7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A game that starts off strong, but quickly fizzles out,
This review is from: Sonic Generations [Download] (Software Download)I never had a Sega Genesis growing up, but that didn't stop me from going over to my friends' houses and playing the fantastic Sonic the Hedgehog series on theirs. For that reason, I have very fond memories of Sonic's first 4 console outings, from Sonic the Hedgehog up through Sonic & Knuckles (let's just pretend that 3D Blast didn't exist). Unfortunately, Sonic and I parted ways for quite some time after that, barring a brief stint with Sonic Heroes on my GameCube and Sonic Rush on my DS, as well as the aforementioned classics as part of one of those Sonic collections games. But I certainly haven't been unaware of the significant decline in quality of Sonic games over the last decade or so. So when I heard that Sonic Generations was one of the best Sonic titles to come along in years, one that paid tribute to the classics that we all know and love, I knew that this was one game I'd need to check out. Sadly, I discovered that "one of the best Sonic titles to come along in years" apparently doesn't count for much.
Sonic Generations started off extremely strongly for me, aside from some annoying cutscenes and a poor attempt at giving this game some sort of plot. The game featured remakes of some of the most memorable zones from the Genesis classics, including Green Hill Zone from the original, Chemical Plant from Sonic 2, and Sky Sanctuary from Sonic & Knuckles. Each level in the game featured 2 "acts", the first being a classic version that's completely side scrolling (but still uses some impressive 3D effects from time to time) and the other being a modern version that uses the 3D version of Sonic, shifting seamlessly from 2D to 3D play. Playing both acts in all 3 of those zones was a lot of fun, and for a second I thought that I was missing out on some genuinely great games by skipping most of the 3D Sonic library. Unfortunately, as the game progressed, that attitude quickly changed. As the game progressed, the quality in level design declined, with the final zone (Planet Wisp) being so completely awful that I refuse to play it anymore. The later levels are also rather repetitive, with 4 of the 9 zones in the game featuring city-based levels. Was that really necessary? Sonic games have featured so many awesome, fantasy-like environments, yet they give us 4 urban ones. The boss fights are equally bad, with the second to last boss being completely buggy (everything from bad hit detection, to broken controls, to a lock-on targeting mechanism that only works half the time), and the final boss so poorly designed and unenjoyable that I had a hard time believing that I was still playing a Sonic game.
There seem to be an alarming number of bugs in this game for something that's been out for 2 months. I've had the game crash twice on me so far, and countless issues with controls not working when they should, particularly with the jump button button and its lock-on function for 3D Sonic. Yet despite these problems, I finished the game in 4 hours. There is a lot of "challenge" content to tackle afterward, but a lot of these are just speed runs or lousy gimmicks tacked onto part of or all of a level. For completionists, this might bump up the playtime significantly, but if you just want to play the game and see most of the content that the game has to offer, you won't be here long.
That having been said, the game is not without its merits. The graphics and the music are fantastic, the former offering amazing views of the game's massive levels, with a buttery smooth framerate (if your computer can handle it), and the latter featuring some memorable remixes (and original versions) of the library's best musical offerings. There is plenty of art/music/video content to unlock for the nostalgic. A lot of levels offer a great sense of speed and exploration that reward the persistent player, despite a few levels falling completely flat.
Honestly, if Sega had managed to make the entire game as good as the first 1/3 of the game, I would have given it 5 stars in a heartbeat. Everybody remembers Sonic for the Genesis-era classics. There is very little beyond that that is worth celebrating and paying tribute to in a future title.