Oh Sonic, I love you. I really do, but sometimes you drive me crazy. This is not one of those times. Sonic Generations, for me, was simply fun. On hand at E3 SEGA took me through Green Hill Zone for both Modern and Classic Sonic, on both 3DS and HD versions of the game. The 3DS version I'll cover in a different article.
So I started out with Classic Sonic. Classic Sonic is just about everything a Sonic fanboy might hope it would be. At times the controls didn't necessarily feel quite as tight as I expected, but it could certainly be that I was just out of practice. Classic Sonic can jump, roll, and spin-dash, and that's it. Old-school purists will be right at home. I found him easier to control with the D-Pad, and managed to complete his verison of the Green Hill Zone act without any trouble.
The other features of classic Sonic games are present as well, including exploration in the form of branching paths. As those familiar with the franchise know, if you can take the higher paths you'll be rewarded with a more direct route to the finish and more coins, earning you a better score. The score-obsessed will certainly be able to get their fix in Generations, and the very pretty visuals certainly don't hurt the classic feel.
On the other side of the coin is Modern Sonic, and these levels will feel quite different. While modern Sonic has struggled through the years following the Adventure games, he's picked up recently with Sonic Colors on the Wii. Certain abilities like the homing attack, boosting, and sliding have become synonymous with the modern Sonic games, and they're all present here. Lessons learned through the years have clearly been put to good use. Boosting isn't used through the entire level, you'll generally have some warning before you need to slide so you don't break your momentum, and transitions between areas are made in a way that you're less likely to die a cheap and frustrating death.
In fact, parts of the Modern Sonic areas play very much like the Classic Sonic ones. Sonic will switch between sidescrolling and full on 3D running at times, and even in the 3D mode there will be times when you can take higher paths to advance faster and get more coins. There's also plenty of actual platforming, even in this early easy level, and you won't feel like you're on rails the entire time. This leads to a pretty smooth and enjoyable experience all around, and I have little fear of Modern Sonic becoming the new werehog section.
Sonic 's recent adventures have had a pretty mixed reception, but it's not hard to imagine Sonic Generations finally being a Sonic game almost anyone can enjoy. The smooth controls made it fun and fresh, and the bright and classic style will bring nostalgia to even the most seasoned gamers. It looks like SEGA is listening to their fans, and Sonic Generations is definitely a game to watch out for. You can play it before the end of this year on PS3, Xbox 306, and 3DS.