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Sonic Generations Mini Review

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I told myself several times I wouldn't do a review of this game, but here I am. Couldn't keep away from the reviews long enough, I guess, and this is the only one that I have that deserves a review.

To be perfectly honest, I never played any of the original Sonic the Hedgehog games. My only entry to the series was Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast, when I was just a little kid. I stayed away from consoles most of the time between the Xbox and today, so I haven't noticed all the releases for the Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3 for Sonic the Hedgehog. This is the first one that came to the PC that actually caught my attention while I was browsing IGN (That's how below the radar it was for me). So basically, I'm a newcomer to the field of Sonic the Hedgehog. All that aside, let's get on to the review.

Gameplay: That's what it's all about, isn't it? Sonic's the fastest thing alive, and he sure does run fast. I watched videos of another Sonic game that featured the same engine as this one, and he would sometimes disappear off the screen he would be going so fast. The camera locks onto Sonic quite a bit better in this game, but the sense of speed is definitely there.

The "Modern" acts of each stage involve the faster, lankier version of Sonic. This is also the "3D" version of the game, where Sonic is running into the screen, and not across the screen. These acts often involve going as fast as possible and using your reflexes to keep yourself from slowing down. However, there are areas of general platforming (depending on the route you take. Faster routes avoid platforming, except in a couple levels), though the Modern version of sonic doesn't control quite as well as the Classic version. Overall, these ones are a lot of fun when you've got the stages practiced.

The "Classic" acts of each stage involve the more rotund, shorter, an oddly paler Sonic. These levels are all sidescroller, but that doesn't stop some of them from letting you move pretty dang fast. They inherently involve much more platforming than the Modern acts, but that doesn't mean that taking the proper path won't get you places more quickly. I found these acts less satisfying than the Modern ones, but enjoyable nonetheless. I probably enjoy them less than others as I never played any of the sidescroller Sonic games.

Graphics: Sonic Generations runs off the "Hedgehog Engine", whose primary features are the ability to pass through large environments without slowdowns, and Light Field technology. Basically, everything looks like it belongs there in terms of lighting because light bounces off of surfaces and onto others, ensuring things get the proper amount of lighting. Aside from the technology, the game looks absolutely great. Since you're usually speeding by the levels, the textures up close aren't very detailed, but they can look damn picturesque at a distance. Often you run into sprawling vistas of cities or natural formations that always turn out impressive. The character models have unusually highly detailed textures which sometimes look a bit out of place when put right next to the lower-detailed environments, but you usually don't notice. Overall, it's a game that relies on color and a sense of speed and scale to create an impressive environment.

Sound: Apparently Sonic games have been well-known for their soundtracks. As far as I can tell, they're right. Every music piece that plays in the game just sounds great. Most of them are pretty high-energy to match Sonic's speed, but they never sound too energetic. The game has a collection room where you can listen to the songs of Sonic's past, and I often visit it just to listen to the music. You can't play the music from the actual acts, but you can go back to the stages and replay them, though you have to actually play the stage, which can get in the way of the music. Otherwise, everything else checks out just fine. From what I've read, people complain about the character voices, but I don't think there's anything wrong with them.

Story: It's a Sonic game, has there ever been much of a story to them at all? Sonic's friends are celebrating his birthday with him, Sonic's friends get stolen, he goes in to save them, beats a couple bosses, then a final boss, day's saved. Very light on story, but bigger on the stages than the story.

Other notes: I keep finding myself coming back to this game to play through the stages again and try to beat my old records. Every time you pass a checkpoint, a notification comes up and tells you how far ahead or behind you are from your best time, giving you something to work toward. It has an online mode that lets you time-attack the stages and compare your times to other people. Cheaters and hackers ruin the leaderboards somewhat, but getting in the top 500 is still pretty good. Some levels I like to replay just because they're straight up fun.

Closing comments: It's a 30 dollar game. It's more worth 20 dollars, but that depends on how much enjoyment you get out of it. If you're looking for a way to just have some fun without taking anything too seriously, this is a pretty good game to let you do that. In the meantime, I'll have to find some more games to review, I've been slacking.

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    Imisnew2's Avatar
    Since you bought it on the PC, did you play it with a keyboard or a controller? I for one can't imagine playing a sonic game without using a controller.
    Allane's Avatar
    I actually played through the game with a PS3 controller, but then switched to the keyboard after I was done. I MUCH prefer the keyboard for some reason, and have gotten some of my best times on the stages with the keyboard. WASD for movement (Since there's no diagonal input, he just runs perfectly straight. I find it to be pretty accurate for movement). I set up my numpad keys to emulate the gamepad positions, 4-5-6-and 8. Takes a bit of getting used to, but so would using a controller for Battlefield 3.