Retrospective Review – Sonic Generations

I was looking forward to Sonic Generations for quite a while before it finally came out in November 2011. The mash-up of classic and modern Sonic gameplay sounded pretty slick, and I thought Sonic would finally see the major release that he so desperately needed. Though the console versions were enticing, I was actually the most excited about the 3DS version of Generations: having the game on the go could only be better, right?

  • Developed by Dimps/Sonic Team and Published by Sega; Released on November 22, 2011
  • Current Price: $29.99 (MSRP), $27.99 (Pre-owned @ GameStop.com)

Sadly, Sonic Generations on the Nintendo 3DS wasn’t exactly the same game that was released just a few weeks earlier on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Where the side-scrolling and 3D platforming gameplay that clashed so impressively in the console versions stood as the most unique aspect of Generations, the handheld version was scaled back a bit, resulting in fewer differences between the Classic and Modern Sonic stages.

I never actually purchased Sonic Generations for the 3DS, as I originally intended – there was a delay that ultimately resulted in the handheld version shipping on November 22nd, 2011…just a few days after Super Mario 3D Land. I was still busy collecting every single Star Coin in Mario’s latest adventure, so I opted out of buying my own copy. Instead, I focused on 3D Land, and just before the release of Mario Kart 7 in December, I borrowed a copy of Generations from a friend. Though I only spent about 10 hours with the game, I had enough time to blast through its Story Mode, play through some of its challenge stages, and explore the surprising amount of content the game had to offer. I might have been disappointed by the limitations, but I was nonetheless satisfied to play a solid Sonic title – one that was much sharper with its fundamentals than many of its recent predecessors.

Concept: (6/10)

As I said, the “slimming-down” of the 3D Sonic stages in this handheld version was very disappointing; the result was still a mix between stages played as Classic Sonic (who felt slower) and Modern Sonic (who felt slightly quicker), but with fewer noticeable differences otherwise.

Functionality: (8/10)

Sonic Generations used the 3D effect of the 3DS pretty well with its special stages, dedicated to collecting the various Chaos Emeralds in the story mode. Also, the added depth generally added that little extra bit of flash to each level. The StreetPass function was used in an interesting way, allowing players to transfer data to each other and unlock new “Challenge Stages”. You could also use Play Coins to unlock these – yet another handy installation of a unique 3DS function.

Presentation: (8.5/10)

The music was what you would expect from a Sonic game, but that was actually pretty refreshing, considering the throwback theme of the game. The classic stages from past Sonic titles were brought back with a lot of detail – they were very accurate to the originals, including the killer whale chase from the first stage of Sonic Adventure.

Replay Value: (7/10)

Sonic Generations wasn’t very long – I finished the Story Mode in just a couple of hours, with most of my time spent re-playing a small handful of tricky stages near the end. On the other hand, there were plenty of extra modes that extended the value of the game a bit – speed runs, challenge stages, etc. The game was also very challenging, so the veteran Sonic players could spend plenty of time trying to earn “S” rankings in each of the various acts (levels).

Reviewer’s Tilt: (+0)

I was very satisfied to have played Sonic Generations, but not necessarily disappointed that I didn’t purchase it, as I was planning before it was delayed. The limitations of the handheld port were a let-down, but overall, the gameplay was still solid – and I thought Generations was one of the better Sonic games I had played in quite some time.

Recommendation: Play

If you typically enjoyed Sonic games – particularly the classic ones from the 16-bit era – Generations was actually a decent game to play on the 3DS. Old-school fans of the Sega mascot could find a lot to appreciate, especially with the Modern Sonic stages being so much less “modern” in the first place. On the other hand, don’t go out and buy Generations unless you can find it for a great price, or you’re sorely hurting for something to do. There isn’t as much substantial content and replay value as you could find in something like 3D Land, which is what ultimately made it so much better in November, as it remains today.

Final Score: 7.3/10

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