The original Sonic games from the Genesis days are pretty much universally loved. Sonic made a rougher transition to 3D than counterpart Mario did, but the Adventure games for the Dreamcast are also at least widely pretty well liked. From there, things went into the shitter.

Sega decided the direction for the series was going to be the worst bits of the Adventure games -- the big flashy spectacle-y bits that you feel like you're barely even participating in -- and make pretty much every game all about that from start to finish. So for the past decade, Sonic has basically subsisted off of little kids who are too young to know better and people who have "fursonas" and want to bugger Tails. The latter of which apparently is a frighteningly big market, as it keeps the franchise perpetually lurching forward somehow even though its core fanbase from the 90s stopped giving a shit about it over 10 years ago.

Generations is one of Sega's very few and halting attempts to get that original core gamer fanbase back into the fold. Classic 2D levels are melded together with the new 3D chase-cam rail-slidey QTE-ish style. I guess the idea was to gently lure in the old fans with the 2D and then spring the 3D on them and say, "See, that's not so bad after all!" The problem is, it IS so bad after all, and you're forced to play these terrible levels to progress in the game. So at very best, you're getting a game you half enjoy and half put up with just to get to the bits you enjoy.

The premise is that Dr. Eggman's Best is fucking with time for some reason, and this causes modern Poochy Sonic and blissfully silent '90s Sonic to meet up and have to go through levels that span the history of the entire franchise. One level is selected from each of nine major Sonic games, and there's some serious promise here as '90s Sonic navigates an entirely 2D version while Modern 'Tudinal Sonic goes through a 3D/2D combo similar to the style of Sonic Colors.

Now, I'm in good company in hating the newer 3D Sonics, but I'm in a much rarer camp in that I've also never really liked the old 2D Sonics that everyone loves either. To me they were lodged at an awkward halfway point between wanting to be about Blast Processing and have expansive levels to zip through, but also wanting to allow players to explore for secrets at a slower pace, and they never really got either one completely right. Fun runs through loop-de-loops would frequently be ruined by sudden and rude spikes to the face if you hadn't experienced it once already, and when the game slowed down to let you explore more carefully (or you just messed up a jump and fell down some asshole pit and had to jump your way out) you had to struggle with Sonic's slightly wonky movement and jumping.

If you happen to feel the same way about the old games, nothing's different in the design here. If you like the old games, however ... well, you're basically just getting a truncated version of levels you already played with spiffier graphics. And then you're forced to play the modern levels, which have really done nothing new to win anybody over who couldn't stand them already.

There is one other way to look at Sonic Generations -- as a pure nostalgia trip for the madmen out there who have actually embraced the entire series from start to finish. It might work for them. If you're just interested in the 2D levels, however, they're not really a strong enough feature to carry the weight of the Modern Era's baggage. And if you didn't like anything about Sonic before, there's nothing new at all to change your mind.

Videos :

* Gameplay Video