Published on May 19th, 2012 | by Duke0911
Review: Sonic Generations – 3DS
Release Date: November 22, 2011
When Sonic Generations was first announced for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 (was also announced for the PC later on), people were ecstatic to hear about it and its concept of re-imagining levels from Sonic’s history. However, there were others; myself included, that were wondering if Sega would show some love for Nintendo since it was a celebration of 20 years of Sonic. They went to work; instead of making a direct port, Sega created a unique 3DS version with its own gameplay style, levels, and more. Albeit shorter with less content than its console counterpart, it’s still a decent game for the 3DS.
The story for the handheld version of Sonic Generations is slightly different than the console; instead of all of Sonic’s friends being at the party, Sonic arrives early, with Tails still preparing the event for Sonic’s Birthday. The Time Eater then appears and captures the duo, and sends them to a weird white limbo. That’s pretty much where the differences end, other than you won’t be rescuing any of Sonic’s friends during your adventure either. Modern Sonic and Tails meet up with their classic selves from the past, and work together to restore time and space. Instead of voice acting however, Sega opted for text bubbles with random grunts from the main characters. This has been done on other handheld titles, and works nicely for this game as well. However, it would have been nice to have even a little bit of voice acting, just to give the characters a bit more personality.
Just like on the console/PC versions, each level in Sonic Generations is split into two acts. Classic Sonic gameplay represents act 1 of every level; you’ll be running, jumping, spin dashing, destroying badniks as you make your way through the level. Other than the absence of being able to hold a button down to activate a spin dash, he plays almost exactly the same between the two versions of the game. One odd inclusion on the handheld though, is that Classic Sonic gains the ability to use the homing attack after a certain point in the game. Yes, it kinda takes away from the feeling of him playing exactly as he did back on the genesis, but it’s not that much of a game changer. Plus, you’re able to get through every level without using the homing attack (though in some cases, that means you would have to take a long alternative path to progress).
Now Modern Sonic; he plays extremely different than he does on the console versions. Instead of switching from 3-D to 2-D, you’re strictly in a 2-D perspective; with camera angles shifting around to make his levels seem more dynamic. This style can be seen as an upgrade of the Sonic Rush series and the DS version of Sonic Colors; you can boost, slide, stomp, and use the homing attack to reach the goal ring. He plays nicely, but his jumps can be a bit floaty; which can make platforming sections somewhat difficult. The flaws with both Sonics are very minor though, and the game can still be enjoyed despite the odd move inclusions and loose controls.
The levels are all re-imagined from previous titles in the series, the selection however is completely different (other than Green Hill of course). Each set of levels are divided into three eras, but because of the level selection on the handheld, you have different titles. For the Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and PC, you have the eras titled: Classic, Dreamcast, and Modern. For the 3DS, the Dreamcast and Modern eras are replaced with the Adventure and DS eras; respectively. Also, these new eras only contain 2 levels each, which is partly to blame for why the game is a bit on the short side. For those of you who have played the original Sonic the Hedgehog trilogy on the genesis, you will notice that all of Classic Sonic’s levels in the Classic era have the exact same layout as the original. This isn’t really a bad thing, as the levels are still just as fun as they were back in the early 90′s. The updated graphics are a nice touch as well, but sometimes level design can be an issue; especially Tropical Resort Act 1 (takes a while to complete, and in my opinion the hardest level of the game). Also included are special stages, which is how you earn the chaos emeralds in this game. In a similar manner to Sonic Heroes, you run down a long half-pipe; collecting orbs to fill your boost gauge, dodging land mines, and grabbing the chaos emerald before it reaches the end of the path. The 3-D effect; which is not necessary to have on during gameplay, adds enough depth to where it can help determine how far an object is, and can help with some of the more trickier platforming sections. Overall, the level selection is decent; seeing Mushroom Hill, Radical Highway, and other famous levels should delight any fan of the series.
I mentioned in my previous review that the bosses were somewhat disappointing, and the rival battles were nicely done. On the 3DS, that is flipped. The rival battles on this version are nothing more than a race to the finish, and the locations you fight them in make absolutely no sense. Correct me if I’m wrong, but when has Sonic ever raced Metal Sonic in Casino Night Zone in the past? The boss battles on the other hand, are fantastic. The boss selection is also different due to the new eras, so you will be battling against famous enemies such as Biolizard from Sonic Adventure 2, Big Arm from Sonic 3 & Knuckles, and Egg Emperor from Sonic Heroes. (Egg Emperor being included in the version that doesn’t make any reference to Sonic Heroes makes zero sense; I know). For either the Rival or boss battles; or any level in the game really, you will have to work to earn an S rank. The ranking system on the 3DS version is much more strict, which in a way can make the game seem more difficult than its cousin on the console. Receiving C’s and D’s your first time through is common, which makes earning S ranks much more rewarding after you spend some time learning about the levels.
The music in the game is very well done; though in this version you’ll find more rock-heavy tracks such as the boss battle against Big Arm:
You’ll also hear some re-mastered classics, such as Mushroom Hill Act 1:
You can also unlock bonus tracks and listen to them in your collection. You also have the option to listen to the music with the 3DS closed, as long as there are headphones plugged in. Unfortunately, there’s no option to change in-game music. It’s a shame since the 3DS lacks a lot of customization options that are present on the console.
The 3DS has it’s own unique features separate from the console versions; all of which take advantage of the handheld’s capabilities. You can race someone on your friends list that has the game, or go on random match-up. Every time you meet someone you acquire a copy of their profile card, and your opponent also gets a copy of yours. On it you can see how long a person has been a fan of the series, their favorite game, favorite character, and more. There’s also a time attack mode, in which you race through a zone or defeat a boss as fast as possible. By playing through the different game modes, spending play coins, and interacting with others through streetpass, you can unlock missions. By completing these missions, you can unlock concept art, music, and statues for your collection.
Sonic Generations for the 3DS is a decent game, but is over-shadowed by its console counterpart. It has enough features to make it unique, but just falls short of being a great game. Sonic fans will definitely enjoy the challenge, the ability to race others online, and collecting other profile cards. Those new to the series however, will want to approach this version with caution. Once you finish (which takes less than a day) you’ll be left with wanting more out of it.
+ Great Music
+ Impressive Bosses
+ Loads of gallery content
+ Online races
– Short Story
– Odd level selection
– Uninteresting Rival Races
Final score: 3.75 out of 5