Beating all of the odds, Sega's Sonic Generations for the Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360, and PC is actually a fantastic title worth your time and attention. It manages to get Sonic the Hedgehog right after so many lackluster attempts and lycanthropic missteps. Most of you probably forgot that the company is also working on a version of the game for the Nintendo 3DS and it's not a simple port. While the big bold high definition version of the game features levels based on classic Sonic zones such as Chemical Plant, Sky Sanctuary, and Speed Highway, the 3DS game branches off in different directions with revamped takes on Casino Night, Emerald Coast, and Mushroom Hill. Sporting the now-familiar team of Classic Sonic and Modern Sonic, it looks like the handheld version of Sonic Generations is worth watching. GamesRadar told me so.
Amazingly, the game is almost entirely viewed from the side. You get a couple of over-the-shoulder sections in Modern Sonic levels and some fancy-angled set-pieces, but the majority of the game is played like Sonic Rush. This is arguably a good thing as Sonic Rush is damn fine. But it does negate the classic/modern character distinction, especially when classic Sonic learns the lock-on attack from his newer self and starts using it in every level - even Green Hill.
The main levels feature one act for each Sonic and a special stage. These bonus levels are a lot of fun, taking place in pipes very much in the style of Sonic Heroes. They're controlled with the buttons rather than the touchscreen (in fact the touchscreen is pretty redundant throughout the game), which I actually prefer compared to Sonic Rush's similar efforts. The first one's easy, but once you start having to dodge bombs along the way, it gets much trickier.
To my utmost surprise, I found that switching the 3D on helped. Yes, you read that right - the 3D is actually good in Sonic Generations. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it enhances my enjoyment of the game. Come on, get up off the floor, you make the room look untidy. With the 3D off, everything can look a little 'PSP' in terms of graphical quality. But slide it up and suddenly it all looks way better. And actually rather special.
I played an early demo of the game back at E3 and thought that it had potential, but it had fallen off of my radar since then. Now I really want to play the finished product. The GamesRadar reviewer, Justin Towell, goes on to criticize the game for failing to include hardly any behind-the-back segments for Modern Sonic to traverse, and while I think those sections would look amazing in 3D, I think I'm alright with the majority of the game being a classic-style side-scroller. Classic Sonic levels are fun. They're what made the Sega Genesis games so memorable, after all. Why shouldn't we see a new Sonic game that's mostly composed of them? Sonic Generations for the Nintendo 3DS hits stores next week.