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Sonic Superstars: A New 2D Sonic Game (Fall 2023)

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by DefinitiveDubs, Jun 8, 2023.

  1. Iggy for Short

    Iggy for Short

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    I dunno if I'm in favor of the idea, per se, but I do think it could at least be done better than how Superstars handled it.
    • Give the levels more Giant Rings, and figure out a better reward for continuing to find them after you've found an Emerald in that Zone (or unlocked the Super forms).
    • Lift the restriction once you've beaten all the levels like 3&K and Mania do.
    • Maybe unlock a Mania-esque Cheat option after clearing the game that turns off the Emerald-per-Zone restriction so people can try getting them all ASAP for fun on a new/null save.
    As it stands, I ended up really disliking those blue Giant Rings by the end. I don't have a use for Superstars's Medals, and sometimes I flew into them by mistake, had to tediously fall out of the Special Stage they threw me into, and then had to get my rings back up to 50 to resume the Super status I had prior. And that was after I had to go back and tediously comb a couple of Zones for a valid Giant Ring to nab the last Emerald after only managing 6 during my run.

    EDIT: Now that I think about it, I wonder what new ways of accessing Special Stages they could come up with. We really have just kinda kept the Giant Rings around, huh?
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2023
  2. Zephyr

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    Maybe "desperate to control the player's sense of fulfillment" was a strong way for Palas to put the point. If he meant to say that they're basically just signposting when and where to use the Emerald Powers, then I get his point because that's somewhat disincentivizing experimentation on the player's part; the game will just tell me where I need to use the vine, or the time slow, or the "see hidden shit" goggles! I'm imagining BotW/TotK, but instead of letting the player just look at what's in front of them and thinking "what if I used this here...", a little prompt popped up reminding you to use the ice block power, or the the ascend power, etc. Would feel a little patronizing, when the devs should instead just give me the ingredients and Let Me Cook™.

    That said, the player does still have room to experiment plenty, if they want. I know I've abused the meteor power to backtrack through some of the automated sections to get stuff I missed, without being prompted to do so. I've also not been prompted by the game to use the clone power during moments when I just want the boss to die.

    They almost had a good solution for this with the coins, shop, and customizable robot. The player is ostensibly incentivized to replay levels and comb them up and down for rings, so they can purchase parts in the shop to make their own robot OC. But since that can only be used in the shitty battle mode, I know I don't care about devoting hours to that. This is one thing that would "make the game automatically better" if "modders fixed it". Coupled with the lack of splitscreen and/or online co-op, it stings extra hard. Imagine you and 3 buddies running through the campaign together with your silly Sonic robot OCs.
     
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  3. Overlord

    Overlord

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    I beat the base game (with all emeralds) on PS4.
    I've done the first zone as Trip, too.
    Overall - it's a decent game! I don't regret my cost outlay. However, Sonic Mania is still a better game, as I expected. Full thoughts below:

    * Got the 5th emerald on my first try, dunno what you lot are complaining about :V I did immediately go hard left on entering though, I dunno how I'd have done without knowing to do that. 2nd emerald took me 2 tries, the 6th three, and the final one 6, so for me the difficulty largely did ramp up as expected. Not a huge fan of the special stages themselves, though, the depth perception is tricky to get to grips with.
    * I do like the bonus stages, it's a fun twist on the S1 mazes.
    * Game looks great! Absolutely no problems with the graphical style, I'll be happy if they stick with this.
    * Soundtrack is... OK? Mind you I thought the same about Mania's at first for the original tracks so I suspect they'll grow on me.
    * The Act 1 ice zone's boss can go kill itself - I went back to this act when I needed to look for the 6th and 7th emerald just before the endgame and I wasn't sure if getting #6 would save it, so decided to do the boss a second time - it took probably a dozen tries. Worst boss in the game.
    * The final boss I was enjoying, right up until the point that the spin attack at the end happened, it's a one-hit KO, and it throws you right back to the start of when took 7 minutes to reach. Badly needs a mid-point check there, considering how long it takes, I thought I was going to get a Time Over on the first part the first time I reached that far in, until I didn't. This game and Time Overs are weird. I think if Rye hadn't pointed out that you can use the clones Emerald power on phase 2 I'd have gone nuts, that was essentially 3 free hits.
    * On a related note - given the game's bosses, somewhat glad there IS no lives system in this game.

    My single biggest problem with the game is Sonic's jump physics - they feel off. He accelerates far too easily when you're holding a direction in the air, and it's throwing off my platforming. It's more Generations/Forces than it is Mania. Rolling physics seem right, though.

    I've tried avoiding spoilers but I know there's a final Super Sonic boss at the end of Trip's story - which by all means is sounding somewhat more unfair than the main game - so I'm gonna have to slog through that at some point and then never touch again, much like the remixed mode in Mania :V
     
  4. Starduster

    Starduster

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    The Super Sonic boss is actually a monumental pushover, it just has two attacks that are awfully communicated and can screw you over as a result. If you care to know how to get around that:

    • The black hole attack that happens when the boss moves to the same plane as Sonic is an insta-kill, but you can boost out of it before it happens if you run into one of those black holes.
    • The final attack has the boss spit rocks at you which you need to press the action button in time with a prompt. I think it's rather unintuitively timed and horribly communicated given the action button has been a ring-draining boost up to now, but once you know it, it's piss. Just unfortunate that rings seem to stop spawning during this attack and it starts over if you fail the prompt.
    Honestly, as long as you prioritise getting rings, you'll be fine. All of the other attacks do sweet dick all since you're invincible and the boss is hanging out in the background anyway, so most times getting hit isn't even an inconvenience. Probably the boss that most takes the piss with making you wait, though.
     
  5. HEDGESMFG

    HEDGESMFG

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    100% agreed. Again, I've been playing these games since the early 90s and have especially been replaying the classics a lot recently. I've also been experimenting with map designs in Sonic games since the early 2000s, so I can recognize fair and unfair challenges very quickly.

    Trip's stages are very obviously cheaply designed and seem like they don't have a lot of testing, or if they did, the objective of the testing was "hmm, this is too easy, let's add another obstacle here", without actually considering whether this mandatory hard mode was ever a good idea to begin with. It's the perfect example of the problems with design issues in Sonic Advance 2 and 3, but taken up a notch even further (which is a shame, because with some small tweaks, Sonic Advance 2 and 3 could actually be a lot more fun). The goal was probably to pad out the game to justify the higher price tag, something which was likely publisher mandated, I'm betting.

    It's the same reason I find the mandatory difficulty spike in Frontiers DLC3 to be poorly designed. An excellent counter example is Sonic Mania's Titanic Monarch, which is a tough stage by Sonic standards, and can often kill you, but rarely does it do so cheaply, and it does not regularly deny you from the satisfaction of gaining speed. It's more leniar than designs you'd see in say, CD or Superstars, but that's acceptable for what was clearly the goal of the stage's designer. In fact, it brilliantly blends both speed and challenge, and its biggest flaw was simply being almost too long for the old 10 minute time limit. Playing it 1 day after Superstars makes it so much more clear how much is still lost on parts of the game's designers.

    I'm not necessarily having a hard time beating these stages, but I just stopped finding it fun. Which is a shame. They quickly go back to forcing the player to rely on rote memory to avoid obstacles beyond mere skill, something the main campaign actually did a great job of avoiding.

    Again, it's like Hard Mode in heroes, which for the most part is just cheap spikes (literally) in difficulty placed in a bunch of places and isn't actually fun or satisfying to play. The fact that they would make this extreme difficulty mandatory for story completion in a series that only tried to be this punishing once or twice (Death Egg in S2), says they clearly still don't quite get it. It's also made even worse when the story the campaign tries to tell is rushed and poorly thought out. It actually reminds me of my early fangame days where I would build a stage that was easy for me to beat, but too hard for everyone else, and often had to tone it down later upon this realization that my skill and experience with a gameplay mechanic should not reflect on what I expect from an average, or even above average players.

    But honestly? I just think the game was rushed to completion. As per usual with Sega. They did avoid most game destroying bugs, but they spent a lot of time building the solid foundation and then just spammed mid tier to poor content on top of it and left it at that. It makes me weary and frustrated about what happens next because it really does go to show Sonic Team can get closer, but will never quite reach the height that came before. And after playing both Wonder and Mania again this week, it becomes much more obvious that this game is still worse than the other classics. Even with great physics!

    I'm going to take a step back from this game and come back to it later. I've already taken a full day off from playing it, less than a week after launch. I will eventually do playthroughs of all 5 characters in the main campaign, but I may wait a bit. I don't know if I will ever bother finishing the Trip stages. I'd like to beat the Fang boss, but I have 0 desire to waste time on the rest of the campaign to get there, let alone deal with how hard that boss already is. I have even less desire to play the final Last Story boss at all, which has never happened to me in a mainline Sonic game before. Once the Sonic hacking contest content drops this week, I probably need a break from this IP for awhile anyway.

    I don't even know what to expect anymore going forward. I've been burned by this IP so many times since the 90s, and I feel like this game is the perfect example of them showing they will never really get it fully right. That they will only fix one problem we bring up, then create a bunch of new ones all over again, and this cycle will continue forever. And as a result? I should probably not be buying these games on launch at full price anymore. What a shame.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2023
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  6. jubbalub

    jubbalub

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    In case you're wondering where we're at within five days of release

     
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  7. If Sega won't give me a Rush sequel then mods are the next best thing
     
  8. Blue Blood

    Blue Blood

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    I get nostalgic for just about everything Sonic, given enough time. But I don't think I'll ever br nostalgic for the Rush sound effects and Griffith's drunken inflections. God Damn
     
  9. Starduster

    Starduster

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    Rush was the first Sonic game I owned iirc so sign me the fuck up for bitcrushed YEAH ALRIGHT COOL YES
     
  10. astroblema

    astroblema

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    It's a secret!
    Btw, I still don't understand what the fruits are for.
     
  11. Palas

    Palas

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    They're keys to access fruit stages, which in turn are only good for getting medals and a lot of rings (which means mre medals). So, medals. That's what they're for.
     
  12. Rosiero

    Rosiero

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    My husband and I just beat the regular campaign (didn't get all emeralds) and good god, a lot of these bosses are just not something I ever want to play again.
     
  13. Solid SOAP

    Solid SOAP

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    Just beat the base game! Thoughts:

    I really enjoyed this. Music, art, and bosses aside, I don't see why this game is so divisive. The levels are super solid with some nice exploration and platforming, and the package as a whole feels like a return to form without being overly derivative.

    I even enjoyed the final boss: it was a bit tough and couldve used a checkpoint in between phases, but I appreciated that it was a real challenge. We'll see what Trip's campaign has in store for me.

    I will definitely be replaying this with the rest of the cast, I enjoyed it quite a bit! It's sort of the NSMB of Sonic, for better or worse. It's not like the series' magnum opus, but the core of it is classic Sonic and I'm a bit surprised at the raw negativity on display here.
     
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  14. KaiGCS

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    Yeah, I've played at least a few hours every day since it came out. As usually happens with Sonic games, I'm loving it more the more I play it, which is especially nice here because I loved it a lot the first time.

    One thing that really impresses me with Superstars is the level design. Mania, wonderful as it is, could sometimes fall into that Sonic Advance pitfall where I'd wind up playing every level the same way regardless of who I was playing as.

    But because Superstars slides the scale a few notches toward "platformer," Tails, Knuckles, and ESPECIALLY Amy really have a chance to shine. There's so much depth to the layouts I seriously feel like I could play it for years and not see everything. I'm still finding loads of new stuff every time I play.

    And of course, I'm also having a great time going into Time Attack and finding ways to cut down my times as Sonic. Speed Jungle's vine rails are a particularly great example of how the game balances momentum-based gimmicks without relying on automation. I was in one of those spiral sections that are all over the Rush games, and it didn't even occur to me at first that I could just JUMP OUT OF IT, but you can and it works and MAN, I love this game!

    The levels feel well-designed to accommodate everyone, but they don't lose the thread of being SONIC levels too. Props to the level designers, these physics wouldn't shine if they hadn't nailed this too!
     
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  15. Beltway

    Beltway

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    In terms of just finding new objects to represent Special Stage portals, we could always go back to lampposts (Sonic 2); or repurpose other game objects/make new game objects (Advance 1 had the trampolines, Rush had the spinning generators).

    In terms of the techniques for accessing Special Stages, I think there's both old ideas that could be revisited or new ideas that haven't been done. We could go back to more of a performance-based approach like the older titles (reach the end of the goal with 50 rings), or take more of a collection-based approach like the handheld games (collect a number of objects in the level and reach the end). Maybe even repurpose certain mechanics as a gateway to Special Stages (like CD's time-traveling mechanic).

    As for new ideas that haven't been done--you could still have exploration, but have Special Stages access more embedded into the design/mechanics of the stages themselves, instead of being tied to standard game objects. Or (by the same coin) have Special Stage access tied to stage-specific/zone-specific missions and secrets. Or just have the Special Stages embedded within the levels/zones themselves (hidden and/or otherwise) instead of being in abstract locales.
     
  16. Cooljerk

    Cooljerk

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    The only boss in the entire game that gave me trouble was the boss fight against the battle mode robot, specifically the very last 2 hits when it's in that mech suit. The opening to hit the boss is extremely tight, and since you're dodging both the boss's charge and the random platforms, you can't really stay on the right side of the screen to set yourself for a hit. I died to it a couple of times. That boss was so incredibly annoying because I kept getting it down to one last hit normally but couldn't land the kill blow, until I realized I could use the red emerald power to basically launch myself into the boss from mid screen to land the final hit.
     
  17. Overlord

    Overlord

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    I was actually talking about Trip's mode, I'm trying to keep myself in the dark about the boss itself. Have skipped over a lot of the post so sorry if you were talking about that!
     
  18. Palas

    Palas

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    Sonic is reasonably light in performance metrics, if you think about it. So there are only so many performance-based methods they could come up with to access special stages. The metrics we traditionally see are:
    • Ring collection
    • Ring retention
    • Time
    • Score
    • Score chain
    • Object destruction
    • Object collection
    • Death count
    • Life count
    • Stage clearing
    Or any combination of these elements, per stage or total (strictly speaking, Sonic 1 has a combination of ring retention, stage clearing and object collection, even if you have to collect just one object and it's tied to ring retention; Advance 2 combines object collection and stage clearing; Sonic 2 has ring retention and object collection; Sonic 3 & Knuckles only has object collection). Exploration is a desired effect rather than a method. Unless you add another metric that (classic) Sonic has never used before, any method we can think of uses a combination of these elements.

    Big rings are very simple to understand, facilitate exploration and easily pique the player's interest. They're a good method. Sure I'd love to see new ones though (giant rings that disappear over time, getting 30000 score points in any stage and through any method, getting like 150 rings in a stage regardless of the amount of rings you're able to retain in the end, etc)
     
  19. Solid SOAP

    Solid SOAP

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    Agree with all of this. It's weird to me that there's discourse of this being some shitty ass game, it really is designed quite well. Could it be better? Absolutely, but it's a solid little package that absolutely emulates the feel of the classics with a new coat of paint.
     
  20. Snatcher42

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    ^ Agree. The core of classic sonic was the physics (which everyone says this nails) and the level design. Which honestly this nails too. Tons of routes for exploration yet still allowing for moments of speed. Top paths are generally fastest, but boring. Lower routes reward with creative design and special stages. And every character is catered to with unique areas only they can reach.

    The balance being off in Trip's story doesn't bother me much, as I mostly see it as bonus content. Shame the final boss is locked behind it, but you can roll credits with 5 different endings just from the main story mode, so that's enough replayability for me.

    Some late game bosses are over-cooked/need checkpoints, and the music and sound are hit-and-miss. Apart from that, this stands among (but not above) the classics for me. Could do without the broken co-op and underwhelming battle mode, though.
     
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