Update About the Sonic Origins Plus a Good Lacks a Showstopper

Roughly one year ago, Sonic Origins was released on Nintendo Switch and other digital platforms. In my review, I stated that the collection was pretty comprehensive as far as Sonic’s commonly recognized “best” outings are concerned, noting that it was nice to have all of the widescreen ports of these games in one place. This was in spite of some cohesion issues, such as the features themselves and even the basic “feel” of each game in the collection.

Here we are one year after at the launch of its DLC expansion pack, aptly titled “Sonic Origins Plus.” With this, SEGA and Headcannon have made an effort to not only improve the value of the package itself alongside a body release copy, but add brand new content that makes it all the more enticing. Without further ado, let’s take a look at what makes this version of the game so much better than the original release.

I must commend SEGA’s diligence with this product before I even look at the new features. Over the course of time leading up to this review, there have been at least two patches to Sonic Origins. The first happened a few months out from the regular release, and it addressed some of the weird blemishes I’d found while playing my review copy; largely visual and audio bugs, things like Tails’ AI not working correctly in certain games, and so on.

Alongside the release of the Plus DLC came another Origins patch. Much like Sonic Mania with its Plus upgrade, this was a free improvement to the base game that touched up a lot of things. For instance, the “roll jump lock” as it’s called by fans (a feature in which Sonic has no control after jumping out of a roll), has been universally removed from all of the games. Previously, it was not present in both Sonic 3 & Knuckles and Sonic CD, but was in the other two games, making those two feel noticeably worse.

Knuckles also received a lot of improvements across all the games in this update. Previously, Knuckles only controlled how he did in the original Sonic 3 & Knuckles in ONE title, which was appropriately enough the Origins version of said title. In every other game he was featured in, he couldn’t jump out of his glide landing frames, nor could he spindash out of them. While this is a very, very minute feature in the grand scheme of things, it was a critical piece of why Knuckles’ Glide felt so good to use in the original games, and not having that made him feel a little….off. Thankfully, the recent update also addresses this and unifies how Knuckles works across all the games.

The end result of all of these polish changes is a collection that feels far more coherent and just better to play all around. This pairs really nicely with the myriad of small bug fixes, along with physics and collision detection adjustments (predominantly in Sonic 3 & Knuckles), and goes a long way in making this “Plus” update feel really definitive. With that said, let’s break down that new stuff, shall we?

Before I get to the brand new character, let’s talk about Knuckles again. As part of the Plus DLC, he’s been added to Sonic CD. If you’ll recall in my original review, I noted the omission of Knuckles in Sonic CD felt quite glaring. He wasn’t in the original Mobile or even the updated Steam port, sure, but he’s in every other game in this collection! This has been amended, and now we can finally play as Knuckles in Sonic CD, complete with all of his abilities and new sets of sprites and animations to match the others.

As you’d imagine, Knuckles feels great in Sonic CD’s very vertical level layouts. Much like Tails, his abilities have always scaled well with how much a level wants you to explore, and the way Sonic CD is designed really meshes well with this. While there are definitely some funky interactions with gliding and climbing, he feels like a perfect fit overall, and it’s just so nice to finally be able to use my favorite Sonic character in CD. From my exploration with him, there were even new level routes to explore, in the vein of how they updated Sonic 1 when Knuckles was added. About the only thing off with him are his special stage sprites. They don’t look terrible, but they definitely don’t look quite as good as his other new animations. I’m particularly fond of the animation he has in CD when he bounces off a spring and twirls around, as it looks very cool.

These titles also still run like they did on the original hardware, which normally wouldn’t really be a talking point I’d feel inclined to mention, but it stands out amidst the non-Game Gear games on this collection. I really would’ve appreciated versions of these games that don’t suffer from fairly constant frame drops and lag, and think it would’ve been cool to play a version of Game Gear Sonic Triple Trouble that holds a stable framerate, but I digress.

That feeling of “man, I wish that was patched” is still a bit lingering with this version overall, too. While a lot has been changed, there’s still lots of small things in this collection I notice. The new music for Sonic 3 & Knuckles still sounds very limp, as the audio quality in that version of the game sounds odd compared to every other game here. Along with that, the Drop Dash is still not accurate in all versions beyond Sonic 3 & Knuckles, and you still can’t skip the points being added up in any game but Sonic 3 & Knuckles. I had a lot of these little gripes in my original review, and they still stand out here.