Sonic the Hedgehog (Modern era)
The Modern era of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise is the 3D section of the Sonic franchise, that began at the beginning of the first 3D Sonic game. Like Classic Sonic, this is the half of what the franchise is infamously known for, but not as much in a good way as Classic Sonic.
- It is known for its mediocre to terrible games that have made the series have a drastic drop in quality like Sonic Shuffle, Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic '06, Sonic and the Secret Rings, Sonic and the Black Knight, Sonic Free Riders, Sonic the Hedgehog 4 (especially episode 1), Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, Sonic Lost World, and Sonic Forces.
- Some of the games have unnecessary gimmicks that don't really work that well for Sonic, while losing sight of what made Sonic fun in the first place. Such gimmicks include:
- The use of firearms in Shadow the Hedgehog (an attempt to give the game a more mature theme).
- The total reliance of motion controls in Sonic and the Secret Rings and Sonic Free Riders (since a lot of games were using them at the time).
- The werehog form in Sonic Unleashed (an attempt to cater to fans of action/beat 'em up games like God of War and in order to make the game longer).
- Silver's telekinesis ability in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) (in order to take advantage of the Havok physics engine, which is poorly implemented)
- The tubular level design of Sonic: Lost World (which seemed like an attempt to cash in on Super Mario Galaxy).
- A couple of games like Sonic Forces suffer from weak story writing that fails to match the theme the game is trying to display, making the story hard to take seriously, as they're focusing too much on "style over substance". Also, games like Sonic Mania barely have a story and end up falling short compared to other modern 2D games like Shantae and Freedom Planet, both of which have bigger and better stories.
- Speaking of the storylines, Sonic Generations introduced a huge continuity hole to the Sonic lore by adding Crisis City (while is much better than the original) and treating Sonic '06 as canon despite Sonic '06's events being erased after the game's ending and it completely destroys Sonic '06's purpose of being a reboot of the franchise. Oops!
- Not to mention some games like Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic '06 have storylines that take themselves way too seriously.
- Some of the main cast has suffered from weak characterization, e.g. Tails went from Sonic's trusty sidekick and likely more powerful into a coward who is overly reliant on Sonic and can't do anything without him (which completely contradicts his character arc in Sonic Adventure)
- Speaking of the characters, some of the characters are poorly written, annoying, and/or under-developed (Silver and Infinite). As a result, many of the characters have been reduced to cameos (most notably Blaze and aforementioned Silver).
- The stages in recent games have been frequently rehashed as an attempt to appeal to fans' nostalgia, resulting in games like Sonic Mania having more old stages than new stages (2:1), despite the original plan being all new stages. Even classic stages like Green Hill and Chemical Plant were criticised for their appearances in Sonic Forces as fans felt that they serve little purpose in the story and only shoehorned in for nostalgia purposes.
- Some of the gameplay in recent Sonic games like Sonic Forces has very linear, autopiloted and on-rails gameplay, with not much to do in terms of interacting with the stages.
- Some 3D games really lacked a lot of features, which made the games seem mediocre for many, sometimes most.
- Sonic has been milked like crazy since his made the shift to 3D. Starting from 1998 (when Sonic's first 3D game, Sonic Adventure was released), there have been well over 27 games (or even more if spin-offs are counted) released as of 2019. Sega even admitted in an old blog post (which Blackbustercritic covered in one of his old Sonic Brainfart videos) that they only kept Sonic around for business reasons.
- Very solid voice acting, especially from Mike Pollock as Dr. Eggman. It’s telling that Pollock was the only voice actor retained when the 4Kids cast was replaced in 2010.
- There are still more good and great games than bad games in the Modern era like Sonic Unleashed, Sonic Colors, Sonic Generations and Sonic Mania.
- A lot of the gameplay is still very fun. The boost formula is still one of the highlights of any 3D Sonic game, despite its issues.
- Some of the characters are still cool, such as Blaze the Cat (despite being reduced to a minor side character) and Shadow The Hedgehog. In particular, Silver the Hedgehog received better characterisation in later games, in spite of being reduced to a minor side character.
- Beautiful 3D graphics.
- After Forces, the series seems to be on a very necessary hiatus, excluding Team Sonic Racing (which received mixed reviews) and the movie (which was ultimately welcomed with overwhelmingly positive reception and has a sequel scheduled to commence production in January 2021).