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Uh oh, I'm bored again. Time to post another old review.
GOTTA GO FAAAAAAAAAAAAASSST.
Ah... Sonic The Hedgehog... quite the story he's had. In the 90's, he dominated the market with his speedy, addicting games, snarky attitude, and all around awesomeness. He was the perfect character to outperform Mario, and it certainly showed. Sega's ad campaigns that mocked Nintendo definitely helped as well. Basically, Sonic was the ****, and any kid that didn't play his games were probably beaten up a lot at school (Because kids will fight over anything). His fame was so ludicrously high that he was the first of two video game characters to have a balloon in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the other being Pikachu. Soooo... yeah, he was a pretty big deal.
But that all changed when the prospect of three dimensional gaming was introduced. Sure, there were other 3D games out there before Nintendo threw their hat in the ring with Super Mario 64, but they all sucked. Super Mario 64 was the first game to properly understand how the third dimension works, and thus, it kicked major ass across the board, and was widely seen as the first true 3D platformer. It was certainly Game of the Year material for it's time. Sonic tried his hardest to make the transition, and after a few hiccups (*cough* Sonic R and Sonic Jam *cough*), he finally made his grand entrance with Sonic Adventure. Sonic's speed in three dimensions was enough to make any kid giggle with excitement and probably pee their pants a little. As such, It sold over 1 million copies in the United States alone, making it the top selling Dreamcast game. It even got a sequel in 2001 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the series. Yep, at the time, despite those two... hiccups... it seemed Sonic was going to give Mario a run for his money even in the 3D era.
That is until Sonic Heroes came out, which wasn't exactly terrible, but it certainly didn't live up to the Adventure series. However, many saw it as a sign of things to come. Would Sonic slowly start sucking hard? The answer? No. Instead, Sonic started sucking immediately. Shadow The Hedgehog came out almost two years later, and it proved to be the worst Sonic game of it's generation. Not only was it stupidly dark, with the light swearing and Shadow wielding guns, but it had some of the worst level design and gimmicks the series has ever seen. Not to mention the PlayStation 2 port was a butchered mess, with more bugs and a choppy frame rate. And then, all hope was lost when Sonic '06, the Hedgehog's next-gen debut, was released. With a majority of it's features that were promised to us by Sega either missing or barely working, the longest load times I've ever experienced, glitches at every turn, characters that were super slow, and yet somehow hard as hell to control because it feels like they have no momentum, and the worst boss and level design the series has ever had. All this combined into a package that was rushed as Hell in order to be released during 2006, Sonic's 15th birthday. If Sega truly wanted to celebrate that, they would've NOT released this God awful abomination. For many, myself included, this was the death of the series, and most of us would avoid the Blue Hog for the rest of our lives. That is, until a ray of hope shined down... that hope? Sonic Unleashed.
Sure, it's Werehog sections bogged the game down to the same level as Shadow's game, but it brought with it a new style, focusing on 2D side-scrolling rendered with 3D visuals, as well as behind-the-back, third-person stages, with gameplay seamlessly transitioning between these two styles. This radical change in gameplay, coupled with the focus on extreme speed and boosting, gave Sonic that sense of rhythm that a lot of fast paced 2D platformers had, and was seen by fans as the perfect evolution of the 2D games, and the best possible way to push the franchise forward. And luckily, Sega listened. The result was Sonic Colours, the first good mainstream Sonic game since Adventure 2. Taking all the good from Unleashed with none of the bad, Colours truly was a new beginning for the Blue Blur. And unlike Sonic's 15th birthday, where all the drunken uncles in the world were invited, Sega made sure his 20th birthday bash would be the best one ever, in the form of Sonic Generations, the best post-Adventure game the series has yet to know. With Classic Sonic making his long awaited return, as well redone stages from times of old, Generations kinda functions like a "Best Of" collection. However, with that said, half of the games sucked, so is this best of collection rolling around at the speed of sound? Or is it heading straight for a tornado carrying a car? Let's find out...
Hmm... I don't see any rainbows to follow...
Oh boy, talking about story in a Sonic game... let's hope it's not on par with Sonic '06...
20 years ago, Sonic was running around Green Hill Zone doing his usual shenanigans, like running really fast into Badniks that gave him no time to react to, falling down incredibly-hard-to-notice pits, and collecting all the worlds Rings and dumping them into the ocean, so then Amy will never get the chance to propose to him. One day, on his usual morning walk sprint, a gigantic purple monster came out of a gigantic purple hole. Why? No idea... okay, I do know, but spoiling it would piss off a lotta people.
Meanwhile in the present day, all of Sonic's friends are planning a birthday party for everyone's favourite person/thing that is coloured blue. Shadow wasn't invited, since he'd be a major buzz kill, and neither was Silver, because he wanted to bring a karaoke machine, and everyone knew that he was a horrible singer. After minutes of planning (based on how the party turned out, I can safely assume this is a correct estimation), Sonic finally arrived at his party, and was overjoyed (despite sounding like he was faking interest)! It was the greatest party EVER captured on screen, truly something that could propel the game to Game of the Century status... everyone stood there just eating chilli dogs. They didn't do any party games, none of them ate the cake, nothing like that. And the worst thing? Sonic's present he received from Tails. Guess what it was? A chilli dog. Yep, the main food at the party. Which means Tails is a cheap %$#@, and doesn't care about Sonic in the slightest. Sonic said it was a great present anyway, most likely because he didn't want to upset Tails. Clearly, this game deserves a 1 outta 10 just because of how boring this party is. Oh well, it's just a cut-scene. Who cares? Most people would've skipped it.
Unfortunately, that same purple monster thingy invaded the lame celebration, and proceeded to kidnap all of Sonic's friends (half of which were expendable), and launch his chilli dog far, far away with a shock wave. Pissed that he didn't get to eat a single chilli dog, Sonic attacked the beast, but died instantly got knocked out with a plain ol' slap from the purple monster thingy. When he awakened, Sonic found himself in White Space, which just so happens to be the exact same place where the start of the Mario Kart Wii opening demo was filmed.
After travelling up, down, and all around White Space, Sonic explores both Green Hill and Chemical Plant, noting how familiar these locales are. After rescuing Tails, Amy, and Knuckles, Sonic and Tails meet up with their younger selves, and they deduce that they're travelling through time and space due to the Time Eater's (the purple monster thingy) malevolent power that has destroyed the flow of time. Now, it's up to the two Sonics to open up a can of whoop-ass, and defeat the Time Eater before the damage becomes irreversible.
What becomes immediately apparent about Sonic Generations is the graphical horsepower. For purely technical terms, it's one of 2011's best looking games. Texture resolution and polygon counts are impressive throughout, with not a single blurry texture or dated looking character model in sight. And the design aspects of it are also quite good, with Sonic and pals (and Eggman) having their sexiest makeovers yet. There's a whole lot of variety too, with each stage having a very distinct style and atmosphere that actually represents the game's they appeared in quite well (for example, Crisis City is an apocalyptic city that's always on fire, just like what we were doing to Sonic '06 once we played it for a minute). Even the city stages don't look alike, and that's saying something, because there's 4 in total. But the best of all is the lighting effects. Realistic to the point of "How the Hell did they do that?!", it's truly the game's strongest graphical feature. But how do they do it? With a revolutionary technology known as Light-Field, which causes light to bounce off everything, even Sonic himself, meaning he won't stick out even more so the he already does. All this and more is thanks to the Hedgehog Engine, which took 3 years to create, with Light-Field chewing up most of that time.
The game also supports 3D, but you will need a 3D compatible TV, of course. Now, I know most people will scoff and say I'm a dumb ass for praising 3D (guys, just... just get over how bad Avatar was), but here it actually works very well. Like Ocarina of Time 3D, it serves no purpose whatsoever, only as a graphics enhancer. But what an enhancer it is. As Classic Sonic, you'll see all the beautiful layered backgrounds blazing past you in the distance, giving you a sense of depth, rather than having things pop up in your face, similarly to New Super Mario Bros. 2 or most Nintendo 3DS games, except you're going really fast, so it's more like looking out the window of a car when you're on a highway. Modern Sonic, on the other hand, is the exact opposite; everything is jumping out of the screen and punching you in the face. This is especially apparent on Rooftop Run, when you're running past confetti and grinding down the clock tower. Needless to say, your eyes will catch fire within a few minutes.
Now, with such speedy gameplay that requires pinpoint precision and fast reaction times, you'd expect the game to run at 60 frames per second, right? Right. But sadly, something had to give in order to afford such pretty graphics, and that's the frame rate, which can't go any higher then 30. Now this isn't much of a big deal, it's perfectly playable at 30 FPS. Oh, except when it drops. And it drops a lot. To as low as 15 frames in a few cases. Seriously, it gets that bad. And most of the spots where it dips that low are pretty difficult. For this reason alone, I'd recommend getting the PC version, if it's powerful enough to run it. You'll save yourself a lot of frustration.
Since I skipped Sonic Free Riders (a very good decision, I must say), I never got the chance to hear the new voice cast introduced in that game. From what I heard, it was a mixed bag. Some voices were better, some voices were worse... but anyway, let's see how they fare in Generations. Perhaps the crappy voice actors improved?
Let's start with, who else? Sonic. His latest voice actor is Roger Craig Smith, who also plays Chris Redfield in Resident Evil and Ezio Auditore from Assassin's Creed, so he's certainly a pro. And that proness definitely shows with this performance. Sega wanted to go with an older, maturer Sonic that still had that classic snarky attitude, and Smith nails it. He does sound like a generic anime hero at times, but it's not much of an issue. A significant improvement over Jason Griffith. Tails (his real name must never be spoken in my face. Got it?) was blessed with Kate Higgins. Yes, I know, it's another women. I can already hear you say "AAAAAHHHHH HE'LL SOUND LIKE A SCHOOLGIRL", but don't fret just yet. Tails, for the first time ever, sounds like a young boy prodigy... at least, one you could take seriously. That reason alone is something to win an award for, making Kate an insane improvement over Amy Palant. Knuckles got Travis Willingham, who... sounds exactly the same as Dan Green, the previous actor, except he sounds more smug and less angry. It's not better or worse.
Amy Rose... OH HO HO BOY, we're knee deep in **** now. Cindy Robinson is her new voice, and sweet mother of Osiris, it's frickin' unbearable. She sounds like an ultra-generic damsel in distress, and her voice is of a much higher pitch then Lisa Ortiz, the previous and by far the best Amy voice. Clearly, the worst of the new voices. Cream, previously known as the most annoying, ear bleed inducing Sonic character thanks to Rebecca Honig's incredibly forced performance, is now... decent... due to Michelle Ruff, who sounds much more natural, which is very important when you're trying to play a six year old girl, so she's a definite improvement.
Vector, better known simply as The Computer Room Guy 'cause of Jimmy Zoppi, has Keith Silverstein as the new voice actor, and he's certainly better, sounding comedic, but easier to take seriously. A bit of an improvement. Espio's new voice actor is Troy Baker, who, like David Wills, makes him come off as a cold, emotionless super ninja chameleon thingy. There's not much of a difference, so it's neither better or worse. Charmy Bee... *sigh* Everyone hates this guy. It's common fact. So, can Colleen O'Shaughnessey make this annoying piece of crap somewhat less irritating? The answer? ...Kinda. While it's certainly a much better voice, he's still annoying, which could only mean he's intentionally annoying. A slight improvement.
Up next is Shadow The- OH MAH GERD IT'S SHADOW!!!11!!1!!!1 *has a girly nerdgasm* Eh... sorry about that... anyway, Shadow's new voice actor is Kirk Thornton, and he's certainly a mixed bag. Perhaps the most decisive of the new cast, some like him for giving Shadow his darkest voice yet, but somehow give him that conceited personality that David Humphrey's Shadow had. But some hate him for making him sound ridiculously old. Compared to Jason Griffith's portrayal, it's a slight upgrade to me. Rouge's new actress is Karen Strassman, who, unlike Caren Manuel, is able to make Rouge sound smexy as Hell without sounding rather forced, and her overall acting is far superior. A big improvement over Caren.
It's No Use Guy Silver has Quinton Flynn as his new voice, who's basically like Pete Capella, only not as whiny, so that's a good improvement. Blaze The Kitty's new voice actress is Laura Bailey, who... sounds exactly the same as Bella Hudson. Scary... Omochao is also voiced by Laura Bailey, and she's a tremendous improvement over all the other actresses, finally making him not sound bored as Hell. At that just leaves Dr. Eggman... who didn't get a new voice actor, because Mike *******'s portrayal kicks major ass, and is practically loved by all.
So, overall, the new voice cast is better on average. And... this chewed up a lot of the sound section. o_o
So... music... yeah, it's... pretty good, I guess? Uh... I don't really know what to say after all that stuff about the voice actors... Um... let's see now, every level gets a remade track to accompany it. For Classic Sonic, these are typically of the techno genre, with Modern Sonic getting his trademark rock n' roll. Although both characters have remixes that sound very similar to the original songs in their respective eras (for example, Classic Sonic's music in the Classic Era is just the old music with some new instruments added in), they're all far superior to their old variants, with Green Hill, City Escape, and Crisis City being a cut above the rest. And if for some reason you don't like the new music? Don't worry, a fine selection of dozens of tracks from Sonic's past are ripe for unlocking and listening to. From masterpieces like Live and Learn, to the obscurest of them all, like any of the Sonic Riders main themes, there's something for everybody!
(Note to self; never write in overly great detail about the voice actors again)
Remember how this happened at the start of Sonic 1 every time?
Gameplay is something the Hedgehog has certainly improved in ever since I quit the series with Sonic '06. With Modern Sonic, it's no longer about following a linear path that has no possible alternate routes like it was with Sonic Adventure onward. Now, just like in his good ol' days, there are many branching paths and shortcuts to take, and combined with his new Sonic Boost ability, Sonic's never felt faster or more fluid. Every now and then, the game will switch from its traditional 3D, behind the back perspective that encourages blindly speeding through, to 2D, platforming-heavy sections that are much tougher than the 3D sections. You'll often have to take your time with these sections, or you can attempt blindly speeding through if you want. It occasionally works. The switching perspectives and their radically different styles adds a lot of variety to Modern Sonic's gameplay, and the camera luckily doesn't slack around either like it did in days of old, making the transitions fast and seamless. Sonic Boost is the perfect addition to the series, as not only does it help Sonic noobs like myself plow through the stage like badasses just by holding Up (or right, if you're in a 2D section) and X, but mastering it, along with the new ground pound stomp ability that allows you to come to a dead halt, and drifting that allows you to quickly refill your boost gauge (not to mention drifting is faster than running), makes it possible to pull off some crazy-ass speedruns. Like this one.
There was a lot of hype surrounding Classic Sonic, because people still believed that Sonic's redesign in Adventure was the thing that ruined the series (*sigh*). It could've turned out to be just a carbon copy of Sonic 4's derpy gameplay, which was pretty much a dumbed-down Sonic Rush. Luckily for us, and Sega, since many probably would've gotten the game just for Classic Sonic, his gameplay was a near perfect recreation of the original trilogy's gameplay and physics. But why do I say near perfect? Well, it's simple; Classic Sonic is way faster this time around. Like, not just a tad, he's considerably faster. I did a few tests when I was bored, and to find out who was faster, I had both hedgehogs run across White Space. If he kept fully charging his Spin Dash, Classic Sonic was several seconds faster. No doubt this is thanks to the faster processors of today, but seeing him in Sonic 1 and then looking at this... it was quite jarring, to say the least. Also unlike Sonic 4, it's not gimmicky as ****. It's just the pure, classic experience every Genesis Sonic fan has been waiting for all these years. Also, it should definitely be noted that Classic Sonic's gameplay is considerably harder then his Modern counterpart. No Sonic Boost and no Homing Attacks (Well... Classic Sonic actually can get a Homing Attack towards the very end of the game...) means a much more challenging play style, which is good, because the old Sonic games were also somewhat rage-inducing. So kudos to you, Sega! You finally did fanservice correctly! *slowly, dramatically claps*
Now say you're tired of just running straight to the goal, and you want something else to do (If so, what's wrong with you? ...I kid, I kid...). That's where the Challenge Acts come in. Like Mission Mode in Sonic Adventure DX, Challenge Acts, err... challenge you to complete a specific objective, and the faster you do so, the higher your overall rank will be. Both Classic and Modern Sonics have their own set of Challenge Acts to conquer, and while all of them are unique to themselves, they both share the Doppelganger Races, which features a ghost Sonic racing against the player. As it's the exact same level design as the normal levels, and it's impossible for the two Sonics to interact in any way, it's essentially a time trial. One of the more interesting ones is the One Ring Challenge, which tasks you with getting through a portion of the stage with only one Ring, making it hard as Hell. Some task you with chasing a Sprinkler thingy to catch as many Rings it throws as possible, while avoiding it's bombs. Others need you to rely on certain power ups in order to clear the stages. And then there's the ones that feature Sonic's friends... *sigh* More than half of these are freakin' terrible, either being boring, super gimmicky, or just plain broken. The rest of the Challenge Acts are pretty good. Just... try to go for S ranks on the ones with Sonic's friends... most will make you wanna tear your hair out, so if you get an S rank on those, at least you'll never have to play them again.
Throughout his travels through time and space, the two Sonics will unlock various Skills to to equip that enhance their existing abilities, or give them entirely new ones. These can be unlocked by completing various Challenge Acts, or collecting ever Red Star Ring in a stage. Oh yeah, Red Star Rings... there's 5 in each level, you get em', and you unlock artwork and music, whatevs... anyway, there are over 30 to get your hands on, and only a few can be equipped by both hedgehogs. They can range from simple speed upgrades for Modern Sonic to giving Classic Sonic his trademark shields (Yes, Classic Sonic has to equip Skills to get his shields. And yes, I was pissed about that). There are even some really quirky Skills, like Classic's Ring Time, which turns nearby enemies into Rings, or Modern's Endless Boost, which gives him infinite Sonic Boost, but also prevents him from picking up any Rings, making it a massive risk, massive reward Skill. But you can't just equip all the super powerful Skills and make Sonic halfway to being as broken as the average Dragonborn, every Skill has a value between 10 and 100, meaning you have a limited number of Skills you can equip, with your maximum equip value being 100. You can also have up to five separate Skill sets for each Sonic, and you can change them at any time in White Space.
Remember how awesome the bosses were in the old games? Remember how you played the old games recently and found out they actually sucked? Ya know how old games with bosses in them, like Zelda, eventually got more awesome over time? Remember how every boss with the exception of some of the Super Sonic fights in modern Sonic games were all horrible, and never managed to improve? Yeah, those were dark days. Luckily though, Sega once again pulled out all the stops to make the bosses in this game... decent, which is at least an improvement over... this.
*BEWARE: Boss spoilers ahead*
There are 7 bosses total in Generations, two for Classic Sonic, four for Modern Sonic, and the final boss for both. Half of the standard battles consist of fighting Rivals, A.K.A, the hedgehogs that weren't invited to the party, and therefore, are trying to kill Sonic because they're pissed. They are Metal Sonic for Classic Sonic, and Shadow and Silver for Modern Sonic. Metal Sonic is quite simple, as all you gotta do is jump on his head whenever he gets close, while avoiding his charging attacks and the street lights he throws at you. Shadow is by far the most unique of the Rivals, as the battle is set as a race of sorts. In it, you have to collect the Energy Cores before Shadow to use your special move, and rather than having a traditional health gauge, Shadow has a Ring count, meaning this battle can go on forever if you suck at collecting shiny balls of light. Silver will put your reflexes to the test, as he has a wide variety of attacks with impressive reach. Feeling somewhat like a combo of Metal Sonic's and Shadow's fights, this Rival battle is a real pain in the ass, but also the most fun to do. Hell, it's probably the best boss battle in the game, which is good, because Silver really needed to redeem himself. The main bosses are the Death Egg Robot for Classic Sonic, and Perfect Chaos (*girly nerdgasm*) and the Egg Dragoon for Modern Sonic. The Death Egg Robot is, at first, fairly reminiscent of the original battle, but soon, you'll be running around platforms in an effort to make the Robot accidentally punch time bombs. Sounds boring? Well yes, it is. Perfect Chaos is a major step up luckily. Like in the original fight, Sonic has to run into Chaos head on to kill him, but during the second phase, you'll need to find a way to jump up and bonk him on the head. The battle is certainly a fun one... but also very easy, since his attacks are incredibly inaccurate. And then there's the Egg Dragoon, the most rage-inducing (Yet still fair) fight I've ever seen. His attacks in the 3D section cover a third of the total battle arena, and in the 2D sections, his super freeze breath that he likes to give free samples of requires perfect timing to jump over as the battle reaches its end. And don't get me started on the second phase. So, we have 6 bosses that, on average, are perhaps the best the series has seen. What better way to trump them all with the Super Sonic fight? ...Err... well... let's just say it's about as bad as the one in Sonic '06. It's sooooooooooooooo bad, and certainly feels rushed. And no, I will not say anything else. You have to play it to believe it. What a terrible way to end your game... You can also play a harder version of any of the bosses upon beating them for the first time. And lemme tell ya... these guys can make you rage spectacularly sometimes on hard mode.
However, they do have something to make up for that. For 7,777 Points (The money in this game), you can buy a Genesis/Mega Drive controller at the Skills Shop. What's this controller for? Why, for walkin' on over to Green Hill so Sonic can plug it into his Genesis/Mega Drive and play the original Sonic The Hedgehog! Now, it should be noted that this exactly the same as the original game. There are no enhancements whatsoever, not even a way to save your game! But just the fact that it's there is enough to satisfy most.
Yes, they recreated that entire cutscene, just for the fight.
And yes, I almost died when I saw it.
So... is this best of collection rolling around at the speed of sound? ...Not exactly. There are a few things that hold it back from true perfection. The frame rate will take a hit quite a few times, and several times this will happen in places that require quick reflexes, Amy's new voice is still sadly not any better than it was in Sonic Free Riders, not to mention some voice actors, despite making their respective characters sound the best they've ever been, some still wanna make you tear your hair out. The boss battle difficulty is pretty inconsistent, with the final boss not only being quite easy, but BORING!
Still, the triumphs far outweigh the shortcomings. Sega has Lived and Learned throughout the years to bring us the greatest Sonic game of our generation. It strikes a great balance between being noob friendly, but also something for perfectionists/speed runners thanks to the Sonic Boost. With numerous shortcuts and alternate routes to take, there are Endless Possibilities to complete the stages, allowing for ridiculously high amounts of replayability. The soundtrack is by far the best one in the series, and it certainly shows Sega's sound team What They're Made Of. So while Sonic may not quite be able to Reach For The Stars with Generations...
At least in His World, he's back on top.
Lasting appeal: 10/10
You read it all! Great! Have some cake. But only if you leave a like and possibly a comment.
This review. Just... :o
It was quite in depth, and really describes the game as it truly is. You didn't fear telling the truth, and when it was said, you did it in a professional and a bit of a comedic way. I loved it..and I hope to see more from you :)