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Sonic Generations Review

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By Branden Sails

Sonic the Hedgehog has come such a long way, constantly facing off the mighty Mario franchise, showing up in absolutely horrible games, to ridiculously fun games. It seems this time, SEGA has created another franchise winner with Sonic Generations. Players haven't been this excited since Sonic Adventure, and that says a lot, because Sonic Adventure was a smash hit.

Sonic Generations does an excellent job at taking the best from previous sonic games. There are hardly any new concepts that show up in this fast paced thrill ride, but that's because Sonic doesn't need anything new. From the start of the game, you are thrown into high speed madness while playing not only as one Sonic, but TWO.

In a brilliant combination of giving the player the choice of playing levels in 2D (classic Sonic side-scrolling goodness) and 3D (somewhat free roaming modern Sonic), Sonic Generations is all about Sonic going fast. However, this new Sonic prodigy is not all frustration free.

When playing through the game as the hip spiky modern day Sonic, you will find yourself yelling at the screen, wondering why the Sonic Team thought it was a good idea to make almost the ENTIRE GAME require "locking on". In order to get the best times on each level, and accomplish certain achievements, you are forced to go through levels, almost in fear, tapping the X button like a madman.

Every jump, and every enemy can be locked on to, and if you just so happen to press X at the wrong moment, you will either fall off the level in a disappointing death, or your adrenaline filled adventure will come to an abrupt halt as you fly into a wall. On some levels, it became so bad, that my roommate had to tell me the classic Sonic gamers slogan: "Boost into a wall. Every. Single. Time." While playing, you want to go ludicrous speed fast by using your boost bar which is powered up by collecting rings or doing mid air combos, but 90% of the time, your boost is wasted by immediately boosting into a wall. A lot of players will find this game mechanic very frustrating, and find that it takes a lot of the game away from them, because who wants to just tap one button and be automatically propelled through the level? Well, this is where opinion and skill comes into play.

Once you get the hang of it, if you are able to see the jumps coming up, and actually able to hit X at those key times, then you will be finding yourself holding tightly onto your controller, excitedly waiting to see what come next while traveling at Sonic's trademark light speed. I'm not saying I'm a professional at it, but it does take a few levels to get into the groove. For those that aren't able to get the hang of it, classic 2D Sonic mode is a wonderful blast from the past. You are still able to burn through oldies like Green Hill Zone and Chemical Plant, but with a completely revamped graphics engine. 2D Sonic may be 2D, but he still has a lot to offer. I actually found myself enjoying both equally, which gives you a nice change of pace when you want it.

Sonic games have never really been known for storyline (besides titles like Sonic Adventures), but the concept of Generations is actually really fun. The Sonic Team uses Sonic's insane speed itself to be the premise of him saving the world, because the only way to "save" each level, is for Sonic to speed up time by running through old adventures. There is a major annoying flaw with this concept though. Since Sonic is trapped in a giant wide voided space with all his friends, the level selection requires you to run side-scroller style (whether you are modern Sonic or not) to get to each level. The space in between stages, is a little bit excessive, and it's REALLY annoying to try and get to the item shop to buy skills. As you gain more points for level completion you'll be able to give Sonic some perks that may or may not help you on your adventure. The white space in between the shop and the levels though can get irritating quickly though.

Besides the main levels, there are many side bonus level challenges you'll need to complete in order to get keys to unlock boss fights. I thought this was going to get on my nerves at first just so I could get to the next level, but all the challenges still stick to the gameplay of the normal stages for the most part, and offer a refreshing change from the stages. There are "mini-bosses" where Sonic fights his past and present day rivals such as Metal Sonic and Shadow the Hedgehog, and they are all done well, except for one part; instruction. Despite Tails' sagely advice on each stage, you can be left on some levels for upwards of 10 minutes trying to figure out how to beat a fight, but if you stick to my advice of "just go as fast as you possibly can as long as you can" then you will eventually beat each level. The sad part about this is, no level should EVER really take more than 2-3 minutes. 2 minutes is already really pushing it. One of my saddest moments was a boss fight that went from a 12 minute attempt, to a later 45 second win.

This game IS a console port at it's finest. Although you are able to play it on the PC with the keyboard, I do NOT recommend it. I took a month hiatus from the game in order to wait till I got a PS3 controller to plug in. The difference cannot be compared. If you are going to play Sonic Generations and enjoy it, you need to play it on the console like it was designed to be played, or just play it on the computer with a controller plugged in, which makes it just as good.

All in all, Sonic Generations is a phenomenally fun Sonic game at it's finest. If you are looking to get your Sonic fix, I think it's safe to say you will be happy cruising through this one. However, after this Sonic Team hit, I think it may be time for Sonic to take a different direction. With so many Sonic disasters in the past, and all of a sudden you have Sonic Generations sweeping platforms with legitimate fun, it would be best to be wary of future Sonic titles.

Overall Rating: 9

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