Segas' beloved mascot has had plenty of ups and downs over the recent years. Sonic saw his biggest low in Sonic the Hedgehog for the Playstation3 and Xbox360, released in 2006, which housed an insane amount of glitches, bugs, and horrendous loading times. After that train wreck, Sonic fans are still uneasy whenever a new Sonic game is announced. Sega knows this, and things have been getting better. The most recent console release, Sonic Colors was a solid effort. The downloadable Sonic 4 however was severely lacking. They know they need to make up for any wrong doings in the blue hedgehogs past, and Sonic Generations looks to be what Sonic fans of old and new have been craving. It offers two distinct modes of game play. One as a classic side scrolling Sonic that's a blast from the blast processing past, and the other as the current era rail grinding extreme version of the hedgehog.
Sonics' character design has changed over the years, and both modes feature the two different styles, Classic Sonics' shorter, rounder, and slightly lighter blue hue will bring back tons of nostalgia to long time fans. Thankfully, the game play in his stages feel very close to the Sega Genesis Sonic games. There is a solid feel of the inertia based platforming found in older Sonics, where building speed is key to running up ramps or spinning down hills. Sonic also has access to his trademark spin dash which allows for a burst of speed even from a dead stop. There are classic robot enemies, loop de loops, gold rings and power ups stored in monitors. This is everything old school Sonic fans will instantly recognize. It's a great treat to play as this old style Sonic again.Sonic 4 as mentioned above, didn't feel at all like the old Sonic games, Sonic Generations' classic Sonic definitely does.
The current generation Sonic features incredibly fast movement with a more cinematic flair. The camera is mostly placed behind the back of Sonic allowing for players to see much further ahead. It occasionally will switch to a side view in order to allow modern Sonic to partake in side scrolling platforming. This modern Sonic can use his homing attack to auto track jumping on enemies or cross huge gaps in the stages by chaining together attacks in this manner. There is still a very big emphasis on grinding rails, and while playing as modern Sonic, expect to do this multiple times through a stage. Unlike some of the other more recent 3d Sonic games, Sonic Generations' modern Sonic feels much tighter in control. The stages ,so far, look to be much better designed as well. Overall there were far less problems of typical 3d Sonic games such as getting stuck against obstacles or falling into bottomless pits.
Only two stages of Sonic Generations have been revealed so far. One fantastic facet to the game is how you get to play through the same, yet completely rehauled zone for whichever Sonic you choose. The E3 demo featured Green Hill Zone, a series classic from the original Sonic the Hedgehog on Genesis. Both classic and modern Sonic have their own stage themes. Green Hill Zones' memorable tune is remixed perfectly for each of the hedgehogs. The remixes sound fantastic, and hopefully this is an indication of the care given to the soundtrack of the game. Music has always been a very strong point for the series, and here it's no exception. The other stage revealed via game trailer, was City Escape from Sonic Adventure2. This stage features classic sonic on a skateboard fighting against the newer batch of Sonic game enemies. It also takes after the orginals' level by having a giant truck chase Sonic throughout the stage. The nostalgia aspect for this Dreamcast era Sonic Adventure2 is enormous.
Sonic Generations looks great, sounds great, and plays very well. The Playstation3 and Xbox360 versions of the game are very well off despite some poor motion blur found in the demo. There is also a Nintendo 3DS version in the works. The E3 demo only featured classic Sonic game play that was similar to the console version, but was plagued with massive slow down and held a poor frame rate. The Sega representative stated the 3DS version was still very early in development and only 20 percent complete. Sonic Generations does not have a firm release date but looks to be due by the end of the year, if not a bit later for a spring 2012 release. I for one cannot wait to see what other stages are incorporated in the final game. Sega has a ton of great Sonic zones to choose from. I have my fingers crossed for Chemical Plant, Flying Battery, Ice Cap, and Stardust Speedway! You Sonic fans know what I'm talking about!