E3 2011 Impressions: Sonic Generations (Sony PS3, Xbox 360)

Not only is this the 25th anniversary of Zelda, but it is also the 20th anniversary of Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog. Never to let a year go by without a new Sonic game, Sega is preparing Sonic Generations, an all new Sonic game set for release on PS3, Xbox 360 and also Nintendo 3DS.

The concept is that for each level in Sonic Generations, players will be able to play a “classic” 2d style level and a “modern” 3d style level. Players will need to clear both styles of levels to progress in the game, but can concentrate on one style or the other for a majority of the game.

There will be no playable characters in Sonic Generations besides Sonic (in 2 versions), although the others will be represented in some way, whether it’s in cameos or in story scenes.

There were two level types on display at E3 2011.

The Green Hill Zone was playable on the show floor, and mimicked the familiar zone from Sonic 1 and subsequent games. In the 2D “classic” level, Sonic is limited to old school moves – jump and charge. Sonic himself moves more like his Genesis counterpart than in recent 2D entries such as Sonic 4. The levels were short and concentrated on speed and not exploration.

The “modern” style was more like the 3D action seen in Sonic Adventure or Sonic Colors. The level had large, sprawling areas with places to fly and do tricks/combos in mid-air. Sonic’s move-set is more like the modern games, with the major “homing” attack changing the gameplay from the modern style.

We were also demoed an additional pair of levels with Sega, showing off a Truck Chase level first featured in Sonic Adventure 2 on Dreamcast. Unlike the Green Hill Zone, which was a Genesis original with an all-new 3D level, the Truck chase existed first as a 3D level, so the “new” style is actually the 2D level.

In the “classic” level, the truck chase is re-imagined in the old style, allowing Sonic to jump and move in the 2D space. The truck attacks at various times in the level’s progression, changing the landscape and obstacles.

Sonic Generations is another experiment by Sega to make a modern Sonic that can please old school and modern fans alike. The gimmick of having two versions of each level is novel, and having only Sonic playable is promising.

Why not check out our impressions of Sonic Generations on Nintendo 3DS next!

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