Sonic Colors discourages speed.

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by mitaknight, Apr 22, 2012.

  1. mitaknight

    mitaknight

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    I recently got Sonic Colors the other day. I was wondering whether this was discussed before, but I haven't seen a topic delving into Sonic Colors' level design, so, I'm going to present my first topic ever.

    Sonic Colors discourages speed. It's quite plain and simple really.



    Let's get this out of the way first, I'm not saying it's a bad game. Sonic Colors is great. I'm a sucker for the cheesy theme song, and the whole presentation and sound design is fantastic. It's also fun to play.
    But the thing is, in it's level design... well, it feels slow. Sonic Colors is a lot more platform oriented. If you've ever listened to BrainScratchComms' Sonic retrospective, one of the guys hits it right on the nail - "it feels very Mario". I think even at one point Sega said that Sonic Colors was designed to appeal to Mario fans.

    Sonic Colors shows this in a whole lot of ways. First off, there's the scoring system. Okay, maybe I'm just a scrub, but it is nigh on annoying to get S ranks in stages. You pretty much have to collect 80% of the rings, all of the red rings and abuse Wisp powers in a single run to S rank a stage. The game is very lenient on time limit though, so you can take your time in doing this stuff. But that's the thing - it takes focus away from speedrunning and turns it into a collectathon. You can still try to speed through a stage, but the game won't reward you for it. (for comparison, in Generations, the game doesn't give a shit about score, but the time limits are way too lenient.)

    The level design is another example of this. Let's look at Starlight Carnival Act 3 - the primary focus of this stage is a yellow moving trampoline that you have to stay on. I think at some points, it feels like those auto-scrolling Mario stages...
    In general though, when the game switches to 2D, the level design becomes a lot more blocky. There are general and wisp only blocks, straight angle walls and Wisps that center around precise platforming like Spike and Cube (the cube feels very similar to Mario's P-switches). And then there's the Green Wisp, which makes you a slow moving blimp, as well as the Yellow Wisp, which is abused as all hell in this game, especially in Tropical Resort.


    Once again this doesn't make Sonic Colors a bad game. It's just that the level design of it doesn't feel very... Sonic. Sonic is supposed to be about goin' fast with some platforming to break up the pace.

    Unleashed's problem is that it's too fast with its straight line zones. Colors' problem is that it's too slow with its Mario-like levels. Generations actually gets it right with a blend of both, not too much of one or the other.

    Anyone have anything to add or contest?
     
  2. Falk

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    The zones are divided into more numerous, smaller acts very likely due to the hardware constraints of the Wii. When you need to extend a zone's entire content across 5 discrete segments, there really are two evils- make all 5 a mixed bag, which probably gets stale, or compartmentalize/gimmick-ize a few stages to differentiate them. Obviously in some cases the differentiation was taken to an absurd degree, but I'm thinking the level design would have been much better/mixed up had the zones had the luxury of being 1-2 longer acts per area, like Unleashed.

    edit: And yeah, even then Unleashed was chock full of gimmick non-main acts, don't get me wrong (Rail-grinding Apotos or hunt-the-Chao for example)
     
  3. mitaknight

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    I think colors tried to do that. The first acts of Colors were indeed long enough and well done, but then you had the filler acts. It could be applied across the modern board really, because Unleashed and Generations had side acts which were gimmick oriented (although I think they were optional, which is why they aren't as much of a problem as colors?)
     
  4. muteKi

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    That's exactly why I like this more than Unleashed -- you don't go all that fast a lot of the time, and the game generally doesn't expect you to either.
     
  5. Falk

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    That's -EXACTLY- the point I'm trying to make. The main acts of Colors were nowhere near the length of the main acts Unleashed. All the little ideas/gimmicks they had that could have embellished the so-called main acts had to instead be separated into discrete little stages, then probably extended so that the separate acts weren't 20 seconds long.

    Re: Optional- As far as I can remember you'd have nowhere near enough sun/moon medals to proceed in Unleashed without doing a good chunk of the optional acts, both day and night. At least in Generations only one side mission per zone per Sonic was required though.

    edit: derpspelling
     
  6. steveswede

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    I'm glad that sometimes, Sonic games discourages speed I can't stand this roller coaster, automated, speed focused play style all the time. A good game knows how to pace itself Sonic has done this for all it's classic franchise so I have no idea why in Colours that the slow sections are being highlighted or for even being like Mario as if platforming is new to Sonic, let alone any other platform game made out there.

    Sonic is not always about speed.
     
  7. While I did enjoy Sonic Colours, the fact it wasn't about going fast all the time actually put off my cousins from playing it. I mean they tried to, but they got bored so easily on the platformy parts. so it makes me wonder, this "boostful homing attack gotta go fast" gameplay for Sonic lately seems to actually cater to the younger fans, they find it really exciting.

    But...at the same time, this type of gameplay is also hard to grasp for younger players, espcially with it all being "press one button to slide, one to boost, one to homing attack etc" which probably gets them confused about it all.

    I should really replay Colours sometime, I haven't touched it at all since I got Generations. When the game went slow I do remember being slightly frustrated at the game actually, but that might be because of how fiddley Sonic felt.
     
  8. Well yeah, that makes sense. Even when Sonic began, a lot of Sonic's popularity comes from his speed. It really is exhilarating to see Sonic run so fast. That's why there have always been automated elements in Sonic games, so less experienced players can see Sonic run fast without needing tons of skill. So naturally, a game that is less speed and more platforming could come off as boring to some people.
     
  9. SmashX5000

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    I'm working on a cartoon based on the Genesis games called Sonic Boom.
    Well, that might be why I enjoy the game so much then. It IS very Mario, but despite that, it still has a sense of speed to it that Mario doesn't have. Even if I can't speed through a level extremely fast, the levels are still a ton of fun to play and replay. The blockyness of the game did kinda bug me, but on a whole it's pretty good looking, especially for Wii.

    The game doesn't go fast, but Sonic doesn't need to go extremely fast. Something a bit slower is good, and this game got it right by having that, while still not slowing things down too much. It just had a good pace.
     
  10. Vinchenz

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    Level design is part of the reason why Sonic Colors is my favourite 3D Sonic game. It was brilliantly done, IMO, even if it was slow. It felt close to Sonic 1 in that regard and did a better job than that game by far.

    Music and Atmosphere are a huge part. I fucking love the music and aethstics in Sonic Colors. Its the most original game Sonic has been in since Sonic 3 & Knuckles.

    But yeah, this is about level design so I'm not going to praise Sonic Colors any further...

    Personally, I like Red Rings. I don't feel like they're forcing me to explore at all. And Sonic Colors does RRs better than Sonic Generations, where you can still pick up the rings after getting them once.
     
  11. Tyty

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    Sonic colors doesn't discourage speed, it makes it a reward.

    Usually going out of your way to kill enemies, or find alternate routes, rewards you with wisps. Beyond cube, they either go fast, or have a way of going fast. Hover has the light speed dash for example. Furthermore, most off the beaten paths have white wisps, and it rewards you for boosting off ramps by putting you on the higher path.

    It's less the discouragement of speed, more the encouragement of smart use of speed and quick exploration. Remember, levels still have the "Time over bonus" you have to pay attention to.
     
  12. Metal Man88

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    Sonic Colors is closer in spirit to the old games. All this SPEEDSPEEDSPEED gets you is Sonic Unleashed's Day stages, which are giant barren freeways devoid of anything but ramps and things.

    Sonic Colors encourages thoughtful gameplay. You can move really fast, but not without mastering the stage design first.
     
  13. iLike80sRock

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    In my opinion, what held back the otherwise great Colors was the fact that the acts seemed so inconsistent. The whole game felt like it was set up to be the level then missions, but it labeled everything as an Act. The worst offender, in my opinion, was Starlight Carnival. After the first act, everything just felt like "Here's a gimmick, have fun." Then, on levels like Planet Wisp and Sweet Mountain, the game felt much more together. The acts were longer, more advanced, and just felt better.

    The game could discourage speed all it wanted to, but what drove me crazy is that the scoring was so tough and a fast time could do NOTHING for you. I have yet to get S ranks on more than one act anywhere but Planet Wisp (which was laid out more for speed) because I still can't find half of the red rings, let alone get them in any sort of timely manner.

    What you say is accurate, but it seems to break the formula. In the classic Sonic games, you can pick up the controller, even if you hadn't played that specific game, and be able to move at a decent pace and do well. Generations (and probably Unleashed) also are simple to pick up. Colors, SA2, Heroes, and possibly others (I haven't played any games between Heroes and Colors) place your rank on how well you can A)Smash/Grab everything in sight, B)Stay alive, and C)Make it through the stage as if you're not worried about A and B. I don't know, maybe I'm just not patient enough to deal with the tough rankings in the more strict games.

    Don't take this the wrong way. I really enjoyed Colors, and it looked stunning despite the Wii's graphical weakness. Despite its flaws, it still is one of the best Sonic games to come out since I have been old enough to appreciate a game for quality, and still can fire it up and enjoy gathering the red rings and such. It certainly has been (tied for) the best game I've played on the Wii since the system has come out.




    Oh, this is slightly off-topic, but what control style did the majority prefer? I've had the best results with the Wiimote and Nunchuck. It seemed to be laid out better for the "area-specific" control scheme that Colors employed.
     
  14. mitaknight

    mitaknight

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    This. This is the point I was trying to make. I do agree with everyone that the games shouldn't be always about goin' at 200 sanics per hour, as that'd get boring after a while. But the problem with colors is that if you do want to speedrun the stage, the game still doesn't give you a good rank without being a total completionist. In that sense, thats why I think it discourages speed. I can also vouch for the point about the inconsistent level design.

    As for control scheme, I actually didn't like the nunchuk+remote at first because of the boost and stomp button placements. But after a while I got used to it.
     
  15. Columind

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    I wouldn't say Sonic Colors discouraging speed displays an inherent flaw of what the game is trying to be, but rather what the core fundamentals consist of.

    The entire game runs on a game play engine that's near-identical to Sonic Unleashed, a mechanic that for all it's intent's purpose was designed with the sole purpose of going fast above all else. It's a rather limiting fundamental mechanic because when you settle for something as static as that, designing around it is going to be all the more of a burden and you can't exactly add that many ideas and concepts onto it without sacrificing it's design in the process. Colors for me was proof that the Unleashed engine was a dead-end. While the game is great, the gimmick of the game only barely supports the engine and design to go along with it. It's understandable that they'd want to finally settle for an engine that actually works, but I'd like to think that settling for something that's merely "good" doesn't really cut it, nor should they limit themselves to just that.
     
  16. TheInvisibleSun

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    What you two aren't understanding is, that the game is not discouraging speed as much as it is encouraging playing the game with complete skill. It is acknowledging that the point of the game is not to only speedrun it, but to finish it skillfully. Not getting a good rank for just speed running the game should show you this. S-rank should mean that you are skilled in all the required facets of the game not just, speedrunning. Also, Red Rings are not required for S-Ranking; you just have to use the Wisp Abilities, defeat enemies, collect rings and generally play well. Many of the S-Ranks are not that hard to get.

    This video is an example of someone getting an S-Rank (without Wisp grinding), and finishing the stage with a decent time.

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBTyr7Akmtg&feature=related[/youtube]

    Also note that the player's good time was in fact acknowledged by the game at the Results Screen, ("Personal Best!")
     
  17. mitaknight

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    Fair point. It's just that (to me anyway) some of the older games as well as Unleashed/Gen don't have as much emphasis on the "doing well" part of "going fast" as much as Colors. I guess I'm just not used to Colors' difference???
     
  18. TheInvisibleSun

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    Though I can't speak for Generations, the older games do in a way, because they give points for (and thus reward) having lots of rings by the end of the act and defeating enemies. The time bonus isn't the only point bonus emphasized.
     
  19. synchronizer

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    The problem with Colors that I see is its overemphasis on slow blocky platforming. Lately, Sega has had a difficult time combining speed/racing and precision movement into one entity, which explains the Werehog in Sonic Unleashed, and the hundreds of generic crate/platforms in Colors. At least the situation is not as horrible as that of Bubsy 3D.
     
  20. Kreigyr

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    I won't say that Colours shows any manner of innability on Sega's side; it was targeted at a slightly different audience, and I have to say instead I find that it's a beautiful combination of the two series.

    Truely, I think there should be less emphasis put on the S-rank requirements, and more on the design and flow of the levels. They almost universally feel like they promote constant velocity over high velocity; consider how fast Sonic is actually moving in comparison to, say, Unleashed, and then to the fact that this gameplay was used with several platforming-intensive sections. While by no means are you going incredibly fast, you're simply always moving.

    Now, on the matter of ranking, consider the target audience again, and exactly how said games work. Platforming Mario games work almost entirely on completionism, just as Colours does (and as was mentioned), but regardless it's pretty damned hard to do all that well idling. You need to run, but not necessarily towards the goal.

    I can't say I personally like Colours, but I feel, for what it's trying to be, it does it well.