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Sonic Generations
  PCPlatformerUC  
  opened by paleface at 17:12:26 12/30/23  
  last modified by paleface at 12:27:18 03/05/24  
  paleface [sys=PC; cat=Platformer; reg=NA]
           
Has a separate config utility launchable from the Play button on the Steam Library page--but the Input part doesn't work, at least not with my DS4. Steam Input seems to work fine with it though.
 
  paleface 17:52:58 12/30/23
           
The only Sonic game on Steam I noticed as having a demo version!
 
  paleface 21:41:17 01/01/24
           
Download added: 00_green_hill_a.jpg (288512 bytes)
  "Green Hill hub world confusion"
 

 
Playing through the 2D-gameplay and 2D/3D-gameplay stages of Green Hill Zone or whatever the first area is called in this game was a hoot; the developers of this 2011 game seem to have understood how to do scale and flow and graphic design for fast-moving platforming in a way that developers of later 3D graphics Sonic games have struggled to duplicate ever since.
 
Then you're dumped in a white limbo hub world that tries to make everything as confusing as possible, with a half-dozen entities and menus telling you in bits and pieces that there are two Sonics (basically just the slightly different look they for some reason have in the two different types of stages: shorter, lighter blue, and rounder in the 2D-gameplay stages, and taller, darker blue, and more angular in the 2D/3D-gameplay stages), that you have to toggle between them as part of the very clunky process of selecting a stage to play and buying and equipping skill enhancements for them (which you have to do separately for the two Sonics, and have to confirm first with one button and then with another, or the purchase is quietly dropped like it never happened; then you have to go equip them separately; then you have to think about grinding the stages again to a) improve your time, perhaps realizing later that there isn't much point to this until you have the most optimal upgrades, whatever those may be, b) find more red star thingies for whatever reason, or c) earn more points to buy more abilities?), and that you have to wander around this limbo world filled with 2D platforming dead-ends to find the next stage to play, and for some reason there's a pinball "casino" stage where you play one of the most tortuously floaty and repetitive digital "pinball" tables ever until you get sick of it and just let the ball drain so you can leave and try to find your way back to the fun part of the game, ie the actual running around fast stages.
 
The online leaderboards for stage clear times seem to be broken--they show user names but all the times are 0.
 
Even through Steam the game doesn't natively read my PS4 DualShock 4; got it working by using a user-submitted Steam Input layout called "Ps4." ; )
 
Even with that though, there seems to be a danger of the game no longer reading the DS4 if I task-switch sometimes, or maybe even just don't press an input for a minute or two, even though the inputs still show up fine in Steam's controller input test. Running DS4Windows (and maybe plugging the controller in and back out?) got it reading again in the game without having to restart the game, though--so probably in future I'll just run DS4Windows before starting the game, if I can remember like a smart person would. ^ _^
 
  paleface 21:59:10 01/05/24
           
Download added: 02_skydiving.jpg (265079 bytes)
  "Skydiving in Chemical Plant"
 

 
I fell into playing through Chemical Plant and Sky Sanctuary EXACTLY the way I had told myself I SHOULDN'T play Sonic, ie going slow. : P Told myself here that I was uh finding the good secret stuff and side paths to make later runs better~~but the slower I go, the clunkier the game feels--especially in the ACT 2 stages--and the less I want to keep playing. So I gotta go back to going with the flow and ripping through as fast as I can, like I did in Green Hill.
 
I was actually on the verge of dropping the playthrough thinking this session over afterwards; watching a full playthrough to see some neat-looking zooming through later types of stages convinced me to take another stab at it--and to avoid slowing down! Dargh c'mon self. And I kinda want to replay these two zones, go through playing as fast as I can.
 
The shop thing turned out less forbidding than I'd thought since it looks like I actually already had all the go fast powerups; the lives and stuff doesn't really matter I think since if you run out of lives you just restart the stage with five more lives. Weird!
 
But the whole game is kinda of weird like that, like they're still trying to figure out what to do with Sonic as a game. 2D or 3D? We can't decide, so here's both! Lives? Well uh yeah but okay you just continue infinitely. 'ppp'
 
Won't be too surprised if more skills show up in the shop eventually, hrm. Hopefully not though. : P Pick a gameplay and settle on it!
 
Jumping up on the zone titles in the hub world is kinda sweet.
 
I had the game volume too low. Range of volume in the game is kinda all over the place, which makes this a bit tricky. : P Probably best to err on slightly too loud for this type of game, though; like, Sonic kind of needs to rock.
 
DS4Windows did NOT end up fixing the game stopping responding to DS4 input after task-switching. : P
 
  paleface 22:01:23 01/08/24
           

 
Looped off a ramp, hit a big gold note right above it, fell back sideways into the end of the ramp and somehow got stuck inside it! = oo Had to exit the game then load back in to get free. ^ _^
 
I'd been wondering if new skills would be introduced--and one was! But "Ring Time" (Turns enemies into Rings for a short time" (60/3500)) isn't tempting me so far.
 
For some reason, the game couldn't get through Sky Sanctuary Act 2 Challenge 5 without de-syncing my PS4 when it was connected via Bluetooth, with either Steam Input and/or DS4Windows, so I had to drag my laptop over to my little play area on the floor and play plugged in (just using the "Ps4" Steam user input layout). : PP
 
(Hoping the two Sonic 4 episodes, which I just got, won't have similar controller weirdness--but it looks like, like this one, they also have very limited controller support--although THOSE require Java! : PPP So I guess we'll see. ; D)
 
  paleface 02:44:56 01/14/24
           
First boss fight was randomly de-syncing the wired DS4, like that one earlier stage.
 
Was reading on Steam discussions and Gamebanana that this is a bug in the game, and happens with all controllers.
 
Supposedly the Hedge Mod Manager utility https://gamebanana.com/tools/6311 with the "System - Allow Controller Hotplugging" code loaded allows controllers to reconnect, so you don't have to restart the game (I got mine to reconnect once without it but didn't usually work). So I'll run the game from Hedge Mod Manager next time!
 
Was feeling some shoulder cramping using the DS4. Maybe I should try arcade stick next time. ^ _^ Well I went ahead and got an "official" Retro-Bit Sega "Genesis" repro USB 6-button pad. I think part of the ergonomic thing with using the DS4 is I feel like I have to hold the DS4 in a sort of awkward low-slung grip in order to have my fingers positioned over the "bumpers" as Steam insists on calling L1/R1--and the game uses those shoulder buttons for skidding to the side in 3D sections. : P
 
There's an 8-button Genesis-style (they also have Saturn-style) Retro-Bit Sega pad that does have shoulder buttons, but that just seems wrong to me. In theory I can manage on the 6-button with two of the face buttons set aside for the bumper functions. : PPP
 
Classic 2D Sonic uses ONE button doggonit! ; P
 
Maybe this is all pointing toward me not coming back to Generations so much as the 2D Sonics, I dunno. I guess I've got a small ergonomic issue with it. Sometimes rocketing around in 3D is fun but I guess it's often annoying and feels super-arbitrary. Like, hitting Jump then realizing you needed Dash and are now dead because for some reason they can't handle the same stuff, or the game seeming to invite you to Jump-target-dash...into spikes or a pit.
 
  paleface 17:06:08 01/14/24
           
Download added: 08_win98sonic.png (685 bytes)
  "Windows 98 Sonic icon : P"
 
The Hedge Mod Manager windows icon kind of sucks and so does the Sonic Generations one but I found a smiling close-up of Sonic I kinda like on archive.org ( https://archive.org/details/miscsonicicons ) so I'm using that.
 
  paleface 19:45:17 01/14/24
           
Download added: 08_shill.jpg (364534 bytes)
  "1st boss then Speed Highway, City Escape, mostly Seaside Hill"
 

 
First boss fight was randomly de-syncing the wired DS4, like Sky Sanctuary A2C5 did.

Was reading on Steam discussions and Gamebanana that this is a bug in the game, and happens with all controllers.

Supposedly the Hedge Mod Manager utility https://gamebanana.com/tools/6311 with the "System - Allow Controller Hotplugging" code loaded allows controllers to reconnect, so you don't have to restart the game (I got mine to reconnect once without it but didn't usually work). So I'll run the game from Hedge Mod Manager next time! The Windows icon for it sucks and so does the one for SG so I'm using a manic smiling cartoon Windows 98 Sonic ico I found on archive.org ^ _^ https://archive.org/details/miscsonicicons

Was feeling some shoulder cramping using the DS4. Maybe I should try arcade stick next time. ^ _^ Well I went ahead and ordered a cheap "official" Retro-Bit Sega "Genesis" repro USB 6-button pad. I think part of the ergonomic thing with using the DS4 is I feel like I have to hold the DS4 in a sort of awkward low-slung grip in order to have my fingers positioned over the "bumpers" as Steam insists on calling L1/R1--and the game uses those shoulder buttons for skidding to the side in 3D sections. : P

There's an 8-button Genesis-style (they also have Saturn-style) Retro-Bit Sega pad that does have shoulder buttons, but that just seems wrong to me. In theory I can manage on the 6-button with two of the face buttons set aside for the bumper functions. : PPP

Classic 2D Sonic uses ONE button doggonit! ; P

Maybe this is pointing toward me not coming back to Generations as much as the 2D Sonics, I dunno. I guess I've got a small ergonomic issue with it. Sometimes rocketing around in 3D is fun but I guess it's often annoying and feels super-arbitrary. Like, hitting Jump then realizing you needed Dash and are now dead because for some reason they can't handle the same stuff, or the game seeming to invite you to Jump-target-dash...into spikes or a pit.
 
Seaside Hill A1C1 was maybe the one stage in which it was immediately obvious that the level designer was making it so that you could see upcoming obstacles, react to them, and make choices to get smoothly through the level. It also gave you more to do, since you had to jump on the cages throughout the level. Most of most of the rest of the stages have felt more like either a) smashing you into obstacles you can't see coming and have to memorize or b) whooshing you past stuff real fast and you don't really do anything.
 
That one stage was real cool! ^ _^
 
The first boss fight is shockingly poorly put together--the sequences felt all out of whack, like they just didn't care where you were or where the bomb was or where EGGMAN or his aim was or what. Even just hitting him once you'd somehow aligned all the sequences and run up his arm felt awkward. Just real real bad in almost every way, yikes. Not to mention something about the fight randomly kills the controller input. ; D
 
Thinking I want to blast through this game as quick as possible rather than chilling out with it. Just tear through, YAAAHHH. Yeah I think that'll be the most fun way to do it.
 
Wasn't too keen on the main stages themselves I played here (Speed Highway, City Escape, Seaside Hill), although graphically they were nice and the driving part of Seaside Hill, though janky as heck, was actually a lot of fun, and no gas pedal/button to hold down so ergonomically the best driving game. ^ _^
 
  paleface 15:27:13 01/17/24
           
Download added: 09_shadow_city.jpg (168965 bytes)
  "Shadow, City Escape, Crisis City, Rooftop Run"
 

 
I ran Generations with the Hedge Mod Manager utility https://gamebanana.com/tools/6311 and its the "System - Allow Controller Hotplugging" code this time; didn't have any controller de-sync issues, so, maybe good?
 
I wish the game didn't give you your instructions for a Challenge by overlaying your personal space with a orbiting flying creature and huge subtitles, and throwing a high-pitched explanation at your ears, just as you're starting a race and trying to accelerate to maximum speed and see upcoming obstacles. : PPP
 
It also loves to make it easy to jet-boost Sonic to his own demise; heck, in the second boss battle, it makes it look like that's the way you're supposed to go. Aggravating.
 
Those doppelganger races are giving me anxiety, I think the sore shoulder was coming from crushing down on the d-pad too hard while running stages like those. Gotta chill! BP
 
  paleface 21:46:42 01/17/24
           
Download added: 10_wisp_rooftop.jpg (140325 bytes)
  "Planet Wisp, Rooftop Run challenges"
 

 
The into-the-screen lane-running segments are pretty smooth; all the other game types they try here are prone to clunkiness and feeling like the stages and mechanics needed more smoothing out.
 
The 2D parts of the 3D stages in particular are prone to have similar foreground / background colors, often coupled with a very zoomed-out tiny Sonic: not cozy on the ol' eyeballs. 8P
 
  paleface 18:47:49 01/18/24
           

 
The end boss fights are worse than the earlier boss fights, which were already remarkably bad. The third to last tells you what to do--as usual right as the action starts, so I missed it initially--but doesn't make any sense: why would the boss keep setting himself up? Finally he changes tactics, takes 82 seconds to drop 7 pieces of garbage at you, and falls over.
 
The last two boss fights are something else: you can't tell what you're supposed to do, what the buttons are doing, or, in the big finale, what the boss is doing. Most of the time, the inputs BARELY influence Sonic's course; you hold buttons until Sonic sort of gets closer to the boss and may blunder into them and...defeat them? Yes. Hold various buttons for a while. Eventually, it may trigger a win condition. Or not, and the sequence will restart. Agonizing.
 
It's over. This has been my first Sonic game. The others I picked up are 2D; hopefully some of them are actually good instead of just the best of the worst or something.
 
This was the most "we were told to make a game" game I've ever played.
 
  paleface 13:33:54 02/12/24
           
That auto-accel 10-second driving bit is only in a side-route in Seaside Hill Act 2:
 
    
 
references:
· SEGA Genesis Classics (PS4)
· Sonic Advance (GBA)
· Sonic Adventure 2: Trial (PS3)
· Sonic Gems Collection (GC)
· Sonic Heroes (PS2)
· Sonic Mania (PC)
· Sonic Mega Collection (GC)
· Sonic Mega Collection Plus (PS2)
· Sonic Origins (PC)
· Sonic the Hedgehog: Pocket Adventure (NGPC)

 
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