Sonic Generations finally gets Sonic's style right. To be this good took AGES

Sonic Generations has been officially announced and will release this year to co-incide with the hog's 20th anniversary. And the first screens and gameplay trailer show that it's turned out to be exactly what it should be. Two Sonics, doing what each does best. Old, chubby little 16-bit Sonic running from left to right through sumptuous side-scrolling levels, while new green-eyed Sonic can stretch his gangly legs in spectacular into-the-screen speed sections. Get a load of this:

Firstly, it solves the problem that Unleashed attempted to fix with its infamous Were-hog. Creating levels that move at the speed that Sonic reaches in those 'chase' moments takes a lot of time and resources to produce. Seeing the result of your art team's week of work flash by in approximately 0.17 seconds of game time isn't cost-effective. So instead of adding a crappy Werehog with climbing bits (seriously, Sega, what were you thinking?), all you need to do is bring Sonic back to his old, more sedate 2D platforming speed of yore. And that's exactly what they've done.

It's what the fans wanted, after all. In fact, I took a lot of stick for running stories about the fan games that looked better than the then-imminent Sonic 4: Episode 1. Were the complaints necessary? Yes. Absolutely. And I stand by them for the simple reason that THIS time, Sega's got it right. How gorgeous does this look?

Above: How many games did it take to make Sonic look 'right' in 3D? Seven? Eight? Finally, it's happened

And the best thing about consoles with the graphical oomph of PS3 and Xbox 360? You can afford to turn the camera 90 degrees and look at the path ahead with no compromise. Ready for this?

Above: Superb. All we need to know now is how you switch between them in-game. Separate levels maybe?


Yeah, but the physics...

There's one bit in the trailer where Sonic accelerates from standing and the speed pick-up isn't exactly smooth. But I don't care. See, I've learned my lesson. After all that complaining about how Sonic's movement in Sonic 4 was 'wrong', I came to play the game and realised that different doesn't necessarily mean inferior. True, I still believe Yuji Naka is the absolute king of character movement (16-bit Sonic and Saturn NiGHTS are impeccable in their fluidity), but the depth of control nuance in Sonic 4 was plenty enough to keep me hooked on speedrun attempts. This looks silky smooth and for now, that's good enough.

The Sonics in this trailer both have a touch of Unleashed in their movement (the good bits of Unleashed), though thankfully there's not a hoop or 'duck under this' obstacle in sight on the Old Sonic sections. Instead, we get springs, badniks and teeter animations. Much, much better.

Above: Moto-bug, properly-proportioned Sonic and current-gen physics effects. It wasn't that hard, eh?

I don't think this game is something that will only please old-school fans, although doing so would be no small achievement. There's something magical about Green Hill Zone that ignited something in the hearts of gamers everywhere in 1991. Those polygonal trees, silently spinning rings and glistening waterfalls are classic iconography of our medium and, as with so many stylised games, still look fresh today. We may have had a glimpse of only one level, and there's still so much that could go awry. But right now, it's doing everything right.

Show me an equally perfectly-realised Chemical Plant Zone next. But be ready to catch me, 'kay?

19 Apr, 2011




  • ElGrinchoid - April 21, 2011 5:27 a.m.

    Just as long as they do away with the god awful, game ruining attack when pressing the jump button twice that they had in episode 1. Truly appalling and ruined the game utterly by being unable to target enemies properly. If they do away with that and leave it as the simple platformer, then i'll probably get it.
  • minimaxi - April 20, 2011 5:25 p.m.

    did Justin capitalize 'AGES' because it's SEGA reversed? gasp!
  • dcbernman - April 20, 2011 5:18 p.m.

    This looks amazing! I haven't wanted to play a sonic game since the the first Sonic Adventure!
  • Kaltoria - April 20, 2011 4:08 p.m.

    @db 13 I'm on a phone so I apologize about the grammar, also you do troll a lot of stuff
  • marioman50 - April 20, 2011 3:15 p.m.

    If Jaleel White returns as the voice of "classic" Sonic, then I'm sold, Think about how much we can learn from a sloth XD
  • austincharlesbond - April 20, 2011 7:50 a.m.

    Is Sonic Team making it? Because I'm not going to get my hopes up high
  • sonicboomdrive - April 20, 2011 3:20 a.m.

    I came
  • RedOutlive10 - April 20, 2011 2:26 a.m.

    SEGA should just put some shotgun shells on the back of the head of this "modern" sonic, and all the furry soap opera abominations. This whole shift from gameplay to focus on (terrible) story just needs to go.
  • IceBlueKirby - April 20, 2011 1:50 a.m.

    I absolutely can't wait to play this game. I don't care about Sonic's recent track record this game looks AWESOME, and I have faith that maybe, finally, Sega has learned it's lesson that there's no pleasing just old school or just new school Sonic fans, and has decided to cater to both. I'm not even "cautiously optimistic" about this one, my dial is already set to "must have."
  • santaclouse37 - April 19, 2011 11:58 p.m.

    @QWERTYCommander Goddammit, I have no doubt in my mind you're right. Now the real challenge will be avoiding the furries at my school until I graduate, lest they decide to show me it.
  • Robusken - April 19, 2011 11:51 p.m.

    Maybe this just shows the type of fan I am but I'm more excited about the 3d part of the game. I hated Unleashed but blasting through the levels as normal sonic was bliss.
  • BALLSTOTHEWALLET - April 19, 2011 11:38 p.m.

    @OhMyJosh There are 3D Sonic fans?
  • ultimatepunchrod - April 19, 2011 11:03 p.m.

    @db1331 sonic colors actually got good reviews. GDAR gave it a 7. thats not sucks territory that actually qualifies as a good game.
  • Paynekiller87 - April 19, 2011 10:39 p.m.

    Not EVERY Sonic game has been terrible, you just haven't played the good ones. Sonic Advance, Sonic Rush, DS version of Sonic Colors to name but a few. I'm liking the look of this and will keep my eyes peeled for more news as it filters out.
  • NightCrawler_358 - April 19, 2011 9:24 p.m.

    I hope they scrap episode 2 and make this! i'm guessing that each level has two versions, the 2D one you play as chubby classic Sonic, the 3D as Modern Sonic, so fans of old and new school Sonic can enjoy the same game and even the same level!
  • DirkSteele1 - April 19, 2011 8:12 p.m.

    I am feeling mild anticipation. The feeling would be far greater were not for the many false starts of recent Sonic games. Fingers crossed.
  • Anjaneya - April 19, 2011 7:38 p.m.

    This kinda makes me want to cry, in the good way! Been let down before though - I miss good Sonic games.
  • QWERTYCommander - April 19, 2011 7:37 p.m.

    Oh great, now there's gonna be pornographic fan art starring classic Sonic and modern Sonic.
  • WillisTron - April 19, 2011 7:32 p.m. (for more gameplay) But honestly this looks fantastic. The visuals are perfect, and the 'classic' Sonic bits are just what was needed. And the other parts honestly look just like Unleashed, and while everyone hated that game, I actually loved it, so bring this on!
  • thedonut - April 19, 2011 6:19 p.m.

    @db1331 Sonic Colours was actually praised pretty well. I never played it, but I'm curious. And it DOES look like it plays good. You are forgetting Sonic '06 and how that was anticipated.

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