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Do Sonic Team even know what makes Sonic good?

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Laura, Dec 5, 2013.

  1. Azookara

    Azookara

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    I'm not sure if we're playing the same games, since UnleashedWii and Sadv3 seemed pretty outright terrible to me..

    I can agree with the sentiment, though. When Sega gets to something good, they leave it. It's either that or they forget what made it work to begin with. A good example of this is Sonic 4, as well as basically any game past SA until '06 with the 'speed' based gameplay. They kinda just.. progressively forget what made them good and they devolve into whatever really bad crap because they seem to only pay attention to the superficial elements.
     
  2. muteKi

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    It's hard to properly explain how much I loathed playing Advance 2 and Adventure 2 I guess.
     
  3. Covarr

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    I despised Sonic Advance 2 and Sonic Advance 3 both, but for entirely different reasons. Advance 2 was a series of bottomless pits, blind jumps, and traps, exactly the sort of shit level design that didn't work in Sonic Rush or Sonic 4: Episode 1. Advance 3 was incredibly gimmicky and way more complicated than it needed to be, with a partner mechanic that was more of a nuisance than it was fun, incredibly convoluted level design, hub worlds whose only purpose was to pad out the game (why are these so popular in hacks and fangames? THEY AREN'T FUN), and a trick system that was not adequately explained nor adequately used. It was a mess of a game, and its only real redeeming factor was that there were fewer blind jumps than Sonic Advance 2.
     
  4. Metal Man88

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    If this topic has proven anything, it's that nobody agrees on anything Sonic, and the best way to save Sonic is to pick a tach and do that well, disregarding the well intentioned but ultimately highly person-specific advice any one Sonic fan will tell you.
     
  5. Candescence

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    I don't think my "the Boost gameplay had nowhere to go after Generations" thing was interpreted properly... It's sort of hard to explain, but it's less about the refinement and more to do with what you can actually do with the core gameplay - in other words, very little.

    Could've been worse.

    Could've been Knuckles Chaotix. The tether system made that game almost unplayable.
     
  6. Aerosol

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    But that's, like, your opinion man.

    Seriously. I've wondered what the hell game designers could do with a formula only to be pleasantly surprised many times. "Boost gameplay is a deadend" doesn't get truer the more times you say it. And even if it was. Even if it was, Candescence, your argument is almost completely invalidated by the NSMB series and other similar franchises. Sometimes people like more of the same, so what does it matter if it's a dead-end, so long as it remains entertaining?
     
  7. Beltway

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    Probably because the NSMB and other "similar" series (I assume you're talking in the vein of 'retro-revival' platformers like DKCR and Rayman Origins) have a considerably larger amount of depth to their game design. Their game structure (namely talking game mechanics and level design here) and allow players to actually play through their games in a variety of ways and allow for extensive variation on how the levels are designed, especially under the context of levels in different worlds. Whereas the "boost" playstyle is called what it is because that mechanic is effectively a playstyle of itself, rather than a tool within a playstyle. The entire game is designed for the sole sake of speedrunning, which is pretty obvious because of how linear the design of the levels are and how there is nothing else to do if not you're playing the game that way. Even the collectables like Red Rings or other things can't be positioned where you can stop and actively hunt for them, most of the time you'll effectively run into them because you happened to hit a QTE correctly or input an action fast enough to get to a higher-placed shortcut they are conveniently placed at. The games are designed for "run fast all of the time" and hardly anything else. That's why people deride that playstyle as "boost2win" and being "a glorified racer".

    Another thing is that the boost games use up a hell of a lot of resources. If one looks at the actual levels within Unleashed and Generations alone, you have nine to eleven small-sized tracks, each with their own individual settings, for games with two-three year development periods. To make a game that would have even twice as much levels, especially with the same graphical infidelities of those games at the very least, would call for a much longer development time that Sonic Team isn't able to do in the development cycles they are given. That's why those games are chock full of filler content as a means to plug in the replay value gap, primarily with 2.5D platforming sections (which is really redundant in Generations' case because it had classic Sonic, who was pure 2.5D) and a bunch of missions and smaller acts to round out the game's small amount of content. Unleashed had it worse because that small amount of content was also the partial reason for the existence of the Werehog portion of the game, and on top of that had the player had that awful medal-collecting toll system used to (further) artificially lengthen the game. And Colors had to water the playstyle down to the point of being a 2D game with some 3D sections to have players get some mileage out of using the Wisps (and even then, they are very context-sensitive-a large extent of their uses were that they were basically keys to collecting Red Rings).

    I know this is a stupid year-long bump and its more of a rant against the boost more than a response to the topic, but there you go. I don't see the point of continuing such a playstyle that is so restricted in its design and so reliant on resources, especially since its the antithesis of what the series originally was about. The fact that people were calling for the entire playstyle to be changed by the third game that use --in spite the games getting a positive reception-- is very telling.
     
  8. DigitalDuck

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    Meanwhile nobody has ever derided the original Sonic games for being "hold right to win" or "too easy".

    People were calling for the entire playstyle to be changed because they wrongly believe that because they liked the older Sonic games then the newer Sonic games have to fit their tastes too.

    They don't.
     
  9. Beltway

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    I was largely avoiding comparisons to any of the older Sonic games in general, let alone the Genesis games. I even clarified before the "anti-thesis" bit (which I'll assume this is what prompted this response) that I didn't see the point of continuing it for the reasons given, but if we're going to change the line of discussion to "old Sonic vs. new Sonic" then OK I guess. That said if you're expecting me to push the classic games on some flawless pedestal then you're going to be disappointed.

    The "hold right to win" I honestly see that aimed towards Advance 2 and Rush. Reviewers I do recall criticizing them for being too easy though. And being too similar / not refreshing the playstyle enough in the context of Sonic 3 & Knuckles. And having a terribly-programmed multiplayer mode in the context of Sonic 2. And in retrospect, levels with cheap difficultly spikes (Metropolis), holding poorly designed level gimmicks (Carnival Night and Sandopolis), repetitive music for Super Sonic, or having plain-sloppy level design (Sonic CD).

    Sure, but considering the history and state of the franchise at this point it doesn't seem the opposite train of thought has helped this series from a critical and financial standpoint much.
     
  10. Aerosol

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    At first I was like "Oh look, it's this topic again", but then I was like "Oh look, it's this topic again".

    Your basic argument is that Boost gameplay is inherently shallow. I propose that they just haven't been given the opportunity to really tap into it. You are being close-minded by saying any game is a dead-end. There are people far more creative than you proving you wrong all the time.
     
  11. Beltway

    Beltway

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    If I was willing to claim any game was a dead end I wouldn't had spent half of my first post arguing the NSMB series didn't apply in the same extent as the boost playstyle when you brought it up as a comparison. If I did, I would had immediately written that playstyle off as well.

    As uncreative, close-minded, and wrong as I may be, I at least tried to give some reasons as to why I thought the boost gameplay was shallow, even if I probably didn't express it in the best of ways. If you have any examples or ideas then I'm interested in hearing them; I may not agree with the concept of the boost but that doesn't mean I'm stubborn.
     
  12. Aerosol

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    You misread what I'm saying. I'm saying you shouldn't call any game a dead-end. I wrote off Command & Conquer as a dead-end RTS a long time ago and was pleasantly surprised when I tried out more recent additions to the franchise. They refined it and made it better. Gave it more depth.

    Calling Boost-gameplay a dead-end is also to say that there is no room for refinement to make it better. This is kind of baffling to me because if you can point out the flaws, how can you also not point out how it could be made better? And how exactly do its flaws contribute to it being a dead-end game?

    You say it's designed mainly for speedrunning. Why exactly is that a bad thing?
    You say that it requires more resources than normal for games like this. So it's impossible for techniques to be refined and tools to be created to ease the process?

    Asking me for examples or ideas is asking me to design a hypothetical Boost style game, and I'm not going to do that. I'm not trying to change your mind. I just don't agree with you. I feel that any game has room for refinement. If it's shallow now, it can be given depth the next time they take a crack at it. There are shades of what could be in Seaside Hill, and in Dude's mods, so it's not impossible.
     
  13. DigitalDuck

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    So you've confirmed that Sonic games have always been flawed (I disagree with regards to Sandopolis and Sonic CD, but there are millions of other topics where that came from).

    I personally think these games, although flawed, are bloody amazing. Especially S3K.


    Oh. My mistake. Clearly the classic Sonic gameplay must be shit.

    It's the main cash cow. I don't see how it has hurt.
     
  14. Beltway

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    I agree as well, I'm just writing what I've seen about them.


    Saying a series wasn't refreshing enough isn't inherently the same as asking for the entire playstyle to be changed.

    Games less well received from a critical standpoint, historically selling less (and I'm not talking in the sense of comparing Sonic 1 & 2 to the likes of, say Colors and Lost World), and the series largely engulfing Sega as a whole in that their existing library of other IPs have gotten less --if any-- attention at all over the years. At least that's how I see it.
     
  15. Josh

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    I don't think Yeow is being close-minded at all. Rather, I think he's right in a lot of ways, and it's his preferences that make it feel like a dead-end to him.

    I've been saying for years that what Sonic needed to do after Generations, if it was so set on living up to its own hype, is own up to its mechanics. You're right, it's insane the level of detail that has to go into these stages, and many people will only bother to go through them ONE time. But that's what they needed to fix, not slowing it down or parkour or giving Sonic a damn RUN BUTTON. They needed to give people an incentive to play the stages again and again.

    If these are going to be "glorified racers," then let it be that. Don't try to get replay value from werehogs or weird missions, get it by tying unlocks and progression not just to getting to the end of a stage, but to HOW you get through the stage. YOU build skill, YOU learn the stages and physics. They're spectacle platformers, and EVERYTHING is tied to how much spectacle you, the player, provide. Give Sonic infinite lives, make "restart stage" the default pause menu item, even give it a practice mode where you can Time Break anytime you want, to get the timing down.

    They FINALLY figured out how to make a speed-based platformer fun, to let Sonic be just as fast as marketing always said he was while still being a skill-based game... and then they abandoned the concept for all the wrong reasons.

    I know boost gameplay doesn't appeal to everyone, but this is how I've ALWAYS played Sonic, and it's why I put almost 300 hours into Generations. For that matter, if I could, I'd re-launch the classic series alongside an ongoing "boost game" series, to cater to those who want a more old-school experience. I totally understand WHY it's not for everyone, but I really think they were on to something.

    It's very telling that Mario nailed 3D the first time, and 20 years later, new 3D Mario games are still using a control system very reminiscent of Mario 64's. Sonic just keeps having to re-invent himself, and aside from Unleashed -> Colors -> Generations, he's never gotten a chance for refinement.
     
  16. Aerosol

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    I'd argue that analysis of how he feels about it is the very definition of close-minded. "I don't like it, it has no future" sounds pretty close-minded to me. I don't disagree that the formula has problems as is, I just disagree that it has no future.
     
  17. BlazeHedgehog

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    The thing I don't get about complaints of "Boost2win" and "Glorified Racer" and how that's supposedly a dead end, it's like

    They still make racing games? A lot of them? All the time? Like, if you average it out, I've probably bought 2-3 racing games every year for the last ten years. Blur, Forza Horizon, Need for Speed Hot Pursuit, Burnout Paradise, DiRT 2, Gas Guzzlers Extreme, Ridge Racer Unbounded, Joyride Turbo, GRID, FUEL, Ignite, Nail'd, Trackmania, Skydrift...

    The problem has always sounded more like "That version of Sonic isn't for me anymore." rather than it actually being a bad idea. Because racing games are fun! And there will always be more racing games! That's kind of the opposite of a "dead end."
     
  18. Cyberguy

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    If I could tweak what Sonic Generations did, I'd make the tracks much wider and open, I'd replace the boost with a spindash along the lines of Sonic Adventure's, I'd make Sonic's controls tighter when moving at lower speeds, and I'd tone down the level of superfluous detail in the levels. Yes they look pretty, but I'd rather have a lot of stages that all look pretty good, then a handful of stages that look amazing, but I'm going to be blazing through them at mach 5, so who'll notice?

    Basically, there needs to be more control, less automation, and less levels designed as "just a racetrack designed to look like a place instead of feeling like a place."

    Also, Sonic 1/2/3K/Adv1/2/3/Rush/Robo Blast 2 type different character selection. Because seriously, Sega. It's not that all of Sonic's friends are crappy, it's that you implement them in annoying ways instead of playing to their strengths and the strengths of the series.
     
  19. Azookara

    Azookara

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    I think it is a dead end. That's not to say it's not fun, because Unleashed and Generations are really fun games!

    But the way that the boost requires the level design to be made really saps away the potential it could have. What I'm getting at is that the boost is this sort of thing that just kinda gives you instant top speed and allows you to use it at literally every point of the stage, making it where every inch you cover is built around moving that one singular speed in one basic direction: forward, since that's what direction the boost moves. Thus, the only things they can really throw in the way of that are sharp turns to drift around, obstacles to dodge, particular things to hit, and objects that require specific reaction times.

    There's not much of a natural flow to get the vibe for whenever the game wants you to move in constants instead of natural acceleration / speed build-up, thus making things like slopes and loops and all that pretty purposeless, besides being something pretty to look at. And basically any time you're not moving top speed, the game feels like it's punishing you for slowing down, even if you went out of your way to do it so that you could look at the scenery, find hidden stuff, anything like that. None of the level design lends itself towards slower movement, and the slipperiness of your slower speeds doesn't encourage you to stay light on your feet either.

    Like said, it's fun. It's neat, it's exciting and in a game where the ante is constantly upped it could be pretty awesome. But I do think it seriously lacks depth and doesn't lend itself towards much more than what it originally offered. It's why even though I loved Unleashed, Colors and Generations levels, I was already getting tired of the game play being so samey by the time Gens rolled along.

    And honestly if we're gonna talk about Sega sticking to what works and needing consistency like Nintendo does, why don't we go back to the original / Adventure approach? Mario may have changed a good bit when going to 3D, but the basics (acrobatics, heavy emphasis on object physics, power ups, and collectables) never went away; in fact they were further explored on. Same with Zelda (big maps, puzzly dungeons, lots of weapons and swordplay), same with Metroid, so on so forth. How come when it gets to Sonic, we take the basics and just throw them out the window just because the first few tries were glitchy or something?
     
  20. Aerosol

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    Solution: Tweak how the boost works.

    Solution: Refine controls at low speeds and open up the level design.

    This is why I'm against calling it a dead end. You have valid complaints, but then you stop short of saying "if they were to do this again, this is how I'd change it". Instead, you write off the whole thing. I've gotten bored of the formula for some of the exact same reasons but I would be stoked if they were going to give it another shot. I mean look here.

    The Adventure formula had issues. Moving at speed was a clusterfuck. Boost formula worked better for that, but didn't lend itself to the slower gameplay that the Adventure formula excelled at. So Adventure has flaws, and Boost has flaws, but Boost is the only one that's the dead end? It's the only one that's completely irredeemable? I don't understand the logic.