
Member Name: illogicology
Sonic Generations (3DS)
Advantages: Fun gameplay, nostalgia value, nice graphics.
Disadvantages: Feels like a confused product, poor choice of levels.
The gimmick here is that the game revisits classic sonic levels, one from each of the main games in the series. Each level is divided into two zones, the first of which is played in the style of the 90s Mega Drive games, and the second which is more like a modern Sonic title. On the consoles, the modern sections play something along the lines of Sonic Unleashed or console version of Sonic Colours, on the 3DS however the games takes the DS games as its model. The result is a slightly mismatched experience that is playable, and often a lot of fun, but lets itself down. The DS Sonic titles have all been very well made, but putting the gameplay next to classic Sonic really shows up just how much tighter those 90s games were. The classic Sonic levels are a joy to play, particularly when you're exploring a retro interpretation of a famous 3D level. Modern Sonic, on the other hand, is overpowered and fiddly to control. It's never quite clear if there's any skill involved in reaching the end of the level or if you're just holding boost down the whole time and sliding through on auto-pilot. However, the complete package is a lot more satisfying than the PS3 and 360 versions where the two halves feel completely at odds with each other.
One change I would have made is in the distribution of the levels. For a great celebration of Sonic's past, it all feels a bit stingy. One level from Sonic 1, one level from Sonic 2 and so on, and it's not even a collection of the series' greatest levels. Aside from the first level, the 3DS and Console versions are a completely different selection and it's pretty obvious that consoles got all the most memorable (and fun) ones. 3DS owners are left with some really oddly chosen dregs. The levels aren't bad in themselves, though there's a bit too much trial and error for my liking, but they seems to become less and less imaginative as they go on.
Graphically, this is an interesting one as so many unusual factors are involved. The game is a sidescroller, a lot of its levels are remakes of 16-bit era levels and it features a lot of familiar elements. In the end this was the area where the game impressed me the most. It has the usual problems with aliasing on the 3DS' relatively low-res screen, but beneath that it features smooth, clean visuals that are bright and cheerful. The 3D is used really well here, with a very distinct separation from the background that really changes how you look at Sonic games. I found myself interested in the world off in the distance, beyond the one plane the game is locked too. It's not going to win any awards, but it's polished and pleasant in a way the rest of the game just isn't.
In summing up, Sonic Generations on the 3DS is a bit of a hard game to judge. There's some great gameplay here in the Classic Sonic levels and it's a type of gaming that is a joy to revisit. But there's an element of reluctance about it. The Classic Sonic levels are shorter, easier and contain less original elements. Despite the fact that they play so much better and shine out among the cluttered nature of the Modern gameplay, the game seems to cling insistently to the notion that Modern Sonic is what the player is their for. There's a faint cynical edge to it all, as though Classic Sonic is only included here as Modern Sonic's foot in the door. However, the Modern Sonic half isn't that bad, it's certainly on worse than Sega's Sonic games on the DS and I praised them. I suppose I'd have to say that Sonic Generations is a decent game, and a decent idea, for a series that has lost its way, but that it lacks commitment. It feels like a token effort that fix a problem that developer doesn't see as a problem. It's worth a play and there's fun to be had, but it's a mildly frustrating experience at the same time.
Summary: Sonic Generations is fun for fans of Sonic and possibly for a wider audience, but it's no classic.
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