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Sonic Frontiers Thread - PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by MykonosFan, May 27, 2021.

  1. Linkabel


    I gotta ask, how did you manage to beat many of those challenges without them being in 2D?

    There are ways of entering them in 3D, but I find it amazing that you had to watch a clip of someone getting forced into a 2D section.

    Especially because of many of them have areas that revert you back to 2D.
  2. Not that I disagree with @Sneekie or anything, but I always found it weird when fans go to bat so hard to defend these games from actual constructive criticism. Its not even just Sonic, Pokemon is going through this right now with Scarlet and Violet. And that's an even more egregious example than Frontiers. Yet, you still have people trying to downplay and deflect any criticisms...

    Some of you are taking this brand loyalty thing a bit too far; you can still like Frontiers and acknowledge that it's a flawed game that can be improved. I'm so tired of fans acting like they need to 100% love a game and defend it from any criticism, because its makes discussion pointless. Why would anyone want to speak with any of you if you're not even going to bother to entertain opposing viewpoints, even when its to everyone's benefit.

    And I get it; Sonic hasn't received praise like this for years and has been a source of mockery, so you don't wanna lose that. But here's the thing...

    1) You do not have to make being a fan of Sonic your entire personality and take offense when somebody criticizes or even mocks the series. Its ok, I can guarantee you'll be able to sleep at night whether Sonic is mocked or not.

    2) The series can't improve itself if nobody can accept even the slightest bit of criticism. If y'all actually want what's best for Sonic, then you need to be willing to call it out when it does blatantly stupid and bad shit and not just shrug it off just because you're a fan.

    Just because the casual crowd doesn't care enough about Sonic to properly critique it, doesn't mean that the games are suddenly perfect. If anything, that should be all the more reason to critique so non-fans can understand why these games can still be better and improve so they actually do get the praise they deserve.
  3. JaxTH


    Pudding Deity Oldbie
    Los Angeles
    Jack shit.
    This is how we got "Bawww, green eyes!" as the fan base moniker while outlets praised Sonic 4: Episode 1.
  4. Antheraea


    Bug Hunter Member
    but like...we've seen this in the wild with the demos, people unfamiliar with Sonic games don't figure things out with the mechanics even when those mechanics are tutorialized. anecdotally, a close friend of mine has Mania and his first reaction was "I have no idea what I'm doing", and he plays video games as much as I do.

    I think on some level Sonic is just...inscrutable to the average person, even average gamer. The key is trying to work out how to make it playable and fun for 95% of people as opposed to it being a rolling physics simulator to cater to the Sonic hardcore crowd.

    Hey, how do you platforming, at its most basic, jumping from point a to point b over a pit, when Sonic naturally controls fast? When that is literally his biggest differentiator from other (still existing) platformer characters? How is the speed ramp up between "can do platforming" and "running in huge environments", and how do you make that feel like you're playing the same single character instead of explicitly switching modes? Can you implement any of this in a way that won't make most of your intended playerbase reach for the dramamine? Can you implement this in a way that works for both kids and adults?

    The solution from day one (SA1) has been to automate the things that a player character would have the hardest time wrapping their head around, or the engine would have the hardest time solving. Think going through a loop - if you have the camera follow Sonic you risk either motion sickness or not being able to tell that you are in a loop if the camera is close enough. and having the camera switch to a distant view like it does in Emerald Coast makes it hard to work out where to even tilt the stick. thus, automation.

    And no, the Sonic R loops are garbage and a waste of time and you will lose if you go through them instead of just bypassing them, which is bad design - what damn Sonic game disincentivizes going through a damn loop? But doing it via momentum means that half the time you're too slow to clear it, thus...making it a waste of time in a game about racing. (and modern Sonic games do have "do this as fast as you can" as an explicit objective)

    Let's go back to speed. There's a reason Naughty Dog didn't implement a fast movement option for Crash until their last game (3), and also it's the last upgrade you get in the entire game, because it makes him harder to control and expecting people to do that as a mandatory skill would actively make the game worse. Spyro limited speed to specific sections too - the supercharge ramps, often strictly limited in scope in a game where you can glide most places - and Insomniac just dropped that shit for Ratchet and Clank, which if anything are now slower than even modern Crash titles.

    Like, it's not just "oh Sonic Team is bad" or "oh Sonic Team doesn't know how game development works", it's a problem that lots of other developers have tried to take a crack at and didn't solve. I've read a ton of negative platformer reviews from Back In The Day where an issue was that a character feels "slippery" to control, and that's a problem that is expected to be solved for a character whose entire gimmick is "gotta go fast".
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  5. RikohZX


    Mind you I have my problems with sequences where there isn't much control for long periods of time or the interactions of actual play time are minimal and/or braindead (ie. Forces), but my original complaint at the start of this mainly was just accusations at the awkward sandboxing of floating crap in the skies all using the same matching assets regardless of location.

    On one hand, sure it's natural sign-posting that this is probably a memory mini-challenge, and it probably saves on memory (especially for the Switch). On the other hand, even the challenges in Sonic Origins fell into this same trap of generic gray boxes slapped onto pre-existing stages to awkwardly force new level design. They were in limited bits of Lost World but it felt designed around its levels which is one thing I can at least give it (until the post-game, anyway), but Forces and Frontiers are filled to the brim with generic platforms and boxes reused everywhere in attempts to construct level design without any attempt of cohesion with the environment.

    Even just stuff that fits Kronos, Ares, Chaos, etc individually, combined with reduced pop-in, would look a lot better, and you wouldn't even have to change much of anything besides people's contempt for Chaos Island's excess of 2D sections. The lack of effort in blending it in more naturally with the game world is my biggest problem with the game next to a huge anti-climax of a dull endgame.
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  6. Azookara


    yup Member
    Personally, my argument was never to delete all automation altogether. I do think it's made aspects of Sonic simpler in a way that's good for the series, since I don't expect the general public or casual fans to be invested in the deep mechanics. I just believe they should have something there for the people looking for a deeper experience, too.

    The 3D Mario games nail this by having a robust move set that interacts with a playful environment in ways that congratulate the player for doing so. Each and every jump, dive and slide helps you get a sense of flow, and levels are laid out in ways to make good use of that, and even construct your own path by thinking outside the box and apply the mechanics yourself. But all the same, the move set without all the extras is still simple enough for the layman to pick up, and the level design isn't going to be too hard to figure out.

    Frontiers doesn't really get this balance. People praise it for it's freedom but a lot of that is the appreciation that they can make choices at all, now. It's been a long time since Sonic's been outside of a hallway. Maybe that's something people see as something worth praising, and that's valid. But I wish Frontiers did something with that open space. There's no depth in how it flows or how you navigate it, there's no reward for thinking outside that box I mentioned earlier, and the mechanics don't compliment your desire to. It's idea of "freedom" is shallow, and because of this they lean especially hard on the 'challenges' to make up for that.
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  7. Not that I can't see and understand the difficulties in designing a 3D game around a character who's entire gimmick is being fast, but that's not an excuse to just throw your hands up and just have the game do almost all of the work for you.

    I understand that most casual players and Sonic fans don't really care as much about deeper game mechanics as some people here, but that's just appealing to the lowest common denominator and the path of least resistance.

    I feel like in order for Sonic games to reach their full potential, you're gonna have to risk alienating a few people to do it if it means for a more fulfilling experience in the long term.

    But no, I don't feel like we should accept that automation is the only way for Sonic to work in 3D. I understand its difficult but that's all the more reason Sonic Team need to think about this shit on a deeper level than they have been for the last 20 years, or at least get someone who does.

    Part of me feels like since Sonic's original games weren't that popular in Japan to begin with and basically anyone who's worked on the original games are no longer present, they just decided to take Sonic in a completely different direction.

    That I don't have a problem with and get it, but it's often felt like Sonic Team as it now are just so creatively bankrupt that they can't think of anything to do with Sonic besides copy what the rest of the industry is doing, throw in some spectacle and call it a day.

    This series needs to bring in somebody with an actual creative idea and a way of actually incorporating the series' strengths into a cohesive foundation.
  8. Laura


    Brightened Eyes Member
    Completely agree with @Azookara.

    I personally think that the open world setting really clashes with the automated design sensibilities of the challenges. I want to go around exploring and then some booster or spring makes me go flying in some random direction and I'm committed. I understand some people might argue it encourages serendipity but I personally believe it is just disorientating. It is especially painful and horrible in Chaos Island where you are forced into long, tedious, confusing 2D sections.

    I feel like the Cyberspace levels are better automated challenges because they are solely designed for automated reflex rhythmic gameplay and their shortness encourages replay to get the unfortunately easy challenges. Yet despite the fun of the design the levels control absolutely terribly.

    I still think Generations is the king of automated gameplay. If anything because of its excellent presentation and variety of automated setpieces. Frontiers is far worse in comparison with its constant springs, rails, homing attack chains, and boosters.
  9. Zephyr


    Very much so this. The freedom of an open world and the rail-roading nature of these objects are so fundamentally at odds with one another that I was (foolishly) genuinely expecting them to not be such a major feature of the game world after learning this was going to be an open world game.

    Filling the game space with objects that rail-road you onto set paths isn't especially conducive to player creativity. I think that was the crux of Wraith's original point two pages ago. It's a pretty simple observation, and is well-made constructive criticism. I don't see what's so difficult to grasp about it.
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  10. Linkabel


    I think they should also have an option for automated movesets (like the combat move in this game, forgot the name) and let more experience players turn it off.

    For example, the drift move. I've seen both beginners and even Sonic fans struggle with this, so it's no wonder they either take it off or have automated segments.

    But I love how it handled in Generations and would've liked to have it in this game.

    I think that would be good compromise philosophy to have.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2022
  11. Dark Sonic

    Dark Sonic

    Working on my art!
    Generations has probably the best drift in the series. Not really sure what the point was in Frontiers, having been featured in only 1 cyberspace level, a level which is probably the worst one in the game. But at least in this game there’s a clear trigger for the drift sections that you can skip as opposed to Colors, which forces you to drift by taking away your boost.

    For what it’s worth I think that’s kind of why I don’t mind the automation in Frontiers all that much. Because this game gives you a lot of ways to avoid it while still accomplishing your goal. There’s the right, often more automated way to get the memory tokens sure, but there are often multiple other “unintended” ways to get them too.
  12. charcoal


    Be Cool, Be Wild, and Be Groovy Member
    I find it hilarious that Savannah Citadel Act 2 (the daytime one) was the worst level in Unleashed, and it's still the worst level in Frontiers as 3-5. Poetic.
  13. synchronizer


    I noticed that a lot of those platforms sit along the original topology of the map/just on top of it. Could a mod possibly edit the level geometry just to cover up some of those platforms with actual level geometry? For things floating in the sky, it’d be more difficult, but still doable to replace with actual level.

    I don’t know if modding can get there, but we’ve already seen level ports.
  14. Azookara


    yup Member
    You could avoid them, but I guess that points to my bigger problem: doing so means avoiding the meat of the game.

    The remainder of the map is long stretches of nothing with no points of interest. Unless you find those menial puzzles or repeat enemy encounters fun, but those are an exercise in tedium IMO more than anything. Even if there is a big hill you want to Drop Dash down or a chasm to leap over, the physics are too reigned in to do what you want with them (if you're playing without mods, that is). The game wants you to do the challenges or do.. nothing, really. It's just ground that exists for the sake of existing.

    It's why I think they're so close but so far away. They could just lean more into the physics and make more of the worlds a proper platforming/slope/loop/setpiece playground and I think I'd stop caring so much about the surrounding automation. But as of right now, it's all they've got to offer so it's all I can think about lol.
  15. RikohZX


    Honestly I'm curious if we can tighten up that godawful drift and then stick it to the left trigger for Cyber Space, because at least the feature exists, unlike Forces omitting it entirely.
  16. Azookara


    yup Member
    If I were put to workshop the next game's controls, I'd probably put Spin on LT (LT+A for Spin/Drop Dash) and hold both L&R triggers for the drift. Tap A while drifting to tune the drift's arc at cost of speed.
  17. One of my biggest annoyances in open zone is the number of times I’ll jump through a hoop or hit a rail and be sent in the opposite direction, they could have designed these to award free expression but it feels like the amount that is in this game is a unintentional accident as there isn’t a Speed Highway 1up moment or the coins that appear in Mario Odyssey when you reach seemingly impossible areas that acknowledge that the developer was aware of what was possible with the movement.
  18. So windii finally got around to translating the Japanese script and its uh.....different.

  19. charcoal


    Be Cool, Be Wild, and Be Groovy Member
  20. Deep Dive Devin

    Deep Dive Devin

    Goblin Sex Researcher Member
    Man some of the comments there are absolutely wild. After years of English scripts which allegedly suck the personality or tension out of a scene, suddenly the problem becomes that this one was written by an English-speaker at all instead of doing the Japanese version first. Can't be the translation's fault for just being kinda bad, obviously. Nobody was forcing them to take a scene about SAGE and Eggman realizing they care about each other and make it dry exposition about the big evil moon!

    (also, wasn't Kishimoto just talking about how they aren't supposed to see it as a moon? Not sure he's a good choice for scripts, everyone)