“Sonic Origins” looks great, but with a catch


Source: Sonic The Hedgehog YouTube Channel

It seems that Sonic fans have had it quite good lately. With the releases of “Sonic The Hedgehog 2” in theaters and the open-world game “Sonic Frontiers,” the series has reached a high point with its belated 30th anniversary. Accompanying “Sonic Frontiers” as the 30th anniversary game is “Sonic Origins.” 


The first official trailer dropped on April 20, and the compilation of retro titles will come out June 23. The compilation includes the first four games in the series remastered with extra content to boot, and it seems to be a wonderful celebration of the series’ early days, but some are wary, as the pricing has caused confusion and even frustration among fans.


“Sonic Origins” includes the beloved classic 16-bit games “Sonic The Hedgehog,” “Sonic The Hedgehog 2,” “Sonic The Hedgehog CD” and “Sonic 3 & Knuckles.” The four games will be remastered in widescreen, much like the fantastic mobile ports of the first three games by game developer Christian Whitehead, a beloved figure in the Sonic community. 


The remastered compilation includes bonus content as well, including challenges, 3D models of the islands the games take place on, a mirror mode that flips the stage layouts and wonderfully drawn 2D animated cutscenes depicting events from the games, the latter of which was teased in the announcement trailer. If for some reason none of these are appealing to you, and you wish to play the games as they were originally released, there is also “Classic Mode” that reverts the games back to their original states.


Replacing lives in the new “Anniversary Mode” seems to be a new system with coins, as they can be used to unlock new features within the game, though what those unlockables are is unknown. Lives have long been an archaic system of old games, a remnant of arcade design that artificially increases game difficulty, so it’s good to see that the developers have modernized these classics. 


“Anniversary Mode” is the mode including widescreen as well, a wonderful addition for the classic games, giving you more time to react to what’s coming toward you at breakneck speeds. The trailer also seemed to have included the “Drop Dash” from “Sonic Mania,” an ability that helps keep Sonic’s momentum. After playing “Sonic Mania,” it’s hard to go back to the classics without the “Drop Dash,” so it’s fantastic to see it make its way into the compilation.


With that said, it seems like the compilation, despite all its improvements and all the bonus content it adds, has stirred some controversy. Firstly, the base pricing of $40 has been deemed too high for four old games. While I agree that on their own these games aren’t worth $40, with all the bonus additions and content in the compilation, I think that it’s well worth the purchase. 


Though notably, $40 is the base pricing. Pulling a move that I’d expect from Ubisoft, the “Sonic Origins” website has an absurd pricing chart with different inclusions for the pre-order versions, digital deluxe version and pre-ordering the digital deluxe. Thankfully, most of these version bonuses seem to be unlockables within the game, only granting them immediately, but some are locked behind what you get, which is quite frankly not only absurd but sours the overall experience for those who don’t spend extra money on the digital deluxe edition or pre-order version. Locking away quality of life bonus features such as camera control over the 3D islands and extra animations is an incredibly money hungry and greedy move on Sega’s behalf.


That being said, hopefully the confusing and frustrating pricing chart is only a one-time deal and won’t become a habit of Sega’s. At the very least, the digital deluxe edition of the game is only an extra $5 above the original $40. Despite the gripes with the pricing, I think “Sonic Origins” will be well worth the purchase when it releases. It seems to be a wonderful and content-rich version of the classic original Sonic games that brought eyes to the series in the 90s and will be a great way to introduce new fans to the series. Following the success of 2017’s love letter to the classics, “Sonic Mania,” I have nothing but high hopes for 2D Sonic moving forward.