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Frank Judges: Sonic Generations and DiRT Showdown!

Recently I received a brand new gaming PC, and AMD were courteous enough to send me to free games with it: Sonic Generations and DiRT Showdown! After playing a little (And I mean a little) of each, I decided to spray my opinions on the two games onto my blog. I think we’ll start with the clearly inferior game first: Sonic Generations!

My initial thoughts about Sonic Generations were “This is going to be a shameless port! Sega don’t do PC!”. For once I wish I was wrong. The very first thing the game told me to do was press start. Unless you’ve just had your annual lobotomy you should know that there is no such thing as a start button on a keyboard. So I pressed enter and the main menu magically appeared! I placed my hand on the mouse and prepared to click “New Game”, when nothing happened. I miserably bashed enter and was then sent right back to the “PRESS START” screen. I pressed enter again, and after a few minutes of rolling my face across my keyboard, I discovered that Controller A was bound to Keyboard S. With my new-found knowledge I opened up the controls menu, hoping to find a nice long list of fully rebindable keys, when a controller popped up. I think I’ve proven my point already. Now, onto the gameplay.

The entire point of the game is that you play some old-school levels as mute 2D Sonic, and then you play them again except differently laid out as annoying, thick, sell-out 3D Sonic with a mixture of old 2D platforming and relatively new 3D sections. Great, I can remember the days of playing Sonic 3 on the Gameboy Advance when I was about 3 or 4, but with annoying 3D sections which remind me of Sonic and the Secret Rings, which is a bad thing. The first level had me running round the idyllic Green Hills levels as 2D sonic, and it was fun. Then it popped into cutscene mode where it went from beautiful, 60 FPS+ 1080p graphics to outdated, 30 FPS 780p console graphics. I felt like I had been knocked over and kicked repeatedly in the teeth, they had gone through the effort of making the level graphics look nice – and nothing else! Then I got to play as 3D Sonic. Ugh…

3D Sonic’s first section opened up with a cutscene of all the random annoying little support characters in glorious low-res-o-vision. I considered watching the cutscene but skipped it, which was the right choice seeing how useful these things normally are. I held down the right arrow key as I ran into the level, only to go straight off the edge because it had forgot to tell me that the very first part was in 3D. I tried again, and got through it, but not without seeing the return of the “PRESS X WHILE IN AIR TO KILL BAD GUYS” attack system from Sonic and the Secret Rings. I managed to get through it without considering suicide and I watched all the colour return to the level on the level select screen! And then Tails appeared but I skipped that cutscene too. Sonic also has this weird thing were he slides and it reminds me of his completely obsolete attack in Sonic 3. The only time it’s used is to slide under gaps. However these pop up without warning and I repeatedly ran straight into them. He can also grind on rails while wearing trainers…

Overall Sonic Generations is a pretty mediocre game, and an abysmal port which made me seriously consider how long it took to remove every individual brain cell from my skull using a screwdriver, but instead I sat down and played a much better game…

DiRT Showdown began with a little cutscene (With the PC graphics, start taking notes, Team Sonic) of some cars racing around a circuit shaped like an 8, crashing into each other etc. when it zooms into the view of a particular purple car and it bellows “DRIVE!” at you. I tried using the WASD keys but just ended up handbraking so I had to use the keyboard. After a short little race victory was mine and I was ready to start the game! Then I came across a loading screen, and then the framerate dropped to about 2 while it saved. Not good! Also not good, no mouse controls! But at least it actually told me the keyboard controls.

So my first match was just general driving round a sumo-ring thingy causing carnage. I chose a strong, fast car painted like a police car except with pentagrams instead of police logos and “To Swerve and Deflect” written on the bonnet. I had some good fun and the announcer gave out some fun little comments which made me laugh. That was when I realized there was a thing that allowed you to view your crashes at the most optimal angle and post them to your driver’s (Fake) Youtube account! What is this witchcraft?! I also did a standard run of the mill race which wasn’t really worth mentioned apart from one bit when I went up a ramp, landed on the roof of a rival driver’s car and nearly tore it in two.

My final match was one where I had to perform tricks such as drifts and donuts before a rival driver could. I managed this (after a fair few restarts) and bought a shiny new fast car with protective bumpers wrapped around it. Overall DiRT Showdown is a fun little game with some pretty spectacular crashes. However, can we use the mouse for SOMETHING please?

Frank

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