You’ve no doubt heard by now how much I absolutely loved Sonic Generations on consoles. It’s fantastic. It’s everything a Sonic fan could possibly hope for. But what if a Sonic fan only has a 3DS on them?
SEGA has got you covered. A separate version of Sonic Generations is hitting store shelves tomorrow. Is it as awesome as the console versions?
For my thoughts on Sonic Generations in general, I encourage you all to read my initial review here. This review will focus entirely on the differences between the console version and the 3DS version.
To catch people up to speed, Sonic Generations lets players play levels as both classic, side-scrolling Sonic or modern, more 3D focused Sonic.
…at least the console versions did.
In the 3DS version, the only real difference between the Sonics is that Modern Sonic can do a homing attack, which is not an ability that Classic Sonic has mastered yet. So both Sonics play from a side-scrolling perspective with slightly different levels and mechanics. Classic Sonic is still more platform based, while Modern Sonic is more speed based.
The problem with this comes after the first three levels. There comes a time in the story where Modern Sonic dispatches an enemy using a homing attack. Classic Sonic looks on with awe at what has just occured, so Modern Sonic teaches the younger hedgehog how to do a homing attack. This means that the remaining levels in the game play almost exactly the same, completely obliterating the coolest part of the game: the change in pace between levels.
This isn’t entirely a bad thing, but to go from such variety in the console versions to such monotony on the 3DS version just feels odd.
It feels even more odd knowing how the level structure has changed. The game already got knocked down from nine levels to seven for the portable versions, which is a bit expected given the smaller amount of space to work with on 3DS cards as opposed to DVDs.
All the levels are exclusive to the 3DS version except for the first one, Green Hill Zone. So you’ll see Mushroom Hill from Sonic 3, Casino Night from Sonic 2 and Emerald Coast from Sonic Adventure among others. That’s the good part.
What doesn’t quite sit right with me is how formulaic the 3DS version is. Players will play a level as both Sonics and then gain access to a special stage. In this stage, you have to race a Chaos Emerald and catch up with it before the timer runs out, avoiding obstacles on the way, similar to Sonic 2. Play so many levels and you’ll reach a boss stage. The boss stage from there is split into two parts: an annoying race against another hedgehog character from Sonic’s past, and a battle against one of Sonic’s famous enemies.
Do that three times, add a final boss and the credits will roll before you know it.
I much preferred the challenge system from the console versions. At least with that you could mix up the kind of goal you were going for.
To be fair, there is a mission mode which acts much like the challenges from the console versions, but you need to accumulate play coins either through walking or StreetPass in order to unlock them.
I haven’t even mentioned how absolutely atrocious the cutscenes have become. The story is identical, even in the script, to the console versions. However, the story segments have become nothing more than two characters on the screen at a time facing each other, text at the bottom, and the occasional “Hey!” or “Whoa!” from one of the characters. No voice overs. No action elements. No real story at all unless you have the patience to read through everything like an old JRPG again.
Although it may sound like I’m ripping apart the game a little bit, keep in mind that these are only differences. I still really enjoyed the game, but after playing through and loving the “real” version of Sonic Generations, I couldn’t help but want to put the 3DS down and fire up the 360 version again. The same great, tried-and-true Sonic gameplay is still there, even if it is a bit more monotonous than it should be. The graphics are still okay for a handheld game. There weren’t any glitches or bugs to speak of. The soundtrack is still just as catchy.
I guess it just all adds up to what you have available. I’d still clearly recommend the console versions to anyone who can play it. But if all you have is a 3DS, or you really, REALLY want to play those exclusive levels, this version will still hold you over. But for only ten bucks more, you can get a better story, more variety, better graphics and more unlockable rewards if you have the means to play it.
This review is based on a copy of the game that we received for review purposes.