E3 2011: Sonic Generations

Sonic the Hedgehog returns in Sonic Generations, an HD adventure including re-imagined content from the past twenty years.

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QUICKTAKE: Sonic Generations brings the titular blue hedgehog back in a fan service-filled, high-definition adventure chock full of re-imagined content from the past twenty years worth of Sonic titles. Seeing the classic levels get a glossy coat of visual polish is sure to please die-hard Sonic fans, and the ability to play each level from classic (2D) or modern (3D) perspectives is a welcome addition. THE DEMO: At E3 2011, I stopped by the Sega booth to play through the first level of the famous "Green Hill Zone" in Sonic Generations, one of the most instantly recognizable landscapes from the original Sonic the Hedgehog. I played through the level twice, using the classic 2D approach first, followed by the over-the-shoulder perspective used in more recent Sonic titles.

Sonic Generations lets you choose from one of two perspectives for each level.

DETAILS: The first thing most folks will notice about Sonic Generations is how gorgeous is looks. If you're among the multitudes who played (and enjoyed) Sonic's original outings, seeing those environments rendered in bright, crisp, and colorful high-definition is very cool. Sonic's trademark enemies and its formula of collecting rings at a breakneck pace is also there in full-effect. The game's overarching narrative tells a tale of Sonic's universe being thrown into chaos, and the appearance of "time holes" that pull Sonic and his friends back in time. Playing the same level from the alternate perspective actually changes the flow of each level quite a bit. You're still navigating what is ostensibly the same course, but the shift in perspective makes everything from ring placement to combat feel a bit different. For example, Classic Sonic is able to use his Spin Dash and Spin Attack, whereas Modern Sonic has a homing attack and Sonic Boost. Other than a few rare brief hitches in the frame-rate, the early build of Sonic Generations played as I expected. The game is very fast, and the momentum-based locomotion is as it ever was. It's clearly more of a tribute for fans of the series than a fresh take, though it might bring some first-time ring-collectors into the fold. That said, I was mildly disappointed that the Sonic Generations demo didn't show me much new, save for being able to run through classic levels from a different perspective. Overall, the game gives players what they've come to expect from Sonic the Hedgehog, through and through. That's not necessarily a bad thing, for fans. It's also worth noting that the 3DS version of Sonic Generations will feature entirely different levels than the console versions (save for Green Hill Zone), and will be the only platform to feature re-imagined levels from older handheld Sonic titles. The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions will feature revamped levels pulled from the entirety of Sonic's history on consoles. Sonic Generations is rolling out for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and the 3DS in "late 2011." Watch the Shacknews E3 2011 page to follow all our coverage of this year's show. You can also subscribe to it with your favorite RSS reader.
From The Chatty
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    June 15, 2011 10:30 AM

    Jeff Mattas posted a new article, E3 2011: Sonic Generations.

    Sonic the Hedgehog returns in Sonic Generations, an HD adventure including re-imagined content from the past twenty years.

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      June 15, 2011 10:46 AM

      I'd rather let a go-kart run over my dick then buy another Sonic game.

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        June 15, 2011 10:51 AM

        Tell us how your really feel.

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        June 15, 2011 10:53 AM

        Hahah! The part I like is that now Sonic shitty friend is the new Sonic! I hope this turns out to be a journey into the mind of new Sonic and he ends up hanging himself. THAT I would buy!

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        June 15, 2011 10:53 AM

        I seriously doubt that is true

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          June 15, 2011 11:20 AM

          You find a go-kart with a willing driver and a Sonic game I don't already own and I will bring my dick and prove it.

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        June 15, 2011 11:50 AM

        More for me, you'll be back.

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        June 15, 2011 12:18 PM

        This should replace the 10 scale. The dick gets run over or it doesn't.

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      June 15, 2011 12:09 PM

      Looking forwards to this for sure. From what I've seen it's looking really good.

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      June 15, 2011 12:15 PM

      A good classic Sonic gameplay would be nice.

      Also, minor typo. "thrown into chaos, and he(?) appearance of..."

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        June 15, 2011 12:16 PM

        didn't they make one like that, and it failed to sell well?

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          June 15, 2011 12:17 PM

          Sonic 4: Episode 1? That piece of shit? Is it what you're referring to?

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      June 15, 2011 1:03 PM

      But what about the physics? I hated the new Sonic 4 physics. The momentum was all wrong and it felt horrible.

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        June 16, 2011 9:44 AM

        I would have had absolutely no issues with Sonic 4 if they had only gotten the physics even remotely close to the genesis versions.

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      June 15, 2011 1:24 PM

      I love the fact that it has two ways to play one level. Replayability is something that is sorely missing from platformers (aside from trying to obtain collectables). This looks like it could be a potential sleeper hit later this year.

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