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Does Mania shake up the formula enough?

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Laura, Jul 14, 2017.

  1. Rosie


    aka Rosie Member
    My one, highly minor gripe with Mania is that I'm going to miss the insta-shield. I felt in S3K it gave a reason to play as Sonic over Tails or Knuckles because it allowed you to beat the levels that much faster if you had the skills and experience to use it properly (by deflecting projectiles, getting early hits on bosses, etc). I personally don't see the problem with double tap jump for insta-shield, down and jump mid-air for drop dash (IE mid-air spin-dash), and up and jump to get Tails to fly, and could personally manage the admittedly pointless, but cool as hell looking peel-out as well. That said, they've explained the reasons for what has been done, and I'm fine with it. The game is still fun as anything.

    Regarding the art style, yes I'd love a 2D Sonic game that plays like the classics and looks like the OVA come to life, but I'm also acutely aware that this game would then take years to develop, cost a fortune to make and possibly not make its budget back. Mania looks fantastic and the retro-ness of it is part of the charm. I was personally wondering if the game ran in 4:3 so I could play it on my CRT with a USB Saturn controller for the full retro vibes.
  2. Sirius-R


    basement cave under a rock
    whatever 3AngleTeam/3Angleware is up to atm (currently dead)
    Thing is, there are no flawless games. Some are just more flawed, and some are more appealing.

    Yeah, I know that. But somehow I barely can tell them apart. On the other hand, I barely see Knuckles Chaotix exceeding Mega Drive's limitations as well, so I trust you guys and Taxman's team on that one. That doesn't really change my point though.

    I'm well aware of that as well, they're sure worth being given props on the effort. On the other hand, that's exactly why I wonder why they wouldn't go with a moree smoother and detailed visual approach.
    (though as I and somebody else pointed out, that'd probably exceed Taxman's team's budget and would be over their efforts)

    Nothing new for me here either. And, actually, this is where my gripe comes from.
    Thing is, the retraux approach became quite trendy recently (and, I'd say, to say "trendy" would be an understatement). Many people, such as artists and game devs (mostly indie ones, but the larger ones may be prone to that just as much) go for that approach just to score extra points on people's nostalgia towards 8-bit and 16-bit hardware (though most of indie game devs go for it just because they can't pull off anything more visually complex than pixel art, and many people going for it aren't aware of the actual limitations the hardware had back then, assuming that "retro style" is just low-res pixel images and badly synthesized noises). As much as that's a matter of personal opinion, I never liked that approach because of how fake and cheap it is and how often it's just an excuse to put less effort into graphics and, sometimes, music (yes, retraux approach is actually an easier one when it comes to video games).
    And here comes Sega stating that Mania's sales will determine the future of the Sonic franchise. Knowing how awfully, dreadfully, terribly braindead Sega is when it comes to analyzing their successes and failures (which really shows ever since Sonic '06), I'm afraid that they may assume retraux visuals as a key part of Mania's success and force it onto the future titles, making the franchise go the same way MegaMan did with aforementioned MM9 and MM10. And I don't want that to happen with every single molecule of my body.
    This is pretty much why I highly hesitate whether to buy Mania or not. Sure, the game looks quite appealing overall, despite personal nitpicks of mine which I fully expressed. But then there's Sega, always ready to fuck shit up. I may be just overly paranoid, but then, who the hell knows what's on their minds?
    There are plenty of other features I wouldn't want to see dropped in favor of what Mania offers, such as the whole 3D games deal, but I think that's a whole other topic to discuss. Then again, I may be just overly paranoid about the whole issue.
  3. ICEknight


    Researcher Researcher
    I think you missed the point.

    They're not doing the OH LOOK IT'S PIXELS bad kind of retro, they're making an actual effort to make the game look as good as the classics.
  4. Zephyr


    I think one thing you're leaving out of consideration here is: the aesthetic merit, in and of itself, of well done pixel art in games. I don't buy for a fucking second the idea that just because it's not "cutting edge" that it's no longer visually pleasing. Mania's pixel art is well done. There's clearly a great deal of effort being put in. It's not your bog standard indie game 8 bit stick figure shit. It's not pushing hardware limitations, but it looks fucking nice. It's pleasing to the eye. Nostalgia be damned.

    As is common knowledge, they're going for a "what if classic Sonic continued on the Saturn?" approach. In this sense, they're not going for some vague, directionless "retraux" approach. They're literally going back to where things halted and moving them forward, graphically. I could empathize more with your gripes if they made it look no better than Sonic 3K, or something. But they're not, they're doing more. They're making this look better than the classics. Pull the "they're just mining nostalgia!" card all you want. But there can't exist nostalgia for shit that never existed. A classic Sonic game with this level of high quality sprite work hasn't been done, so it's difficult to pretend that I have "nostalgia" for this shit that I'm literally seeing for the first time. I guess Chaotix sort of counts, but that was sprite work that was never utilized for a proper classic Sonic game. I also have no idea if the animation in that game was as fluid as Mania's is.

    When did pixel art reach its peak? If it was the Saturn era, then giving Sonic a "Saturn pixel" game in the gameplay-vein of the classics seems like a logical place to move forward, post 3K. After that we can move onto polygons, with a "what if classic Sonic continued on the Dreamcast?" approach. That Special Stage screenshot is incredibly salivating.

    I understand the concern here, but it's futile to let it bother you this much. They could take anything from any given game's positive reception, this is true. Based on that.....why buy any Sonic game ever again? There's no telling how they're going to interpret its sales. What is actually in the game doesn't even matter, at that point. The game could have the most cutting edge modern HD graphics, and you could buy it, and they could interpret its selling well as a sign that people care about....something completely unrelated to the graphics.

    Remember, the 32 bit pixel art style isn't the only thing that sets Mania apart from the herd of prior Sonic games; there's that big elephant in the room of gameplay quality, and the team who's shown themselves qualified to create it. Iizuka has made it known, as of this most recent panel at SDCC, that he understands that these games aren't easy to make. I have a hard time believing that he's talking about the artwork there, either exclusively or primarily.
  5. Lozicle


    I've seen the Sonic Advance games mentioned briefly in regards to a possible play-style for Amy, but I personally think Sonic Advance 2 brought two things that could be implemented into the classic Sonic gameplay. The first I'm not entirely sure about, but the other I think would work very well. I'd like to hear what you all think.

    The first addition would be the boost state: if Sonic runs for long enough, he'll enter a boost state where his acceleration and top speed increase. The amount of time needed to run is decreased if he's holding more rings. It rewards skillfully being able to play through the zone in order to keep Sonic moving long enough to enter the boost state, and entering boost state in turn makes it easier to keep Sonic moving. Additionally, it gives rings an additional purpose, as there otherwise isn't much of a need to ever have more than 1. The reason I'm not entirely sure about adding it is that, well, just look at the level design in Sonic Advance 2. Everything is super long to give Sonic room to run, and all the levels feel very similar as a result. Adding the boost state might have a detrimental effect on the level design. Also, while it's nice to reward Sonic for running, the boost state discourages rolling, since doesn't allow Sonic to accelerate as effectively. Rolling does keep Sonic safe from crashing into enemies though.

    The second addition is the trick system. After Sonic hits a spring, just press the shoulder button and any direction to give Sonic a bit more air time or an additional attack. This would give players a bit more control over what happens to them while they spring through the air. Just barely missed the platform? Press R and up. About to fly into an enemy? R and forward. And so on. My biggest concern about adding this is that it doubles the complexity of Sonic's move-set, and I'm just worried that it might not bring enough depth in return.
  6. Ritz


    Subhedgehog Member
    I never really understood this reasoning. Pixel art is easy, and getting easier by the day, especially now that Pro Motion supports tablet pressure. Low res art allows you to imply detail. High res art necessitates clear detail, which is time consuming. The only real restriction is palette management, but people make that harder on themselves than they need to. But I guess that's the story for pixel art in general when people think that pixels are meant to be placed one pixel at a time.

    Neo Geo. Saturn barely had enough RAM for its Metal Slug port even with the upgrade, the sequels were out of the question.
  7. Flygon


    Funny about that - I end up doing all pixel art related stuff on a Yiynova tablet, because it's just much more natural than laying it down one pixel at a time with a mouse.

    I like pixel art. Makes it easier to get away with no budget.

    Granted, the Mania team probably have a lot more budget than a lot of other projects. Sure as hell less than Forces though, and I feel that'll be reflected in profit.
  8. Epsilonsama


    The game is great and I love it but I agree with others that the Drop Dash should NOT have replaced the Insta-Shield. Playing the S3&K stages in Mania made me miss it really bad. Making the drop dash a Down + Jump while airborne makes sense IMO.
  9. MediYogurt


    I'm okay with Mania sticking to a classic formula. It's been a while. Hopefully a sequal will really mix things up though, and reignite that feeling of discovery. Don't get wrong, Mania may be my new favorite Sonic game, but id like the next one to go above and beyond.
  10. Drex


    Lazy perfectionist Member
    Honestly you don't even need the down input IMO. The Drop Dash only happens when you continue holding the jump button while landing so I don't see the two airborne moves interfering with each other much, if at all. They should've just let the unlocked moves be add-dons instead of replacements.
  11. Whimsicott


    After seeing some of the fan games this site has made it had made me very hyped for Mania. Seeing one become official I think it adhered to the classic formula very nicely while still introducing some new ideas. The gameplay remains fundamentally the same with some new options to play around with, the game's zones and characters are what I think shakes up the formula. While Green Hill Zone wasn't the most exciting choice (kinda wishing they went with Angel Island instead), the second acts of the rehashed zones added some fun new spins and ideas that we wouldn't likely see on the Genesis. The addition of the Hard Boiled Heavies and a new artifact were a very nice way to shake things up, and allow for very mobile bosses with varying personalities to contrast with the heavier Robotnik bosses.

    Overall, it does it's job of being a true successor to Sonic 3 & Knuckles while adding some ne elements to make it unique.
  12. Frostav


    Does Mania need to shake up the formula? It's a revival of a gameplay design and style that's been dead for over twenty years. That it exists at all is "shaking up the formula", to be completely frank.
  13. Mastered Realm

    Mastered Realm

    It shouldn't shake anything up if Sega realizes Classic Sonic needs a subfranchise.
  14. Frostav


    I honestly can't think of anything to add to the classic Sonic formula that wouldn't compromise its inherent purity. Shaking things up is how we got Sonic Team's endless meandering for two decades on different broken gameplay styles.
  15. Deef


    Heck I'm still coming to grips with the drop dash.

    Shaking things up is the conversation for 1996, not 2017. As others have said, holding tight to the classic style and play is the new fresh thing. "Spooked" is the right word for describing classic fans when thinking of doing otherwise.

    I think Mania pretty much nailed how new & old it had to be. They improved in terms of technicalities, changed in terms of content, and left well alone in terms of gameplay mechanics.
  16. Laughingcow


    Resident Edgelord PHD Member
    I disagree with this sentiment on several levels.

    Amy in the Advance games was fairly terrible. She couldn't build momentum because the giant stomp couldn't be rev'd and needed space to work. If you were anywhere near a curve, you were stuck. The lack of curling mean if she was moving at a quick speed and jumped, you were gonna get hit by the enemy you couldn't see coming (unless you died X ammount of times to have the level memorized). Her hammer jump was nice but wasn't much of a tool for exploration. Too be frank, she was too limited. As much as I like to see her as a playable character, her mechanics would need an overhaul (hence why she was a reskin of Sonic in Advance 2). Definitely needs more movement options like the girls in Freedom Planet.

    The Boost state was the beginning of several problems in Sonic games. It meant levels had to be much bigger to facilitate the increased movement causing the big and empty level design you see in the 3d games nowadays. It was also the beginning of the change in physics as can be seen by the excess acceleration seen in Advance 3. Sonic is fast in the classics, he didn't need to go faster. Besides, mania kinda incorporated this as it's what happens when you get a speed sneaker.

    The trick system was a mixed bag. In advance 2 & 3, you used them situationally but this was only after having played the levels enough times to know, "I need to do this trick here to get up". It was unnecessary. In Sonic Rush and Rush Adventure though, it was used to build meter which was fun but that's for Boost Sonic.

    As for the OP's question about "shaking up" the formula, we've been down this road before. Mania doesn't shake up the formula much because that's been Sonic's problem for literal decades now. I don't want Sonic to change too much because the Sonic we've had up until Mania has been an ugly chimera of tonal shifts, gameplay confusion, and executive failure. When Sonic finally has a solid foundation to stand on (which is about one or two more games like mania away), you can try doing something crazy like Mario is doing with the Rabbids.
  17. Stimil Rc.

    Stimil Rc.

    In the Rush games, there were two types of tricks:

    1. The button mash variety midair or on rails. Combos are ended by pressing A before hitting the ground.
    2. The stunts that sends the character upward or further horizontally, like in Advance 2 and 3. Can also be used to end chains of the first type.

    I'd say that being able to cover more air is an incredibly useful ability and has a lot of potential for aerial exploration for characters that can't glide or fly (Should she ever become playable, this could be one of the things that sets Amy apart from Sonic.). Their usefulness naturally depends on the level design, but the only limitation of tricks is that they can only be done after being launched from something, usually a spring.
  18. Laughingcow


    Resident Edgelord PHD Member
    Yes, and while I forgot about the later was still in Sonic Rush (much like boost mode which is also still in there), it's implementation wasn't any better. It's a second jump that you can only do after a spring or a ramp, usually used to get some ledge that is just out of reach. From a level design standpoint, why not just lower the ledge? If it's meant to be a secret then it's the same problem I mentioned before of having to memorize the level.

    Again, I (much like others) would really like to see Classic Amy as playable but figuring out a proper playstyle seems problematic. Keep in mind her Advance playstyle was based on her Adventure playstyle which works fine in 3d but not 2d. Maybe we need a separate thread for this?
  19. Stimil Rc.

    Stimil Rc.

    That's only the upward trick. The horizontal one propels them forward at the expense of ascension. Sonic's horizontal trick (Humming Top) doubles as an attack and he's able to bounce off of enemies. Both of Blaze's (Axel Tornado and Jump Step) send her far farther than either of Sonic's.
    Because it's supposed to be an alternate path that you need proper positioning and timing to access?

    Keep in mind that the way it's usually applied doesn't have to equate to the only way it's applied. While not level design related, one unique application that comes to mind is its usage in the Ghost Condor fight in Rush Adventure. Bouncing off of the boss puts the character in a state where they can trick. The trick strategy to defeating the boss quickly involves using an upward trick (Hop Jump/Axel Tornado) to carefully land on one of the two platforms revolving around the boss after every hit. Failure to do so results in falling to the bottom screen, forced to evade a barrage of attacks while waiting for another opportunity to return to the top screen, where the boss is located. If I'm not mistaken, it was also possible to use a trick after being launched up to the top screen to both correct a jump or fly straight into the boss from underneath.
    I'm assuming you're referring to arbitrarily placed offscreen platforms.
    I was thinking of Amy in terms of what she typically functioned like in Advance 3: Sonic with a hammer and no spin jump or boost mode. Her hammer spin attack was essentially a wider Insta-Shield that also functioned as a bounce jump when used on enemies and breakable objects and I think could be used more than once. Hitting springs with hammers launches her much farther than normal. With Cream as her partner, she gained the same trick actions as Sonic. As a partner, both her ground and aerial tag actions launched the player upward via hammer swing.

    In a classic game, she could be a more aerial oriented Sonic, trading the Drop Dash, Super Peel-Out, and shield powers for well timed hammer based ascension and tricks. She could possibly get a few tweaks, such as giving her the ability to trick after hitting enemies in midair like in the Ghost Condor fight so that she's not just limited to being launched by stage obstacles or nerfing the the effect of hitting springs with hammers.
    Eh, it doesn't seem like very many people are interested in discussing this subject.