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Sonic Generations: the forgotten “good” Sonic game


KHCast
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Definitely not forgotten by this guy over here. I love Generations and consider it one of my favorites ever. That's just me though as I like going back but also like keeping it modern. The game was a 'good' Sonic game and that was really hard to say for a long time. 

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Scritch the Cat

I suspect the increase in nostalgia-baiting has a lot to do with why Generations, though not hated by any substantial amount of people, is rather forgotten.  Back then, its homages to Sonic's past were an innovation.  But now, we have incessant homages to the past that are both annoying when done worse (as in Sonic Lost World and Sonic Forces) and overpowering when  done better (as in Sonic Mania).  Yet even with the nostalgia-baiting continuing, Generations also feels like it has so little identity of its own compared to every other Sonic game except maybe Sonic 4.  So while it's a good game, aside from probably the height of Boost Sonic and an unsucky Crisis City there's not much to recommend it over other Sonic games that have the same elements--and that's on the assumption people care enough about Boost Sonic and what Sonic 06 could have been if not rushed.  There are people who feel both of those things were flawed on a conceptual level.

Then there's the plot...barely.  On the one hand it doesn't have as many cringe moments as Sonic Colors, but while at least in that game the writers and actors had visible enthusiasm for the project, in SG almost nobody seems to be trying at all.  Again, I think maybe back then, seeing Classic Sonic come back at all w as neat to people, but when the world goes on to see things like The LEGO Batman Movie and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, whose plots revel in the multifaceted weirdness of the brand and reflect it in the script, calling SG's plot half-assed is far too liberal. 

Maybe this is controversial, but I still say Classic Sonic shouldn't have been mute.  There is nothing wrong with characters like Link, who are kept fairly blank slates so any players can project their personality onto them, but Sonic was never that sort of character.  Having a personality was one of the big things that set him apart from other characters.  Some have argued that Sonic can express his personality simply via expressions and body language, but while that is true to great extent it is not an objective argument that he shouldn't also talk, nor did his talking in numerous adaptations diminish his popularity when the Classic series was in full swing.  Besides, it's not like he conveys much via expressions and body language in Sonic Generations either, and also if he's mute why aren't Classic Tails and Classic Eggman also mute?  That's the key difference from something like Sonic Mania and its spinoff shorts.  In them, nobody talks but everyone emotes to convey the plot, because it's deliberately in the style of 16-bit Sonic games.  But in Sonic Generations there is no clear reason why Classic Sonic's mute besides the rather demeaning implication that his games were primitive rather than classic.  This is similar to how I hate that many times when the Ninja Turtles do a crossover between continuities, the original Mirage Turtles and their whole world is black, white and gray, except sometimes they have red masks but the color red doesn't exist anywhere else in their world.  I have nothing against Eastman and Laird for not doing their books in color and I don't object if a new TMNT book isn't in color, but acting like a whole universe is canonically colorless is just stupid. 

Classic Sonic being such a non-character in his big comeback game hurts even more because the game is so short on character elsewhere, too.  There's very few times when a character says something and then another character responds.  Classic Sonic can't respond to Modern Sonic and Modern Sonic tends not to respond to other characters saying what little they say to him.  A game's plot need not be deep and in Sonic's case there are some games you could cite to argue against it being deep, but they could've made this game's plot so much more fun by leaning into the "Generations" part of the title to play characters off of each other.  Wouldn't it have been fun to hear Classic Sonic say "Gotta juice"; get a lot of confused reactions, and then get applauded after explaining that "juice" means "go fast"?

The bottom line here is that while Sonic Generations is good, it feels like it's good just because it's derivative and it isn't even as good at being derivative as it could be.  Like, take your favorite band and listen to an album by another band consisting entirely of covers of your favorite band's songs--is that other band going to be another favorite?  Unless they go above and beyond in "making the songs their own", probably not.

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Azure Blue Tori

Classic Sonic being mute feels like Mickey Mouse being reduced to a safe suburban mascot. Even if each region had their own idea of who Sonic was, it's still jarring to see the guy who cracked bad jokes and gorged on chili dogs in the cartoons be just another cute, innocent funny animal.

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Scritch the Cat
9 minutes ago, Azure Blue Tori said:

Classic Sonic being mute feels like Mickey Mouse being reduced to a safe suburban mascot. Even if each region had their own idea of who Sonic was, it's still jarring to see the guy who cracked bad jokes and gorged on chili dogs in the cartoons be just another cute, innocent funny animal.

There are myriad parallels to be drawn between Mickey Mouse and Sonic.

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