Would You Rather A Modern Or Classic Style Game For The 30th Anniversary Game

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by MagnusTheGreen, Apr 21, 2021.

  1. Josh

    Josh

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    Very well-said, and it reminds me of this quote from Iizuka, from a 2001 interview with IGN:

    upload_2021-5-2_19-33-23.png

    This focus on rhythmic, speedier, skill-focused challenges through more linear stages built on more setpieces and spectacle is exactly why I consider the boost games, most notably Unleashed and Generations, an iteration on SA2's concept. SA1 still had a foot in the classic style, but SA2 was where finding different routes and secrets using the game's physics stopped being much of a thing, and the balance tipped to maintaining speed through skillful execution, pulling off the right action at the right time.
     
  2. It's a Japanese-centric one too for the record. Europe is probably the only place where Sonic's popularity is above Mario's.

    Everywhere else? It's not even a competition, Mario surpassed Sonic a long time ago.
     
  3. Hanging Waters

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    Arguing that stages with branching paths and routes to explore are "also linear" kind of defeats the purpose of the conversation.

    We're talking about which game has more or less linear stages. You can get semantic about it, but I don't think there is any sense saying "they are both linear" when we're comparing a game that has 1 route to the end objective, to a game with 2-3 routes to the end objective. I don't wanna assume bad faith, but that seems like a bad faith argument.

    Granted, the objective itself will always be inherently linear (get from start of level to end of level), but I think we're mostly talking stage design and exploration.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2021
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  4. Azookara

    Azookara

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    I mostly responded with that because comparing a game with good linear design (Rayman 2) to a game with bad linear design (Forces) as the same thing was a bad faith argument against linearity, as if it is an inherently bad design choice and open being good.
     
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  5. Laura

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    This is a problem I have with discussions around 3D Sonic games generally. People say SA1 has more open levels as though that is self-evidently better than the more linear levels of SA2. It's never explained why that's the case.
     
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  6. Blue Spikeball

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    Do people really need to explain that less linearity generally means more exploration, freedom and replayability?
     
  7. Sid Starkiller

    Sid Starkiller

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    Well, as you can see...
    ...some people just flat out don't care about exploration and freedom. Some people want an obstacle course to hone their skills and get as fast a time as possible, which is their version of replayability.

    Do people really need to explain that linearity is not automatically a flaw?
     
  8. I said this before, but the advent of open world games in recent years has basically give rise to the idea that linearity of any kind if inherently bad, even though that's not true in the slightest.
     
  9. Blue Spikeball

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    That example doesn't tell me that the non-linear elements of Sonic affect his experience negatively, it just tells me he doesn't care about them. Just because someone doesn't care about an aspect it doesn't nullify its value.

    People have been complaining about linearity in games for decades, especially with genres like RPG. It just became more prevalent in recent years.
     
  10. Do you have any examples to back that up, or are you just speaking for yourself? Because most Mario games are linear by nature and still pretty popular in spite of it.

    Saying "Linearity is bad, no exceptions" is a pretty absolute statement to make with no actual number to support it.
     
  11. Beamer the Meep

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    I can see the argument go both ways. If you really want to give the player more opportunity to express themselves, the branching pathways concept works well for that. Sonic 3 & Knuckles was built heavily around this and initially, it seemed like SA1 would've as well looked at Beta Windy Valley. Sonic Team obviously made the decision to place more emphasis on highspeed action and replayability not just with the streamlined stages of SA2, but also the final stages of SA1.

    As it stands though, Sega being what it is, it lends itself more easily to some lazy level design decisions such as those in Forces. That said if you pull it off like the Daytime stages of Unleashed, you get some good stages out of it that emphasize learning the stage and refinement of skills via replayability. There's an arcade mentality in that sense since you're learning how to effectively dodge obstacles while also maintaining your speed. This is simply the path that Sega has chosen to explore over the years, but their inability to devote the proper time and resources causes games like Forces to appear far more lackluster by comparison.

    Now, personally I do like the exploration aspect of Sonic 3 & Knuckles and I love how they incorporate that level design mentality into 3D via Windy Valley, but if they decide to go more down the route of Unleashed's stages I wouldn't complain. So long as either is executed competently.
     
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  12. Blue Spikeball

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    Sorry, I'm not gonna dig through decades old forums, newsgroups and reviews. But does it matter when that view started? Does that dictate how valid it is?

    On the subject of Mario, was the addition of alternate paths and secret exists that led to different levels in Super Mario World met with criticism? Not really. Those were one of its most praised aspects. There is a reason later Mario games kept them.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2021
  13. Azookara

    Azookara

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    Extra routes and hidden paths can always make a game better, but they never make or break a game if theyre not there and the game is fun or satisfying on its own merits.

    People these days are so afraid of linearity because they view it as a regression, but in reality it’s always been an air-tight and reliable game design structure. S3K deserves praise for its layered layouts, but I wouldn’t say SA2 deserves derision for not having it, especially when the game owns to play regardless.

    Basically what I’m saying is: “linear” is not an inherently bad game design structure, just like “open” isn’t inherently good. Both are valid and can be executed good and bad ways. Any personal preference is just that: personal preference.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2021
  14. Hanging Waters

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    To clarify, my comment personally was not insinuating that either is inherently better. It was a response to Nope's comment, not Azookara's, but sometimes I don't use the reply feature because it feels like a confrontation for some reason.. even though it isn't. Idk. Social skills aren't my best suit.

    I vastly prefer stages with a lot more to explore, but we've seen more linear games achieve great success in the series. There's definitely a way to add the feeling of "exploration" without making every stage a maze.

    I agree that I don't think the success of open world games should tell us that linearity is inherently bad. I think the real takeaway is a sense of freedom. Where open world games give you freedom of objective and freedom in their "level" design, you can also give players that sense with freedom of movement and freedom of expression. I genuinely think this contributes to a lot of modern Sonic material being ill-perceived. It's not simply because the levels are linear; as we've been saying, some people love the reaction-based nature of the levels. It may just be that players don't feel like they have enough freedom, or enough agency as a player. That's kind of the way I feel, and I think it's worth adding too that this kind of thing can be addressed WITHOUT taking away what boost/SA2 fans like about the levels. Freedom and agency are important for the player, whether the level is a straight corridor or a labyrinth of winding paths. I also think it's good we're talking about how different players with different preferences perceive the same game, because that agency might not be super important to a reaction-buff player who loves blasting through environments, but adding some depth and agency can help balance the game out for people who enjoy that kinda stuff.

    On the Mario topic, I again think we need to separate a linear objective from linear level design. I wouldn't really call newer Mario games linear, at least compared to other mascot platformers. The series is going in a very unique direction, and I think the Mario series has always kind of been about maintaining the simple "get to the end" objective, while giving the player features like secret stages and star missions that mix up the order of things.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2021
  15. DigitalDuck

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    Oh it's the "boost games are linear" thing again, despite the fact that we've already had the discussion and shown that it's not really any more linear than previous games.

    Okay then.
     
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  16. Laura

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    Linear games have their own strengths. Celeste, Braid, Super Meat Boy have a few secret areas but they are largely finely tuned obstacle courses. And the linear nature of the games means the levels can be really tightly designed.

    I think a key point here is that not all games need to have replayability. It's true that I don't generally keep coming back to those games, but that doesn't matter because their value was in their first playthrough. I've only played Celeste once but that was an absolutely brilliant game. I'm aware it does have a lot of secret areas and levels to unlock but the main story is linear and it has some of the best designed levels I've seen in a platformer. I love Braid and I've only played that once.

    That said I do think linear games can have a lot of replay value. I play SA2 a lot becauss it has a different kind of replay value to open levels: honing your skills to beat the level as elegantly as possible. Other linear games from different genres have this appeal too (Devil May Cry for example).
     
  17. Aerosol

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    Sonic Adventure 2 had alternate paths and secrets too. Do you remember (or even know?) how to get Sonic's mystic flute?

    Unless you have objective proof that non-linearity is by default better, stop being so bull-headed. Let people like things you don't like, hmm?
     
  18. I don't get how you can make such a bold statement and then not back it up, as if its just something other people should accept at face value.

    That's not how it works.
     
  19. Blue Blood

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    As I said before, SA2 used its linearity really, really well. It's not my preference in any game and especially not in Sonic games for them to be so linear, but SA2 took the idea and owned it brilliantly. The game is constantly satisfying, but at the same time encourages you to do better and then rewards you for doing so. It's stellar.

    But that bit bolded right there... urgh no. Bad example. The Mystic Melody paths and the routes to finding upgrades were usually hidden around some corner you'd fly by and were really difficult to find because the levels aren't designed for exploration at all. They felt so randomly placed. Like the Mystic Melody Ruin in City Escape; you'll probably miss that ruin (and subsequently the Chao for the related mission) if you're playing the game well. Forces does a similar thing where it hides some of it's collectables not just on alternate routes, but specifically in areas you'll only visit if you miss a jump or get hit. It feels like sometimes the games are telling you to stop playing the way they've encouraged you to play up to that point and do the opposite. Furthermore, they really don't qualify as alternate or secret routes very well because you never visit them outside of the required missions/getting the upgrades. They're 1-time-only routes.
     
  20. Blue Spikeball

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    Yup, I remember those. I got all character upgrades and beat all missions back in the day, so I know SA2's levels like the back of my hand. And I found them a bit too repetitive and on rails too, possibly because the game asked me to replay them so much, what with the extra missions and the rank system. Most of the alternate paths were just quick shortcuts, as someone said a few posts ago, and most of the secret areas were too situational, containing stuff only useful if you were raising Chao like Chao boxes or hidden animals.

    The fact that the levels' "replayability" consisted basically in things like "hit the jump button at the end of this ramp hoping you manage to get a better timing than last time and score better" only added to the repetitiveness.

    Not saying that you have to agree, but I've always found the excessive linearity a major detriment to my enjoyment of the game.

    When did I ever attack people for liking linear games or say they can't enjoy them? When I said "Do people really need to explain that less linearity generally means more exploration, freedom and replayability?", I wasn't being rhetorical, snarky or condescending. I was literally asking if people need to type explanations like that to "justify" themselves, as I was replying to the post that was nitpicking about people who praise SA1's levels for being more open than SA2's and saying they should explain themselves when they say that.

    My response was basically "Are you saying people should attach a disclaimer detailing the obvious advantages of non-linearity as to why they prefer it whenever they bring it up?", but if I had worded it like that I might have come off as too hostile. I was already worried that my post sounded more confrontative than intended as it was.

    I missed the bolded part since it was added after I clicked Quote. See my above response to Aerosol.

    I spoke from personal experience, as someone who has been involved with online gaming communities for decades. Like I said, not gonna go through old forums and posts that may no longer exist. But since you're so fixated on that part, I did a Wikipedia search for responses to linearity in games, and here are some of the pre-2010 examples that came up, most of which use more than one review as a source:
    "linearity of the levels and lack of room for exploration was a source of disappointment"
    Crash Bandicoot

    "the earlier Prophecies campaign was criticized for its linearity, so both Factions and the subsequent Nightfall campaigns have included non-linear elements in the plot"
    Guild Wars Factions

    "The single player campaigns received criticism for its linearity"
    Warhammer: Mark of Chaos

    "Computer Games criticized the linear storyline, and said the few dialog choices available to the player had no real impact on the storytelling. CGW said the linear story prevented Redemption from being a true RPG because it lacked interaction with many characters, and the lack of player impact on the story made it seem as though they were not building characters but rather were getting them to the story milestones. According to PC Gamer, while the game's linearity was a negative, it kept the narrative tight and compelling."
    Vampire: The Masquerade – Redemption

    "The game was met with positive critical reception, with reviewers commending the high artistic and technical quality of the level design, while criticizing the excessive linearity of the gameplay"
    American McGee's Alice

    "The single-player campaign in Crimson Skies was criticized for its overall linearity"
    Crimson Skies

    "Electronic Gaming Monthly lambasted Shining Wisdom, citing mediocre and outdated graphics, a lack of originality, and the linearity of the quest"
    Shining Wisdom

    "reviewers were frustrated by its consequent linearity"
    Radiant Historia

    "The game received mixed reviews upon release, with critics praising its graphics but criticizing its brevity and linearity."
    Ghosthunter

    "the game was criticized for its linearity and for the lack of exploration"
    Eternal Sonata

    "a common complaint, however, is the games' linearity"
    Ace Attorney
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2021