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3DS  header logo

Sonic Generations 3DS

For: 3DS

End of an era

Product: Sonic Generations | Publisher: Sega | Format: 3DS | Genre: Platform | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Sonic Generations 3DS, thumbnail 1
When I first sat down with Sonic Generations on Nintendo 3DS back at Gamescom, I got the feeling that Sega may well have finally listened to its fans, and served up a slice of Sonic heaven.

The controls felt right. It looked great. It truly appeared to be the perfect cross between old skool Sonic and next-generation visuals. I was even willing to put up with some silly business in the 'Modern Sonic' levels, as long as at least half of the game was like this.

Alas, that two-world demo was but a smokescreen, carefully orchestrated to appeal to Sonic fans while conveniently leaving out the deadwood that has gradually washed up on the shores of Mobius over the years.

Sonic Generations could have been a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, rubbish level design and a serious lack of content make this yet another nail in the hedgehog's coffin.

The generation game

The story goes as follows: a mysterious force rips a hole in time, and both Classic Sonic and Modern Sonic must blast their way through old skool Sonic levels, bringing colour back to the world.

It all starts off with that '90s Sonic vibe. Classic Sonic takes Act 1 of each zone, pelting through 2D side-scrolling levels based on the originals from other Sonic games, while Modern Sonic fends off Act 2 through a mixture of 2D and 3D platforming.

The first half an hour of Sonic Generations is genuine bliss, coupled with the odd moment of frustration usually brought on by the Modern Sonic levels. The game looks fantastic, and sounds even better, with classic tracks from old Sonic titles, and remixed versions that are just as good.

There's a good selection of classic levels taken from a decade of old Sonic games, and the use of the stereoscopic 3D is impressive. Sonic launches himself round loop-de-loops that now have some depth to them, and into the background of certain levels.

Back in my day

However, as the game progresses and starts to reference later Sonic games it all goes a bit pear-shaped, demonstrating exactly why so many people yearn for the old days.

Since the originals of the later zones were mainly 3D affairs, it means that both Classic Sonic and Modern Sonic are left to run around levels that have been completely built from the ground up, rather than based on old 2D levels.

The level design suddenly takes a complete nosedive. You'll find yourself running off ledges into pits with no warning, springing to your death for the umpteenth time, and requiring the quick reflexes of a cheetah on speed to bypass silly sections.

Sonic levels of old were so meticulously designed so that every drop, every ramp, every bad guy was placed in such a way that it was rarely frustrating. It made you feel like an absolute pro.

The later levels of Sonic Generations are too arbitrary and, therefore, difficult. They'll make you angry, especially given that the game showed so much promise at the start - albeit by copying its predecessors.

Don't hedge your bets

For some unknown reason, Sega decides to rub salt into the wound by treating Classic Sonic as if he's puerile compared to Modern Sonic - which is ironic.

During cut-scenes, he won't say a word, which makes sense - he never did talk in old Sonic games. However, he also stands there looking utterly gormless, and Modern Sonic repeatedly claims to be better than Classic Sonic.

It then continues to lay on the hurt. Boss battles consist of boring races that you lose all the way till the end without fail, followed by exact replicas of newer battles from recent Sonic games rather than old favourites.

It's never explained that Classic Sonic gains powers depending on the game that's being referenced at the time. For example, during the Sonic Colours level, he can suddenly use colour powers, which the game simply assumes you'll know.

Sonic Generations desperately wants to be "the fan's Sonic game", and kudos for that. But in the end, it manages to simply outline exactly why the old Sonic games were better than the more recent ones.

Throw in the fact that the game is just two hours long - albeit it with missions that will keep you amused for another hour or so - and Sonic Generations is not the title we were hoping for.
Sonic Generations 3DS
Reviewer photo
Mike Rose | 29 November 2011
With awful level design and just two hours of gameplay, Sonic Generations is not the return to form that we were hoping for
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