We often feel like the franchise's heritage is a detriment to the series going forward. Those original SEGA Mega Drive titles were so important that it almost feels like nothing the publisher can do will please its fanbase anymore. But there is always the nostalgia card.
Celebrating Sonic's 20th anniversary, Sonic Generations feels a bit like a "catch all" experiment. It's appealing to classic Sonic fans by recreating original zones in high-definition, but let's not forget there are dozens of newcomers brought up on Sonic throughout the 3D era too. Somewhere, someone fell in love with Sonic by playing Sonic Unleashed. And so Sonic Generations feels like a celebration of the hedgehog's life-span, rather than an attempt to capture former glory.
The blend of two-dimensional and three-dimensional Sonic is an interesting direction for the game, and seeing how SEGA recreates classic Sonic stages in 3D and vice versa is genuinely exciting to us. Imagine a 3D version of the Oil Ocean zone.
Of course, a lot's going to depend on roster. SEGA's not going to be able to recreate every stage from Sonic's history, and that's going to cause disappointment. But as long as the publisher listens closely to fan-feedback, we think Generations could be quite the nostalgic treat.
The game's shaping up gorgeously too. Despite the disappointment of recent releases such as Sonic Unleashed, the series has been getting visually more impressive with each iteration. Generations looks nothing short of jaw-dropping, though SEGA will need to ensure the frame-rate is consistent if the game is going to capture the franchise's traditional sense of speed.
We suspect a number of readers will be keen on arguing with our decision to include Sonic Generations in this list, but we genuinely think the game's an exciting prospect. Sonic's been part of a number of a fantastic games over the past 20 years, and Generations seems like a perfect celebration of that. Personally, we can't wait.