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.
- 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.
- 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!Ad: