KOG Quickie: Sonic Generations – Lessons Not Learned.

AAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH! KAMI SMASH! KAMI KILL!

Sorry about that start but I am frustrated beyond all belief with SEGA and Sonic Team now. Just when you kind of think you see the light at the end of the tunnel, you realise it’s another sodding torch. Sonic Generations is so very nearly “Good Sonic”, but far too often it reverts to “Bad Sonic”, and this is the sort of thing that has crippled the Sonic franchise for years.

The plot is paper thin, as you’d expect, but it’s vaguely interesting and it is a force to drive you through a very large selection of old stages done in newer, HD graphics engines. As a trip down memory lane, it’s actually rather good – Sky Sanctuary is probably better than I remember it.

But why, WHY did we have to bring back 3D Modern Sonic? All his stages serve to prove is that the old 2D stylings with a lick of pseudo-3D camera work at times has a much stronger effect overall than racing into the screen – and when Modern Sonic slips into 2D side-scrolling mode, it’s so much easier to control and ten times more enjoyable!

And then there are three cardinal sins the Sonic universe needs to stop with, right now.

1) Stop locking off boss fights and new stages until we’ve done X amount of Y. It breaks the flow and is hugely irritating.

2) Collision detection in the forced “bonus acts” is APPALLING! Come on SEGA, I’m sick of this now. If other games can handle it, you should be able to by now.

3) Tone down the “attitude”. Seriously, I was playing Sonic in 1991. I am now a grown adult. It’s time to let Sonic grow up as well, instead of being an eternal teenager in an almost permanent sulk.

Visually, the game is stunning and, despite fears, it handles okay for the most part (although the boost function for Modern Sonic not defending him very much is a massive pile of cack-handed goats scrotum). It’s just the design has drifted so far from its origins, so far from the pure and lovely Sonic it used to be.

If you can, get Sonic 3 & Knuckles on Steam (only a couple of notes). Despite its age, despite the not-HD graphics, despite the fact it doesn’t have any of the unlockables, it is still the purest and best way to play Sonic – and a far better celebration of twenty years of Sonic than another sub-titled entry in the Sonic franchise that still, for some reason, insists on making us see everything, rather than letting us explore, engage and enjoy on our own terms and at our own pace.

Sonic Generations is a good recollection. But £30 for it? Heck no. Save your money and buy Skyrim next week, or Assassins Creed: Revelations in a couple of weeks time.

Sonic Generations is, I admit, good and enjoyable for the most part – but it’s still locked in a battle of shoddy game design. And it ruins the experience.

Naughty Sonic Team.

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