Sonic Forces Thread

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Blue Blood, Jul 23, 2016.

  1. Blue Spikeball

    Blue Spikeball

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    I was referring more to how you said that "there are those who apparently believe that linearity is a bad thing", as it sounded like you were criticizing people for thinking like that.
     
  2. Crasher

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    Personally, I think it's a bit more complicated: a good game isn't good just because it's linear or non-linear, it's how the game uses those mechanics/aspects.

    A lot of games (especially modern games), in my opinion, suffer from having non-linear elements (such as open worlds), when the game would've been a much stronger product as a whole if it had dumped that aspect. One example is L.A. Noire - it's open world is, at best, a pretty backdrop and, at worst, padding that makes the game a few hours longer. If it had been more linear (such as, you just picked places off of a list ala Ace Attorney - something that's in the game, actually by making your partner drive for you), then I feel it would've been a better game. Mirror's Edge was somewhat linear - you had to get from point A to B, but you could progress through the level in various ways. It's sequel had an open world, and it seems that most agree that the first game had better levels and a more cohesive environmental storytelling. And the stronger parts of the game are, ironically, linear - the open world basically acts more like a menu that you can play around in.

    In saying that, linear games definitely do benefit from having non-linear aspects (like, imagine Thief or Dishonoured, except you couldn't approach the mission in various ways, or Mirror's Edge with only one path) - but they're good because of how it uses that in conjunction with it's linearity, not because they're non-linear.
     
  3. Dek Rollins

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    He was criticizing the idea that linearity is inherently a bad thing as a de facto rule with no nuance.

    There isn't anything unreasonable about these sentences.

    Crasher summed it up nicely, and I think Laura's original point about the fandom's tendency to create absolutist judgements about design philosophy without any deeper arguments is fair. Sonic 2 having branching alternate pathways doesn't make Sonic 1's level design inherently worse for having less of that.

    This is ironic since Sonic 3 was originally going to be 3D. :V
     
  4. Ritz

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    For my part, I'd say a game built around skill-based vertical mobility (slopes, wall running) necessitates splits in level routes to justify that mobility. The fun of platformers is in the challenge of resisting gravity, so there needs to be some incentive to encourage that: either reward the player with bonus content, or punish them with death or backtracking. It's pretty well established that people don't like bottomless pits, and backtracking isn't at all appropriate for Sonic, so alternate routes are a natural fit. SA2's level design lost all faith in its capacity to challenge gravity, and so it keeps the player locked to a single lane without any potential for physics freestyling. It's fine in the way that Crash Bandicoot is fine, but it was a break from the ethos of the franchise up to that point. It certainly never reaches the level of excitement I got when discovering those 1-ups on the towers at the start of Speed Highway.

    In any other context, I agree that linearity is an art and the open world paradigm is a plague upon games. Designed primarily to waste time, and it dilutes the designer's ability to meaningfully craft a world to cater to the player's abilities.
     
  5. BadBehavior

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    See also Final Fantasy.
    2011: XIII is the worst! VII is the best!
    2016: XV is the worst! IX is the Best!
    2022: XVI is the worst! X is the best!
    2030: XX is the worst! XIII is the best!

    And that's gonna be the start of the real dark age. Sonic fans are gonna wish it was 2020 again.
     
  6. Josh

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    Oh yeah, what if it's 2028, and a passionate, angry contingent of fans starts insisting that the only way to "save" the series is to return to the very concepts that nobody would stop complaining about just a few years earlier?

    Can't imagine what THAT would be like. :V
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2020
  7. Blue Spikeball

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    Do people really need to explain "I consider nonlinearity a good thing because it provides freedom, exploration and replayability" whenever they criticize a game or level because they found it too linear?
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2020
  8. Xiao Hayes

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    We're again at that point where saying "it's good/bad" is a bit inappropiate, while saying "I find it good/bad" is totally ok. I'ts also not about explaining it or not, but about thinking some claim is an understatement or not, because different point of views and all that jazz.

    For me, classic games are the best, SA1/SA2 are good, and boost is the worst in terms of gameplay, but whenever I complain about it, I'm just hoping they make different spinoffs of each gameplay so everyone has what they want, not to obliterate the cancer of the series or anything like that. The cancer is they don't make this arrangement and invest on it so at least most people would be glad with getting something of their taste, or, better said, the cancer is they invest so little not even one of this branches runs properly (Forces ruins boost, Mania doesn't get a follow-up, Adventure is gone, etc.).

    Say what you want of Pokémon, but they have made a lot of successful spin-off series, some lasting more, some less, but feeling like Pokémon everytime. Even more boring or less meaningful games like Pokémon Channel felt still like playing Pokémon in some way, there will probably be people who hate the main games, love the Mystery Dungeon series, and will have no issue because both continue being produced.

    This used to happen to some extent with Sonic before Unleashed even if the games didn't have enough quality (Advance/Rush, Riders, Storybooks...), so I think part of missing that era is not just missing the main games but the number and variety of titles that were available back then around the Sonic concept; we even already had this with 8-bit games in the old days, because it all summed up and, that way, Sonic reached to a lot more kids who owned different systems or wanted to try different takes on Sonic's gameplay. These days, they have way less to offer, and what they offer is not good enough to be the only thing they offer, Mania being an isolated exception (not even TSR lives up to its predecessors).
     
  9. Dek Rollins

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    If you really think linearity is inherently bad and any video game with linear stages is badly designed by default, then yes, it needs explaining. Not every game is the same. You enjoying exploration and nonlinear elements doesn't necessarily make linear design in any game automatically bad. That's what Sid Starkiller was talking about.
     
  10. Frostav

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    When people decry linear design they are not decrying all linearity. There is a difference between a well-crafted linear experience and hallways.

    FPS's would be a good example: the levels in Doom 2016 and Doom Eternal are actually pretty linear when you chart out how the player progresses, with rare exceptions (namely the Foundry in 2016 and to a limited extent the Super Gore Nest in Eternal). Even the classic Doom games are actually quite linear when it comes to their levels, most of which are "find the first key, open its door, find the next key, etc."; they only appear to not be because they often have you backtrack through the level and add new combat encounters along the way.

    Compare this to Call of Duty. In Call of Duty, especially in its late-2000's versions, the levels are nigh-highwalls where you are funneled to a linear combat arena where you just shoot the enemies and then proceed on. Little interesting stuff happens in between the combat arenas, said arenas are very hallway-esque in their own right, and there's almost no chance to explore. You almost never backtrack to a previous area. Doom 2016 and Eternal are generally praised in their level design because they don't do this.

    Linearity is not bad. Excessively linear hand-holding is bad. To bring it back to Sonic, every single mainline Sonic game with the possible exception of CD is linear. Having multiple routes and exploration goodies isn't being non-linear, that's just having good level design. Every single mainline game has you start at A and go to B. The sole exceptions are CD (where you can still go A-to-B if you want) and Shadow (whose levels are often completely fucked over by Sonic Team awkwardly shoehorning in non-linear missions in ultimately linear stages). The problem is when the levels don't have enough meat on their bones to justify their excessive linearity. SA1's levels had interesting ideas like Ice Cap's first secion and Twinkle Park's second section being very small areas you wound around in circles, or the puzzle rooms of Lost World. These aren't amazing, but they're novel in comparison to SA2's levels which were all hallways with little unique ideas at all. At least in SA1 the way forward isn't always the direct way forward. You may say that taking turns but ultimately proceeding forward isn't terribly novel, but it adds a bit to those levels, at least in my eyes.

    To use the 2D series, one of the cool things about Sonic is that its one of the few linear 2D platformer series where the way forward isn't a literal left-to-right line. It's still linear, but in a novel way. CPZ2 in Mania is almost entirely vertical, in a way basically no other platformer series can be.
     
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  11. This is a pretty large problem with the industry, because games are far more expensive to make nowadays, devs do not have the resources they once had to make all of those spinoffs. That's why all of those Pokemon spin offs started to fall off, and especially the Sonic spin offs. Both franchises are kind restricted to their main video games, so the audience for those spin offs have no outlet, so their complaints are focused more. You can see that with Mario spin offs too, the RPG's are essentially on life support given the direction they're headed/

    That's why people argue the Adventure era was still popular in spite of any issues Classic fans may have had with it; if you didn't jive with what the main games were doing, well you had the Advance games if you wanted your 2D fix. If you liked fighting games? You had battle. Riders was a unique take on the kart genre if you were bored of Mario Kart. There was a variety, and that's why I think people had such fond memories of that era regardless of what the critics were saying.

    Fast forward to nowadays, and the spin offs are pretty much non-existent; if you liked any of those side games for what they brought into the series, you're SOL. Sega only have the resources to put into the main games and budget spin offs like TSR, so if you don't get your preference in the main game, then that's that.

    This is likely why Sega are trying so desperately to appeal to both casuals and longtime fans, because they want as much revenue as possible.
     
  12. Mana

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    So not to be "that guy" but you're complaining about intentional level design choices. Sonic Adventure 2's levels AREN'T supposed to be open or minature gardens to be explored. They're made in a way that if you keep playing over and over and acquire all the upgrades you can find the "best" path and beat the entire level without stopping or slowing down except for a few seconds while you solve a quick puzzle or enemy clearing section.

    The game is satisfying to play when you realize the level designed is intentionally linear and the challenge is not in exploring but improving your reflexes so you can go from level part to level part while staying in motion. It's not hand holding and it's essentially what they would later do with the Boost games even the ones with more open level design like Generations. I quite like it in fact.
     
  13. Shaddy the guy

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    I always thought the linearity argument was about Sonic games not having enough replay value. If you play through a Sonic level at normal speed, you're taking one route. It's not necessarily a route that's been drafted out exactly by the level design, but it's a single path nonetheless. The presence of more area to explore is twofold, to reward the player for looking for extra goodies, and to provide more routes in subsequent playthroughs, assuming you're not the kind of futzer who insists on going back and forth and crawl every inch of a stage the first time around. This means, then, that a Sonic game with linear levels isn't necessarily a worse one, provided it has replay value outside of that (that is also fun to play). I mean, that's the reason people wanted other playable characters again, it wasn't just which color of furry they liked, but being able to explore the areas they knew in different ways.
     
  14. BadBehavior

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    This just goes into more structural arguments about adventure vs boost where the latter is about being a facsimile of a racing game with platforming and exploration elements. I feel like post-unleashed Boost games kind of nerfed this premise by making it easier to get S ranks.

    Even if Adventure levels are just as linear as boost levels, I find that the illusion of being in control is better in the former, much like how an RPG developer would give players the illusion of choice.
     
  15. Agobue

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    Boy, 6, spends $16,000 playing Sonic Forces mobile game

    Earlier this year Jessica Johnson discovered someone was buying items worth thousands of dollars and charging them to her bank account. That person turned out to be her six-year-old son.

    In the space of a month he was said to have spent more than $16,000 on magic rings for a hedgehog while playing Sonic Forces on her phone.

    The rings, costing between $1.99 and $99.99, offered power boosts and other advantages in the hedgehog’s fight against Dr Eggman and his associates. “My son didn’t understand the money was real,” Ms Johnson, 41, told the New York Post. “How could he? He’s playing a cartoon game in a world that he knows is not real. Why would the money be real to him?”

    Ms Johnson, 41, from Connecticut, said that she had assumed, with the advice of her bank, that the charges were fraudulent and filed a claim for reimbursement. The bank then told her the charges of $16,293.10 were genuine purchases through Apple’s app store and that she needed to contact the company. Apple said that it could do nothing because she had not alerted it within 60 days. A customer service agent said she ought to have put preventive settings on her phone.

    Apple said its customers are asked if they would like to install parental controls when they are setting up a new device and it advises that devices should be protected with passwords. In 2014 the company settled a suit filed by the Federal Trade Commission by paying $32.5 million in refunds to parents whose children had made purchases without consent.

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/boy-6-spends-16-000-playing-sonic-forces-mobile-game-jhk85nsxg
     
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  16. Blue Spikeball

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    When people criticize linearity in general they don't mean that they think every single game should be open world and any game that has any linearity is a crap. They just mean that linearity is by definition a restrictive design style, so it's frustrating when devs go overboard with it to the point of giving players very little autonomy or reducing the areas to boring, barebones corridors. That's why many games get accused of being "interactive movies". The complaint about excessive linearity isn't exclusive to Sonic fans either. I've commonly seen it among fans of many other series, like (on top of my head) Zelda, Mario or Final Fantasy.

    Glad you liked SA2's design, but I honestly would have found its levels far more rewarding if they hadn't been so on rails. With all the times I had to replay them to clear all missions and get all A-ranks, I got beyond bored of seeing always the same path.

    Challenging the player's reflexes and incentivizing them to get better is something most Sonic games do. The difference is that other Sonic titles often reward you for playing well with alternate paths, rather than just a better rating, which I honestly find much more satisfying and interesting.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2020
  17. Dark Sonic

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    Wowwwww. That game is pretty damn predatory with the prices. Reminds me of my cousin who wracked up $1200 in phone game charges.

    Such a fucked section of the gaming industry
     
  18. ...Ok, as somebody who plays Gacha games, its very easy to fall into this and spend absurd amounts of money. I'm not saying its right, but someone people just do not care...
     
  19. Dek Rollins

    Dek Rollins

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    I'm only referring to what Sid Starkiller was originally talking about, which is the kind of person who thinks linearity in game design is inherently bad regardless of what game it's in or how it's utilized. When someone speaks in absolutes with no nuanced argument, a good argument isn't really made.
     
  20. Laura

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    I still find this vague. What constitutes the line where linearity enters hand-holding? I don't think SA2 handholds, so is that game not a victim to excessive linearity? Is Forces excessively linear because it automates so much. We could agree on that. But what about this level in Generations:



    It's very straightforward in its design but it's not hand-holdy at all, it's very much a challenge level. So is this now no longer excessively linear? Is it okay because it has platforming and reflex challenges? If not, what challenges would it need to be acceptable? if so, what aspect of its challenges makes it worthy of not being excessively linear?

    Does SA2 have bad design because the levels are mostly straightforward compared to the slightly more open levels of SA1? By this metric, does Crash Bandicoot, Mario Galaxy 1 and 2, Little Big Planet, and other similar platformers have bad design because their levels don't have many alternate pathways and are build on straightforward challenges? Are they hand-holdy? Do they have excessive linearity?

    I'm fine with people personally preferring the more open levels in, for example, SA1 but to say they are somehow 'better design' because they are not so straightforward compared to games like SA2 makes no sense to me. if it's just because you like more freedom of movement and looking at little nooks and crannies, that's just personal preference.
     
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