I have always been a pretty big Sonic fan. From the first games on the Sega Genesis, the combination of speed and platforming really appealed to me. When the Sega Dreamcast came out, I was highly interested and ended up receiving Sonic Adventure for my birthday. While some had concerns with Sonic's leap into 3d, at the time I had a blast playing it.
The majority's consensus is that Sonic games have been on a general decline since the beginning, many regarding the fault with the leap into 3d, accusing the series of never fully finding a foothold of success in modern gaming. I've personally played the majority of Sonic games that have come out from the Adventure series up through Sonic Colors, excluding the Black Knight Wii title which I heard was awful. That list includes the likes of Sonic Heroes, Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic 2006, Sonic Unleashed, Sonic Rush and Sonic and the Secret Rings. While each has had their share of respective flaws, some being universally panned by critics, I nonetheless trudged through them all and found something noteworthy about each of them, even if the games themselves didn't shine as a whole. Now though, with Sonic Generations, I can finally once again recommend a Sonic game without the requirement being that one be a die hard Sonic fan that is willing to look past some subpar elements. It's fast and looks great. Sonic Generations is genuinely a good game.
As an homage to Sonic's 20th anniversary, Sonic Generations sees the classic Sonic as well as the modern incarnation of Sonic play through levels from other games in two different perspectives. Classic Sonic plays the levels in a 2d sidescrolling with 3d elements, while modern Sonic plays through in a 3d field with some 2d sidescrolling. Classic Sonic utilizes the spin dash, while modern Sonic uses homing attack and a boost feature. Although this may at first sound like a rehash, it is pretty awesome. The levels are handpicked from different iterations, some being from the classic 2d Sonic games, some from the Adventure era, and some from the not so stellar modern era. Regardless of which era the levels come from, each and every one of them is great. All of them have been reimagined and play differently, while still retaining their original concept. This makes for some very inviting nostalgic moments. Even the music is similar to the original levels, but redone in certain ways. Ever imagine hearing Chemical Plant from Sonic 2's catchy tune with the main instrument being jazz flute? Well now you can bring that dream to realization.
The story is what you would expect from a Sonic game. It really is just there to set the stage to be able to do what the game does, bringing you through Sonic history, so the story is largely not what the game is about. What is really great about this game is its re-playability. After you go through the actual levels, in both classic and modern sonic mode, as well as the bosses, many other unlockables remain, such as 5 challenges per level x2 taking into consideration that both classic and modern Sonic have 5 per level, plus S-ranking each of the actual levels, boss hard modes, and challenges. As well, collecting red rings per level. Each of these things unlock art, music and skills that can be applied to Sonic. On top of that, you can compete on the world wide leaderboards against other people's fastest times, so there really is a lot to do in this game.
Potentially the greatest thing about this game is that it goes back to what made Sonic fun originally. Rather than speed taking a backseat to other tacked on gameplay elements, it instead takes the forefront here. Sonic is once again all about speeding through a level, looking for the fastest routes, mastering twitch reaction with, for the most part, tight control.
If you were ever a Sonic fan but have been put off by the games as of late, give Sonic Generations a try. It is available for the HD consoles, soon for the 3DS, and cheap on Steam for $30.00. At least, it will bring you back to a different time in Sonic's career, when he could actually walk the walk and not just talk the talk with weird voice acting. This is probably the best Sonic game ever made. Welcome back, Sonic.