Sonic Criticism

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Sonic Criticism

Post by Serrade Kawamura on Sat Mar 27, 2010 5:33 am

We all had our good sonic and our bad sonic games. Let's talk about what made them bad or good. (WARNING: some of the following criticism is going to make those games wish they were never born. If you don't agree with the opinions expressed in these posts, please keep cool and defend your statement while the publisher does the same)

I would like to start off fast and furious with the game Sonic and the Black Knight:

The game was so so for a sonic game that dealt primarily with swords. It was a new concept and left little wiggle room for the devealopers since it was sonics first time in this type of game. Game players expected the same type and feel that the old sonic games had with the new concept of a sword in hand. This is where the problem started. The conflicting worlds of a hack and slash with the sonic race worlds created a chaotic mess where the player couldn't back track in the levels and the camera was limitted (horrible for a hack-n-slash). Where did SEGA really go wrong in my oppinion? Taking the stroy of King Aurthor and his knights and slapping the face of sonic on it. A fallen king story was a good idea. Putting sonic on the face of it however was just a sales gimmick to sell the game. Seperating the two would have been a better idea.
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Re: Sonic Criticism

Post by Admin on Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:48 am

Deep breaths. In. Out. In. Out.
Ok, here I go.

My thought process on this started when I first saw this
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hik-TeGQIn0
What got to me was what he said at about 1:55 "...Sonic FLINGS himself from one end of the level to another"
Spoiler:
(heres part 2 for those interested http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YDrVRqmrLY
No I don't agree with everything he says, but he does make some pretty good points. Also it's kinda obvious he knew nothing about Unleashed.)

This had me go about a long train of thinking about the core of a Sonic game. It's not 2d or 3d, it's not Shadow or clones. Long story short, it's not Sonic's speed and it never was, it's what he does with his speed. Here let me try to point this out.

Watch a bit of this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1zdPhVrbh8
See, Sonic is running around, but his speed is affected by the incline of the level and when you get to a part like :39 to :44 It's all that buildup that flings him in the air. He wasn't launched, he did that under his own power. Thats exciting, that's what makes Sonic great. These moments happen in, unless I'm mistaken, all 2d Sonic games. Thats just how they are built.

Now we get to the 3d era. Before I address Sonic here, I will talk about the rest of the cast in general. In Adventure we got to play as Gamma, Knuckles, Amy, and Big besides Sonic and Tails. While some of these were fun they didn't really belong in a Sonic game. I don't want to fish in Sonic. Treasure hunting's nice but really now, this is a Sonic game. I'm not saying any of these are bad, but they just don't belong. Like, what if you bought a racing game that had a shooter segment in it. As in a good shooting segment, yeah it's not bad, but it just doesn't belong. So that was a fault, although it is somewhat fixed now.

Now to talk about the game-play of a 3d Sonic. Like I said, it's all about what Sonic does with his speed, how he flings himself through the level. Lets look at the first level of Adventure.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnNTj0zwMFU
Here are some problems. That first loop (:30), Sonic didn't fling himself, he was launched. 3d Sonic's started a bad trend with launching instead of flinging. It's fine now, but I'll be back to it. Next thing, the jump panels. They're basically QTEs. (quick time events) These have no place in a Sonic game, all they do is show off Speed that you have no part in, it kind of just happens. But wait, there's good still. Time and time again you have to run to get enough speed to be on a wall, platforming is still there and with enough speed you can fly by a lot of it. That is what makes the adventure games good. You still flung yourself, and went through levels by your own power. IN Adventure 2 they introduced grinding which made flinging yourself much easier and fun. You would reach high speeds with next to nothing stopping you. In space levels you would fly great distances if going fast enough. It was great when it happened.

In comes Sonic Heroes. There is a very different feel to Heroes. It wasn't as much 'Here, now go fast' It was more 'Sonic just goes fast, use him to go fast' Here we begin the Sonic games that traded Flinging for Launching. Sonic didn't gain speed and fling himself anymore, he just was speed and whenever it came time to be fling through a level a booster did it for him. Almost all portions where guided by boosters and springs. Look at Rail Canyon. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwJ5VN1I1Dk How many time is the player fling more than 2 feet under their own power? Nah, it's all springs and boosters. Whatever happened to Adventure 2's 'Oops, rails gone now good luck with that' Sonic was now more about speed than he was about using his speed. Same thing goes for Shadow's game. He just went fast, he never did anything with his speed.

Next up comes Sonic 06, where a few of you left off. This could of been a really good game, but they rushed themselves on it and never finished the very foundation of Sonic's levels. If you get the physics wrong, you can't fling yourself. If you can't do that, you resort to launching. I mean look at this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAKUlphXyCI He can't even run on a wall without a booster anymore. I mean, even if this level was with the same engine as the 2 Adventures, you're just being boosted everywhere. It wouldn't be that fun. But enough about this game we all know how bad it got.

Next, the storybook titles. They are on rails, and no physics effect Sonic at all. Secret Rings won't let you stop, it just launches you through the entire level, and Black Knight lets you stop but only to fight in poor sword fighting. They've really lost touch now.

Now we have Unleashed. Nighttime stage falls in with the extra characters, they just don't belong here. Daytime stages are great actually. You use boost power to thrust yourself through the level yes, but you do fling yourself off rails and sometimes ramps with that power. It's almost flawless, but they tripped up in a few spots. When you switch to 2d it is nothing like a 2d Sonic, you can't turn around, you roll up to go faster, and you can't be affected by the physics. When in a segment being chased by robots, it slows you down, your speed gets capped and it turns into the storybook games. I always find myself going back to the level select at these parts. The good part of the level is over, my finish time is locked in pretty much , what's the point? Unleashed looks like a step in the right direction though, but things they say at SEGA don't give me to much hope. They said they made the Werehog because with the speed levels alone the game would be to short, and making more speed levels would take too much time because those levels are huge. This means that instead of making an all Sonic stage game, they will try to add something different just to lengthen it.

Up and coming Sonic 4 is a 2d game, so it's sure to be great depending on what playable characters come in later episodes. But they are making it by mimicing what they've done before, I don't think they are thinking why it works, they just know that it works so they copy themselves.

A few more things before I just abruptly stop. SEGA, you don't need guns to be edgy, and you don't need comic relief to be kid friendly. It's Sonic, he can act grown up to be tolerable to an older audience, but he's a blue hedgehog who's basically a super hero, you already have the kids. Just make Sonic be himself, you don't need to push him either way.

Done. For now.
Note, I typed through this and did not read it, so any mistakes or unclear things, sorry.

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Re: Sonic Criticism

Post by StardustLuna on Sun Mar 28, 2010 7:03 am

I agree with everything you just said except for a few things.

The storybooks series, to me, is more of a spin-off series. It doesn't go with the 'official' story per-say, but it has all the characters in their story-book doubles. And seems to be more plot and theme based than gameplay based. So I don't mind the whole 'no physics' thing except it would've made it a lot better. But it's not there, so oh well.

I like your view of 'flinging' rather than 'launching' but I think why the developers lean toward launching more in the 3D games, is because the coding is probably easier and there's less glitches and problems. They put plenty of flinging in Sonic Rush 1 and 2.

And the whole 'Oh the game would be too fast' excuse is a bad one. Sonic Rush and the original Sonic games were plenty long. What they should do (well I think this is the easiest), is in the next game, have the themes of the levels decided on, then make a crap load of props (Rails, buildings, barrels, ramps, jumpy poles, track, etc) then place them to their desire in the level and make it as long or short as they want it. Then spruce everything up, and hand it over to the coding department. I think that would be the easiest way to do it. And say they have 5 people in their coding department, and a total of 30 levels, then that's only 6 per person. I know, that sounds like a lot to do, but this is what they do 9-5 everyday. It's their job. It's called work for a reason. So SEGA needs to get off their lazy bums, and actually do their job instead of trying to roll out a bunch of cheap games so as to cash in as quickly as possible.

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Re: Sonic Criticism

Post by Admin on Sun Mar 28, 2010 4:24 pm

Before I respond I almost forgot to mention, I love some of the Sonic games I've said didn't work right. Secret Rings is actually my most played Wii game according to the Nintendo Channel. But because I like it doesn't mean it's the right thing for the series as a whole, thus the long-winded rant.

I like your idea about the level design, although I don't know if they'd go for that. I mean, old Sonic team would, look at the ARK levels in SA2. But todays Sonic team likes to create some pretty varied levels. A route they could take is more episodic gaming. Short, cheaper, but all good.

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Re: Sonic Criticism

Post by Ultimate Shadow on Sun Mar 28, 2010 6:30 pm

I'm not picky when it comes to Sonic games, and I haven't really thought about the faults the games have other than for some reason I just feel that the adventures were the best 3D Sonic games and as time went on, they just started getting more and more cheap. I'd especially like to point out how Sonic and the Secret Rings and Sonic and the Black Knight are very random in terms of how they relate in no way shape or form to the actual Sonic canon storyline. I think if they better mixed the 3D and 2D into one and weren't lazy asses, they could make a Sonic Adventure 3 that is actually somewhat kickass. And of course combine that with the awesome graphics the new gaming systems can kick out nowadays and you might be on the right track...

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Re: Sonic Criticism

Post by Serrade Kawamura on Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:27 pm

My oppinion is that sonic is getting too cluttered. I'll admit that the user needs a challenge to over come but if the game controls sonic during speed moments and the player can only control sonic where he is his slowest then why play the game. I say free him up a little...ok a lot more. instead of having him race down a hallway (bassically what most games have been so far), let him and the player explore or race through levels that are wide and open. Example; hyrule field in ocarania of time is wide and open with areas branching off from that center. Putting sonic in this setting would be a nice change with freedom in place of programer control.
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Re: Sonic Criticism

Post by Serrade Kawamura on Fri Apr 02, 2010 6:00 pm

By the way, no one here actually agrees that shadow was a mistake, right?
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Re: Sonic Criticism

Post by RAD-MAN on Fri Apr 02, 2010 8:57 pm

Nope. IMO he was best in Adventure 2, but no I don't think he was a mistake.
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Re: Sonic Criticism

Post by Ultimate Shadow on Sat Apr 03, 2010 10:02 am

Shadow is a beast!

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Re: Sonic Criticism

Post by Serrade Kawamura on Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:39 pm

Agreed, if the sonic franchise was going to be multiplayer then they had to have someone that was Sonics equal. Shadow is a nice key character but I think he may be under appreciated again. In the previous sonic games he has appeared in, he is now an agent of the government who caught a glimpse of his future...and nothing else. It may be asking for much but Shadow needs more story again.
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Re: Sonic Criticism

Post by RAD-MAN on Sat Apr 10, 2010 7:32 pm

I would like a do-over of Shadow's game. Too much story went on there. When I see the opening cinematic I see the spirit of the game, but it never quite delivered.
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Re: Sonic Criticism

Post by Serrade Kawamura on Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:37 pm

I agree. I like more control than necessary in games. Instead of pushing me to the next chapter let me the controller walk there with my own two legs. It's not hard, I won't get lost or something because there will be only 2 options. Go foward to go forward or turn around and go back to (over-the-top-anime-reaction) go back. It may be simple and stupid to some but I like feeling like I am able to play a game rather than watch an interactive movie.
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