Sonic Generations review for 3DS

Platform: 3DS
Also on: PS3, X360, PC
Publisher: SEGA
Developer: Dimps
Medium: Cartridge
Players: 1-2
Online: Yes

So I definitely enjoyed SEGA?s latest attempt to put out a Sonic game that appealed to both old-school fans and the newer audience. Sonic Generations managed to combine both worlds quite well, and while I?m certainly a bigger fan of Sonic?s Sega Genesis days, I even found myself enjoying a lot of the modern Sonic levels too. So I?m sad to say that I found Sonic Generations on the 3DS to be a little more disappointing. Maybe it?s the switchover from developer Sonic Team to long-time handheld Sonic developer Dimps, but something has definitely been lost in translation here.

And that?s kind of odd, considering this game is almost entirely 2D, even when it comes to the modern Sonic levels. And the classic Sonic stuff feels more akin to the Genesis games than Sonic Generations did on home consoles. On paper this game looks like it would be a classic Sonic fans dream comes true, but playing through it is an entirely different matter.

So here?s what you get in Sonic Generations on 3DS: 7 stages, intersected every other stage with boss challenges, and a final boss. The 7 stages are mostly unique in comparison to the home console versions, Green Hill Zone is repeated as the first stage, but it branches out from there. Noticeable omissions from the 360, PC, and PS3 versions like Casino Night are finally present. The stage design starts off strong, for both classic and modern Sonic. But I found that the stage design became more and more aggravating and nonsensical as the game advanced, especially when classic Sonic learns the homing attack move midway through. The last two stages taxed my patience quite a bit, featuring a number of sudden bottomless pits and poor design constructs, like checkpoint gates right before the end of the stage, or hazy lock on points like floating balloons that never seemed to propel Sonic in the way intended.

The boss challenges are pretty basic too, and while Sonic Generations on home consoles might not have excelled with all its boss fights, at least there was a little more variety than what the 3DS game offers up. The only one that?s even remotely fun is the one that manages to break the side by side racing mold of the others. Oh, and the final boss here is pretty much just as bad as the final boss in the other Sonic Generations titles, but without the inclusion of Sonic?s friends shouting out annoying suggestions throughout, which I guess makes it a little better than before.

Besides the main game, there?s a lot of optional content shoved into a Mission mode. The missions aren?t particularly bad, but they?re also not the reason I?d buy the game. A lot of their unlocks are also tied into the system coins earned by lugging the 3DS around town with you, so depending on whether you actually take your portable system out of the house or not, you might be stuck shaking your 3DS a whole lot before you can see everything there is to see here. But if you do care for these little mini-missions, there are 100 of them to see. And completing them will unlock bonus content like musical tracks, and the music in this game is pretty damn good.

One last thing worth noting is that the game does support online play, which I actually found a little surprising, and it also works pretty well. Online versus mode consists of you pairing up with a random person and racing through any of the available levels to see who can finish it the fastest, and I did find this to be somewhat addictive. If you don?t care for direct competition you can opt to upload your best time to online leaderboards instead. The best thing about the online versus play is that it actually works, and pairs you up with another person pretty quick. And once you?re paired up the game doesn?t suffer from any lag that I could see which is certainly a plus.

Overall though, I don?t think this is a great representation of the game. Obviously things are going to get paired down for a portable release, and I understand that, but I feel like the stage design is really lacking throughout most of the game. Giving classic Sonic the homing ability is something you can earn in the home console version of the game, but forcing it upon players here means that the latter stages are designed with the ability in mind, and they lose a certain level of consistency between the first and second half of the game. Also, it ends up homogenizing the differences between classic and modern Sonic, so neither character ends up standing out from the other.

I can safely say that you should probably skip this one, unless you?re a diehard Sonic the Hedgehog nut. It?s not an awful game, but it?s also a far cry from great. Maybe you can seek this out when it hits bargain bin prices, but until then I?d give this a pass.

Grade: C