Last year, Takashi Iizuka separated the Sonic fandom into classic fans and modern fans, claiming you couldn’t please both. A year later, one of Iizuka’s own creations looks like it will prove this statement false.
This is it. If Sonic Colors could qualify as a dessert, Sonic Generations is definitely looking to be the main course. The HD graphics are beautiful, better then Unleashed. The physics in the classic game play are nearly dead-on, with all the momentum of the classics intact. Modern Sonic’s levels are as fast as they were in Unleashed, without any pesky QTE sequences getting in the way. As awesome as Sonic Colors was, I can’t help but believe that any disillusioned Sonic fan who still believes Sonic is still down in the trash of the gaming industry will finally see this game as his redemption.
Graphically, Generations is a veritable tour de force of color and style. The art style of Green Hill shines through vividly here. The flowers and rocks and green checkerboard grass are all how you remember them, except this time rendered in stunning fully 3D HD polygons. It’s great to see the classic style of the old games rendered so well here. On top of these beautiful graphics, Sonic Generations is also the first game to be rendered in eye popping 3D across all platforms! That’s right, the 3DS version isn’t the only one getting the 3D treatment. Both the PS3 and the Xbox versions will be capable of displaying in 3D. The 3D effects aren’t terribly noticeable during classic Sonic’s game play, but during the speedy sections of modern Sonic’s level the 3D really pops. Things aren’t all rosey with the visuals though. Much like the Sonic Colors E3 demo last year, this demo does have a rocky frame rate. The game can become really choppy at times. Hopefully this issue will be resolved by the time the game arrives in stores this holiday.
Despite the funky frame rate, the game is still incredibly fun to play. Classic Sonic’s game play is likely to be the biggest crowd pleaser. I’m happy to say I tried all the tricks Brad told me about for Sonic 4 last year, and the results were good. Unlike Sonic 4, Sonic Generations’ Sonic does not stop dead in his tracks or in mid air when the player stops pushing forward on the controller. Sonic cannot stroll up inclines, nor can he stand on walls or in loops. Gravity will push you down hard if you don’t gather enough momentum.
That being said, classic Sonic still moves way faster than he did in the Genesis games, and the level design itself is a bit different. There are still a lot of bumpers that bounce you around in some places, but there is not one booster pad in site. There were many diverse paths to try as well. It’s not an exact replica of the classic Genesis games, but it still acts as a nice, effective homage.
Modern Sonic game play is as you’d expect: really fast, very boost centric, and incredibly hectic. Modern Sonic’s version of Green Hill is a fun level, and it’s certainly well designed. Those disappointed with Sonic Colors being a mostly 2D game will be happy to know that at the very least the Green Hill stage is more 3D then it is 2D.
All in all, Sonic Generations is shaping up to be even better then Colors, and something that should finally please retro fans and modern fans alike. This game does indeed outdo Sonic 4, Sonic Unleashed, and Sonic Colors in on fell swoop, if this stage is any indication. Hopefully, this game won’t hit any pot holes along the way, such as the sudden revelation that classic Sonic is murdered and replaced by a jealous Bubsy the Bobcat half way through. Fingers crossed, people!