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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. HEDGESMFG

    HEDGESMFG

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    Just to be clear, I'm not saying the whole game is shitty. I think the main campaign was well designed and though some of the boss execution was flawed, I was pretty forgiving of those problems in the main campaign. I could see myself replaying it and enjoying it as each of the 5 characters (including Trip).

    I just think the second campaign completely dropped the ball and was rushed and poorly designed. Calling it bonus content is fine, but locking progression and making it mandatory when that was not usually the case before is a step in the wrong direction yet again. And it's even worse when it happened a few weeks after releasing a DLC that had borderline broken difficulty at a few points.

    If you struggled in the main campaign, I will happily joke 'gitgud' a bit, as it's clearly much more fairly balanced for most things.

    But Trip's campaign is just. plain. not. All they do is increase spike placement, death pits, and increase enemy placements to levels well beyond Dimps' old tricks. And they punish speed to an insane degree that almost no one can avoid on a first, or even multiple runs.

    It's beatable, but too much of beating it is based on either luck, or abusing the surprisingly unfun super form. That's just not good. Again, there are deaths against the Frozen Base Act 1 boss that are literally unavoidable because you have 0 control over the shape of the environment. That's just sloppy.
     
  2. Solid SOAP

    Solid SOAP

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    I'm not far into Trip's story yet, but I can already see where it overstays its welcome. It definitely was a poor choice to make that a requirement for completing the story, instead of locking it behind Chaos Emeralds instead.

    As it stands, the base game is a jolly good time. Trip's mode is fine so far, but I can see where it might get crazy.
     
  3. KaiGCS

    KaiGCS

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    I liked Trip's Story, but I think it would've been better if they'd swapped the unlock order:

    Beating the Main Story should unlock the Last Story, and beating that should unlock Trip's (as well as unlock Trip for the main mode/time attack). Because yeah, her campaign basically takes Knuckles' "hard mode" campaign in S3&K and cranks the volume ALL the way up, and so it would fit better as "For Super Players"-style bonus content. Plus the Last Story wasn't anywhere close to being as hard as most of what's in Trip's.

    It does help that your emerald powers from the main mode carry over to Trip, though. I was able to cheese almost all of her bosses by turning into a dragon.
     
  4. Dissent

    Dissent

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    Not a fan of the PC port.



    Beyond the silly fan animation bug, spindash doesn't work well at all at refresh rates above 60fps, there's frequent hitching on my powerful AMD rig when loading new assets and there's a pacing warble in the audio I can hear in my studio headphones that is not present on the Switch version. Here's hoping for updates... :(
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2023
  5. Solid SOAP

    Solid SOAP

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    Agreed with this. Again, haven't completed her story, but that type of content would absolutely be "post-game" content in any other game. Mario does this like every time; the first half of the game is the easy stuff, then the back half of the game unlocks after you hit the credits and the difficulty ramps up.
     
  6. Rlan

    Rlan

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    Has there been an extraction of the artwork for the digital art book yet?
     
  7. JaxTH

    JaxTH

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    Jack shit.
    Not that I know of.
     
  8. President Zippy

    President Zippy

    Zombies rule Belgium! Member
    Thanks for letting me know all these youtube reviews were hawt taek hooey! I went ahead and bought the Switch version a few hours ago and played it with my 8 year-old cousin for about 3 hours, and we had the time of our lives! We only made it through the 5th zone so far, and I'm pretty dang impressed my cousin managed to get the chaos emerald in the mid-late special stages himself. The special stages were hard, and yet we got each emerald on the first try so far, albeit usually with less than 3 seconds left.

    My review of Sonic Superstars on the Switch: awesome experience! 9.99/10!

    The music was also better in my opinion than the youtube comments made it out to be, and I thought the graphical style was a breath of fresh air: a classic Sonic game with 3D graphics and good controls. The co-op gameplay was way less frustrating than the New Super Mario Bros. series, considering you have unlimited lives and don't die so long as you have at least 1 ring. As always, the levels have several times as much replay value than any other 2D sidescroller because of all the paths you can take and the fun of speedrunning.

    There were a good bit of glitches, e.g. the drowning countdown would start shortly after beating an act 2 boss several times, even in a couple of levels without water, but the game was playable and a boatload of fun. I'm not as bothered by video game glitches as "gaming journalists", I take a small amount of joy in finding them when they don't crash/softlock the game or cause me to lose in some capacity. Some levels had forgettable music, but I thought they were better than the forgettable originals and some of the lazier remixes in Mania.

    I put over 40 hours into Mania in the first month I had it, yet I think I like Superstars more.
     
  9. Solid SOAP

    Solid SOAP

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    Even if Superstars isn't as good as Mania, it's at least more novel. We haven't had a full game of new zones in a 2D game since... Sonic 4 Episode II? And that wasn't even a proper classic game.
     
  10. Chimpo

    Chimpo

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  11. Gestalt

    Gestalt

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    Thoughts after beating normal mode (mostly as Sonic or Tails):
    • Once you get past the first four levels, ergo, all the levels from the demo, the game picks up quite a bit. I wonder if pre-launch reviewers even got that far into the game.
    • Eggman is pretty darn evil in this game. There are places you wouldn't survive for a second if it was the real world.
    • The skydiving section in Press Factory Act 2 got me goosebumps.
    • I suppose Golden Capital is where all the rings come from?
    • Sonic Superstars leaves some potential behind, but it's nowhere near as bad as some people make it out to be. In fact, I think this is peak Sonic.
    • Sonic looks too cute.
    • The soundtrack referencing older games wasn't necessary.
    • Use Avatar during the bosses. I mean, come on, it's even in the animated intro.
     
  12. Starduster

    Starduster

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    Nah, I was talking about something else. :')

    Godspeed with that mess, though...
     
  13. bombatheechidna

    bombatheechidna

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    Despite all the complaints, classic Sonic is eating good right now. You have this game, and the SHC today with Sonic Megamix Mania. I’ve been busy playing Trip’s story which is fun and difficult at the same time. It reminds me s3&k master edition. This may bother some people but I like the difficulty. Every other classic game has been great but easy to me.
     
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  14. Shaddy the guy

    Shaddy the guy

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    I largely enjoyed Trip's playthrough. It doesn't really subtract anything from the normal levels, and it's clear they understood the character and design they were working with. I'll say it: without limited lives, I feel more comfortable with things that would be called "cheap design" in other contexts. Trial-and-error design is a lot more tolerable when there's not such a severe consequence for it, and it made it feel almost like the devs were playing with the audience's expectations, messing with players on purpose. A game that doesn't kick me while I'm down actually should be allowed to do that sometimes, to be honest. You're never going to know where the first mimic is in Dark Souls, but once you do, it'll never get you again.

    Now, I think this is all still best left to an extra mode, I'm only saying this because it's not the main game, but I was surprised so many people were down on it when most of the times I died it felt less aggravating and more just funny, like the fact that they made the stages that hostile felt like a little joke between the devs and me.

    Can't say the same for the final boss, though. Yeah, insta-kill hazards on something that already takes for-fucking-ever is not my idea of fun. I can only appreciate being fucked with when my time is not actively being wasted.
     
  15. Zephyr

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    I think a ball-busting version of the campaign is a fun idea as an extra mode. But if the true ending is locked behind completing it, I think it's hard to consider it an extra mode. This is one of the things I've always held against the 00's 3D Sonic games, making me play some shit I otherwise wouldn't care to bother with just to see the actual ending of the game. I finished Press Factory last night, which I found to be an absolutely miserable chore. The only reason I'm even bothering to continue subjecting myself to something I'm clearly having a consistently bad time with is to get that true ending. I can't wait to be done with it and never touch it again.

    The level design and enemy placement itself might end up eliciting the same reaction from me ("okay that hit/death was pretty funny") if these stages didn't have more tedious versions of already tedious bosses at the end of them. I'm not just trying to reach the end of the comically-difficult stage, I'm also trying to gather resources to speed up the slog of a boss at the end of it (rings so I can turn Super and sometimes kill them faster), which turns the ostensibly-comical difficulty into something not comical at all. It adds another layer of frustration because I'm very likely to lose all of those rings every 3 steps I take. Which then incentivizes me to turn Super during the stage and hope I can gather rings faster than I lose them. Which would be less annoying if Trip's Super form didn't control like ass. Clone doesn't work nearly as well to end bosses quickly when they move into the background or block incoming attacks after a brief window of vulnerability most of the time.
     
  16. Palas

    Palas

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    Yeah, if the final-final boss that concludes the story is locked behind a harder version of the normal game, then there is no extra mode. The whole thing is the main campaign. I don't think anyone here has ever referred to Knuckles' story in S3&K as "not the main game".

    Which makes the "emerald powers are optional" claim kind of dubious, too. Anyway, I don't mind that it's cheap and hard. I don't even particularly mind that the game forces you to use emerald powers at this point:

    When the game asked me to use avatar twice in a row and I felt compelled to know what kind of path was behind it, enough to look for a checkpoint and backtrack all the way)

    But the whole thing just feels like a chore. And, in the most OHKO-intensive bosses like Frozen Base Act 1 or, well, Egg Fortress Act 2, the amount of rings you get in the stage doesn't even matter at all. So who cares. It's the least engaging approach I can think of.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2023
  17. DigitalDuck

    DigitalDuck

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    I borrowed a friend's Switch to have a few playthroughs of the game, because it's going to be a third of the price in a month and I'm poor.

    Comments spoilered mostly for length - the only real spoilers are what you unlock on beating the game, and that one level that's different:

    Physics, like Mania, aren't 1:1 with any of the classics, but they have the same feel for the most part. The biggest difference is that it's harder to cling to curved ceilings now. Crushing seems much rarer than Mania but I think that's more a product of more open level design.

    Sonic and Tails have movesets straight from Mania, although the spindash is a little weaker. Tails having a fast descent option is nice. Knuckles is considerably nerfed from past games, and can no longer bounce really high from badniks and monitors, nor can pick up lots of speed while gliding. Amy's double jump works well but the hammer rush is weird; it's fine as a move but doesn't feel right controls-wise. Trip is just Knuckles + Amy without the downsides, which works in her story but renders those two obsolete otherwise.

    The emerald powers are wildly inconsistent in usefulness. Avatar gets you a free hit on a boss and is otherwise useless. Vision gets you some free rings sometimes and is otherwise useless. Ivy is basically the Rocket Wisp with extra steps. Extra gives you the homing attack as Sonic, the tail swipe as Tails, the punch as Knuckles, and a hammer throw as Amy. Slow is cool with a lot of uses, and of course we can't have an Oshima game without time manipulation, but it lasts far too long for something that can't be cancelled. Meanwhile Bullet and Water basically just turn your character into Chaotix Charmy above/below water respectively and let you cheese the entire game. Most of these don't tie into the environment in any way and it's generally a downgrade from elemental shields, especially the way Mania did it.

    The level design is great, arguably the best part of the game and giving S3K a run for its money. It basically combines the best of S3K and CD, being generally directed towards the end without being pushed there, and having tons of opportunities for exploration, most being rewarded in some way. It's also a good difficulty curve, gradually getting harder throughout the game, with the end being quite challenging without feeling unfair (cyber mouse notwithstanding). However, it's completely lacking in character-specific routes; this is probably because of a combination of the co-op mechanic and the emerald powers, but it removes a major reason to replay the game that S3K and Mania had.

    Objects, again like Mania, are almost entirely taken from old games, but in combinations which are new and change things up. There are some new mechanics in there too, especially in the cyber zone, and they all mesh together well.

    Bosses are also great, I have no idea why people are saying they're awful, especially given the last classic game was Mania. They feel like more advanced Sonic CD bosses with more opportunities to attack them; almost every attack phase of every boss has a weak spot, although a couple don't and drag on for a long time as a result (especially the final bosses).

    Superstars is fairly stable. I've seen bugs reported by others but didn't encounter any on my playthrough, which is probably a first for a Sonic game. It's almost alienating.

    It's also a fairly good length; doing only the required acts nets you 19 acts across 11 zones in total, about the same as Sonic 2 - however, the acts themselves are closer to S3K in length, so it works out a little longer. Plus there are another 4 character-specific acts and about the same number of bonus fruit acts to bump up the count. Unfortunately the acts are seemingly randomly allocated between zones, leaving some zones overstaying their welcome after the third act while others you wish had more than just the one.

    Trip's story functions similarly to Mania's Encore mode, except instead of the level design getting better, it gets worse, and it doesn't have any visual differences to set it apart. Still, it does feature new levels, and I'm happy to see this becoming a regular feature in Sonic games.

    Graphics are nice but fairly generic. I think if the cel shader was on by default and for everything it'd look a lot more unique. Music has highs and lows, and the Sonic 4 tracks need to go, but Pinball Carnival is a bop. Sound design is all over the place and some sound effects are just far too loud compared to others.

    Bonus stages have some nice ideas but at the end of the day they're a poor recreation of Sonic 1's special stages again, for a reward I don't care about. Special stages are fun and new and I was happy to do the blue rings for more, but not good enough for me to actively seek them out.

    Finally, the Fantasy Zone homage. It's fun, I like Fantasy Zone. But if I wanted to play Fantasy Zone, I'd... play Fantasy Zone? Why is it in a Sonic game, in the middle of my playthrough? When can we have a Sonic game that doesn't have a genre change halfway through?

    I've compared to Mania throughout so let's do a final "who did it better?"

    Physics: Mania
    Moves: Mania
    Level design: Superstars
    Objects: tied
    Bosses: Superstars
    Stability: Superstars
    Length: tied
    Graphics: Mania
    Music: Mania
    Sound: Mania
    Bonus stages: Mania
    Special stages: Mania
    Weird gimmick stage: Superstars

    I think how much you like it will depend entirely on which aspects you find more important. It's as hit and miss as Mania, it just hits and misses in different places.

    Where it sits in my placement of classic Sonic games:

    Sonic 3 & Knuckles
    Sonic CD
    Sonic Advance
    Sonic Superstars
    Sonic Mania
    Sonic the Hedgehog
    Sonic the Hedgehog (8-bit)
    Sonic the Hedgehog 2

    Marginally above Mania for me, and it's entirely down to level design and bosses. The presentation really lets it down though - the best of both games would be absolutely incredible.
     
  18. Mastered Realm

    Mastered Realm

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    Lapper compared everything and the stuff is actually 99.9% there. Accurate down to the frames where the animations change.
     
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  19. Cooljerk

    Cooljerk

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    This has nothing to do with how powerful your rig is, nor asset loading. The problem is actually that you're playing on windows. This is *shader compliation stutter,* you experience it every time the game has to compile a new shader. It's a major problem with Windows (or epic games store if you bought this from there). No matter how "poweful" your CPU is, you will get this stutter, because the CPU itself is what compiles the shader, and it takes real world time to do. It's a "nine women can't make a baby in 1 month" problem.

    The reason this is a *windows* problem (or EGS problem) is because this problem doesn't exist in linux, when using steam. Steam has a built in feature which will collect, share, and pre-compile *VULKAN* shaders before the game starts, so you never experience shader compilation stutter. Only problem is it *only* works with Vulkan, and nearly every game on Windows uses DirectX instead.

    HOWEVER, the way Steam Proton works, the technology Valve uses to let people play Windows-only games in Linux, is that it uses something called DXVK, a wrapper that turns DirectX calls into vulkan calls. So, in linux, *EVERY* game uses Vulkan, and thus, *EVERY* game can use their shader sharing technology. Example, when I start Sonic Superstars, I get a window that pops up informing me it's grabbing all the correct shaders before the game begins.

    TL;DR: play in linux, using steam, and those stutters will go away. The probelm isn't the game, it's the operating system and store you bought it from.

    edit:
    shader.png

    This is an example of the vulkan shader pre-processing popup that you ONLY get with Linux. It's a combination of pre-compiling shaders, and downloading pre-cached shaders from similar builds that Steam finds. It only pops up when the game itself changes, as it keeps the shader downloaded until you remove them. On the Steam Deck, you can actually see how much space these shader downloads take in the storage option:

    freed_space.jpeg

    The yellow bar is the pre-compiled shaders, you can manually delete them if you'd like but you'll have to wait again when you boot the game as though it was the first time.

    Here is the option under Steam settings to enable or disable shader pre-caching. Also note that, technically, if a game in windows is using Vulkan, it can also pre-cache. It's just that almost nothing in windows uses Vulkan, where, by design, *everything* in linux uses Vulkan, even DirectX games.

    shaders.png

    Again, TL;DR: The problem is windows (and not using steam), not the game.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2023
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  20. Iggy for Short

    Iggy for Short

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    Exactly. Trip's Story is just a slog in the context they present it to you: You've just finished beating the main story, you've probably gotten all or most of the Emeralds, and it's not unlikely you thought you'd be fighting a Super boss by now. But instead, you're asked to do the whole thing over again, with layouts that make it harder to hold onto rings now that you finally have a reason to care, and the bosses waste twice as much of your time. And then it's not even an actual story. It's a mandatory Encore Mode without the fun gimmick or visual identity.

    Which is a shame, because I feel bad being down on the game when I remember the fun parts. But that drag is the latter half of the game.