Sonic Origins Review (PS5): Emulated Nostalgia

Later this year will mark the 30 year anniversary of the release of Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Depending on your age, you likely first encountered the iconic game on the equally iconic SEGA Genesis or SEGA Saturn consoles.

For us it was the latter and now SEGA has served up an emulated version of the game alongside the original Sonic The Hedgehog, Sonic 3 & Knuckles and Sonic CD in a retro-styled package called Sonic Origins.

We recently got the chance to run through the Green Hill Zone again on the PlayStation 5 as our favourite Blue mammal, but did it provide the hit of nostalgia we were hoping for at R719 (RRP)?

Here’s what we learned after a week with the PS5 version of Sonic Origins.

Charm offensive

When you boot up Sonic Origins, it is definitely trying to take a page out of the Nintendo playbook and leaning heavily on the fact that the Sonic universe, especially in the early days, was full of charm.

This takes the guise of an animated opening which sees our protagonists and his companions prepare to protect their island home from Dr. Robotnik and his nefarious mechanical inventions.

While the opening is fairly brief, it does remind us those Saturday morning cartoons we used to watch as a kid. Well played SEGA, you have tugged on those nostalgic heart strings.

The charm offensive does not end there either, with colourful retro-styled menus, the unmistakable Sonic soundtrack and a new museum which features an island full of references to the game and characters, along with hidden sections that will open up access to special stages.

It is a nice addition, but perhaps does not do enough to draw you in. In our view an overhead map might have been better served here in order to add more detail, nods to past titles and even more additional content.

Outside of being quite cutesy, it is not a must access feature of Sonic Origins.

Memory lane

As for the titles on offer, as mentioned Sonic The Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic 3 & Knuckles and Sonic CD are all on offer here. It is the second game that holds a special place for us, and of all four, the one we spent the most time playing.

It is here that Origins starts to win you over, because if you are a Sonic fan, you will find at least one title that will spark memories for you. The games can also still prove a bit of a challenge, so if you have the inclination, you can certainly pour hours into completing levels and improving scores.

As such, this collection is very much made with the Sonic uber fan in mind.

To make things a bit more engaging, SEGA has also served up what it calls an Anniversary mode. This essentially ditches the retro stylings and introduces higher resolution gameplay, along with new animation openings and endings.

Much like the museum island, this feature is nice to explore, but not necessarily a core must-have experience.

Final verdict

There is always something to be said about nostalgia. When done right it can conjure up great memories. When done wrong it can leave a bad taste. Sonic Origins very much falls into the former category, as it serves up many of those moments that made us fall in love with games at early age.

The problem it finds itself with is cost. While you are getting four titles, as well as a handful of improvements for R719 (RRP), it is still quite a bit of money to have to part with these days.

As such, while Sonic Origins serves up a great stroll down memory lane, it might be best to take said stroll once the price comes down a bit.


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