|Half good, half bad? Or ALL good, all bad?|
Now, last year was Sonic's lovely 20th anniversary, and coming off of Sonic Colors, I was pretty excited to see what Sonic Team had in store for the blue blur. However, when the first teaser for this game was revealed, it pretty much made me freak out in excitement. Classic Sonic and "Modern" Sonic together, kicking ass. Awesome.
Now, let me say, for those who haven't read my review of Sonic Colors, I'm a fan of "Modern" Sonic. I hope the formula for 3D Sonic changes soon, but I enjoyed Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Colors- they added more platforming techniques and a healthy balance of what made original Sonic good- solid, 2D platforming- with this steady, controlled, and yet also fast-paced 3D portions. However, when finally toying with the 3DS, we get into some risky territory for Sonic. Should Sega have tried to make the modern portions in 3D? Or, did they make the right choice by creating this 2.5D... thing...?
One of the things that is very aggravating about the modern Sonic games is the reliance on the boost mechanic. And with the constantly shifting camera views of the game, the boost mechanic is just a huge hindrance. You've got these straight-up 2D portions where you just run fast as hell, and then the camera moves halfway behind Sonic to warn the player of incoming obstacles and new shortcuts. It's a clever idea, but when you're moving that fast, the camera doesn't really keep up with you. It just ends up looking awkward and the split-second decisions you have to make rely more on level-memorization... though that could be said for most modern Sonic games. One of the things I enjoy about Sonic Colors so much is that it allows you to slow down and explore.
Funnily enough, one of my favorite levels in this game is Tropical Resort, where the level design really does shine and you're given powerups to explore and have fun as both Classic and Modern Sonic. However, the rest of the game is lackluster. A part of the game that is sort of confusing is how exactly Sonic Team decided to implement the 3D... there's depth there, but there's also this weird thing where the paths curve around and switch around one another. It's so strange, and if you decide to jump before a curve in the path you can end up falling to your death. Like, the game will sometimes recognize that you're on a certain path if you're running on them... but sometimes you'll just overshoot it completely.
But overall, the levels have a clean feel to them with platforming and speed throughout. It's a very interesting formula and it's certainly a neat way to revamp 2D Modern Sonic. But that is only half of the game. The Classic portion is very much a hit-and-miss experience. This is partially because the first three levels for Classic Sonic are straight-up replicas of the original levels from the Genesis- Green Hill Zone takes thirty seconds to complete, tops. However, Classic Sonic does not move as fast as Modern Sonic but has an "okay" sense of weight to him- almost replicating that Genesis style. But when you get beyond the Genesis era levels, they do this ridiculous thing where... well, they give Classic Sonic a homing attack. Which kinda defeats the purpose of having two different Sonics, right? I mean, sure you have boost and stomp with Modern Sonic, but the Homing Attack is a staple of the 3D era, modern feel.
I mean, that's not to say that it doesn't work well. The mechanic is well-implemented, and there's only a split-second where you can target an enemy, which leads to some quick reflexes. But if the game is supposed to celebrate the original and the new, the two shouldn't mix. They should represent the best of what their respective play styles are about- and while they both embody some of those traits, neither shines truly individually.
Also, this game's short as hell. I mean, the story is a joke. There's a ton of missions to complete that do give a nice twist on the levels, but there's fourteen levels, and you can really only do so much. Honestly, I really almost wish they had made the Modern portions in true 3D instead of 2.5D, because when you play the Special Stages and the Modern half of the the Final Boss, the 3D works so very smoothly and enjoyably. But really, the quality of these little portions does not justify its price... and this one is going to be returned for store credit.
Recommended for: A weekend of fun that recaps the brief history of Sonic. Nothing more.