Posted on 31-Oct-2011

Sonic Generations Review

Spiny blue

But there's too much going on for the game to deal with. In the more intensely busy moments. the frame rate drops dramatically. And this leads to my only real complaint about the game. On the Xbox and PS3 versions that I've played, the 2D versions of the worlds feel like they could be - should be - much smoother.

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People have a go at RAGE for sacrificing too much at the altar of sixty frames per second - but if there's any game that needs to be a slick and greasy as possible, it's Sonic. The reason for the immortality that possessing rings gives you in Sonic always felt like an apology for the potential for cruel and crafty deaths. After all, part of the Sonic experience is that you're travelling too fast to really be able to react properly, and part of avoiding the spikes is to know they're coming in advance.

But when you spend your level points on the Mega Drive controller and unlock the original Sonic, it's a shock how much easier on the eyes it is, with it's thumping great pixels and velvety-smooth parallax scrolling. Incidentally, you can also buy infinite continues on the original Sonic game, so I might put aside a weekend to finish it.

Thankfully, this is much less of a problem in the fully 3D levels. There's so much action going on in every direction that jerkiness in a single plane is far less noticeable. The level of effort creativity that's gone into these levels leads me down the unexpected path of preferring new Sonic. So, if Sonic Generations has achieved anything, it's that tiny impossibility.

The level design going on here is immense. There are so many potential paths and bonus areas that you can finish a level with feeling you've scraped the surface, and the five red bonus stars that come with every act frequently sit tantalisingly close but unreachable, a great psychological needle that makes you want to try again.

Losing your rings to a cheaply positioned spike-pit is always momentum-breaking and annoying, but when you noticed that there was another, probably superior path that you might have taken, if you'd just jumped over that red spring, our bounced off that creature's head, that's how to needle the perfectionists.

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Don't kill us. Make us miss a red star, an extra life. Make us live with our mistakes. Sonic Generations is full of those moments, where you'll end up on a slightly more perilous, and less reward-heavy lower route, swearing to yourself that next time you'll remember.

The difficulty level seems pitched about right, with the first six levels being easy to finish, the middle three being tough to master, and the final three just being outright ballsy.

Crisis City will take more than one attempt, and you'll learn to hate Sonic's slow initial acceleration all over again. Rings don't save you from drops, and it's very easy to drop here - but hey, at least you don't have to start again from Green Hill Zone. Count yourself lucky.

With other fan appeal and Chaos Emeralds coming from showdowns with Sonic's rivals - Shadow, Silver, and Metal - and familiar bosses like the Death Egg Robot and the rather-too-similar Perfect Chaos - Generations is a great game for pressing out the fluids from a hyperactive nostalgia gland. Sonic Generations hits its target well - with the genuinely bruising qualification that it can frequently be difficult to look at.

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The verdict

Score
7.5

She almost cannae take it

Uppers
  • Long, complex levels
  • Terrific fan service
  • Miles, Rouge, Knuckles
Downers
  • Amy, Cream, Crush 40
  • 2D Sonic's frame rates can't keep up
Format
Xbox 360
Developer
Unknown
Publisher
Unknown
Genre
Adventure, Platformer

Comments

37 comments so far...

  1. WraithBringer on 31 Oct '11 said:

    Still not taken with Sonic. Both Nintendo and SEGA need to really start bringing in new IP's instead of focusing on old ones.

  2. eltonbird on 31 Oct '11 said:

    Good review CVG. My thought exactly. I wish every review would comment on how smooth a game feels. You don't have to know the exact frame-rate, but you can tell when something *should* be smoother than it is.

    The stupid thing is Sonic in 3D was 60 fps even back on the Dreamcast (SA2), so why is it such a problem now?

  3. ODNETNIN on 31 Oct '11 said:

    I won't lie, the demo was near-unplayable for me. The 3D Sonic levels felt like the typical, glitchy Sonic we've had since Adventure, and the 2D levels sped by too fast to actually be enjoyable. As has been said, the older Sonic games were so much easier and nicer to look at and play. Maybe if Sega just STOPPED with all these random unnecessary background details, Sonic Generations would looks nicer and be a s**teload smoother with 60FPS.

  4. dannyhulse on 31 Oct '11 said:

    So after playing the demo, 2 things jumped out at me;

    1) 2D Sonic besides suffering from a janky framerate, the camera is just too damn close, you can barely see in front of you and yet are moving at Mach 5, spikes galore.

    2) 3D Sonic from that perspective has always been difficult to control I feel, the camera when it switches to side-on in this mode is much better, so why couldn't 2D Sonic get that one?

    In the end, I would still recommend people buy SEGA Mega Drive Ultimate Collection for the 360/PS3 to get all of classic Sonic games, I came to the realisation that Sonic was always for kids, I was a kid the last time I liked Sonic and now my kid brother adores the new Sonic games.

  5. almanac2015 on 31 Oct '11 said:

    Nice review. :)

    Finish both versions, and you'll release a friend.

    Immediately put me off the game. I have no interest in 3D. I dislike the speed of the gameplay and the fact that Sonic talks. Love the comment about the dialogue with mute Sonic. :)

    New Sonic has friends along to help, Amy helping him jump with her hammer, Knuckles digging for treasure, and (shudder) Cream providing a limited number of rings in otherwise ringless levels.

    s**t like this really gets me down. Sometimes SEGA come so close to understanding...then they add Amy and Cream. Optional or not, it's disappointing that they appear.

    When they announced this game and released the demo of Sonic Green Hills 2D I was really excited. But SEGA did what they always do with Sonic games and found a way to put me off. Regardless of what the review says, the gameplay videos of it I've watched just make me hate 3D Sonic all over again. I just don't see the enjoyment. Which is a shame , because this game did really tempt me for a while - I set a pretty impressive time for Green Hills in the demo, wouldn't mind seeing if I can beat it.

  6. MrPirtniw on 31 Oct '11 said:

    :cry: ah, balls.

  7. palancas7 on 31 Oct '11 said:

    Sonic Colous: 8.6

    I thought Generations was supposed to be The One. :)

  8. Flamestrike on 31 Oct '11 said:

    As I've said before, it amazes me that Sega still can't get right a game they made 20 years ago.

    Think I'll stick to the originals on my Megadrive, at least then I know Sonic will play properly.

  9. toaplan on 31 Oct '11 said:

    It's the 20th anniversary of Sonic, and as a fan I feel it's the perfect way to celebrate Sonic's videogame career. Really liking those colourful graphics that Sega does so well. I'm getting this either on the PC or 3ds, hopefully the frame rate issues might be less present in those versions.

    Ign was more upbeat about the game in their review, and gave it 8.5: " It feels refreshing to be able to say that Sonic is good again. His upward trajectory over the last year continues and hes only gaining momentum. Sonic Generations is largely a game for the most hardcore of Sonic fans, but for the millions who have fond memories of narrowly dodging spikes, grinding on rails, or even that time he was a pinball, Sonic Generations is a game made for you."

    It's tailor-made for us fans. But after this celebration, it's time for a proper next-gen Sonic on the NextBox.

  10. MrPirtniw on 31 Oct '11 said:


    It's tailor-made for us fans. But after this celebration, it's time for a proper next-gen Sonic on the NextBox.

    I think it's time for a re-invention of Sonic like when he made his debut on the Dreamcast, only Sega really, really need to go back to his roots. And gun down that f**king Omnichao and the other hate inducing rubbishy characters that have popped up over the past decade. The game maybe good(ish) but the review has pointed out some massive no no's as far as I'm concerned so I'll wait until the price comes down. Damn, it's tough being an old school Sonic fan.

  11. ste hicky on 31 Oct '11 said:

    so it's not as good as the really, really fooking good colours on the wii then that featured no shadow or most of the other cretins?

    oh well, rumours are that Sega have just started a new one for Wii U too. (rumoured to be called Sonic dimensions. prays that it's colours 2 in all but name)

    I had one problem with colours, the 2d gravity switching levels towards the end that were lifted directly from Galaxy 1 and 2.

    other than that it's by far the best 3d sonic game out there, the most fun i've had with a sonic game since the MD and doomed to be overlooked by Sega fans who won't bite the bullet. :(

    their loss.

    quick thing, why is the word Wii a link here CVG?

    WTF?

  12. MrPirtniw on 31 Oct '11 said:

    My bad...

  13. MrPirtniw on 31 Oct '11 said:

    so it's not as good as the really, really fooking good colours on the wii then that featured no shadow or most of the other cretins?

    oh well, rumours are that Sega have just started a new one for Wii U too. (rumoured to be called Sonic dimensions. prays that it's colours 2 in all but name)

    I had one problem with colours, the 2d gravity switching levels towards the end that were lifted directly from Galaxy 1 and 2.

    other than that it's by far the best 3d sonic game out there, the most fun i've had with a sonic game since the MD and doomed to be overlooked by Sega fans who won't bite the bullet :(

    Damn you, Hicky!

  14. wwaarrddy on 31 Oct '11 said:

    I just wanna be able to turn into Super Sonic, totally badass. I remember that in Sonic 2, bloody awesome. It makes a Super Saiyan look like a yellow lollipop :D

  15. MD1500 on 31 Oct '11 said:

    Sigh. While Mario successfully transitioned to 3D and the main games are always rated highly (look at SMG 1&2), Sega just can't seem to get Sonic in 3D right. I really hoped this would be different.

    As someone that remembers the Sega vs Nintendo wars well, I find it really odd that the best modern Sonics appear on Nintendo consoles.

  16. laminated0 on 31 Oct '11 said:

    the review read like the writer was gonna score it higher IMO, 7.5 not bad but less than I imagined after reading the review around about an 8 I thought. Anyway how can you need infinite continues and a weekend to finish sonic one????? It's not that hard and it seriously doesn't take that long, prob 1-2 hours lol.

    I played the demo again, and 2D sections were great played the 3d one and I couldn't even bring myself to finish the level, it was just horrible, though it will probably grow on me, I'll pick this up at a later date.

  17. Dragovian on 31 Oct '11 said:

    Hilarious review. Laughed out loud two or three times.

  18. MattyR95 on 31 Oct '11 said:

    I don't know how people can complain about the demo, it was fine and I also don't get why people complain about 3D sonic, that was also fine and quite enjoyable. :?
    I think people are ridiculously stubborn when it comes to 3D sonic, just refusing to play it.

  19. Disco-Paul on 31 Oct '11 said:

    The frame rate is a bit poor but the game is just so playable, just makes me smile! :D
    Best sonic game since adventure 2. More of the same sega but with a better frame rate.
    I think the review score is wrong btw, this game regardless of its flaws is an 8 plus.
    Shame on you CVG, then again its to be expected because you are to video games what "THE SUN" is to journalism. Lol :D

    EVERYBODY'S SUPER-SONIC RACING, oh, except you dullards! Hehe! :wink:

  20. Flamestrike on 31 Oct '11 said:

    I don't know how people can complain about the demo, it was fine.

    No it wasn't fine. You might think Sonic moves right, but he doesn't and how Sonic moves is key to why the originals were so brilliant.

  21. MrPirtniw on 31 Oct '11 said:

    I don't know how people can complain about the demo, it was fine and I also don't get why people complain about 3D sonic, that was also fine and quite enjoyable. :?
    I think people are ridiculously stubborn when it comes to 3D sonic, just refusing to play it.

    Pffft, nonsense! I've played just about every Sonic game that has ever been made bar the ones on the DS and the Wii and from Sonic Adventure onwards the games are just embarrasing. Sonic Generations seems good- at least the classic Sonic level does- the modern Sonic one may as well have been on rails. What made my heart sink was the steady inclusion of the other irritating characters into the classic levels. Plus I'm not willing to spend 40 on a game I only really want to play half of.

    You just got low standards, man. :wink:

  22. MattyR95 on 31 Oct '11 said:

    I don't know how people can complain about the demo, it was fine and I also don't get why people complain about 3D sonic, that was also fine and quite enjoyable. :?
    I think people are ridiculously stubborn when it comes to 3D sonic, just refusing to play it.

    Pffft, nonsense! I've played just about every Sonic game that has ever been made bar the ones on the DS and the Wii and from Sonic Adventure onwards the games are just embarrasing. Sonic Generations seems good- at least the classic Sonic level does- the modern Sonic one may as well have been on rails. What made my heart sink was the steady inclusion of the other irritating characters into the classic levels. Plus I'm not willing to spend 40 on a game I only really want to play half of.

    You just got low standards, man. :wink:

    I'll play anything but I still think they're both good, not brilliant but Sonic isn't brilliant anyway just good (the ones that weren't crap anyway).

    I don't know how people can complain about the demo, it was fine.

    No it wasn't fine. You might think Sonic moves right, but he doesn't and how Sonic moves is key to why the originals were so brilliant.

    What's wrong with how he moves?

  23. Flamestrike on 31 Oct '11 said:

    If you have to ask that then you don't know the Sonic games...

  24. Legendeer on 31 Oct '11 said:

    I had one problem with colours, the 2d gravity switching levels towards the end that were lifted directly from Galaxy 1 and 2.

    There was Gravity Switching levels in Sonic 3 and Knuckles......... More likely a homage to that.

  25. Disco-Paul on 31 Oct '11 said:

    :!: I own the full version of this game on PS3 and the framerate on it is WAY BETTER than the 360 version BTW. Between 30-60 fps depending on how much is happening on-screen I would estimate. :!:

    This is a cracking good game and don't let the neysayers spoil the fun for you, loads of nostalgia, loads of playability, tons of unlockables and missions, some seriously impressive levels, especially as the game progresses.

    If you pass this game by its your loss as this is a gem of a game shining brightly in a dull world of FPS clones & Fifas.

    I've been playing it since Saturday and it's gaming crack! Lol I don't wanna do anything but play this game, my life has come to a standstill!

    Anyhoo, I've wasted enough time on here I'm off to restart "planet wisp" again, what a level, what a game, love it! :lol:

    Sonic is most definitely BACK, and I'm a very happy bunny! :wink:

  26. MrPirtniw on 31 Oct '11 said:

    ^^^ Is it just CVG that attracts these guys or what??

  27. Welsh Jester on 31 Oct '11 said:

    :!: I own the full version of this game on PS3 and the framerate on it is WAY BETTER than the 360 version BTW. Between 30-60 fps depending on how much is happening on-screen I would estimate. :!:

    This is a cracking good game and don't let the neysayers spoil the fun for you, loads of nostalgia, loads of playability, tons of unlockables and missions, some seriously impressive levels, especially as the game progresses.

    If you pass this game by its your loss as this is a gem of a game shining brightly in a dull world of FPS clones & Fifas.

    I've been playing it since Saturday and it's gaming crack! Lol I don't wanna do anything but play this game, my life has come to a standstill!

    Anyhoo, I've wasted enough time on here I'm off to restart "planet wisp" again, what a level, what a game, love it! :lol:

    Sonic is most definitely BACK, and I'm a very happy bunny! :wink:

    the framerate is the same on both versions. Actually i read a lot say the 360 version is smoother, hence why i preordered the CE for it.

  28. jamesherriott on 31 Oct '11 said:

    I went out this last week and purchased an Xbox purely for this game (and Daytona), so I was pretty disappointed when I played the demo. The framerate was the thing that let down Sonic Colours a little bit (certainly compared to the Mario Galaxy games), however I put that down to the limitation of the Wii. I can't believe Sonic Generations runs at a similar framerate to the Wii - I assume this is just poor programming?
    I was also underwealmed by the Green Hills 2D stage, it just didn't feel right. Maybe it was the fact Sonic doesn't jump very high, or perhaps its because there's too much going on with the background and foreground?

    That said, I'm still looking forward to the full game!

  29. Disco-Paul on 31 Oct '11 said:

    :!: I own the full version of this game on PS3 and the framerate on it is WAY BETTER than the 360 version BTW. Between 30-60 fps depending on how much is happening on-screen I would estimate. :!:

    This is a cracking good game and don't let the neysayers spoil the fun for you, loads of nostalgia, loads of playability, tons of unlockables and missions, some seriously impressive levels, especially as the game progresses.

    If you pass this game by its your loss as this is a gem of a game shining brightly in a dull world of FPS clones & Fifas.

    I've been playing it since Saturday and it's gaming crack! Lol I don't wanna do anything but play this game, my life has come to a standstill!

    Anyhoo, I've wasted enough time on here I'm off to restart "planet wisp" again, what a level, what a game, love it! :lol:

    Sonic is most definitely BACK, and I'm a very happy bunny! :wink:

    the framerate is the same on both versions. Actually i read a lot say the 360 version is smoother, hence why i preordered the CE for it.

    Well I've heard conflicting opinions, who knows who's right?! What a Conundrum! Lol

    I will pick up the 360 version on Friday and compare it alongside the PS3 version to see for myself then my son can keep the inferior version if there is one lol!

    Right where was I? Oh yeah that damn time-eater boss, aaaaarrrrrgggghhh! :shock:

  30. ste hicky on 31 Oct '11 said:

    There was Gravity Switching levels in Sonic 3 and Knuckles......... More likely a homage to that.

    nope it wasn't the same it was a direct lift of certain levels from SMG2.

    you'd have to play both to see what i mean.

    oh yeah, someone mentioned framerate problems in colours?

    er, when?

    It's rarely dropped a frame since i've had it with levels like the Starlight Carnival standing toe to toe with most HD games i've seen.

  31. Disco-Paul on 31 Oct '11 said:

    BTW Sega & Sonic fans, if you check out the Gamesradar review it will put a smile on your face! :idea:

    Charlie Brooker's love child clearly did the review on here! Lol :roll:

  32. ste hicky on 31 Oct '11 said:

    did someone mention Super Sonic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koOCZDTh ... re=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIOjrilK ... re=related

    check this level out, it's called Terminal Velocity: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4uSFGUK ... re=related

    Mwahahahahaha! :twisted:

  33. bennyt on 31 Oct '11 said:

    Good review, but i'll pick this up after Xmas when its come down in price for the 3ds.

  34. potnoodle1 on 31 Oct '11 said:


    I had one problem with colours, the 2d gravity switching levels towards the end that were lifted directly from Galaxy 1 and 2.

    What seriously!??? Gravity defying levels have been around since way way before Galaxy. It was in Sonic Adventure 2 to my knowledge and it's also been in whole host of other platform games going back to the 16bit era and beyond. They've all lifted their ideas from somewhere, even the almighty Mario tips his hit to those that came before.

  35. jamesherriott on 31 Oct '11 said:

    oh yeah, someone mentioned framerate problems in colours?

    er, when?

    It's rarely dropped a frame since i've had it with levels like the Starlight Carnival standing toe to toe with most HD games i've seen.

    Sonic Colours runs at 30fps (at a guess), try playing that after Mario Galaxy or even Sonic 4 and you will notice the difference. As mentioned elsewhere 60fps really makes a game feel more polished and professional, and it is certainly more noticeable in 2D mode.

    Maybe they'll get it right for the 25th anniversary...

  36. ste hicky on 1 Nov '11 said:

    i never said that gravity defying levels have never existed before Galaxy, i'm saying that the last levels of Sonic Colours blatantly rip part of Galaxy 2's formula off to a tee.

    anyone who's played both games will see exactly what i mean during the rollercoaster levels.

    i'm not being all pro Nintendo but the mechanic is a direct lift and don't even start about the booming orchestral soundtrack while you're in space or the Super Mario World/Metroid like opening of secrets in previous levels with new power ups.

    the only ones who disagree are people who seem to lack experience with either game and have neither played Colours or either Galaxy and just can't stomach the idea of sonic riffing in the master's territory. (let it lie Sega fans; I'm in to Nintendo games but that never stopped me playing on a Master System, etc.. that's just lunacy)

    i'm cool with it and think Colours is exceptional myself and if wasn't for the blatant lift of Galaxy's mechanic would've been an absolute gem.

    to James just above me: as for the framerate, i took your post to mean framerate problems. Dead Space 2 runs at 30fps and no one complained.

  37. DoomGuy84 on 1 Nov '11 said:

    I think the score is a bit harsh, every other review ive read is an 8 and a must buy for sonic fans. Day 1 for me anyway, cant wait for it.