Sonic ..Excursion?

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Wombatwarlord777
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Re: Sonic ..Excursion?

Post by Wombatwarlord777 »

Having a well thought-out and interesting world can play into the level design to create more compelling gameplay.
This is probably not exactly what you were talking about, but in spite of what I consider to be an over-wrought story, I still really, really enjoy the first Adventure game because it most successfully established a sense of place via the Adventure Fields and the Action Stages. Like S3&K, you get a sense that you're not just traveling to different, distant stages, but rather that you're on a continuous, flowing journey, with each location along the way interconnected with the others and each important in their own way. More than anything else, I got the sense that I really was fighting to stop Dr. Eggman and Chaos from screwing up the lives of the people in Station Square and the world in which the game takes place in at large.

Of the games to try and integrate Adventure Fields / Town Stages with regular levels, Adventure was the most successful because the Adventure Fields were fairly compact and easy to navigate, had interesting things to do (like finding the hidden Chao Eggs or the minigames) and even reoccurring characters to talk to (like the girl near Station Square's train station who waits for her dad to get back from the Mystic Ruins), and most importantly had a great sense of location because you actually got into Action Stages via entrances incorporated into the Adventure Fields, not warping to them using magic mirrors or pedestals or whatever. The only thing I wish the Adventure fields incorporated was the passage of time (i.e. the time shifting from daytime to sunset to night), maybe changing when you traveled between the three big Adventure Fields, during post-story play. I was kind of disappointed that I wouldn't be able to see Casinopolis's glitzy entrance at night or the Mystic Ruins during sunset anymore.

Sonic '06's Town Stages were too spawling, uninteresting, and visually dull, to the point that they're not only a drag to get through, but are incredibly easy to get lost in. Sonic Unleashed's Town Stages have a much better sense of scale and are colorful places filled with things to do and people to talk to. I don't really know why it was decided to segregate the stage entrances in an entirely different map, though. It kills the sense that the levels are simply particularly interesting paths connected to the Town Stage.

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Re: Sonic ..Excursion?

Post by Dr. BUGMAN »

cjmcray wrote:He was sinister at times, but also comical, and during the credits, we got a little information on his childhood.
I like how, after holding Amy at gunpoint, jettisoning Sonic towards Earth, and blowing up the Moon, they're just standing around chatting like pals at the end. Why isn't Eggman wearing handcuffs at that point?

This isn't close to being a plot hole. There's being magnanimous, and then there's being criminally stupid.

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Re: Sonic ..Excursion?

Post by Esrever »

Honestly, I think Sonic Colours is one of the ONLY Sonic games to have a reasonably decent narrative. But it's a concept vs. execution issue.

Colours aims to tell an extremely basic, light adventure story with comedic overtones. In this goal, it is a moderate success. The cutscenes are competently shot, edited and animated. The story is told efficiently, and the voice acting is pretty good. The goofier characterization used for Sonic and Eggman might not be everyone's preference, but it fits with the jokier tone of the story, and Eggman's V.O. in particular really revels in it. And it meshes really well with the brighter, cartoonier setting of the game.

Sonic Adventure 2 aims to tell a massive, sweeping epic adventure drama. In this goal, it is a colossal failure. The core ideas for the story are solid, but the execution is garbage... it's a confusing, horribly-paced, plot-hole ridden mess told in ineptly-produced cutscenes with horrible voice acting. It also has some of the worst dialogue audio mixing I've ever seen in a game. (People talking at the same time, at wildly different volumes, etc.)

Everyone has their own ideas about what the ideal tone for this franchise is. Personally, I think the sweet spot is the original Sonic Adventure, with tells a big... uh... adventure story with real stakes, but doesn't get bogged down in being TOO weighty or dramatic. But if they can't do it well, I'd rather they not try.

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Re: Sonic ..Excursion?

Post by Frieza2000 »

FlashTHD wrote:
big_smile wrote:The characters are really poorly handled. Sonic comes across as an over excited pre-teen suffering from ADD.
And an unrepentant, unlikeable asshole at that. Maybe half of it is the fault of the writers, but i'd rather have Jason Griffith's non-acting back than listen to another second of Roger Craig Smith. (I'd be a little less annoyed if everybody else I talked to didn't act like I was crazy for stating this.)
I just got through Generations a few weeks ago, and it's dawned on me that I actually hate most of the characters now. Once the trainwreck started with Heroes the characters were pretty much all that kept me coming back, and now even they're gone. Ironically I think Shadow would be the least grating to me at this point. I've always favored Adventure's story progression (or, if they can't manage to write one that isn't embarrassingly bad, something minimalist like S&K), but if they don't sort out their characterization first then such a story wouldn't engage me. I think getting rid of Roger would have to be part of that; he's got more talent than we're accustomed to in these games but he just doesn't fit the part.

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Re: Sonic ..Excursion?

Post by Radrappy »

Man how terrible was that final boss, right?

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Re: Sonic ..Excursion?

Post by cjmcray »

"LOOKS LIKE A HOMING ATTACK!!!!!111"

They should've made the final boss a 16-bit stage.

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Re: Sonic ..Excursion?

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cjmcray wrote:"LOOKS LIKE A HOMING ATTACK!!!!!111"

They should've made the final boss a 16-bit stage.
what. that would have been genius.

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Re: Sonic ..Excursion?

Post by Sniffnoy »

Wombatwarlord777 wrote:Of the games to try and integrate Adventure Fields / Town Stages with regular levels, Adventure was the most successful because the Adventure Fields were fairly compact and easy to navigate, had interesting things to do (like finding the hidden Chao Eggs or the minigames) and even reoccurring characters to talk to (like the girl near Station Square's train station who waits for her dad to get back from the Mystic Ruins), and most importantly had a great sense of location because you actually got into Action Stages via entrances incorporated into the Adventure Fields, not warping to them using magic mirrors or pedestals or whatever. The only thing I wish the Adventure fields incorporated was the passage of time (i.e. the time shifting from daytime to sunset to night), maybe changing when you traveled between the three big Adventure Fields, during post-story play. I was kind of disappointed that I wouldn't be able to see Casinopolis's glitzy entrance at night or the Mystic Ruins during sunset anymore.
I still don't think they did a very good job with the adventure fields, though. The little explorationy bits were nice, but I feel like they just were too little to justify the adventure fields' existence. They weren't so compact they were pointless, but they were approaching it. And the sense of location was still pretty iffy; the adventure fields felt pretty disconnected from each other and from the action stages. (E.g., consider the entrance to Windy Valley. If that whole area is there, why can't you see any of it from an appropriate angle on the adventure field?) It was good that they did include something approaching natural-seeming entrances, but they still felt pretty awkward.

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Re: Sonic ..Excursion?

Post by big_smile »

Frieza2000 wrote: I just got through Generations a few weeks ago, and it's dawned on me that I actually hate most of the characters now. Once the trainwreck started with Heroes the characters were pretty much all that kept me coming back, and now even they're gone. Ironically I think Shadow would be the least grating to me at this point. I've always favored Adventure's story progression (or, if they can't manage to write one that isn't embarrassingly bad, something minimalist like S&K), but if they don't sort out their characterization first then such a story wouldn't engage me. I think getting rid of Roger would have to be part of that; he's got more talent than we're accustomed to in these games but he just doesn't fit the part.
Yes, the characters were a large part of the appeal for me as well. Sonic06, for example, had a terrible story, but for the most part the characterisation made it compelling. Elise, Shadow and Silver were all fated to live a life of tragedy and the game did a good job of making the player feel for the characters. Even Amy was handled well with her love for Sonic functioning as the source of his doom and pushing another woman towards him. I think it was only Tails, Knuckles and Eggman that were handled weakly.

The cast were absent in Colours (although they were handled somewhat well in the DS version) and in Generations they just acted as tutorial characters, which was a huge disappointment.

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Re: Sonic ..Excursion?

Post by Frieza2000 »

Radrappy wrote:Man how terrible was that final boss, right?
I'd been wondering what everyone was talking about with this. I was expecting broken controls or frustratingly unfair difficulty, like "terrible" usually means for a Sonic boss. So discovering that it was just plain lame actually exceeded my expectations. I don't know what they were thinking, though. Being able to throw your partner for no practical reason was really confusing. I killed it before I figured out what I was supposed to be doing.

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Re: Sonic ..Excursion?

Post by Majestic Joey »

That final boss was the only real big letdown in that game's boss department though. Metal Sonic, the death egg robot, Shadow, Silver, and Chaos were all pretty good. Also I admit I had some trouble with the controls against the Egg Dragoon boss but at least that boss was enjoyable unlike the disaster that was Time eater.

I really loved Sonic Generations and I thought it was their best game in years. The fact that sega is not making a sequel to it makes me sad. And come on! drop modern sonic and just give us classic! If anything they could have two game series, one with classic gameplay and one in the modern style.

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Re: Sonic ..Excursion?

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Frieza2000 wrote:I killed it before I figured out what I was supposed to be doing.
This is what makes it terrible. I've never played a boss where the objectives were so unclear before. When the screen pulls out into the strange "2d" mode, the characters are so small and the rings are flying by so fast that they're almost impossible to collect. Couple that with all the friends shouting suggestions at you and you've got one of the most unplayable, anticlimactic final encounters in video game history. Would copy and pasting the Doomsday Zone have been such a hard thing to do?

Majestic Joey wrote:That final boss was the only real big letdown in that game's boss department though. Metal Sonic, the death egg robot, Shadow, Silver, and Chaos were all pretty good. Also I admit I had some trouble with the controls against the Egg Dragoon boss but at least that boss was enjoyable unlike the disaster that was Time eater.

I really loved Sonic Generations and I thought it was their best game in years. The fact that sega is not making a sequel to it makes me sad. And come on! drop modern sonic and just give us classic! If anything they could have two game series, one with classic gameplay and one in the modern style.
WHAT the fuck was up with the controls in the egg dragon fight? Who decided it would be a good idea to make side stepping the only way to get around in the giant open corridor even though up until that point you've had free control over the character?

I disagree in general about the bosses. I think about half of them were stinkers. The shadow fight was ridiculous. If memory serves you were both racing to touch this glowing purple ball. If you touched it three times you were awkwardly transported to a sequence where you pummeled shadow in a confusing way for as long as you could. What? The perfect chaos fight wasn't terrible, but on the version I played (ps3) it was plagued by performance problems. The only good fights were Metal Sonic, the Death egg robot, and surprisingly the Silver boss fight.

Sonic Generations had some great moments but it did feel like it was missing a coat of paint or two. The level design was 90% twitch based, sonic still controlled like a greasy pig during 3d platforming bits, and the level selection was atrocious in general. That, and too many levels ended way too soon especially on the classic side. At the end of many of classic sonic's stages I felt myself asking "that's it?" It could be a product of there being only one act per stage. I do love dat classic spagonia though.

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Re: Sonic ..Excursion?

Post by FlashTHD »

Majestic Joey wrote:If anything they could have two game series, one with classic gameplay and one in the modern style.
Which is exactly the mentality they've been operating under for the better part of the decade, assuming that they can please everybody with zero compromise. It doesn't work. Splintering your customer base to this degree on purpose is a bad idea. I suspect the only reason it manages to be profitable (relatively speaking) is because it's the Sonic franchise.

Speaking for myself, it would make me plenty happy to never see that fat, dopey, half baked bastardization of Mega Drive Sonic ever again. Ug-ly.

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Re: Sonic ..Excursion?

Post by Esrever »

This is another area where I think Sonic Colours had the right idea, though. Some of the stages were modern styled boost-based gameplay, while others were forcibly boost-free 2D areas and platforming challenges. (Making the boost an item that they could just remove from some stages was a good idea, IMO.) And it did this without having to adhere to the super rigid Classic/Modern structure. I think you could make a game with the larger, more ambitious/complex Generations-styled stages exactly the same way.

I mean, seriously. Forget the dumb plot framing device and just do it. Make some stages mostly or entirely 2D and some mostly or entirely 3D. Make some of them linear boosty rollercoaster type stages, some more methodical and platformy, and some more open, exploratory and non-linear (ie: the missing ingredient from all the modern games, even the good ones).

You don't need the story to justify it. It's just called level variety! (And it's the kind of variety fans actually want, as opposed to inserting weapons and vehicles and Werehogs.)

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Re: Sonic ..Excursion?

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Esrever wrote:(And it's the kind of variety fans actually want
If it's going to be like Colors, I sure don't! One act takes 2 minutes to clear, the next a 30 second gimmick, the one after that 4-5 minutes, or any combination thereof in aribtrary order. There was no consistency, just 6 unskippable levels of random, forgettable nonsense.

Pick one thing, anything, and stick to it. But they had ADD or something when they laid that game out.

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Re: Sonic ..Excursion?

Post by Esrever »

I think they just had a smaller budget and shorter production schedule, which result in a lot of smaller stages that had to be built out of chunks of the bigger ones some of them felt hasty or half-assed as a result.

I don't think the bulk of the stages in Colours were random or forgettable at all, but that's an aside. (I know you don't like Colours' stage design, and you know I do, so we probably don't really need to get into it again.) What I'm talking about here is structure, not quality. Generations tried to answer the "how do we please everyone" question by having two Sonics and this really forced division of gameplay styles, and I just think it's totally unnecessary. They could do it like Colours and just have all the different kinds of stages played by the same Sonic, regardless of what perspective they focus on or what component of the gameplay they favour or how long they are.

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Re: Sonic ..Excursion?

Post by big_smile »

FlashTHD wrote:
Esrever wrote:(And it's the kind of variety fans actually want
If it's going to be like Colors, I sure don't! One act takes 2 minutes to clear, the next a 30 second gimmick, the one after that 4-5 minutes, or any combination thereof in aribtrary order. There was no consistency, just 6 unskippable levels of random, forgettable nonsense.

Pick one thing, anything, and stick to it. But they had ADD or something when they laid that game out.
The DS version really improved on this. The longer levels were Acts (and each zone had two of them). The shorter levels were missions (where we got to learn things about the supporting characters such as the relationship between Silver and Blaze). It worked really well.

Generations had a similar structure which was equally good. (Although, ironically, DS Generations messed it up as you had to collect play coins to unlock the missions. The mission were also quite bland).
This is another area where I think Sonic Colours had the right idea, though. Some of the stages were modern styled boost-based gameplay, while others were forcibly boost-free 2D areas and platforming challenges. (Making the boost an item that they could just remove from some stages was a good idea, IMO.) And it did this without having to adhere to the super rigid Classic/Modern structure. I think you could make a game with the larger, more ambitious/complex Generations-styled stages exactly the same way.

I mean, seriously. Forget the dumb plot framing device and just do it. Make some stages mostly or entirely 2D and some mostly or entirely 3D. Make some of them linear boosty rollercoaster type stages, some more methodical and platformy, and some more open, exploratory and non-linear (ie: the missing ingredient from all the modern games, even the good ones).

You don't need the story to justify it. It's just called level variety! (And it's the kind of variety fans actually want, as opposed to inserting weapons and vehicles and Werehogs.)
The only problem is that Colours Sonic felt a little bit too fast for the platforming sections. Classic Sonic in Generations was more suited to these types of levels.

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Re: Sonic ..Excursion?

Post by Esrever »

Yeah, if it's a categorization issue I can see it. It was weird how the Wii Colours' map demarcated all the regular and mini stages as though they were the same thing. I guess that's largely a UI presentation issue, though. The DS way was definitely clearer. (Although I didn't actually like the missions themselves as much.)

As for the control thing, there was definitely something a little... weird about how Sonic jumpd in Colours. I got used to it, but it's definitely off and it's my biggest beef with the game. Modern Sonic's jump handling in Generations felt better, but I don't know how much of that was just a result of them being smarter about using larger, more consistently-sized platforms to make them easier to eyeball navigate at high speeds.

I'd definitely like to see them pull a bit from Classic Sonic's handling and apply it to regular Sonic going forward. Especially now that you have the boost move to go full speed instantaneously, the regular run really doesn't need to accelerate so quickly! They should be able to slow down his low-speed handling to tune it better to platforming stuff.

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Re: Sonic ..Excursion?

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FlashTHD wrote: If it's going to be like Colors, I sure don't! One act takes 2 minutes to clear, the next a 30 second gimmick, the one after that 4-5 minutes, or any combination thereof in aribtrary order. There was no consistency, just 6 unskippable levels of random, forgettable nonsense.

Pick one thing, anything, and stick to it. But they had ADD or something when they laid that game out.
Sounds to me like someone never revisited the "30 second gimmicks" once more whisps were unlocked to hunt for the red rings. That was like, half of the game's enjoyment because it was only then did you realize how expansive and well designed even the shortest of Color's stages were.
Esrever wrote:As for the control thing, there was definitely something a little... weird about how Sonic jumpd in Colours. I got used to it, but it's definitely off and it's my biggest beef with the game. Modern Sonic's jump handling in Generations felt better, but I don't know how much of that was just a result of them being smarter about using larger, more consistently-sized platforms to make them easier to eyeball navigate at high speeds.
I agree that the jump in Colors took a while to get used to, but the jump in Generations was TERRIBLE. Modern sonic had this awful 1.5 jump that totally broke the flow of any action, always making it feel like you had awkwardly JUST made it to the next platform. I don't know who's idea it was to put that little fart of a 1/2 homing attack in there instead of a double jump but it was awful. Classic sonic's jumps were even worse! The platforms seemed like they were designed so that you had to be standing on the very last pixel of the edge to even make it. This led to some incredibly infuriating situations when the player tried to reach the upper path, something you had exactly .5 miliseconds to do given the speed that things are flying by. That and you usually can't even go back to try and make the jump again. yuck.

I will fault colors for having the tiniest freaking platforms suspended over bottomless pits sometime though. That and the camera usually zoomed out, making sonic a spec and the jump even harder to make.

I would actually suggest taking the boost out altogether as it encourages what amounts to basically not playing the game. Either that or make it extremely limited like it was in Colors.

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Re: Sonic ..Excursion?

Post by FlashTHD »

I didn't care about the red rings. Too bad for them.

If they are incapable of making a level "expansive" without needing to facilitate it with an easter egg hunt, that's their issue.

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Re: Sonic ..Excursion?

Post by Radrappy »

FlashTHD wrote:I didn't care about the red rings. Too bad for them.

If they are incapable of making a level "expansive" without needing to facilitate it with an easter egg hunt, that's their issue.
It's true that searching for the red rings was 100% optional but upon collecting them you unlocked the ability to transform into super sonic in-stage, something that had never been possible in a 3d outing before! Surely that should be enough motivation to engage in a fun activity? Plus, exploration is by nature a nonlinear activity. Racing towards the goal ring is actually counterintuitive to exploration, whereas the red rings actually encouraged it. It's why looking for special stages in S&K was similarly rewarding.

Man, you didn't even like classic Sonic in Sonic Generations either? He was mute and cute! What are you, some kind of grump?

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Re: Sonic ..Excursion?

Post by Esrever »

The expansive levels are still there regardless of whether or not you care about red rings. The rings are just an additional carrot, if the enjoyment of exploring to find big alternate routes and secret areas isn't motivation enough. But honestly, if that isn't motivation enough, I guess we really don't care about the same parts of Sonic games at all? (Which is allowed.)

I remember when the game came out, I was friggin' delighted to see the return of big levels with a renewed focus on platforming and tons of massive alternate paths that you can access using different powers. For me, the great stage design was more than enough to look past past some dodgy controls and a couple of subpar reused areas. This was, like, the MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENT of the franchise for me, and it had been gone since 1994. And meanwhile some other fans were like, "Why can't Sonic roll down hills?" "Why can't I backtrack once I pass a checkpoint?" "Why do I have to jump on blocks, what is this, some kind of Mario game?" I don't know. Maybe we really DON'T all want the same things. Like, at all!

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Re: Sonic ..Excursion?

Post by FlashTHD »

Radrappy wrote:It's true that searching for the red rings was 100% optional but upon collecting them you unlocked the ability to transform into super sonic in-stage, something that had never been possible in a 3d outing before! Surely that should be enough motivation to engage in a fun activity?
The Super Sonic BGM is an obnoxious 10 second loop (oh wait, it can't possibly be anything else because that's like the rules) and it amounts to god mode in levels I didn't have any fun playing in the first place. No thanks.

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Re: Sonic ..Excursion?

Post by Radrappy »

FlashTHD wrote:The Super Sonic BGM is an obnoxious 10 second loop (oh wait, it can't possibly be anything else because that's like the rules) and it amounts to god mode in levels I didn't have any fun playing in the first place. No thanks.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USHi4s_rHqQ&t=2m49s

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Re: Sonic ..Excursion?

Post by cjmcray »

Radrappy wrote: I would actually suggest taking the boost out altogether as it encourages what amounts to basically not playing the game. Either that or make it extremely limited like it was in Colors.
I've never played Colors, but I agree that the "Hold Boost to win" gameplay has got to go.

I think the Boost should be a power-up accessed through the sneaker item box. Make it last about 10 seconds. That way it's more rewarding when you pull it off, and the level doesn't fly by quite as quickly. (Seriously, some of the Modern Stages in Generations could be completed within two minutes or less. That is unacceptable)

Or perhaps make Boosting an ability only Super Sonic can use.

(Speaking of the Sneaker Item Box, in the Adventure games, I didn't notice ANY change in Sonic's speed when acquiring it, That always annoyed the heck out of me.)

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