Review by TheRetroPlayer
"Well its better than Unleashed, but it could have been more also."
I was pretty skeptical when I saw the trailer for this game. I said to myself, "Great, another version of the last game." Then when I discovered that they are going to have the option to play as Classic Sonic, I thought to myself, this might not be so bad. I said why not, my new found appreciation for the PC as a gaming console outside the oversaturation of shooters, and the fact that I wanted to test my mid-range PC against this game to see if the system requirements where exaggerated, got me to buy the game, but as a digital sadly since that is the only way to get the game for the PC. I would had at least like to have a box and disk for my troubles.
Its not bad for a PC game. Looks typical for a modern game, so no real complaints about it. Just make sure you have Antialiasing set to on though. Both Sonic and Classic Sonic, and other friends look pretty good. The classic stages for the most part of are graphically pretty impressive for 2D. I like the stage backgrounds for Chemical Plant Zone Act 1 and 2 the most along with Planet Wisp (Modern Version). One thing I do like about the visuals is the how lively and vivid everything looks. I have no true complaints about the graphics this time around.
One thing that sonic games never get wrong is the music and sound effects. This time, you get both new and old tunes from past and present. They're remixed but they sound good or even better. I actually wanted to stay in certain stages to hear the themes, instead of going out of my way to try to find and unlock the music since I wasn't interested in the challenges much for this game. The first boss had one hell of a remix of its theme that I liked the most as an example of how good the music can be in this game. Few PC games even have music this good IMO. The voice acting is not bad either just to add.
There are some complications with this one. I need to break this down a bit because you get an option to play with both a keyboard or a controller. I seriously recommend a controller because the keyboard is garbage for this game. With the keyboard it just feels awkward, mainly when you play the modern stages. For one, they have all the commands set to controller buttons as for example, the screen tells you to use LB and RB to move sonic around left and right, and with a keyboard, you wonder where on earth are the keys located? Your typical wsda keys are swapped to esdf for some bizarre reason, and bumpers were somewhere where they should not be from what I remember. You can edit the keys, but that was exactly the reason why I used to hate the Keyboard and mouse for PC games because I used to mess around with the default controls, making life harder for me when playing games on the PC. Now there is the controller. The same Xbox 360 controller that I bought to deal with Action-Adventure games and platformers like this. The game feel much better with it, but it does not help the fact that the game feels stiff as classic sonic at times, and that got me killed at times. The controls are responsive, but sometimes stiff. This is suppose to be a return to the old physics, but I don't remember sonic responding as fast or slow as a forklift, and I am talking about landing low jumps and moving only slightly at a time. At least modern sonic feels alright.
Sonic and his friends have to deal with a being known as the Time Eater who have a strange semblance in concept to the Time Devourer from Chrono Chross, but just don't expect anything complex about it since its a rather simple creature that carries a simple storyline that is typical for a sonic game. That is why I said it only similar in concept. Like it name suggests, it travels through time and space consuming time itself. This monster trapped Sonic and his friends within limbo and frozen time itself. Now its sonic's job to go back to zones from his past, present, and future to restore the frozen time streams, and figure out a way to defeat the Time Eater itself.
The gameplay even though is divided between 2D and 3D are just about the same with a few exceptions. As Classic sonic, you have a more basic and primitive 2D platformer in ACT 1 of the respective zone. Normally Sonic's goal is to get to the end and avoid obstacles, or have to work through a gimmick such as spikes and rocket such as in ACT 1 of Planet Wisp (my least favorite classic sonic stage of the game since it felt too long). The classic sonic stages for some odd reason where less fun comparability to the 3D Acts due to the fact that it could not have been any simpler. The stages have you go up and down which means you have to be ready for a cimbfest in most classic stages, and, and I desired the platforming to be a bit more linear like in the older 2D sonic games. It felt like 3D in disguise to be honest. It didn't help that sonic in the classic stages felt iffy to steer at times, and I wish sonic had homing in this mode to make things feel more smoother, but other than that, the 2D stages are not really bad, just a bit flawed.
The 3D stages are much better than I expected. After being traumatized by how I had problems with the 3D stages in Unleashed due to slippery controls, and many pit deaths, I was completely surprised here. The 3D stages known as the modern stages, are really fun to play. Unlike the 2D stages, you have to break crates, push down platforms that are being supported by active lava pits, and the best part is the homing attacks are here. For whatever reason, you get 2.5D sections of these levels though, but that is not much of a problem thanks to sonic's added abilities in this mode. There are many challenges that you can complete within Act 1 and 2 of these stages. The good news is that means that you technically get more variations of these stages to play within these zones, but some of them can be frustrating. Fortunately, you only have to complete three challenges per stage to unlock one of the three boss key's to fight the boss of the section. Outside of that, you get to do fight rivals from the past and future to collect chaos emeralds as well.
This is not a game to look past, and its a redeemable sonic game to play despite a few flaws. If you don't have any of the 7th generation consoles like I do currently, and you have a mid-range PC at best, it would not hurt to play this game if you expect a good sonic game this time around. Beware that even though this game boast high system requirements, you can play this fine with a Core i3 and a Geforce 9600 GT or ATI equivalent just fine. This game has some stuttering here and there along with drops in framerate, but its minor enough not to think about. Besides the flaws that I listed, this game is the best sonic game in while. I still wish for a new 16-bit sonic game though, and this could could use some new stages, especially bosses since there about four of them total in this game outside of rival battles. I hope they don't try to exploit the whole DLC craze that everyone else is doing these days for you to pay more for the game you already bought if you think about the gaps this game has.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 11/08/11, Updated 11/10/11
Game Release: Sonic Generations (US, 11/03/11)
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