Sonic Generations was available in split venues at this year's New York Comic Con; the console version of the game was situated at the Archie Comics booth while Nintendo housed the 3DS edition (which was on rotation with other third party games such as Skylanders and Shinobi). I only got my hands on the 3DS version, and it looks to have improved some since it last appeared in public.
Comparatively, Classic Sonic was both slower and tighter in control than Modern Sonic was. Classic Sonic required more of a running start to really get moving while Modern Sonic accelerated much faster, making it a tad harder to know what was in front of him. While I didn’t test to see just how close Classic Sonic’s physics were to the physics on the Genesis, I could tell there were some differences, but not enough to impede my experience. As for Modern Sonic, he played similarly to his Sonic Rush counterparts, which was fast and smooth.
One thing I noticed was that the Classic Sonic stage layouts were copies of the original level layouts back on the Genesis. This is a tad disappointing as Green Hill Zone Act 1 is only 30 seconds long and there is no feeling of experiencing new levels. Luckily, Modern Sonic’s stages are completely new with rails and other stage gimmicks. I was happy to notice that both Classic and Modern Sonic had complex platforming elements as well as multiple paths to choose from, adding to the game’s replayablilty. One element I did not like for Modern Sonic was that in some parts you needed to boost in order to get through while other parts punished you if you didn’t take you time. As far as level layouts go, they were pretty much on par with Sonic Rush’s level design, which is okay by me. As for the boss in the demo, Big Arm, I found the battle challenging and fun. Compared to videos I have seen online, this boss fight felt tougher as a result of his constantly changing attack pattern; this more difficult battle also allowed me the time to hear the music, which was a neat combination of both new and old themes.
After playing both versions, I found a problem I had not thought of before. In the console versions, both Sonics have different looking stages and play styles, but in the 3DS version, both Sonics look the same and have similar levels. This caused some confusion mid-game; at times I would forget that I had special abilities or that I could not use special attacks. Hopefully this will not be too much of an issue for me later on!
After seeing both versions in person, it was clear that the console version is getting far more attention than the handheld version. Both games look nice, but some corners are being cut in order to get the 3DS game out this year. My other concern is game length. The HD version has 9 stages each with two acts and 10 missions, but so far it appears that there are only 7 stages with 2 acts on the 3DS. Besides that, the game does appear to be improving and should be at least enjoyable to fans of the more recent Sonic handheld games.
On Thursday, I had the pleasure to speak with Aaron Webber about Sonic Generations, which you can see in the video below. While no release date has been announced for the 3DS version, the 360, PC, and Playstation 3 version of Sonic Generations is expected later this month.