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Sonic Origins Plus Retrospective


SadVlad

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Here stands a game that I could talk about for hour's. I'm going to reframe myself to core aspects in this retrospective review. Sonic Origins was released on June 23 2022, with Origins Plus being updated into the game exactly one year later on June 23 2023. 

Upon Origins initial release it received mixed criticism for its proclaimed bare minimum approach to the game, with a handful of bugs within the game that all revolved around impacting the games performance in one manner or another. But since this is my personal retrospective, the opinions that lay here-in are merely my own, as all opinions are valid and no one perspective is right over another.

 Upon it's day one release Origins packs in Sonic 1, CD, 2, 3, and Sonic & Knuckles. All these games can be played in either classic mode in which everything is pixel perfect, with the addition of screen filters and numerous minor options to customize your gameplay experience. There is also an Anniversary mode that lets you choose what character you want to use, and Sonic has his drop dash from mania. You can even choose what spin dash animation you want to use.

Lives are replaced with coins which can be used to unlock music, artwork, and videos in the museum. There is a plethora of content here, spanning the entirety of Sonic's lifetime up into the release of the game. There is also a mission mode that adds a bit of diversity and challenge to Sonic Origins, consisting of short and difficult challenges that reward players with coins based off their rank. And in addition, there is a story mode that compiles all of the cutscenes and games into one massive, ongoing game.

The cutscenes themselves are all gorgeously animated, and resembling those that were in Sonic Mania. They are fairly short and boast no dialogue, but they tie in the games with some sense of a story that gives these titles a little more depth and substance. I remember binging Origins when it released, being satisfied over all with its presentation and what the game set out to accomplish. This was a nice compilation of the classic games that have been ported and re made countless times over the past couple decades.

The one thing that Origins did differently from typical ports is it added just enough quality of life improvements to keep me entertained throughout. Features that subtly made a 30+ year old series of games feel moderately new. So much that I ended up purchasing this on both XBOX and Switch respectively. I have played each game in this collection more times than I can count since they all released in the early to mid 90's. But Sonic Origins did just enough to make this experience feel fresh, to the extent where I enjoyed every minute of my time with it. Giving the illusion of a new experience to a set of games I had been fondly familiar with my entire life.

Stepping ahead to the release of Origins Plus one entire year later, SEGA added not only Amy as a playable character, but Knuckles was made playable in Sonic CD as well. To top that off, they added 12 Game Gear titles, and multiplayer support to a few of them. And this is where things get controversial with the added dlc. The emulation used on these games has its issues, with some poor frame rate at times bringing the game to a crawl in some instances. On top of that the Plus dlc sat at a price point of 14.99 stateside. This did not go over well with alot of consumers. To make matters worse the base game itself went under a price decrease from the initial 39.99 to 29.99. Essentially meaning that people who bought the game day one or on pre order had to inadvertently pay more money for the game than newer players who waited and bought the updated Origins Plus when it released. As I said, the dlc cost 14.99 US, but if you decide to buy Sonic Origins Plus as a whole it would cost you 39.99. And seeing as how the base game was decreased to 29.99 over the past year, this seemed like a slap in the face to alot of fans.

Regardless of the backlash at the time, I was still very much excited for this dlc and had no issues with the price because I knew exactly what I was in store for. So much content was added to the game that I was beyond anxious for Plus' release. Upon arrival those who downloaded the dlc were also introduced with a patch to the game that addressed, and seemingly fixed all of the prior bugs that Origins had. I have spent more time playing this than I'd like to admit. There is so much here that I honestly cannot say enough to Sonic fans about why they should get this game if they have not already.

You essentially get 16 games from the early days of Sonic. And there is so much crammed in this package that it will take ages to experience everything this game offers, whether you are completely new to these games or a returning fan. The Game Gear, titles despite the occasional frame issues, are really worth investing your time into. They offer a unique perspective of gameplay that is different from the console games that most people are more familiar with. I won't go into details about each one, but I assure you, they are seriously worth checking out. If I could of changed anything or have added something more, I would of added online co-op and some of the more obscure Sonic games(Sonic Fighters and Sonic R).

 With all that being said, Sonic Origins Plus is easily and definitely my favorite Sonic game at the time being. The sheer amount of content alone made this decision a no brainer for me. You can easily spend an hour just exploring the Museum, and not even scratch the surface. But this is the perspective of a 36 year old gamer dad that has been a die hard fan for three decades. So my feelings are not going to be the same as everyone's, or maybe even your own. Every good game is going to have something to criticize in some shape or form. But no matter where you stand, if you love Sonic the Hedgehog then Sonic Origins Plus is an absolute must have for your collection. 

 

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Edited by SadVlad
Typo

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