A fellow reviewer once said that Sonic is like a down on his luck rock star in the videogame world. In the 90s he was the biggest thing in the world, competing head to head against Mario and all the Nintendo characters, he had a great start to the turn of the century with Sonic Adventure 1 and 2, but after the Dreamcast died his games have only dropped in quality, his fanbase dimming like a very slow and sad twilight.
Sega has tried already the “back to basics” approach with Sonic, via the unsuccessful Sonic 4, which had the right idea in many fans minds, but was a bit on the “dull” side. Now they are trying again with Sonic Generations, a game that, beyond just being a “back to basics” with Sonic, it’s also a celebration of the old hedgehog, containing different levels from Sonic games throughout the years.
While at the Eurogamer Expo I was able to try the demo of the game that Sega were showing off, containing both a Sonic “Classic” level and a “Modern” Sonic level.
The classic level played, well, like a classic Sonic level (duh). Sonic jumped around on moving platforms on a 2D plane rendered in 3D, sped along long slopes, loops and smacked against enemies because he was going too fast to dodge them.
Having played Sonic 2 recently for nostalgic reasons, I found that the new game is pretty much a carbon copy of the old Sonic games, which is not bad at all. My only problem would be the aesthetics, while they are crisp and colourful, they look somewhat plastic-y and fake in comparison to the classic game’s sprites. In this day and age, it’s to be expected, but I cannot stop missing those beautiful sprites.
The “Modern” Sonic level was also quite engaging. The fact that it’s closer in feel to Sonic Adventure levels than the more recent Sonic games is a definite plus. The camera sticks to Sonic’s back, which helps control a lot, and the level was again a maddening mix of loops, grind-bars, springs and rampaging enemies.
The action was maybe TOO fast at some points, making the game a delight to be seen, but moving almost in autopilot; the bane of many modern Sonic games. Thankfully, they’ve added some quick-time events while grinding or looping, that don’t feel out of place at all (it’s all about the speed) and make those sections a bit more interesting.
Until the game is out we won’t be sure of the final outcome, but it really seems Sonic will have some luck and finally get a decent game that cherishes the best parts of his recent and more dated outings.
I doubt this will be enough to save the Hedgehog from the fall-from-grace that he’s had in recent years, but at the very least it will be a nice and charming epitaph.
Sonic Generations is due to be released on Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and 3DS on 4th November. Stay tuned to newbreview.com for more coverage over the coming weeks.
- Jose Luis Pérez Zapata