Sonic Generations Review for Xbox 360

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To kids, Sonic the Hedgehog is the closest thing to a cartoon rock star the world has ever seen. He has a string of hits, claims to save the world, has an attitude, and a passionate fanbase. Like all rock stars, however, Sonic has also had a sharp fall from grace in recent years, with new projects suffering unfavourable comparisons to the greatness of his first few 'albums'.

For the blue blur's 20th anniversary, publisher SEGA is doing the typical record label thing and producing Sonic Generations - but this is more than just a Greatest Hits collection. While the point is to revisit the highlights of Sonic's best adventures, it's probably best to think of it as a tribute or re-interpretations album, using today's technology to put a modern spin on the ubiquitous nostalgia.

As you would expect, the first thing fans will notice about Sonic Generations is just how many references to past titles are included here. The amount of fanservice is simply staggering - from collectible artwork, alternative music from Mega Drive, Saturn and Game Boy Advance eras, references to 'Chao in Space' and characters such as Mighty the Armadillo, Ray the Squirrel and Fang the Sniper, this game has it all.

Even the menu presentation is inspired by the original Japanese box artwork for the Mega Drive Sonic games. And to top off all the homages and re-interpretations of main stages from the franchise's history, you'll also be able to unlock the smoothest version you'll ever play of the classic Mega Drive version of Sonic the Hedgehog. Bonus.

Sonic Generations screenshot

The 'tracklist' to this retread of good old times is a collection of iconic stages from each of Sonic's major console releases - from Green Hill Zone to City Escape, all the way to Planet Wisp from 2010's Sonic Colours. There's a good mix of design, location and gameplay gimmicks for each level, and the graphical presentation is simply gorgeous throughout. Even the world map, housing doors to side-missions, smacks of Sonic Advance 3's hub stages.

Fans will forever argue which era of Sonic remains his greatest, but in Generations both Classic and Modern forms have come together, and play surprisingly well indeed. It's the Classic Sonic stages that will resonate with older fans, a perfect representation of the kind of gameplay design that was so prominent in the 16-bit games: momentum-based platforming coupled with branching paths and set-pieces that wouldn't look out of place in Sonic 3 & Knuckles.

Modern Sonic has always had a bit of a problem, in that critics tend to feel that his linear speeding doesn't work all that well, and retro fans never wanted this style of gameplay in the first place. Following the pleasant surprise that was Sonic Colours, however, it's actually pretty fun to play as Sonic's up-to-date counterpart. You're still running into the screen and using the boost mechanism, but you don't feel compelled to hold the button down, while the level design ensures you'll rarely get anywhere using the tried-and-tested 'Boost to Win' tactic.

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pblive's Avatar

pblive

This is on my list. Great review Svend. Looks like just what I was hoping for from a Sonic game (and I loved Sonic Colours by the way).
Posted 12:19 on 01 November 2011
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk

D'oh, too good to be true? Sounds like everything I have been waiting for in a Sonic game, but coming at JUST the wrong time of year!
Posted 13:13 on 31 October 2011
Woffls's Avatar

Woffls

Thought Martin would be doing this one!

Glad it has turned out as I expected. 5 hours is fine for this kind of game, because nobody will play the levels just once. I'd say 5 hours is actually half decent.
Posted 13:01 on 31 October 2011
Wido's Avatar

Wido

Nice review.

This has gone up further on my radar, and worth sharing. The demo's of the game also helps!
Posted 12:47 on 31 October 2011
MJTH's Avatar

MJTH

Great review Svend! :)
I'll probably be getting the 3DS version at some point, but the HD counterparts score should show some insight into what to expect. It's a shame about the games length, but to be honest I can understand sega and sonic teams problems in this area. When a game is built around the ideas of speed, working out the length of the whole experience could be hard because they don't want it to drag on, whilst not being done with to quickly.
Posted 12:32 on 31 October 2011

Game Stats

Technical Specs
8
Out of 10
Sonic Generations
  • Fantastic presentation and fan service
  • Excellent set pieces and level design
  • Faithful to the Mega Drive originals
  • Five hours long
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 01/11/2011
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3 , PC , 3DS
Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega
Genre: Platformer
Rating: PEGI 3+
Site Rank: 1,064 45
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