Sonic Generations Review

Sonic Generations

Memory lane is a place cobbled with old hopes and dead dreams, where forgotten friends stare out at you though the dusty windows, and faded scenes from your past are posted on the shop walls. Down this lane run two figures; each bears a resemblance to the other, but they are different none the less. One is the bright-eyed youngster; someone just starting out in the world, with all the innocence, vitality and optimism that youth entails. The other is recognizable as the elder; perhaps more jaded and worn down, but also more confident and comfortable with age. Sonic the Hedgehog, emblematic of so many hopeful childhoods, takes his own trip down memory lane in Sonic Generations, showcasing some of the lovable mascot’s greatest accomplishments as well as his missteps through the years.

A monochrome hub world hosts access to nine levels from Sonic’s checkered past after an obligatory piece of narrative exposition attempts to justify the game’s set-up. Story matters no more than it has in any other Sonic game, though. From the bronze dirt and green grass of Green Hill Zone to the industrial mess of Planet Wisp, each level features a classic and modern variant. The twin versions of our hero run down memory lane in step with one another, remembering and creating anew.

Sonic Generations

Sonic Generations is a game about replaying your memories from the dual perspectives of young and old.

The stout and adorable classic Sonic bounces and boings with the kind of deft agility that his recent two-dimensional experimentations (such as Sonic 4) have lacked. Here, as a youth, life is simpler. Dash gleefully from left to right, with the emphasis on nimble platforming; straight-forward, reactive challenge where the price of failure isn’t death, but a longer journey. The experience as classic Sonic is a vibrant renewal of what made the original games so appealing in the first place, and the character himself exemplifies that same innocent charm. Like pulling a beloved childhood toy from out of a dusty attic, classic Sonic brings back memories of simpler days.

Moving away from the simplicity of youth, modern Sonic feels complicated by comparison, but this evolution isn’t necessarily a bad one. Modern Sonic has a lust for speed and his levels capitalize on that, offering half-pipes, launch ramps, boost ramps, delicately placed springs, and enemies that can be swiftly dispatched using the trademark homing attack.

Modern Sonic chooses to forego the humble platforming of his younger self in favor of a colorful dose of spectacle. As you barrel down the side of a building, robotic police chasing you with sirens screaming, the camera pans to Sonic’s front, allowing you to take it all in for a few seconds: the gorgeous vibrancy of the level aesthetic, the impending danger of your pursuers, and just how cool all of this is. “Hey guys,” the game says gleefully, “look what I can do!” Yet Sonic Generations can often stumble over its own ambition. Clearly the later
levels, taken from the more recent games in the series, cannot quite keep up with their intended scope, and numerous perilous pits and aggressive enemies slow modern Sonic down to an infuriating degree.

Sonic Generations

Modern Sonic isn’t built for slow, methodical platforming; he’s too jittery, too fast, too occupied with long, looping highways where he can spread his wings and thunder along to the hard rock remixes of his classic tunes. “Rolling around at the speed of sound, got places to go, gotta follow my rainbow,” goes one such song. Modern Sonic doesn’t like to stick around and those times when the levels demand it are infuriating and messy affairs.

The grass in Green Hill Zone seems far greener than that of Planet Wisp, yet how much of that do we attribute to objective quality and how much to nostalgia? Does it even matter? Sonic Generations is a brisk jaunt down memory lane, but one that is, on the whole, a pleasant experience whether we make the journey as our present person or younger self. Like memories of a better time, classic Sonic seems like the better experience; simpler and more concise. Yet I wouldn’t go back for all the golden rings in the world. While modern Sonic has some troubles and difficulties, at its best it’s the more exhilarating experience. Its moments of self-gratuitous display wow all the more, its speed feels increasingly visceral, and the way it manages to effortlessly flick you, as the character, around its intricately designed levels manages to legitimately excite.

Ultimately, Sonic Generations possesses few of the problems that have dogged the franchise as of late. It feels like a sincere love letter to fans from all stages of Sonic’s history and a promise that the character can go to greater strengths and regain some semblance of his past glory. I’ll be revisiting the game, not for the gambit of secondary challenges, but because the sheer heady thrill of Sonic’s blistering pace, coupled with the game’s flair for spectacle and joyous aesthetic vibrancy, makes Sonic the Hedgehog unique in his own right. This journey down memory lane doesn’t want for its share of bumps and knocks, but it’s a journey worth taking while it lasts.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: Aled Morgan View all posts by
Aled has served with distinction as a UNSC Spartan, become a Pokemon master, and saved the kingdom/world/galaxy more times than he can remember. Mixing a passion for gaming with a passion for writing since he was a child, Aled will play anything and everything he can get his hands on. When he isn’t trawling through virtual worlds or pawing at a keyboard to make words happen, he plays Ultimate Frisbee.

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.