INTRODUCTION – RETROSPECTIVE ON PC GAMING AND MODDING OVER THE YEARS
Coil_Whine here! I have a confession to make - I’m relatively a newbie to modern PC gaming. I used my dad’s laptop on and off for the first few years of my life and bounced around on various laggy PCs and netbooks until 2013, when I got a powerful gaming desktop rig. What I absolutely adore about PC gaming, and many of you here at Destructoid do as well, are MODS!
However, I have dabbled in mods before, first with The Elder Scrolls V – Skyrim. While I mostly played the PS3 version (which I played so much it refused to load areas making my save files broken) Skyrim on PC had a plethora of mods that could really shake up the gameplay.
It was my first dabble with modding, but it didn’t go so great (I was 14 and pretty reckless, long story) I ended up installing so many it broke the game (and I hacked the achievements for it too, which was a bummer in retrospect) and I eventually gave up on it.
About a year later, I got into playing Watch_Dogs but was surprised by its shitty graphics, especially compared to E3 2012’s gameplay reveal. Gladly, the 2012 files were still in the game and “TheWorse Mod” set them free and activated them. (Despite the mod, it still didn’t fix the lack of Steam screenshot support, at least back when I played through it in 2014. Still, TheWorse Mod was notable for being my 2nd dabble with Modding!
A WORLD OF SONIC GENERATIONS MODS
So I was looking through my Steam backlog around New Years and Sonic Generations caught my eye. I live and breathe Sonic the Hedgehog and all it’s campiness so I was excited when I saw the extensive modding scene. I decided to install some mods. I was worried because I didn’t want to screw up my achievement unlocks like I did with Skyrim. I decided to 100% the game (I did a piece on 100%ing video game achievements a few weeks ago) first, culminating in taking no damage during the Time Eater final boss battle.
After many deaths and ragequits, I finally had the chance to mod away now that I fully completed Generations in its vanilla form. Obviously, the first Mod I decided to check out was the pretty-famous Unleashed Project. It had been a while since I played Unleashed, and I don’t have very good memories of it at all (shitty Werehog stages and bosses, annoying-as-fuck Chip sidekick), but from my point of view the Unleashed Project was a distilled version of Unleashed, Unleashed in its purest form.
It only contained Unleashed’s Day stages, including my favorite (spoiler – Windmill Isle) and all of the goodies that came with Generations such as a White Space hubworld and Red Star Rings (owwhh my faaaavorite).
Basically, Unleashed Project is Sonic Unleashed as it was on PS3 and 360 back in 2008 BUT without the horrible gimmicks that it was rightly criticized for.
I had the UnleashedFX Pipeline Shader mod installed as well, which helped the graphics look more in line with Unleashed as opposed to Generations. Because of a blurriness glitch on AMD cards, I had to manually install the 0.1.3 version to get it to work well with my setup. I also installed the Unleashed Sonic animation pack, which made Sonic more inline with his 2008 version.
The gameplay is really solid in this mod, with seven stages to choose from. All seven stages (Windmill Isle, Savannah Citadel, Rooftop Run, Dragon Road, Cool Edge, Arid Sands, Empire City, and Jungle Joyride) are beautifully rendered and remixed on PC! I particularly enjoyed Savannah Citadel, the 2nd stage in the mod. It had great lighting and a wide variety of routes to take as you race to the finish, and seeing the NPC characters from Unleashed in the middle of the course was pretty cool. I liked how they incorporated the enemies from Rooftop Run and the swinging bars from City Escape in to the game to modernize it.
Overall the mod was very polished, and had a great mixture of nostalgia and new gameplay ideas in the mix to make it something special. I enjoyed the dizzying paths of Dragon Road as well and the icy platforms in Cool Edge too. Overall I’m very satisfied with Unleashed Project and I played the levels twice, even getting all the Red Star Rings in the first two levels of the mod.
However, the amount of blood-rushing nostalgia I experienced in the last mod was NOTHING compared to Sonic Adventure Generations! I’ve played Sonic Adventure countless times over the years, while Heroes was my first Sonic game I’ve played Adventure on Gamecube, Xbox 360 and PC combined half a dozen times.
SA Generations has five levels, Emerald Coast Classic (they replaced Classic Sonic with Dreamcast Sonic Adventure Sonic which is adorable), Emerald Coast Modern, Windy Valley Modern, Mystic Ruins Modern (FUCK YEAH NOSTALGIA BOMB) and an oddball pick of Pyramid Cave from Sonic Adventure 2. Much like how Generations remixed the older level’s layouts to include different gameplay elements, SA Generations remixes the older level’s layouts to modernize it and merge different ideas, and it works surprisingly well!
And yes, I just about freaked out when I saw the train station in HD.
An odd glitch happened when I tried to use Classic Sonic on Windy Valley. It popped up as a discolored corrupted version of Chemical Plant. Hey at least Classic Sonic looks better :P
I can also say that Windy Valley runs great with Modern Sonic, and the graphics are faithful to Sonic Adventure DX. Not too shabby modders! The second to last mod I tried was Sonic Melponterations, which is a rock-hard rendition of Shadow the Hedgehog (2005)’s Sky Troops.
Let me tell you a story of pain and sacrifice at a young age – I got Shadow the Hedgehog for the original Xbox when I was around 10 and I played through the whole agonizingly long game, even though it crashed all the time on the backwards-compatible Xbox 360 and made this mod look super easy in comparison with its rock hard difficulty and annoying escort missions. But hey, Sky Troops in Generations is actually really fun! There are a lot of tight platforms and you have to be careful not to fall off.
Some of the texture and lighting choices are weird, but I can’t argue with free so I definitely recommend this mod. Sadly there isn’t any DAMNs or guns in it, but I made do.
The last mod that rounds out my Sonic Generations modding blog is Aero Garden, originally a map for a 3D sonic fangame called Sonic Blitz!
This map is fuckin’ ugly, but HUGE. Much like Sky Troops, there are a lot of platforms you can fall off of and tight jumps but luckily in this case the roads are wide enough you can land safely.
The tunnels in this mod are crazy too, I fell for a good 20 seconds. I’m surprised I didn’t break both of my hedgehog legs too. #WENT2FAST. Overall, I recommend this mod too if you’re looking for something different.
I was going into Sonic Generations thinking at the end of all this there would be a couple of decent mods out there but not a ton. I came out stunned at the quality and quantity of the Sonic Generations modding scene. The 4 I listed barely scratched the SURFACE of the Generations modding scene, and the recently released Lost World is already getting tons of mods as well. Sonic fans are truly dedicated and I’m glad to have jumped into the fanbase at the time.
I recommend not only Sonic Generations but Sonic Lost World (pictured, Super Sonic form) as both are really fun to 100%, and gaming should first and foremost be about fun. And the modding scene for both are amazing. If you guys like this blog I will definitely make another Sonic Generations Mod Retrospective. I’m gonna go experiment with some more mods and have some fun. Coil_Whine out!