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SEGA Neptune Micro-Review: Sonic Generations (Xbox 360)

December 4, 2011

This review is my first attempt to do a smaller, more accessible and faster to read type of critique, Lord knowns that the average Internet user reads articles in roughly the same speed and attention span as driver who glances at a billboards on the highway.

Hence we got to keep this simple…

What’s this about?

Sonic the Hedgehog’s birthday party is interrupted by a being called the Time-Eater who steals Sonic’s friends aways and shatters the  time space continuum. Here, he meets up with his past-self and together the duo fight their way through stages of Sonic’s past and present, defeat this threat and restore the world. In this game, you play through various stages in two distinct gameplay styles, with Classic Sonic being a recreation of the old Genesis titles but with updated visuals, while Modern Sonic incorporates some newer elements and plays in full 3D.

What I Liked:

  • Sonic Team finally gets it right:  Sonic Unleashed was a step in the right direction, Sonic Colors almost got it, but it is Sonic Generations that gets everything right. The Classic Sonic is a near-perfect recreation of the Genesis titles and Modern Sonic removes many of the questionable design choices that have plagued the post-Dreamcast Sonic games;
  • Top notch Presentation: The visuals are gorgeous, it is impressive to see Classic stages being fully recreated in 3D and the modern stages didn’t just have a new coat of paint, they went back and reworked them. Music is also excellent, both classic and modern songs have also been reworked, so that they feel fresh;
  • Stage design: The stages are huge and very colorful, at times they seem to be so big that it literally feels that you walked into a completely different section of the stage altogether;
  • A ton of unlockable content: The game is very short, but if you start to tackle the side missions, you can double your playtime. There’s artwork, a lot of Easter Eggs, music to unlock that you can use in many of the actual stages;

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Lack of actual plot: I am aware that having a storyline has done more harm than good to the franchise as a whole, but with two Sonics and a huge amount of nostalgia, not only does it feel like a wasted opportunity, it’s also occasionally awkward for long time fans such as myself to see the exposition being done through kindergarden-style antics;
  • Some poorly designed boss battles: At one point or another you will encounter foes from Sonic’s past and present in order to advance to the next area. There are a couple of questionable issues, either some boss encounters feature a very slim window of opportunity for landing a hit or like in many cases, you have no clear way of knowing how you should win the fight;
  • Too short: This is the game’s biggest flaw. In less than 6 hours, if you bypass all the optional content, you will be looking at the ending credits. It’s shame, because it is a good game and you wish you could play more of it;

The Final Word:

Sonic Generations is a very good game and I say this, not by the standards of a very forgiving Sonic fan, but by the average gamer’s standards. The formula that made Sonic great has been finally recovered, while it’s not perfect, it is the culmination of Sonic’s slowing rising renaissance and a return to true form.

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