Sonic's Gameplay Style Debate: Adventure vs. Generations

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by XD375, Sep 15, 2012.

Which gameplay style is best?

  1. Adventure series

    16.7%
  2. Generations

    48.5%
  3. Both styles are equally crap - Sonic still hasn't found his footing in 3D

    4.5%
  4. Both styles are equally good

    30.3%
  1. Full Metal Sonic

    Full Metal Sonic

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    It's really just how it feels (skating vs actually running) and how it looks.

    In Adventure 2, for example, when you push the control stick forward, Sonic "gets his footing" and slowly gains speed; he takes many steps before reaching that "max running speed" animation. Instead of simply going faster, he moves faster.

    In Generations and Unleashed, he kinda jogs for a bit, and then when he reaches that max speed, he's taking these long, striding steps. It doesnt look quite right. As for feel, well......try running in a circle in both games, and you'll see what I mean.



    It just feels like Sonic is actually on the ground in those early games. He has weight to him.
     
  2. Palas

    Palas

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    Good metaphor, but then again I think we all have, at some point, started to assume that "better" in fact means "the one you prefer" for all that matters. So then it ends up being a question of whether rally races are more exciting than F1 races or not. Which comes down to opinion.

    And makes level design matter, by the way.
     
  3. Aerosol

    Aerosol

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    Then I'll change his analogy, as rally cars and F1 cars are far too dissimilar. Adventure and Generations aren't that different, Dario. Exploration can work just fine in Generations if a level was designed in that way. Nothing about the game mechanics prevent that from being not only possible, but enjoyable. We've been tilting analogue sticks less to go slower since Super Mario 64. I think we can manage to do the same in Generations.

    But there isn't any denying that the game mechanics in Generations only really blossom when you're going full tilt (something I'd argue the game has in common with the classics, but whatever). Thus, Generations is more like a GT car. It is GREAT at going fast, and can perform functionally as a daily driver if you've got the cash and the ego. Adventure is more like a car in a Touring Car Championship. It can go pretty quick itself, but it's nowhere near as quick or as controllable at higher speeds as the GT car cause it wasn't designed that way. However, it's a better daily driver. Mileage and all that.

    Both cars can drive on the same race tracks (and often do!). Personally? I'd go with the GT car. Going slowly is supposed to be an opportunity for challenge and skill. When that straightaway opens up, I want to be able to gun the engine without a care in the world.
     
  4. Mr Lange

    Mr Lange

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    The preference of gameplay accounts for things both subjective and objective. Its very hard to sort out the subjective things, but the objective things can give us a much better direction on the assessment. The indication of better gameplay as far as I'm concerned is how much freedom is given to the player within a solid framework of rules. That becomes fun when elements of challenge and course are introduced into this framework and the amount of fun is based on the developers efforts versus the player's interest. It becomes subjective when you get to that part; before that is the freedom and framework. I start there because that's where the objective factors exist and can be analyzed.
    This is why I'm in favor of the Adventure games. In short, there's noticeably more emphasis in how much coordination the player has over Sonic, and all the other characters in the Adventure games. The terrain is more "open" and the game is more interested in the player's activity. It is more organic and free.
     
  5. Dario FF

    Dario FF

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    The thing is, I'd argue it can also be pretty free and organic when it's not really constrained by the level design and invisible walls of the regular game. For example, this really old video I had. In comparison though, the levels need to be bigger scale to achieve something similar.

    Mind you, it doesn't have enough polish for something as free-form as this when it comes to camera and the slope physics, but it can also try to fulfill the same purpose. It just needs different level design though.
     
  6. Palas

    Palas

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    Precisely why I'm in favor of the Adventure game, too. But, as far as frameworks, challenges and developers' efforts go, they can bend the player's interest. That's where fun is created and becomes kind of objective or at least out of the common thrilling sensation of a rollercoaster ride. For example, if you hide an object and make it so that one would only find it going out of his or her way and somewhat by chance, the fun in finding it does not depend on the player's interest, only in the momentaneous feeling of uniqueness and displacement.

    Like the statue in Wacky Workbench.

    But anyway, "fun tricks" like these can be done easier with the Adventure style. Generations can obviously do that, so much so that it did, but it doesn't look like the game was made for this. There is this video DarioFF has posted, sure is interesting and shows potential, but still feels like it would be much harder to put elements of risk vs. reward in an environment like this. Not only because of the boost, but because it feels like Sonic would be completely unable to focus on a point of interest due to his moveset and speed.
     
  7. jasonchrist

    jasonchrist

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    Gotta be Generations, though I wish it had tighter controls. Check out the fucking paths on this bastard! On playthrough vids, Generations modern levels looked linear as fuck but in reality they're not, in fact I was blown away.

    No serious complaints from me about Sonic Adventure 1 either, I fucking despise 2 though and everything else up to Generations.

    In short then, my answer is an amalgamation of fucking both.
     
  8. Chaos Warp

    Chaos Warp

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    I think that both styles have certain things over the other, and certain things that they do worse then the other. Adventure style (if I judge by SA1, which I consider superior in Sonic gameplay over SA2) has better low speed controls, more openness, and better overall pacing. Modern Sonic is obviously more refined, has better controls at high speed (in the 2 adventure games, when Sonic was moving faster because of a dashpad or something, it got really twitchy), has overall better level design, (despite it lacking as much openness as SA1) and a bigger adrenaline rush. As for which one I personally prefer? Modern style. It's simply more technically refined, even though I feel some of SA1's ideals were better. I honestly think they should try to mix elements of both into one gameplay style. For example, they could take the base handling of SA1, implement some sort of nerfed boost (I figured one that accelerates instead of just sending you to top speed) and turning that tightens up into "arcs' like the Modern style at higher speeds. Level design would have as many paths as Generations, but the paths would feature about as much open space as SA1. That's kind of the general idea.

    Although my favourite all-time playstyle is Classic and it's a dream of mine (one that will most likely not happen) to see that translated into 3d.
     
  9. BornFlunky

    BornFlunky

    Member
    I can't really compare the two, or pick one that's better. Everything before Unleashed, and then Unleashed and after, is in a whole different ballpark, as far as I'm concerned. Strictly speaking of Sonic, though, I like each for different reasons.

    The "Unleashed" style is amazing for the sheer speed, and honestly, it's been the best interpretation of how fast Sonic is, and the best way to experience it. I don't like it because it feels "slippery" at times, and when it comes to turning and precision (depending on the level design), both can be very hit or miss.

    The "Adventure" style feels much tighter, and the fighting is more fun (I mean, let's be honest -- was a single enemy in Generations fundamentally different from any others? You run into them and get hurt, you jump/homing attack them and they die). Obviously the fighting is still similar because there's only so few ways to actually fight, but the enemies' differences meant something. I'm sure most of us hated Artificial Chaos in SA2. The one thing that I didn't like about Sonic/Shadow's levels in SA2, however, was how straight-forward the level design was. There were plenty of secrets that almost make this forgivable, but only having one real path through any given level was a fair bit of a letdown. Sonic Adventure 1 had less of this problem, as the levels were fun as all hell. Windy Valley and the Egg Carrier in particular.
     
  10. BluGenesi

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    I think that both styles are similar, but generations was just better in every way.
    You had the ability to do the homing attack in both games; but with the cross-hair in the newer games it helped to eliminate cheap deaths, because come on,
    everybody here that played the adventure games fell in a pit because he missed a target at least once. there is nothing wrong with having a cross-hair telling you when to
    do something, especially since the games are so fast paced its hard to do so.The only thing that could be fixed would have to be fixed has to be to slow down Sonic's boost and have Sonic curl up in a ball instead of simply running faster in a burst of speed with the bar half its size, you can however, make it better, by using a revamped skill system, that allows the player to spend points on the bar, and the ability to make it longer with combos,
    the way it can now be done in generations.
     
  11. Rosie

    Rosie

    Previously Caniad Bach Member
    Regarding the crosshair, I don't see why they can't give us the option to turn it off. Some people like it, others, like myself, hate it. In my opinion all games need some level of customisation, any game that doesn't let you choose the controls at the least is doing something wrong.
     
  12. Candescence

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    I'm also of the opinion that both have their ups and downs, but in the long run, despite its many, many mechanical flaws, Adventure had a much better feel to me, all in all, feeling much more open, and having a much better balance in speed and actual platforming. One of the things that frustrates me to no end about the 'modern' gameplay style is the blatant feeling that you're on a mixture of a race track and an obstacle course composed of mainly invisible QTEs, that, despite its attempts to do branching paths, was excessively linear. It just feels artificial, like the whole world is one big movie set that you aren't allowed to touch. Sure, Generations had its moments where it actually managed to break this perception for me (mainly parts of Sky Sanctuary and the park bits in City Escape), but then you're forced back on the rollercoaster.

    Sure, there's nothing inherently wrong about a rollercoaster ride, or an interactive one, but there's only so much you can actually do with it. I'm rather convinced that there's very little more that can actually be done with the 'Modern' gameplay style, and anything else will make the whole game feel, well, samey. The gameplay style, which very much intertwines with level design, is inherently limited. What can you DO with it after Generations that without making the game feel like more of the same thing, while at the same time changing the core gameplay to the point where it becomes a very different beast entirely? Even Mega Man, a series known for "expansion pack sequels", had plenty of room for new gameplay changes and level design (the differences between Mega Man ZX and ZX Advent are prime examples of this), but "Modern Sonic", in its present state, completely lacks that kind of flexibility, in my opinion. Generations is arguably the peak of the formula, having improved over both Unleashed and Colours, but design-wise, it's a complete dead-end.

    In the long run, I'd rather have a more momentum-based approach to gameplay. Not because it's 'classic', but because it's fun. Sonic GDK's 'playground' test level features some of most fun Sonic gameplay I've played in a long, long time, even better than Generations, despite there being no goal whatsoever (setting aside the fact that I designed part of the reverse-gravity area, lol). If you took those mechanics and built a whole, well-designed game around them, I bet you'd get the best 3D Sonic right there. Hell, I'd even suggest taking cues from Prince of Persia and Assassin's Creed, but that's for another topic!
     
  13. ImminentBread

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    I enjoy Sonic Unleashed very much, but I think that overall the Adventure games are better.

    The Adventure-era games had a greater emphasis on platforming and even puzzle-solving, and each level was distinct from others in both gameplay and visuals. In addition, the limits of technology divided each SA1 level into chunks. This forced each chunk to provide a memorable unit of gameplay. Let's look at Sky Deck.
    The first chunk of the level was part platforming and part go fast - you had to climb around on rotating barrels and ladders, then run to avoid platform-destroying blasts from a cannon. The next section was on top of the ship and introduced strong winds to the gameplay. You had to time your advances to progress further while grabbing on to avoid being blown away. This part ended in a dash on collapsing runways followed by a short puzzle - grab a rocket and send it into the barrel of the giant cannon to advance. The final chunk was set inside the Carrier and had you making use of heavy blocks that moved as the ship tilted, followed by a 90 degree turn that had you shimmying and jumping across to finally find the capsule.

    Now, let's look at SA2. Levels are no longer in explicit chunks, allowing them to focus on one central mechanic per level and take a Valve-like approach with it; introduce it early, then give you harder and harder puzzles that use that mechanic. This is best seen in Crazy Gadget with its gravity control.
    The level introduces you to gravity reversal quite early in the form of warp tubes, which are broken with a Jump Dash and often throw you out in reversed gravity. After letting the player mess around in flipped gravity, it introduces switches that can change gravity to take you in other directions. At first, there's only one switch and the challenges amount to nothing more than "flip this switch cause there's a giant wall in the way". But soon after, the player is taken to a giant rectangular room with three switches that change gravity to "left", "down" and "right". "Down", there is only a bottomless pit. "Left", there's a few rings and items, though much further down is an exit. "Right" leads to a rail that goes through that exit.
    And of course, the finale is that big "tetris block" puzzle. This part relies on the player using their knowledge about the gravity switches to eventually make it through the maze, and it usually has more than one gravity switch to throw per "block", which can cause the player to run in circles or even fall into space. But, it serves as a good final "test" on the gravity switching mechanic.


    Finally, let's take a look at the Hedgehog Engine games. Sonic Unleashed had more 3D gameplay that usually had wider fields as opposed to the empty, narrow corridors in Generations. Both games have a focus on providing a solid "basic" gameplay experience, but as a result levels never really have their own special gameplay mechanics. There's no equivalent to Sky Deck's barrels and ladders, or Crazy Gadget's gravity manipulation.

    Let's look at my favourite Unleashed level, Adabat: Jungle Joyride Day Act 1.
    The level opens with a long quick-step section that quickly goes into 2D platforming, with random loops in the fishing village. A bit later, you find yourself in a sort-of platforming area. There's a spring that leads to a rail section to the left, or you can take your chances with moving platforms, swinging blades and a QTE pad to the right. The spring is hidden by wooden blockades and the camera favours the right side, which suggests you take the slower route. Whichever path you take, you find yourself being harassed by Aero-Chasers in an auto-running segment. Once you deal with those, you find yourself in one of the most open sections of the game; a large water-running section that gives you the freedom to run around the ruins and across the islands, or just drift to the left and head straight for the Interceptor chase - after stomping down a random giant switch. More 2D platforming follows, involving timed Homing Attacks on spike springs. The next area has you choosing from multiple routes to Light Dash, Wall Jump and Homing Attack your way in front of a waterfall. You eventually land on a path above the water and Quick Step around mines, then Boost to avoid a random crushing ceiling. A few Homing Attacks and more crushing traps later, you enter the heart of the ancient ruins and grind next to a gigantic waterfall. This part has some very light 3D platforming before taking you to the Goal Ring.


    I think I'm getting a bit long-winded here, so I'll stop now. But basically, the Adventure games make an effort to make each level unique and have more interesting 3D platforming challenges, while Unleashed and Generations focus on normal gameplay elements and restrict platforming to simple 2D stuff, as a result having somewhat more "boring" but still fun gameplay.
     
  14. littlegear

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    Well, the Adventure games had this essence, and I keep reading everyone say it was the open-world type feel where you could do what you want. I think what the modern sonic games are missing is the exploration and discovery aspect. There were many secrets in the Adventure games, beween the minigames (like the kart racing that you could discover after completing a characters story) and the upgrades (some of which you would never find unless you tried going to places with different abilities) there was a lot to do. Even Adventure 2 had this with the "mystic melody" upgrades and with the fleshed out chao garden. Y'know? I wish the modern games still had the chao garden, the replayaility of SA2 was solely raising every type/alignment, as well as winning all the races and karate tournaments. If they put chao back in (and added, say, online chao racing I'd be so happy *tear*).

    The new games have the complete element of speed established, and I highly enjoy that, and the platforming segments are a bit of fun as well. What the new Sonic games needs is to better integrate them and make the transition between the two more natural. Has anyone here played prototype? The ability that makes the main character run fast and able to do parkour and run up walls. That's what Sonic should be like, break the barriers of gravity, let Sonic run up walls wherever and turn the overworlds into stages. Sonic should also get into the parkour scene, you don't have to slow Sonic down to make barriers usable, you just have to make it so that he can't just sidestep it or break through it!

    I enjoyed all the older games (except for Heroes and everything but the branching paths in Shadow). Adventure and Unleashed (World Adventure, anyone?) are very similair with conventions and gimmicks, I liked it when Sonic could solve puzzles without going 2D, (it's kinda sad that Sega had to revert to make him popular again). But I also enjoy the newer 3D games, it infuriates me when I miss that branching path in Colors and Generations, but I have so much fun trying to figure out the right timing so that I can get an "S" rank. generations wasn't ment to have the whole "exploration of overworlds" thing going on, but the next Sonic game should at least try. Oh, and IMHO, you shouldn't discount Colors, it has more branching paths (that I can tell) than either Unleashed or Generations.

    Sega's going the right way, but they're going to have to finish the concept, and I hope it gets completed in a way that I described. Also, the Spin Dash has much more control than boost. once you get going you could turn any which way you desired, while boost basically moves you into a straight line at max speed, I think Sonic's mastery of speed should be conveyed in a less game-breaking way (not to say I still don't enjoy boosting every now and then in Generations).

    Summary: both styles are great, now put them together Sega!!
     
  15. n00neimp0rtant

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    I have a lot of fun playing both Adventure and Generations. A lot of fun, perhaps even equally as much. But some strange sort of sadness comes over me when I consider that in the wake of "modern Sonic" and the capabilities of today's hardware, Sega has abandoned the play style of the Adventure Sonic of yesterday. It's sort of how everyone felt about classic Sonic before Sonic 4 and Generations' classic stages came along to appease the oldbies. The adventure style blended platforming essentials with speed. But it doesn't do it like Generations. I see Generations sort of like a bunch of speedless basic platforming chunks in individual "rooms" all connected by high-speed "pipes" tethering all the "rooms" together. Adventure doesn't do that; Sonic's adventure low-speed/high-control cap combined with the fact that it only takes a few seconds to reach his top speed without even spindashing allowed them to blend speed right into the platforming. It's not better; it's not worse. It's different. And that's why it makes me sad when people want to do away with one or the other; they are different types of games and can (and should) exist peacefully.

    One reason I really like Sonic Colors is because of how they treat the boost. In Generations, if your boost meter isn't full 100% of the time, you probably suck really badly. But in Colors, it actually took effort and decision-making to attain boost. And very few areas required it for efficient gameplay (the slide works well for knocking out clusters of enemies quickly). It forced to you accept slower, boostless Sonic and placed boosty Sonic on a higher plane of short-term gameplay reward. Because of this, Colors' gameplay (but much less its format, of course) felt more like an Adventure game than Generations. There was a solid focus on hardcore low-speed precise-timing platforming.
     
  16. Vaiyt

    Vaiyt

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    I don't like either of them very much.

    Technically, the newer games are way better. Less glitchy, less flimsy, challenges are more finely-tuned. The Adventure games show glimpses of having more potential, but sadly it's not realised as far as 2006.
     
  17. Steven M

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    Generations Modern feels to me like the transition between Sonic Advance 1 and 2 - you're leaving behind the world of level design with width and a greater degree of spatial freedom, and you're heading into some weird era where you're much more restricted on where you go and how fast you go. Instead of a large level that you can happen to traverse in different ways, the level is streamlined in some pseudo-Crash Bandicoot fashion to emphasis the forward momentum you should be carrying. The 2D sections feel weirdly disconnected and take you out of the 'focus' you fall into with the into-the-screen sections (and the physics still feel really clunky), but without those strictly left-to-right segments the forward sections just all blend together and become this weird mess that, like Sonic Advance 2, is superficially "fun" the first time you finish it (because GOTTA GO FAST) and maybe the first time you Perfect Clear it (because hey you managed to actually beat the level the way it was meant to be played without dying multiple times), but there's not enough variety in movement or opportunity to take advantage of the level design to have fun outside of the purpose of reaching the goal - even the multiple paths suffer from the same overly-linear nature of the design and don't really feel like a reward for navigating the level properly. It's like saying "hey, there are multiple paths in Sonic Advance 2 as well", and they are, but they're not magically better than the 'main' branch and they don't magically make the game less boring like watching a Michael Bay film more than once.
     
  18. The way I see it, Sonic Adventure (at least Sonic's gameplay) blended the things I like about Sonic together pretty well. Big, spacious areas, loads of platforming, all the while keeping up a consistently fast pace to make a constantly action packed gameplay style. SA2 threw that out the window and divided the speed, platforming, and exploring between the 3 sets of characters. Sonic and Shadow got most of the speed, Tails and Robotnik got most of the platforming, and Knuckles and Rouge were left with exploration. These three elements only work well when blended together, and when separated like in this game, they were all taken too far in one direction or another and just don't compliment each other that well. It feels less like one cohesive game, and more like three chunks from three different, incomplete games. The daytime stages are abysmal possibly aside from Jungle Joyride and those portions of Eggmanland... but thankfully, the modern stages were a big improvement. In terms of physics, they're nothing special, but at least in terms of level design, there were many places that easily outclassed the level design of Sonic and Shadow's stages from Sonic Adventure 2 and rivaled the level design of Sonic Adventure 1, though a few stages, such as Green Hill, were still lackluster. It's not quite a return to form yet, but they're getting closer with each new game they make. Believe it or not, I don't just want another Adventure game. I want a bold new 3D game that perfectly translates the rolling mechanics of the genesis games into a 3D plane. Heck, Retro studios came closer to this than Sega ever did, with the mechanics of the morph ball and, subsequently, the boost ball. It's not impossible.