It should come as no surprise that I’m one of those “few’ that keeps going back to the original genesis titles when it comes to Sonic. I’ve officially grown weary of all the current Sonic shit I’ve been playin.

I’ve spoken a little about video games benefitting consumers by way of entertainment value, but never thought about how Sonic games (fail to) do this. Of course, anyone with a working brain could figure it out, but future developers continue to FAIL to understand why Sonic games do not impress anymore. The lack of edginess puts everyone off, but it doesn’t stop there.

I remember back in the 90s that Sonic Spinball was created in response to the popularity of Casino Night Zone in Sonic 2. Around that time, we had a “darker take” on Sonic in the form of SATam. As such, Spinball was created with emphasis on SATam’s appeal. While the game was shit, it was a game that tried to capitalize on things that people already enjoyed from Sonic at the time. You get a sense that the developers wanted to entertain us, and ultimately fubar’d their attempt to do so. Where as these days, the doorknobs at Sega toss anything into Sonic games with no concern for our enjoyment of them and call it a day. Most of the time, it is due to their own goals and desires of how they wish to create a game, not if they want us to enjoy it.

And this really started with the Sonic games on Saturn. We had 4 ports and a spinoff as the Saturn’s premiere Sonic titles. Due to the unnecessary civil war over X-Treme, the head idiots in charge thought about “OMG we need a Sonic game, think of something men!!!!” and shoved in 3D Blast, a game EVERYONE hated, a port of the original Sonic Trilogy (desperation), and a goddamn spinoff. A racing game with only 5 courses and 9 characters. No real modes and a mild soundtrack. They weren’t thinking about benefitting customers with these Sonic games. They thought about cheese and salvaging their ego-driven console.

And… this was how they’ve been doing Sonic games ever since. Idk what happened with Naka at the time, but even he stopped to care. Was the NiGHTS engine that big of a deal that he lost focus? Sure the content of Sonic games were steady, but man were the games entering unfamiliar territory.

Sonic Adventure 1 was supposed to this massively visionary Sonic RPG. That’s already a warning sign that 3D Sonic was going to stink. And for about 1/2  (or 3/4)of the game, that assumption was correct. Fetch quests, slow ass amy, and fishing elements were portions of the game that should’ve never been introduced (fishing is, of course, over-stated). But the biggest drawback was the feeling that the game was more “adventure” than it was “action”. Yeah, yeah, it’s the name of the game, but it didn’t have to be so literal. Ironically, this is one Sonic game where they tried to pull all the stops. Traveling to South America for inspiration on the Mystic Ruins and shit, that’s how you know Sonic Team had passion. The game though… wasn’t very good. Between Sonic and Tails, you would be hard pressed to play as any of the other characters because they simply weren’t fun. The other characters presented elements that no one wanted in Sonic games. Who asked for a Sonic game to (make you) go through 6 different “games” to get more out of the game?

They didn’t think of a benefit to the customers or fans.

This was natural, ofcourse. The age of 3D caused many developers to lose sight of their original goals and focus on “ambition”. “What can I do with all these grand technological advancements?!” Instead of just making better games of already existing games, they started going outside of customer expectations and started crafting incredibly wild formats that no one asked for.

TI: For Sonic Adventure, the basis of the game was to incorporate the fast action of the Genesis/MegaDrive Sonic games with a lot of story elements. For SA2, it’s reverted back to concentrate more on the action of the game rather than the story.

SA2 was… slightly better about this. While the original game only had Sonic, Shadow, and Knuckles playable, there were complaints that no one could play Tails and the added bonus of Robotnik. While we still had fetch quests, there were attempts to address consumer complaints. So they DID infact think of a benefit to the customer… somewhat.

Then we get to the Sonic Heroes, this coming after the death of the Dreamcast where all Sega’s developers were incredibly bitter about for years to come. Sonic Heroes was an idea conceived from Iizuka on the basis that he didn’t want to make an SA3 due to the assumption that “only the fans would buy it”. Considering at the time, Sonic’s reputation wasn’t completely fucked like it is now, this idea was farfetched as Sonic still had moderate popularity. Especially given that Heroes didn’t do that much better than SA2B anyways. The biggest problem with Heroes was the lack of edge that had been the series promotional gimmick since the 90s. Instead, the game was mildly kiddy. Characters and dialogue went full camp, music was much… MUCH cheesier, and to top it off, the game was much more tedious to play than previous titles. Perhaps they wanted to revisit their “Sonic RPG” ideas from 98 as you now need to “level up” your characters just to do more than tickle your enemies. There were complaints that levels were too long, and that the character switching mechanic wasn’t at all a popular idea. IE, there was no benefit to the customer even though it was in Iizuka’s intent.

Then… Shadow the Hedgehog happened, and it writes itself. There was Zero benefit to anyone not as clinically insane as I, and even worse? The game threw it’s gun feature into your face, the one element that everyone thought was completely insane. From the menu screens blazing gun fire everytime you made a selection seemed utterly obnoxious and inconsiderate. Zone design was completely ugly on all fronts just to keep up with it’s “SOTC” wannabe look, making all environments look similar and just as hideous. It’s a game that could even be construed as anti-consumer with how “in your face” the game was.

I’m not even gonna talk about 06.

2006-09 was the dark ages so there’s no benefit to be gained from any game in that period, and that leaves us with 2010 to the present, where Sonic supposedly “got better again”. The quote “Modern Era”. I question what is so modern about Sonic. Modernizing would mean to suit the tastes of the present. In entertainment, this is done while staying true to the foundations by which a series had begun.

With some…. harrowing exceptions

Sonic? This isn’t what anyone would call modernizing. This is what one would refer to as placing one’s unit in the rectum without consent. Emphasis on “without consent”.

Takashi Iizuka has had this thing where he’s always trying to gain new audiences where he, intentionally or indirectly, does something incredibly stupid where he alienates older audiences and further continues onward to diminish the quality of the Sonic brand by making completely unnecessary changes such as the tone of the series. People want EDGINESS from Sonic. Not on Shadow’s level, mind you, but in general. Sanitized Sonic is BAD Sonic. Sanitized Sonic is Retard Sonic. And this is the current problem with Sonic games.

When you look at the dark ages, at least the content is there. 06, Secret Rings at least, had some semblance of edginess to it’s spectrum. The problem was the games all played like ass.

So, when we look at the 3 current Modern Sonic titles, what do we see as the benefits?

Sonic Colors
1. Plays better than Dark Ages Sonic
2. Has worlds that look like something you’d expect from Sonic games
3. Has multiplayer (though shitty, it’s still there)

Those are 3 benefits. But what alienates people from the game?
1. The title
2. The overall sanitized content
3. It’s pretty slow and linear.
4. It’s short
5. Only Sonic is playable.
6. Poor Narrative
7. It’s a theme park
8. Sounds like some autotune whiteboy in the credits.
9. Wisps are a worthless feature.
10 Fetch quests
11. Poor Multiplayer

There are more drawbacks than there are benefits. The game has more of an “oldschool” feel to it’s gameplay which is probably why it gets praise, and definitely plays better than the dark ages, but is overall not as enjoyable as most other games on the market. The idea that you need specific power ups just to discover alternate routes as opposed to older games where you could use your own natural abilities to find alternate routes was, to me, a giant middle finger. And why so cutesy? There’s a food land here even!

Sonic Generations
1. Plays better than Colors
2. Has worlds ripped from Sonic games (even the ones we hate)
3. Bad ass remixes

The drawbacks?
1. Still short
2. One game mode is completely tedious to play.
3. Poor narrative
4. Fetch quests
5. Stupid missions like making Knuckles dig a hole.
6. Removal of multiplaer

So the game is a better Sonic Colors, with more entertainment value and less drawbacks. This would be making progress, but halfway through, the game starts becoming tedious.

Sonic’s Lost Mind
1. Plays better(?)
2. Supposedly has worlds that look like something you expect from a Sonic game.

Drawbacks
1. Too much like 3D Mario
2. Frozen Factory is the only Sonic Zone in the whole game
3. SHIT music
4. SHIT villains
5. Fetch Quests
6. The presence of another food land
7. Poor narrative
8. Nonsensical overworld.
9. Lazy content overall
10. Poor multiplayer yet again
11. Pink Music Note Sonic.

This game was made to appease Nintendo’s vanity. Thus it would explain how terrible it is in it’s entirety.

Overall, we have modern Sonic titles that provide little benefit in the way of entertainment or even expectations. While each installment plays better than previous Sonic titles, they’re not very fun to play or even watch. It’s like Sega can’t give us one without sacrificing the other. You either have your content without a game that’s playable, or you have the stable gameplay while it looks like a game for babies. Certainly, the praise comes from the hardcore mindset of “Gameplay>>>>>>>>Everything else”.

If Iizuka or anyone at Sega was in their right minds, they would think about giving consumers a 110% complete product that in it’s entirety is actually enjoyable. That is the core of Sonic’s problems. I’m tired of 1-5% of every Sonic game being enjoyable while I try to avoid every other segment of the games. And dammit, everyone else is too.

Funny thing I noticed. Maybe Sega is taking everyone’s praise of the handhelds too literally. Modern Sonic is just as sanitized as the handheld titles. Sure, they ALL played better than the 3D games, but they look and feel like shit. Damn, Dimps set up a nasty precedent for the Modern games.

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