Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by TimmiT, Jul 23, 2016.
Well, that's what they did with Mania.
I have two questions if anyone can help. My first being, this game has a display option to run at 120 FPS, but the game doesn't actually run at that. It stays at 60. Is it just for show?
Two, I'm trying to get the achievement where you get a 3 chain combo in Puyo Puyo. I'm bad where I can kind of set it up, but fuck up and only get a 2 chain. Can anyone help explain it to me really simply? I've seen the staircase thing mentioned, but I just saw an image and got confused.
It all comes down to experience in the end but a 3 chain combo is fairly easy to get.
Don't bother with setups like stairs if you don't want to do a 6+ chain, just set up 3 puyos of the same color with one on top of another colored puyo:
Then do the same with another colored puyo:
And pop that puyo chain to get your 3 chain combo.
Just make a bunch of "almost-combos" to make your screen full and then complete any of them. The others will be completed by themselves.
The only achievement I just can't get is the all-gold medals, because I'm very bad at blue spheres.
I've never found Blue Sphere to be too much of a trouble actually and managed to get the gold medals for each stage after only a few attempts. It was one of the first things I did in the game. But despite the fact that I play Mania quite regularly, I don't think I've actually entered the Blue Sphere stages since getting the golds apart from to see Mighty's and Ray's sprites.
Blue Sphere just isn't fun enough to warrant going back to. S3K, it's fine. You get the Emeralds and it's all good. Mania? No real rewards, shows up WAY too often.
I would have played the extra Blue Sphere mode in Mania if it actually allowed you to play the levels in a set order and pick up from where you last left. The great thing about the old Blue Sphere was that I could play it every now and then and make some progress thanks to the password continue system, but that's lost in Mania where the levels are picked at random.
I'm fairly certain Blue Spheres is in Mania mainly because they had it available from the Sonic 3 pitch. Tight deadlines and available content? Recycle!
eh, I think that's kind of uncharitable. Sonic 2's special stages were reused for e v e r y t h i n g, 2D and 3D games alike, and Sonic 1's made a return in Sonic 4. But Blue Spheres hadn't showed up anywhere else since Sonic 3.
Have to disagree completely. If you have Mania Plus, being able to use the Combi-Catch mini game in the normal mode is a GAME CHANGER in terms of how you approach challenges or change your way of play.
Being able to gain or change bubbles at a whim when you find a checkpoint is really fun and it never feels cheap or broken because you EARNED it by completing and gilding every Blue Sphere challenge. So you get a pretty cool reward from it.
I think they managed to give good pay off for what you got vs the effort put in.
Edit : Actually checking and you get a lot of rewards from beating it, even without the combi catcher, that I forgot about. Like the ability to use Sonic's other moves in Mania (I always use Instashield), Puyo Puyo minigame, the soundtest, and debug mode. They went hard with the rewards.
I have always thought it was too easy to enter blue spheres in Mania. It seemed like you only needed 20 rings at a checkpoint. I think a higher ring requirement would have prevented blue spheres from becoming an annoyance. It would have been great to have other bonus stages mixed in as well.
I don't like either of the bonus stages. Blue Sphere wasn't that fun in the first place and I don't think the designs offered are particularly interesting, with some of them even being annoying. I never find myself in desperate need for a shield, more allies, or more rings so playing some long pace-breaking pinball game with weird physics is the last thing on my mind.
I don't know, I've just never really cared for the concept. This happens to be the one game with special stages I actually enjoy, so I don't mind getting the Chaos Emeralds (especially on Encore mode).
All you have to do is run past the post. You're not forced to jump into the bonus stage or anything.
I do feel like Blue Spheres as a bonus game causes some pacing issues, especially when going for all of them. A lot of them have a specific way you've got to do them, whereas the Sonic 3 & Knuckles bonus stages allowed a bit more freedom to the player. I think a Sonic pachinko machine would be a novel idea (though with more input from the player and being less luck based), with the player getting rings and items for each score milestone they hit and getting the medals at high scores.
Honestly, I've never actually recognised the pinball table in Mania as a reward for clearing Blue Sphere. And until a later patch and DLC, all of the unlockables were relegated to the "no-save mode" and the pinball table didn't even exist. The pinball table is great. I love it; it's fun to play and gives you a reward that actually has a tangible effect on your current playthrough. That put it much more in line with the bonus stages from S3K. The only issue that I have is how easy it is to enter in Mania Mode; 20 or 25 rings makes it free a bit too easy. It really should have been a 50 rings requirement. I mean there's that, and the fact that it's locked behind DLC and chugging your way through all of the Blue Sphere levels too. It's a fun, optional break-away from the levels, but it's withheld from players for quite some time.
Blue Sphere on the other hand is a one-and-done deal that unlocks features that you can't use in your current run. It wasn't even clear to me what I was unlocking from completing Blue Sphere when I first played Mania. And Blue Sphere takes time, as much time as you might spend in some acts if you're trying to get a perfect score. And why wouldn't you, since the game encourages this by giving you gold medals for your efforts? Plus this shows up every time that you hit a checkpoint with 25 rings. I was seeing it show up multiple times per act. That was suffocating. Unlike S3K wherein you complete the 14 Special Stages split into two groups of 7 across both halves of the game that each reward with you super form, Mania has a whopping 32 Blue Sphere stages with no immediate payoff at all.
S3K already offered up multiple bonus stages with different levels of rewards depending on how many rings you had upon entering them. They were all small, and offered you an advantage in your current playthrough. The Blue Sphere stages were hidden, took more of an investment from the player to find and complete and then gave you a welcome reward for beating them all, right then and there. That's just not the case with Mania. Using Blue Sphere as a regular bonus stage was incredibly overbearing. Having to unlock a single, more preferable S3K style bonus bonus stage by finishing all of the Blue Sphere stages was not welcome change.
tl;dr Blue Sphere is fun, but it was designed as a Special Stage not a Bonus Stage, and thus its implementation in Mania is rather unwelcome.
I think the pinball table is very poorly designed. The physics are whack and unlike SAK where I think it's fun to stay on the table, I tend to just want to go off as quickly as possible. I think it fits into a wider problem with Plus. I think Plus was actually very poor in quality outside of Mighty and Ray.
Yet I will agree it's better than Blue Sphere being a bonus stage!
I've heard people criticise the pinball table for having bunk physics. Whilst I don't agree personally, I can very much see where such comments are coming from. Using the Saturn-esque 3D visuals of the Special Stage is nice, but it probably would have been better if they had used the regular gameplay engine and had everything in 2D. It would have been much more straightforward to do so, and the resulting gameplay would have been more solid.
Plus is... yeah. Plus isn't particularly great. Mighty and Ray are fun to control, whilst feeding into the problem that Mania has of offering little incentive to play as different characters. And their sprites are pretty weak. I know that might seem like a nitpick for a lot of people, but their sprites are a significant step-down from the rest of the cast. For the comparable poses, it looks very much like they were both drawn by tracing over Sonic. The results is that they never look quite unique and Ray looks really oversized in generic animations (standing, walking, running, jumping...) and more accurately smaller in his unique gliding animations. And for Mighty, just have a look at the fantastic "Mighty Redone" mod courtesy of @Crappy Blue Luigi :
Moving on from those two, there's Encore Mode. I don't know what there is to say about it. It's dull. You can play through the same levels as before, albeit with some pretty naff palettes and slight level layout differences. Someone on here (I forgot who, so apologies for that) disagreed with me about the layout differences being "slight" and felt that Encore mode offered a pretty significant departure from Mania mode. I just couldn't disagree more. The levels have barely changed at all.
Yeah I think Mighty and Ray's sprites are very weak and very much agree on the 'tracing' look. I think they probably weren't traced but they really do come across that way. Ray in particular I agree looks really off. He looks much better in Mania Adventures.
I think Encore Mode is awful frankly, I've played it once and collected all the Chaos Emeralds for completion sakes and then barely touched it again. The palettes are almost all absolutely dreadful. I agree with you that the level layout changes are hardly noticeable and when they are apparent (like in "that part" of Chemical Plant Act 1) I don't think they are memorable or really serve a purpose.
I also dislike most of the free update. Some of it is good, like the changes to the first phase of Meta Sonic and the Oil Ocean boss. But I really dislike the Metal Sonic Kai fight (I think he's really buggy and unfun to fight). Even most of the new stage transitions are underwhelming. They are largely band-aid fixes: Mania has a nonsensical story but now we have a wall in Hydrocity breaking, leading to...Mirage Saloon?
Mania is my favourite game but I think it got off really lightly for how weak Plus was because of the goodwill of how enjoyable the base game was. I think as time progresses people will come to view it as a misstep.
I think that the core game on offer in Mania is so high quality that the problems with Plus are easy to brush aside. And that's on top of the fact that the entire Encore DLC package is just a piddly £3.99 at full price. That includes all of the "meh" Encore mode, two new playable characters and a new bonus stage. It's certainly not the best DLC pack in the world, but what you get for that price is great. The extra characters are worth the price of admission, and the rest is gravy. Encore Mode isn't horrible to play or anything like that. It's just kind of pointless. But if you really dig the character swapping system or the new layouts, then it's a positive results.
Lol at the stage transitions though. I don't know what happened there. It was evident that several transitions were cut in the base game, but when new ones were finally patched in there was still some discrepancy between the quality of them. The first missing scene in the base was from Flying Battery to Press Garden, and the one that they later patched in with the S2 8-bit hang-gliders was great. All they needed to do was have the characters jump off the ship and land in PG, but they went above and beyond with the gliders showing up at the end of FBZ and the start of PGZ. The same is true for the bonkers transition from OOZ to LRZ, which is probably my favourite of the bunch.
And then there's Hydrocity. Not only does HCZ2 have the most vanilla layout of all the returning the levels in the game, being almost unchanged from S3K (barring the opening 10 seconds or so), it's go the worst stage transitions at both ends. The characters are supposed to be warped to HCZ, but unlike the beginning of GHZ, CPZ and SSZ, there's no warping shown at the beginning. And then at the end... fucking how do they go from underground on Angel Island to flying on the Tornado in the skies above MSZ (which I think is supposed to be on Westide Island?) They just walk through a wall that collapses and suddenly they're in the air. I could brush aside the missing transitions in the base game as being dummied out. Annoying yes and had a detrimental effect on the presentation of the game, but it was a small gripe. But to patch in something that feels so pointless? Nah man. That really bothered me. lol
Although just gonna say this about HCZ2: if any stage at all had to be virtually identical to the original, I'm glad it was this. It ranks as one of my favourite individual acts in a Sonic game ever in S3K, and it's no different in Mania. Act 1 is where all the new stuff is found, so it doesn't feel like it drew much of a short straw compared to the rest of the game in terms of layout. It's just backwards for some reason. I think that Iizuka mentioned in an interview that, regarding the Mania's delay, at least one zone would have had to have been cut if the game wasn't delayed. I've always suspected that Hydrocity was a contender for reasons already cited.
Iizuka said they wanted to keep the price for Mania Plus as low as possible. So in that context, for $3.99 you are getting a load of extra content, that is certainly worth far more than the price point. However, I wish they had allowed a larger price for DLC. Because I agree with everything Laura said.
In fact, I'd go further and say that I don’t find Ray and Mighty that fun to play. None of the stages take advantages of their move sets (for obvious reasons), so they end up feeling gimmicky. And although you can tell they've tried very hard to make the sprites seem distinct from Sonic, there's no getting away from the fact that they are Sonic clones (in terms of design), so seeing them run around the classic stage looks like a Sonic knock-off.
I wish they had included Amy instead as she'd have worked better without them having to creating specific routes for her.
But I just wish Sega had allowed a larger budget for the DLC and we could have just got some new stages instead of characters.
I don't think the added scene transition at the end of HCZ2 is supposed to explain how you get to MSZ, but merely how you get out of HCZ. It seems to me that there's a short time skip between the two levels during which the characters grab the Tornado and get to Westside Island.
On the topic of the bonus stages. I agree the pinball stages made for better bonus stages for actually giving you tangible rewards usable in the current level, but I wish they had been harder. I find that unless I intentionally lose, they just go on forever and ever.
I also agree that the Encore levels should have had bigger layout changes, and that the new Metal Sonic boss battle felt glitchy and unpolished (not to mention its animations looked so awkward...) In addition to that, I find the partner system flawed. Any characters you grab after the first two are locked unless you hit a character swap monitor, but those are usually random so you usually can't control which character gets swapped... unless you simply kill your current characters until you get to the ones you want. Sometimes that's the only way of swapping to the character you currently need. In other words, the system unintentionally incentivizes you to play poorly.
I disagree about Might and Ray being the worst sprites though, that would be Knuckles. His Mania sprites and animations always looked incredibly awkward to me, especially his gliding and climbing; and his Blue Sphere sprite is drawn in a different style from the other characters, looking more like sprite art than prerendered.
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