Sonic Generations is almost the blue print for how a game can properly cover the storied history of one of gaming's classic franchises.  Commerating the 21st anniversary of the series (sonic can drank ya'll!), Generations takes us through the various places Sonic has been (Sonic 2006 level, I'm looking at you) and reimagines them for the two different Sonics as defined by series fans: Classic and Modern.  Classic Sonic has all of the abilities that you remember him having on the Sega Genesis, while Modern Sonic can grind rails and destroy enemies by running into them at high speed.  Along the way players can find upgrades and equip them on sonic to add new abilities.
    The story of Sonic Generations pretty barebones, as it should be, but if you must know what happens, basically time has been messed with by a completely new villain and has frozen everyone in time except for Sonic from both the past and the current era.  Sonic must now go through various levels from different times in both existences to save his friends, race rivals, defeat old enemies and restore things to what they once were.
    Once in the game, players start off at the very first sonic level, Green Hill Zone as Classic Sonic.  It is here that it's evident that this title is dripping with nostalgia.  Seeing a classic level updated with so much detail, but closely following the rules that you remembering it adhering it by is awesome.  Once this level is completed, players go through it again, but as Modern Sonic.  Surprisingly Modern Sonic's gameplay is the best it's ever been, building on the foundation built with Sonic Unleashed and Colors.  After these acts are complete, two versions of Tails are freed and players go on to other levels to save other friends.
    The game's levels are split into three distinct era's classic, dreamcast, and modern.  The classic era is nearly flawless and each contains a level from Sonic 1-3.  The Dreamcast era levels (Sonic Adventure 1 &2 and Heroes) are pretty decent, but the choices of levels made are questionable. I personally found Seaside Hill to still be frustrating without having to use Sonic's friends.  Finally, the Modern era levels show that care was taken with this title.  Being able to play ANYTHING from Sonic 2006 is great in itself, and almost makes me want to go back to play the game (high emphasis on ALMOST).  Later levels in the game have mechanics from their original titles thrown in, such as using Wisps in the Colors level.  Sprinkled in between are races against old rivals such as Metal Sonic, Shadow and Silver the Hedgehog.
    The graphics in Generations are great.  Having played almost all of these game's original versions, seeing all of these places reimagined was pure 90s nostalgia.  There are plenty of visual touches in each level that brings you back to the generation that each level is from.  The level set in Sonic Adventure 1 has a FMV as the background in an area to simulate a busy highway, while the water in the Chemical Plant Zone is purple.  The soundtrack is filled with selections from other titles in the series, even giving Sonic R and Spinball some small nods.
    While this is the best sonic titles to come out in years, it is still a sonic title, and has a few things preventing it from reaching perfection.  First up is the Pit of Death fetish Sonic Team has.  As evidenced by the end boss in Sonic 2, there are plenty of other interesting ways to kill off sonic and provide challenge aside from penalizing players from trying to explore the levels.  Second is not properly explaining the mechanics for some levels, I spent nearly 10 minutes in a level with a rival because of the game not telling me what I should be doing.  Once I figured it out, the battle was over in 2 min 30 sec.  Finally, the classic era isn't given nearly enough representation like it should.  When a title released in 2010 is given a slot over a title such as Sonic CD, something is up. 
    Overall, Sonic Generations can be thought of as a greatest hits of the Sonic franchise and would be a good starting point for anyone looking to give the series a second try, or those new to the series.

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