I grew up being a Sega kid. And in the 90’s that also meant a Sonic kid. I didn’t just play his games, I used to draw the character all the time. It was a special time for a special company. Sega took a great number of wrong decisions, some of them against the interest of their own clients. At the same time, they were constantly launching great games. There was no genre they couldn’t master. They gave us Sega Rally, Panzer Dragoon, Daytona USA, Virtua Fighter, Phantasy Star, Streets of Rage, Shinobi, After Burner… the list is immense and full of classics. And now, a bunch of years later, I have to wonder what is left of that company. I’ve finished a few minutes ago Sonic Generations and I’m still not sure if I should feel sad or insulted. There is none of that aforementioned brilliance on this game. Worse than that, I don’t even recognize the character I grew up with.
Two Sonics in Sonic Generations
Sonic Generations was supposed to be a celebration of the character. A game where past and present come together to give us a look at two very different versions of the character. To do so, they decided to combine 3D stages with “modern Sonic” and 2D stages with “classic Sonic”.
Well, the 3D stages are as disastrous as they have always been. Meaning the character advances very (VERY) fast through the levels, making it almost uncontrollable. The character moves so fast, and the physics are so badly designed, that it is an absolute achievement to run through a line of rings getting them all. Sure, there are good moments to enjoy here, and there are a couple of levels with a good design. But the character is so uncontrollable, that the good parts get hidden in a mist of frustration, stupid deaths, bad camera positioning, etc.
Thank God the classic Sonic is back, right? Right!?
No he is not. This classic Sonic doesn’t move and feel like the one we had 20 years ago. Sure, physics are a bit better than on the 3D parts, but still it doesn’t feel right. On top of that, we have a poorly designed camera, that tends to get too close to the action, not letting you see what you have ahead. Again, we find some good levels, but some of the 3D worlds don’t work too well on a 2D environment. That’s obvious when you play both the 2D level and the 3D level one after the other.
The disaster mascot
I usually try to be positive about games. I like to enjoy them and see the good elements on them, even if overall they’re not great. Sonic Generations has made this very difficult. I’ve enjoyed some of the levels (or parts of them), some of the songs are great and the game is visually good. But when there are so many gameplay issues it is difficult to be positive.
For me, the worst part is that from time to time, the game gives you a good level or section, really well designed and enjoyable. It lets you see what the game could be. But the truth is that for any of those good sections, you have to play five that are decent at best, when their not plainly bad or frustrating.
The game defects don’t end here, as the game is quite short, bosses are not great and the cinematics are poorly encoded, getting pixelated at moments.
I’m glad to say I didn’t pay much for the game, as I would be furious if I had payed the full price for Sonic Generations. I recommend you to look for something better in the genre, I have no doubt that there are other games out there that are worth your money and time way more than this one.
P.s. I can’t believe the game has a 77 in metacritic. And an 84 in user score :S