E3 2011: Hands-On With Super Mario For 3DS
E3 2011: Day Two

E3 2011: Sonic Generations Nails Classic Sonic

Sonic GenerationsWhen it comes to Sega's new Sonic Generations for the Microsoft Xbox 360 an Sony PlayStation 3, I know that the temptation and the impulse is to ignore this anniversary commemorative title.  I know that you've been burned too many times by Sonic in the past decade to consider taking another chance on him.  I know that you've given up.  I also know what I saw today on the E3 show floor when I played the iconic Green Hill Zone as both Classic Sonic and Modern Sonic, and I came away pleasantly surprised and excited.  I don't know what voodoo magic Sega had to invoke, but Sonic Generations plays like you want a Sonic title to perform.  At last, it seems that Sega has brought Sonic back.

Classic Sonic's take on Green Hill brings back those warm fuzzy Sega Genesis memories with a new high definition sheen.  Sonic runs, jumps, rolls, and generally moves with what feels like the proper weight.  He's lost the floatiness and general lack of grace that he sported in last year's Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I.  He even stays rolled up in a ball when propelled into the air!  Small miracles, I know.  While the stage is called Green Hill, it's not a direct remake of said zone, but is instead a new environment based on the level with bits and pieces of it directly inspiring the design.  I think this is for the best, as playing a direct remake of those levels would render the experience pointless.  The idea here is to revisit classic elements, not create a total one-to-one remake with modern visuals.

Shifting over to Modern Sonic's take on things, I slipped on the provided 3D glasses to try out the stereoscopic effect (note that both Sonics support 3D, but I chose to play the classic portion in the traditional style).  This version of Sonic plays as in Sonic Adventure complete with homing attack, slide, boost, and other contemporary touches.  The perspective often shifts into a behind-the-back angle.  This style of play is more rollercoaster than platformer, but that's the sort of thing we've come to expect from the better portions of recent Sonic titles.  Consider this play type on track with Sonic Colors or the speedy daytime stages of Sonic Unleashed.  The 3D effect can be a little overwhelming at high speeds, although that may be because I was only standing three feet from the television screen (they keep controllers and glasses on short leashes at E3).

On the whole, I loved what I saw of Sonic Generations and can't wait to see which other classic zones have been given new life when it hits stores in November.  In the meantime, here's a new trailer that shows off another of the new zones.