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The bad taste of Rise of Lyric is still lingering in my mouth. As such, I'm not feeling too good about Sonic as a whole. The future is looking extremely bleak for both him and SEGA. However, in an attempt to raise my spirits up, I thought I'd review this game. Today, we're going to look at one of the best 3D Sonic games ever crafted; Sonic Generations If you guys liked my ramblings, please go the extra mile and leave a like on the video. It really helps out
For Sonic's 20th anniversary, SEGA decided to merge three eras of Sonic history- classic, Dreamcast and modern- into one game, 'Sonic Generations'. In it, both classic and modern Sonic were playable characters, running through stages from previous Sonic games (with updated music from the originals) as well as fighting familiar bosses such as Perfect Chaos and the Death Egg Robot. Simply put, if you had played any of the main games in the series, you were going to feel the nostalgia, hard. What I'm wondering is, what other gaming series would you like to have their own Generations-styled installment? Personally, it would have to be the Mario series for me. There are quite a few characters that haven't appeared again in years- Wart and Tatanga, for example- and it'd be great seeing them and some other retro settings return modernised. Plus, considering its long history, there'd be a lot of material to work from, even disregarding the various spin-offs that it has. What are your ideas?
Last week, I reviewed Sonic the Hedgehog's 2011 outing, Sonic Generations. When I finished the review, I gave the game a grade A. I get the feeling that, after I do this kind of stuff for awhile, I think people will get the idea that I'll like pretty much anything that has Sonic's name on it. Allow me to put those thoughts to rest early by reviewing a Sonic game that I DON'T like. Specifically, Shadow the Hedgehog. (Before you read any further, I'm just going to warn you; this review is going to be lengthy. You may also have had to have played Sonic Adventure 2 and/or Sonic Heroes to understand some story elements.) With that said, let me start by showing you the very first trailer for this game when it was announced in 2005. Well, the first one for the Nintendo Gamecube, anyways. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYIxmcUtmmE When this trailer popped up, a lot of people thought it was an April Fool's joke. Nobody could see Shadow the Hedgehog packing heat, holding guns, and fighting aliens. But then, later in the year, we found out that the game was actually real. Unsurprisingly, the game failed among the Sonic Fanbase, me included. But, before I explain why that is, let's start with the story. We begin by seeing Shadow the Hedgehog staring into the evening horizon. While he does this, he ponders with the thought of what happened on the Space Colony ARK 50 years ago, when it was raided by G.U.N. and Shadow's best friend, Maria Robotnik, was shot and killed. However, since Shadow can't remember anything, he questions who Maria even is. But, before Shadow can get the idea to ask Sonic or his friends about it, an alien race called the Black Arms begins to invade Earth. As the aliens begin to run through the nearby city, the leader of the race, Black Doom, confronts Shadow. He tells the hedgehog that the Day of Reckoning is on it's way and tells him to bring him the seven Chaos Emeralds "as promised." Shadow questions what Black Doom is even talking about, but instead of Black Doom explaining things the him, he just causes some random explosions around Shadow and leaves him to find the emeralds. From that point, Shadow makes it his goal to recover the emeralds and find the answers to his past. The main concept of Shadow the Hedgehog is branching storylines. Each stage contains a maximum of three missions; Dark, Neutral, and Hero. Depending on which missions you choose, not only will it lead you to different stages, but also to a different ending when the storyline is complete. There are ten possible endings for the player to reach, and to get to an ending, you'll travel through six stages, depending on who you all yourself with. This would be a fresh concept in a Sonic game, but there's just one little problem with it; there's a final story that has Shadow ultimate stop Black Doom, and save the world from the Black Arms. I apologize if you're angry at me for spoiling it for you, but this final story makes the entire concept of the game completely pointless. What's even worse is that, in order to get to the final story, you need to get to all of the other endings to get there. This means you have to play through the game TEN TIMES. Because, like I said, you have to complete all ten endings if you want to go for the final story. As if the game didn't sound bad enough, I've gotta talk about the game itself now. In this game, you play as Shadow from start to finish. Shadow to get through stages using quite a number of techniques. Shadow can jump into enemies and use the homing attack, which are effective, but there's something wrong with the homing attack. If you try to spam the homing attack, you won't be able to deal damage with it. Back in the Adventure games, you could pretty much spam the homing attack as long as you were in close range with the enemy you were attacking. Here, you have to wait until Shadow and the enemy recovers from the attack before it can deal damage. It breaks any sort of flow or pacing you could have while on the move. There's also the spin dash and melee punches and kicks, which are both not very useful. If you want to do the spin dash, Shadow will have to come to a complete halt. After that, he has to charge it if you want to gain any sort of momentum with it. Like the homing attack, it breaks the pace. I could easily classify the spin dash as the most useless attack in the game, but that honor goes to the melee attacks. In case you aren't packing heat, and for some reason don't feel like jumping into or using the homing attack on enemies, Shadow can preform a combo of three punches and kicks. However, these attacks deal a poor amount damage, as well as have terrible range. Along with that, we have what's probably the most ridiculous mechanic in a Sonic game; gunplay. Although, while I find this concept just outright silly, the gunplay is actually not that bad. Enemies have health bars in this game, sometimes big ones at that, but with a gun, you can kill them in a matter of seconds. Sure, the jumping and homing attack work wonders on enemies as well, but the game really wants you to use guns, and they work pretty decently. Though, there's no manual lock-on function on these things, which is kind of a shame. Finally, Shadow wields two Chaos powers; Chaos Blast and Chaos Control. You use these powers by filling up one of two bars, a red bar and a blue bar. If you do bad things, your red bar will fill up, and if you do good things, your blue bar will fill up. When the red bar is maxed out, Shadow can preform Chaos Blast, an explosion attack that completely demolishes everything caught in the radius. When the blue bar is filled, Shadow can preform Chaos Control, allowing you to zip by a large part of the stage. Though, neither of these abilities are rather useful. When you fill up one of the bars, Shadow is not only invincible, but he also has unlimited ammo until the meter runs out. Personally, I prefer unlimited ammo over the Chaos powers, but that's just me. Although, it's hard to utilize all of these combat techniques when the control is bad. Shadow always feels like he went skating in butter before starting the adventure. This is most apparent when he's going at high speeds. I constantly find myself jumping all over the place to regain my composure and get some decent footing. Though, despite the slippery controls, that's not the worst thing about the game. That honor goes to the overall level design. The neutral pathway is all about just getting to the goal ring. It's a simple pathway that I think most gamers can get through without much trouble. As soon as we venture into the dark and hero missions, the issues of the level design slowly start to reveal their ugly selves. To start with, the mission structure is just terrible. Most of the missions consist of Shadow having to collect or destroy a large amount of items or enemies. Let's take the first level, Westopolis, for example. The hero mission requires you to find and kill all 45 aliens in the level. There are ONLY 45 aliens, so if you miss one, you're going to have to do some backtracking and spend possibly another two and a half minutes to locate it, possibly longer. To top it all off, there's no radar of any kind. You're completely blind when looking for whatever it is you're looking for. Second, the textures. A lot of the levels just look bleak and/or uninteresting, with at least one ugly shade of purple or gray in every one of them. It also doesn't help that these textures are recycled over and over. For example, Mad Matrix looks almost exactly like Digital Circuit and Lost Impact looks exactly like The Doom. Lastly, the levels can get way too long. Like I said, the mission structure is absolutely terrible. If you don't keep your eyes peeled, you'll probably be spending fifteen minutes to half an hour on a single stage. Take stages like Lost Impact, for example. To complete the mission, you to destroy every artificial Chaos in the stage. The level itself is just a confusing maze, because nothing stands out. There's no Eclipse Cannon room, there's no space view, there's no main bay, there's nothing here. Because of this, you could potentially take a good chunk out of the day just completing the level. In a nutshell, Shadow the Hedgehog is just a terrible excuse for a Sonic game. I could be talking about how bad the soundtrack is, the terrible multiplayer, the Expert mode, the characters suddenly swearing, and a lot of other things. But, if I did that, I'd be here for hours. Shadow the Hedgehog is a mixture of terrible level design, an insane amount of monotony, awful controls, and a lame story. Combined, they make for a terrible video game that only the most desperate of Sonic could find any sort of enjoyment out of. Overall Game Grade: F Next Review: Sonic Colors (Disclaimer: No, this review blog is not just going to be about Sonic. I'm just reviewing Sonic games until I get to Sonic Lost World, which will be the final review of 2013. When 2014 starts, I'll review more things beyond Sonic.)
Even though I'm a HUGE Sonic the Hedgehog fan, my opinions of certain games in the series change all the time. For example, Sonic Generations. Back when this game came out in late 2011, I was in the middle with it when it came to my overall opinion. But, after playing it again after two years, my opinion on the game has changed drastically. I couldn't believe how much this game harps on the nostalgia of previous titles. But, on top of that, I couldn't believe how well they did it. But, before I get into the game, I'll start by briefly talking about the story. Right off the bat, we see the younger Blue Blur, Classic Sonic, being dropped in an HD recreation of Green Hill Zone. After playing through this love letter to the fandom, Classic hears a loud, unsettling noise coming from the distance. He simply shrugs at the sound a few seconds later and continues running. But, that doesn't last for long when this ungodly monstrosity called the Time Eater enters the Green Hill Zone and sends Classic into a timeless void. Upon this, we're immediately transitioned to the present day, where Miles "Tails" Prower and (most of) Sonic's friends are planning a surprise party for the Blue Blur's birthday. For those that don't know, this game was released to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Sonic the Hedgehog. That's why this element is introduced into this game's plot. We then see the older version of the Blue Blur, Modern Sonic, enter the area and be surprised by his friends. As the party commences, the same monster from before enters Modern's time and begins kidnapping his friends. Sonic attempts to homing attack the Time Eater, but the monster simply smacks him unconscious, sending Modern into the same void that he sent Classic. From that point on, both Sonic's must race through their memories to restore the past and find out who exactly is behind the Time Eater. Alright, now that the story is out of the way, time for the game itself. The game has a total of nine zones for our two heroes to run in. Each zone contains two acts within each of them. Act one will always be played with Classic Sonic while Act two will always be played with Modern Sonic. The acts are designed to cater to each Sonic's specific abilities. For example, Classic's stages are more centered around platforming and spin dashing your way through the level in a full 2D environment. Modern's stages are like this, too, but his stages are much faster and he doesn't have the spin dash. However, that is replaced by the boost gauge, which Sonic has had since Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Colors, though it was taken away in the most recent title, Sonic Lost World. Now, let's talk about the zones themselves. Each zone is a recreation is a recreation of a certain level from a past game. For example, we have Green Hill Zone from Sonic 1, like I mentioned earlier. We also have recreations of zones like Chemical Plant from Sonic 2 and Sky Sanctuary from Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Each stage is remade beautifully in full HD graphics and each stage has a remix of their respective themes. I love the remix of Green Hill Zone for Modern Sonic, and I especially get a kick out of Classic Sonic's City Escape remix. There's also a power-up shop that you can go to where you can purchase things like the elemental shields from Sonic 3, boosts, and other things around those lines. You can purchase these items after you earn them by doing specific missions. Problem was, I could get through almost every stage without power-ups. Because of this, whenever I earned the special items through missions, I often forgot I earned these items to begin with. So, these power-ups are mostly just pieces of optional nostalgia. Another thing that bothers me is the final boss. The actual fight itself isn't that bad, and it's one that I think most players can enjoy without much of a problem. The issue is the background noise. If you've already played this game, I'm pretty sure you know what I'm talking about. While the two Sonic's are finishing off the time eater, everyone that you've rescued is talking to them on the other end, pointing out the painfully obvious homing shots and telling you what you must do. It gets annoying REALLY quickly, and whenever I replay this boss, I just turn down my TV just so I don't have to hear it. But, honestly, those two are nitpicks. The overall game itself is one of the best 3D/2D Sonic the Hedgehog games I've played in a long while. Like I said before, this game harps on nostalgia tremendously. But, I think the game is one of the best among titles that follow a similar concept, such as New Super Mario Bros. or Donkey Kong Country Returns. If you're a Sonic fan and if you haven't played this game yet, please, do whatever you can to get it. It may be the end of the generation, but this game will hold up for a long time. (But, don't get the 3DS version. That version is terrible ) Overall Game Grade: A Next Review: Shadow the Hedgehog