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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. Lambda

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    I played the game at 180hz and cannot corroborate that. No issues with Speed Jungle AFAIK...

    What kind of issues are people having exactly?

    Totally real people playing a co-op game totally naturally. I always freak out and hug my bros after I beat the third zone of a Sonic game.
     
  2. Starduster

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    Shoutouts to them having to warp everyone to one place because there's no online co-op in this game.

    ...

    Oh, I get it, it's to advertise how three players will constantly be needing to warp back into the action because classic Sonic isn't conducive to co-op multiplayer!
     
  3. Antheraea

    Antheraea

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    this smells like framerate-tied physics to me, a pretty common issue in video games but I thought solved already.

    For example, the OG Skyrim's physics will shit themselves if you play the game above 60 FPS...and if you're v-synced to a hz that is above that too (thus, while the FPS is capped to your refresh rate, it's still capped above 60 FPS). Enjoy mammoths, enemies, and you suddenly flying up into the air and then plummeting to your death!

    This came to mind because if you're playing the game above 60hz and you've vsynced it so you have no screen-tearing, it's still above 60 FPS in all non-chugging situations.
     
  4. bombatheechidna

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    I finished the game on my Nintendo Switch Lite. It is by far the most glitchy experience I had with this game compared to PS5 lol. It still ran smooth for the most part. The visuals are what you’d expect from a game ported to Switch. I don’t know if I’ll actually do the Trip campaign again. We’ll see I guess. I’ve played the game everyday since release and I’m a little burnt out. I need a break.
     
  5. jubbalub

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    The only noticeable difference I can see is that spindash charging is busted at refresh rates above 60hz. It doesn't register inputs 100% of the time.
     
  6. Felik

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    So I've finally got to finish the story mode. If anything, the game reminds me a lot of Sonic 4 Episode 2. Just like that game, this one is the game of no real highs or lows. The two zones that actually felt good to play through were speed jungle and egg fortress. The rest were merely OK. Bosses were fine for the most part except that one Fang boss which made me quit the game for a week and a half because of how bs it was.
    Absolutely is not worth 60 bucks and I am kinda shocked SEGA had the nerve to ask this much knowing the quality of the end product.

    Also is it just me or Egg Fortress 2 boss phase 1 is super unintuitive? When the boss is down to about half health the blue rockets start to spawn offscreen on the side in a way that lets the boss deflects them when you hit them, so you have to make him launch them when you're facing his side and immediately start running behind his back to reach the blue rocket. Took me a while to figure out because up until that point I would just run behind his back right away and wait for the rockets.

    Music is a mixed bag with the worst tunes being faux-genesis ones. What surprised me the most was the halfway through the playthrough I came to peace with the idea that Jun just forgot how the real genesis instruments sound like and there's no one around him to remind how they actually sound like until I've heard Frozen Base Zone Act Tails which not only is a nice catchy tune but also actually uses proper genesis instruments. What the hell?
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2023
  7. I really like the music in this game Tbh. I hope the team now build on this and give a sequel in a couple of years time.
     
  8. Gestalt

    Gestalt

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    Imagine a sequel and all of its music sounds like it's coming out af a Genesis. That would be hilarious. Add an option to toggle between how the music should sound like and Amen.

    Snares aren't the problem, though — some melodies sound just too dated and parts are repeating too quickly (Knuckles' Golden Capital act, menu/hub world music. I could listen to the standard battle theme from Shining Force for hours, there MUST have something gone wrong. :(
     
  9. Tbh I like the music to sound more like Sonic CD Jap/Pal tracks, those were so good. In fact, I would love to see Ohshima-san also go back to Sonic CD's time travel aspect for gameplay too.
     
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  10. Sai Start Marker

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    I've probably said this before but my dream consists of Ohshima and Yasuhara (do it, Iizuka) supervising Evening Star creating a full blown Sonic CD sequel. I cannot express how many times I would "dip" in a numerical figure, if this came to be.
     
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  11. That would be so good. A Sonic CD 2 would be awesome
     
  12. Snowbound

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    I was thinking a similar thing, that it would be great for a Superstar sequel to both involve Yasuhara and expand on Sonic CD-esque time travel. I’d honestly be down for a full blown Arzest/Evening Star/Yasuhara colab. There’s a risk of there being too many cooks in the kitchen but I could see the increased staff size being used to make a MASSIVE Superstars sequel (11 zones, ALL of which have 2 acts + past/present/good-future/bad-future variants and 7 new emerald powers).

    Since we’re daydreaming I’d like to make a prediction about dlc we could see for superstars:
    - Metal Sonic and the other metals as playable skins in single player. Custom robot creations also playable in single player with the “zap” ability as their unique emerald power.
    - Mighty, Ray and Fang as dlc characters with unique abilities. I could see each of them getting a unique act based on their abilities (especially since Sky Temple, Sand Sanctuary and Cyber Station could all use 2nd acts)
    - To align with the release of the third sonic movie, movie character skins for sonic, tails, knuckles and shadow (whose movie skin would apply to mighty). If Amy appears in the third movie she could also get a skin.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2023
  13. HEDGESMFG

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    After giving the game over another week to cool off, I've tried to replay just the main campaign...

    And honestly? The novelty wore off too quickly. I'm even more let down now. I just want to go back to playing other games.

    The stages do have some expansive and interesting design choices, and the physics for Sonic, Tails and Amy are good, but the game isn't really (as) fun to replay, which means like a lot of 2000s era 2D games, I just won't come back to it very often, unlike the other classics, and that feels like a real letdown.

    1. Those Blue Special Rings often force you out of the stage more easily than you'd expect. The decision to 'not' let them give you 50 rings often hurts the flow of speedrunning, or even just blasting through the mode in super form. I could live without the extra rings, but the forced special stage entrace that can't be disabled? That hurts the flow so much.
    2. The music being mixed really, really hurts the game's experience more as time goes on. Tracks beyond the first 4 zones are very, very mixed in quality, so the fun of rushing through the stage while hearing your favorite music isn't there.
    3. At first, I found the incentive to hunt for coins a bit novel, but as time goes on I realized it just wasn't really worth the grind. Unlocking the metal forms for a forgettable battlemode with a low number of players and a mandatory 3rd party service on PC is an absolute buzzkill, given that exploration is almost exclusively tied to it.
    4. I really, really love classic 2D Knuckles, and the little nerfs he gets really messes with him. I don't want to say he's horrible, but he is just less fun to use, and it's even more noticeable if you do a lot of speedruns with him like I do. His climb, the slow glide, the forced landing, the weird wall bounce thing he does, it's too different from how he plays in any other incarnation if you know the other 2D games, and I just don't enjoy it.
    5. Bosses ruin the flow of the stage, as others have said, which really hurts speedrunning and is a buzzkill compared to what a skilled player could adapt to in prior games. And little things like forced super de-transformation before the fight don't help.
    6. Some of the difficult boss choices are because the game wants to force you to use emerald powers more often, but they just aren't as intuitive as other speed/momentum skills were in past 1 button control systems. They're not horrible, but they're too complex compared to the simplicity of prior Sonic gameplay. The Drop Dash became a new staple we didn't know we needed. These are nothing close to that.
    7. This is going to sound silly, but even things like instantly allowing you to switch characters between stages doesn't work with the flow of the classic games. It's not wrong, but I feel it actually hurts the incentive and flow of save files with single character playthroughs. A subtle and seemingly stupid thing, but in a weird way, it kills some of the replayability incentive.
    8. I never want to play the Trip mode or Last Story ever again. Trip herself is fine, but the unfun Last Story mode kills some of the fun of just rushing through the game's "story" even if you skip Trip's campaign, but it also feels wrong to not have a super fight at the end if I don't play it.

    What does all this mean? Sadly, it appears that Sonic Team is never going to deliver any kind of real Mania successor, and that means this is more or less the best they can do. I wanted a new game with 2D physics and original stages, and I got it and... it's just not as good as the classics were, despite what they got right, and there's no reason to assume it will ever get better than this. With Sonic 4, the game was critically panned and that at least got them to acknowledge the flaws and eventually pivot. Here? They already did the best thing they could do by bringing in fan devs for Mania, but that's off the table now. With this game, Ohshima is reasonably competent still, but he needs Yasuhara to balance him out, and the chances of Yas returning as a map designer are very, very unlikely. The game also hasn't been panned nearly as hard, and so I expect it to sell well enough that they won't fix any of these problems. They wanted to make the game this way.

    And even if they did try to pivot and bring Yas back? Sega and the price tag seems to mandate gimmicks that get in the way, thus our current predicament.

    I feel a bit like how I felt after 06, that the magic and the chances of them ever getting it right are just gone. However, in some ways this feels much worse, because they are indeed so close, but have no real intention of getting any closer.

    Unless I see them directly address some of these issues, I'm not buying SuperStars 2 at launch again. Heck, maybe not even at all. Maybe it's time I just stick with the fan/hacking scene entirely.

    Frontiers also got botched by unfair challenges and poor design choices in DLC 3, so same idea, they came close, but messed it up enough that it brought down the whole thing.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2023
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  14. Starduster

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    One thing I don’t think we’ve really discussed since the game came out: That stuff about the possibilities of 3D was kind of horseshit, huh? Not like we didn’t see it for the marketing spin it was when Iizuka first said it, but the game barely uses 3D space more than the sprite-based Mania, a game which looks far better.

    And honestly, Classic Sonic doesn’t need a full 3D space to be enhanced. That’s straight up antithetical to what we expect from this style of gameplay, and the best use of 3D in these games comes within the context of using layers, something that can be done perfectly well in sprite based games.

    Of course, I recognise that pixel art can limit the appeal of a game among those who don’t appreciate good art and aesthetics (yes, I’m bitter), so I’d like the follow-up to this to have hand drawn graphics. Sure, it’d require intensive work (can’t say how much relative to pixel art or models, not a game dev), but look at Sonic 2 HD - that game is very faithful to Ohshima’s art style and it looks absolutely gorgeous.

    With how much iconic art this series has produced between Ohshima, Uekawa and Karasuno, it’s shocking that Sonic still hasn’t dabbled in a game with hand drawn artwork. One of my most persistent wants at this point is a Sonic Advance/Battle remake collection that uses hand drawn art with Uekawa directing.
     
  15. Blue Blood

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    3D art is more versatile to work with. There are no issues with scaling, no need to draw entirely new art just for a change in perspective, more versatility when it comes to creating environments and plenty more. Superstars barely leans into the realm of potential gameplay benefits of 3D though, and gets carried away with some things that I think you're unlikely to see in 2D because of the sheer amount of effort involved (such as the excessive boss animations between hits).

    You hit the disappointing nail on the unappreciative head though; pixel art is seen as cheap and old fashioned by many, and that can severely limit appeal when creating something new. And whilst 2D hand-drawn art may not be seen that way, it's a hell of a lot more labour-intensive to produce. You need a good art direction too. It still needs to catch enough peoples eyes, particularly younger audiences if we're talking about Sonic, to be recognised as something other than a novelty. There's a reason why we don't see many games with hand-drawn 2D art. Cuphead is an exception, whilst the Rayman Origins series died with the second hand and then got relegated to shitty mobile asset flips.

    3D is just a safe standard these days, not only for games but also for a lot of movies. SEGA wanted to sell a 2D game at a AAA price (or close to it). Even though I think Mania is easily worth more than Superstars, there's no way that it could have been put on the shelf for £50 looking like something from 1996.

    FWIW, I think Superstars is a very pretty game. The character animations are the best the series has ever seen; I love the effects uses for jumping, rolling and running. They really did the original sprite art justice with all of those. The level art is nice too, but tends to go a bit too much into the "cartoony and simplistic" direction for my ideals. Like, Lagoon City is incredibly lacking in detail compared to all of its 2D analogues and even the concept art. And the backgrounds are often more empty and less layered than the deep paralex layers of the Classics. Some of the backgrounds in Superstars don't even scroll, which is just baffling.

    Tl;Dr 3D is fine and is virtually necessary for Cleric Sonic games to be perceived as modern and contemporary, but Superstars doesn't really take advantage of it to any meaningful degree. It could be recreated in 2D and most nothing wuld be lost.
     
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  16. Starduster

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    Yeah, I do think the character models and most of the animations for them are top shelf and a very strong translation of Ohshima's art to 3D, and I realise that 3D is largely the best balanced approach to this sort of stuff at this point, but even so, if they're going to stick with it, it could be pushed so much further both in terms of game design and animation for Sonic.

    Like we continue to gush about the animations for main cast, the way the running animations are done in particular, but none of that love is given to any other characters in the game, which pretty much animate the same as enemies and bosses in Sonic 4 Ep II did. What we have is competent enough, but the only things on screen that are interesting to watch are the playable characters themselves. If they're dead set on 3D, they need to push it further and look at the kind of stuff ArcSys does. Give me bosses taking big swings at Sonic with crazy smears, let Eggman animate as naturally as everybody else (because imo he's the worst affected, with all his animations being stiff and looking like something released in the mid 00s compared to Sonic and co.

    And just let the levels use 3D more. 2D can already do all the stuff with foreground and background layers that we've seen in Superstars without having to produce entirely new resources, but 3D Classic Sonic has the potential to do some crazy MC Escher shit with loops and level geometry to really hone in on that surrealistic style that I'd argue hasn't truly been seen since Sonic CD, maybe even the original game.
     
  17. Deep Dive Devin

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    I'm kind of shocked at how much the visuals have stuck around as a topic with this game, honestly. I've mostly stuck with "adequate" this whole time, because I'm thinking/hoping that this is the start of a new wave of smaller, more quickly and economically-produced Sonic games, and I think that for a project that was likely afforded little time and money, they used everything they had pretty effectively. The biggest flaws with the game are the bosses and the inconsistent soundtrack, and the biggest complaint I have about the art direction is that I want them to get weirder with it. These tropical islands and industrial factories aren't the exact same that we're used to, but we can do other things!
     
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  18. HEDGESMFG

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    The problem is that in the 90s, the Genesis Sonic titles were more than adequate, they were absolute top tier. About the only way Sonic was objectively worse than Mario was game length, but the replayability and complexity of the stages and use of multiple characters with different abilities balanced that out. Super Mario World just plain had more content, but Sonic 3&K (its truest counterpart) had much more vibrant countent from beginning to end, including stage complexity, visual detail, soundtrack size, and even soundtrack complexity.

    That's not to say SMW wasn't a legendary game in its own right, it obviously was. But the sheer number of levels and hidden secrets within them was the strength, and of course the fact that it dropped around 91/92 and Sonic more or less had to catch up to release a game close to it in scale.

    But from sheer technical POVs? Sonic was always at the top back then. Sonic CD itself was also a technical masterpiece from the era, even if it had some notable gameplay flaws. And Sonic 1 and 2 both pushed the envelope in their own right with each release in many ways too.

    SEGA lost that edge after the Dreamcast and SA1/SA2. They've released some very pretty games, but they can't use this IP to push any boundaries anymore, including in either 2D or 3D design. They simply make... games that are, adequate now. And sadly, Mario Wonder does indeed flip the script and surpass superstars as a technically superior, massive and innovative title now in just about every way.

    And that's just a damn shame, not because we shouldn't get a good mario game (they had to compensate for 15+ years of middle of the road 2D titles themselves), but because Sonic could still be even better in theory, but there are now clearly too many corporate and market obstacles in the way to let the franchise reach full potential. Nintendo finally removed those barriers, and delivered. SEGA got closer with Mania, but went backwards yet again in most other respects.

    The game tries to be too many things, but never truly excels at any of them, hence it disappoints in just about every area. It's serviceable, but forgettable, and that's something none of the other 2D mainline classic titles were. And there is no one person to blame for it either, just a publisher that can't get their act together and conduct the players making this title in true harmony.
     
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  19. Deep Dive Devin

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    I think you're overstating the difference in quality between these games.
     
  20. KaiGCS

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    I would personally agree. I've been playing Classic Sonic for well over half my life, and when I'm twice as old as I am now I'm positive I'll still be playing all of them, including Superstars. I mean, I guess time will tell whether it holds up the way the older games have, but in the moment, I think it's more than strong enough to stand alongside them and to stand out on its own merits.

    I do agree that I'd like to see the next one get aesthetically *weirder*, although Cyber Station was pretty awesome.