Released on: Xbox 360, PS3, PC (and 3DS, although it's apparently an entirely different game)
Played on: Xbox 360
Release Date: 2011
In general, there are two types of reaction whenever a new Sonic game is announced. There are the people who say, "It's all been downhill since Sonic 2, why would you bother? Modern Sonic games are rubbish", and there are those who say, "It could be good - it certainly won't be any worse than Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)".
I do not own and have never played Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 (aka the game where Sonic has a human love interest. Yes, that's right...) so I do not know if it is as bad as everyone says it is. However, the fact that Sega delisted the game from Microsoft's Xbox Live Games on Demand service in order to "increase the value of the brand" I think says a lot... (If you feel I'm being unfair on the game, or just have a copy of it that you no longer want, please feel free to loan/donate the game to me, as it is the only main Sonic game I've never played, and I am morbidly interested in how bad/entertaining it may be...)
END OF DISCLAIMER. BACK TO THE BLOGGING.
Sonic Generations does a lot of things right, and on the whole I would probably rank it as the best current generation Sonic game. Mostly, it has to be said because of the 2D Sonic levels.
Yes, that's right - there's 2D Sonic levels in this game! Sadly there are 3D levels too, but they are actually rather entertaining in their own right. But while the game is good, and I happily played it for this blog even though I only got it for my birthday last year and played it to death (alternating with Arkham City of course. Sonic and Batman, now there's a crimefighting team - the Black and the Blue!) the whole game does reek of missed opportunities - and I noticed that more this time.
The theory behind the game is that the two Sonics (The Modern, green-eyed, skinny version who cannot help but talk with a 90's attitude and the Classic, chubby, silent and yet so much more timeless version) are running through past levels in order to... defeat an evil being.. who turns out to be Robotnik (or Eggman, depending on which version of Sonic you are)... and then it turns out it isn't his fault.... and then it is.... oh who cares. You don't play Sonic games for the plot, any more than you read Twilight for it's mastery of the English language. You play Sonic games to run fast and jump on things. And this game gives you that.
But not enough of it.
There are 9 zones in this game (and six boss battles) - and you get one 2D act and one 3D act of each. Which sounds like a lot, but just left me wanting more. Also, where they've picked levels from old Sonic games, I think it's very telling that the best zone is still Green Hill Zone, and by the time you get to the "Modern-era" stages (Crisis City from Sonic 06, Rooftop Rush from Sonic Unleashed, Planet Wisp from Sonic Colours) they just seem dull and sort of miserable (or overly complicated in the sense of Planet Wisp) in comparison with the earlier ones.
So you have a game that starts off well, but alternates between dull and confusing in the last third - and the less said about the Boss Battles the better. I am very aware that the wonder of 2D sonic boss battles is long gone, but these strange 3D monstrosities with lots of QTE events (or "Press X to not Die" sequences as they are referred to in our house) are just dull. And frustrating.
I could keep writing about this for ages, because it's a game that's really split my opinion. I have a lot of fun when I play it, and was excited about coming back to it for the playthrough - but as I played through I was reminded of all the minor niggles that bugged me last time. So, in order to prevent this blog entry from being 20,000 words long, I'm just going to a couple of lists of good and bad bits.
Good Bits: Nice long levels, fast and furious fun, some proper 2D platforming action, the music, revisiting Green Hill Zone, some of the 3D Sonic setpieces are still spectacular (particularly the Truck from City Escape (Sonic Adventure 2))
Bad Bits: Only one act of each Sonic-type for nine zones, rubbish Boss Battles, some slightly dodgy 3D camera (although it's much better than all the other 3D sonic games), no Casino Night Zone, the bloody "helpful" Chao who decides to give you helpful information throughout the game, important information like "If you hit something, then you will lose all of the rings you are carrying." OI, SEGA! THIS IS A SONIC GAME MADE FOR THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY. THE VAST MAJORITY OF US HAVE PLAYED A SONIC GAME BEFORE STOP EXPLAINING DETAILS THAT HAVEN'T CHANGED IN THE LAST 20 YEARS OF GAMEPLAY!
I could go on, but I know what you're wondering - you're thinking "What about the score then Brawny? If it's fun but frustrating, then surely we'd be looking at a 5 or 6 out of ten?" Well no. It's gonna be better than that. Because (as you all know) I love Sonic games. And I don't care if it's a biased review, it's my review.
Time played: 1 hour 10 mins
Would I play it again?: Of course I will!
Next time we step back in time one console generation, and change genre once again. It's Soulcalibur 2 on the Gamecube...