Sonic Generations Preview
No matter what happens, I will always love Sonic. Even if we never see another worthwhile game featuring the blue speedster again, I will forever remember the way he used to be: the iconic mascot that made the early days of the Sega Genesis such a joy. Thankfully, Sega finally understands that Sonic’s adoring fans – all of whom have suffered numerous disappointments in the past 10-15 years – appreciate this charismatic hedgehog’s history. Encompassing 20 years of the Sonic lifespan, Sonic Generations will give players the chance to experience recognizable levels in both classic side-scrolling 2D or modern 3D. Talk about covering your bases!
So what does that include? Well, the Green Hill Zone, for starters. Featuring spruced-up high-definition visuals in both the 2D and 3D styles, Sonic will once again zip through the lush forest and island environments with great vigor. You know, personally, I’ve always thought a Sonic title would really benefit from the new HD graphics due to the vibrant environments and landscapes. Such backdrops should absolutely leap off the screen in Sonic Generations and that’s a huge bonus. In addition to familiar levels and the option to enjoy the familiar 2D gameplay, the fans will get familiar abilities, too, like the Spin Dash and Spin Attack.
But here’s the biggest question: will this game even be worthwhile in 3D? Will the hardcore fans have any reason to stray from the 2D layout that has worked so beautifully for so long? Remember, most 3D efforts have fallen well short of the mark, so you have to expect a certain amount of skepticism. The camera has typically been the prime culprit (along with unstable control), and we’re hoping such mechanics have become solid and reliable in Generations. We know the camera will sit close behind Sonic and he’ll also get the Homing Attack ability, which lets you target foes from the air. We’ll see cool zip-lines, too, and overall, the speed will be amped up to supersonic (see what I did there?) levels when in 3D.
So maybe that alone will be reason enough to sample the 3D offering. Toss in multiple ways to complete any given level and what should be a long, fulfilling adventure, and you’ve got a game that’s fully capable of catering to the demanding fans. Provided Sega nails down the control throughout, and provided the camera doesn’t make us want to chuck the controller through a window, we should have a colorful, rewarding title. We have no doubt Sonic has some spark left in him…Sega just has to find it again. Sonic Generations should be out later this year and we’re all crossing our fingers for a return to glory. It could happen.
5/3/2011 Ben Dutka