Sonic Generations demo impressions

Happy Birthday, Sonic. I think it is fair to say that many of us can thank the blue hedgehog for who we are today (in a sense). I know that part of the reason I work on this site has something to do with the blue blur’s influence on my early life, and when I look at how many comments we get on Sonic articles compared to most other Sega games it’s evident that there is still a lot of passion for the character 20 years on.

My first Sonic game was Sonic the Hedgehog, the original Sonic game. I got it as a pack in with my Sega Mega Drive and I was hooked right from the start. For me, it took what Mario was doing and made it faster and gave it some attitude; it was like a roller coaster and I’ve stuck with the character through the years. Whilst Sonic went through a really rough patch where even I stopped playing his games, I’m happy to report that I absolutely loved Sonic Colours and as I type this, I’m playing the Sonic Generations timed demo which, despite a few hiccups, I’m enjoying quite a bit.

Sonic Generations demo impressions after the jump:

I’ll start with the cons, so let’s get straight to the gritty stuff. I’ve spent a good hour trying to break the game in as many ways possible, and if you ask me, it holds up quite well though there are some issues.

CONS:

  • When you tap down-A or even the new X button, it should automatically go into a spin dash with forward propulsion; instead it goes into a roll. This is the most problematic issue for me. As I’m running in the classics, I always do a quick down-A spin dash to grab a little extra speed. The only time Sonic should roll is when down is tapped alone. Down-A is always spin dash.
  • The above con leads me to my second problem, which is a bit of a nitpick but I think it warrants a mention: The Spin Dash is too fast. I believe the reason the previous con is present is because they know the Spin Dash is too fast and they didn’t want you to be able to gain such speed so easily. My solution to this problem would be to make tapping Down-A whilst running put you into a slow spin dash, or at least half the speed of the one they have now. Instead of removing the current Spin Dash you should have to stop completely still, then rev it up to gain such a speed.
  • Sonic’s jump feels slightly too heavy. This isn’t game breaking at all but I feel like I know the height Sonic should jump and he doesn’t quite get there, making me miss small jumps I would have gotten if I was playing, say, Sonic 2. Both his ‘tap’ and ‘hold’ jump could be higher.

PROS:

  • The physics, which were the biggest complaint about Sonic 4, are pretty much fixed. Sonic has weight, and I could feel the little bugger strain as he tried to push his way up steep inclines or through loops he just doesn’t have the speed to conquer. I found none of Sonic 4’s walking on walls issues here. If there are any physics issues they are minor, and I suspect 99% of the people who play the game won’t find any issues here.
  • The level design is great, and it has all of the charm of the classic games. The multiple paths with speeding short cut rewards for playing well, the ramps, hidden springs, badniks, it’s all there! After going back to the classic Green Hill Zone from Sonic 1, which can be beat in all but 20 seconds if not less, I’d say this is a world of improvement in level design. If you look at the level designs in Sonic games not five years back this has been improved by leaps and bounds.
  • The graphics are beautiful, both background and foreground look fantastic. Everything is crisp and as colourful as you like! The lighting in the cave is great, heck, the cave itself is a nice addition, and the waterfalls and vistas of the background really bring Green Hill to life like never before. Really no complaint on this front!
  • Sonic’s animations are generally very good. The jump, roll and dash all look nice, and I love his running-in-the-air animation, but best of all is the top-speed running animation with the blurry circular legs. It is really awesome.
  • The music, classic Green Hill Zone, beautifully remade. I’ll be humming this all night.

Finally, a couple of small nitpicks that don’t really bother me, but I felt that the experience would be made that much better if they were fixed:

  • Coming off of some ramps can send the camera a little bit jaunty and weird; it’s a little problem which certainly doesn’t affect my enjoyment, but if fixed, it would make a world of difference.
  • When you chain enemies in the classic games, the second enemy you destroy gives your rebound some extra height. In Sonic Generations each rebound is the same height. I don’t expect this to change as I imagine some levels are based around this mechanic, but it is a note for future games.
  • After passing the finishing post and running off screen, I couldn’t reemerge to grab some sneaky extra points! Make it happen, Sonic Team!

OVERALL: The game has what, 5 more months in development, and I already had a lot of fun with it. All you need to do is go back and play Sonic games from 2006 and 2008 to see how far the series has come, and I think it’ll only keep getting better. Colour me excited!

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17 responses to “Sonic Generations demo impressions

  1. DarrenIndeed says:

    Totally agree with the jumping. I am almost certain though that you could not do a spin dash while running in the classic games. Could you show me a video of this? I have never come across it in the 20 years I have been playing Sonic.

  2. Sharky says:

    ^Youve made me question myself now… lol

    But be it running or not, my problem is that tapping down-A togeather does not give you a spin dash, it gives you a rather pointless, momentumless roll. which was never the case in the classics.

    Down-A was always spin dash no matter if you tap it or hold it down. Down alone was roll.

    Its a rather small problem really, something I can easily get used to but alas… I'd rather it be fixed.

  3. upsidedown fuji says:

    I agree and stand behind this demo impression by Sharky. Sonic does feel a little heavier than he used to and his spindash isn't as effective as expected but this demo hits way more good points than bad.

    Very promising. Hopefully the demo is an earlier pre E3 build. I wonder if any on here can vouch for this?

  4. -nSega54- says:

    I don't remember being able to spindash while running either, you could just do the sort of pointless ball motion. The spin-dash required you to stop in your tracks.

    Anyway, nicely-written impressions. I hope everyone's giving the demo a try because it's a lot of fun. Does the demo feature both classic and modern Sonic?

  5. Radrappy says:

    Hey fuji I can vouch for that. The version I played at sonic boom was free from most of the noticeable technical hiccups that the demo has. Then again it could be that once you sit down with something in the privacy of your own home, certain things become more obvious.

  6. Sharky says:

    I'm pretty sure others have also pointed out that this is an old build. Not that I know what has changed between builds.

  7. -nSega54- says:

    I haven't played this downloaded demo yet.

    But I can say too that at Sonic Boom there was one "fall through the floor" glitch that I saw 1 or 2 people encounter but otherwise it seemed glitch-free.

  8. SMT_Xero says:

    i just finished coming across a glitch in the demo. during the corkscrew, only during the a certain part of it i was able to hold x for a spin dash but sonic didn't stop to do it he just kept going though the corkscrew and past the post. kinda at the same speed he would have been if he didn't stop running.

  9. STORM! says:

    What about the cashier sound effect when finished the stage? Which one Sega is using here?

  10. Chaosmaster8753 says:

    Not exact classic physics, eh? *runs away from potential rage*

  11. Kori-Maru says:

    I agree with the cons, but this game is still beautiful. Just got to play it a few times to do some speedruns and the music is just ;v;. City Escape is going to make me feel like Yan Weimin. <_<

  12. -nSega54- says:

    "Not exact classic physics, eh? *runs away from potential rage*"

    It's as close as you can reasonably expect. Did you play it? It's pretty amazing.

  13. -G- says:

    Agree with pretty much everything Sharky old buddy.

    Although – as others have said – pretty certain you couldn't spin dash mid-run in earlier games.

    Another issue I had was that I almost felt that Sonic was going too fast at times. A few times I picked up so much speed the camera didn't seem to be able to keep up.

    I remember this happening on ocassion in the old Somnic games – but usually it was when you got loads of air and Sonic went off the screen.

    But this was happening as I was running along – I kept running into spikes and enemies, because I couldn't see them.

    It wasn't all the time, but I really had to slow Sonic down to be able to play when he got too fast.

    Still – definitely looking forward to buying this game even more now :o)

  14. Sharky says:

    The G man!

    Finally, Segabits is whole.

  15. Chaosmaster8753 says:

    "It’s as close as you can reasonably expect. Did you play it? It’s pretty amazing."

    Was your experience playing the game slightly different from what you're hearing about this demo? I'm just nervous because any element of physics that's even slightly different from the original physics will cause nerdrage everywhere.

  16. ShadiNeko says:

    SpongeAlex, I dare you go to look at Sonic Retro forums =P

  17. -nSega54- says:

    Sponge: I dunno, man. I played it at Sonic Boom and loved both Classic and Modern Sonic and really didn't feel the need to complain about anything.

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