Archive for November, 2017


Talking Points & Agendas

If i’ve learned anything about video game “culture” over the last 3 generations, it’s that people tend to act irrationally towards a game that doesn’t sit well with their own ideas of how it is supposed to be handled. Sometimes it’s justified like the outrage over the current lootbox fiasco, other times it’s just childish such as death threats. But often times, people’s reasons for despising something…. they tend to fear that they would come off as petty. So what happens is that they invent particular arguments to… veil their actual reasons for despising something behind a more… socially acceptable critique. You see this with reviewers anytime they talk about bad camera angles. And damn sure you hear this often with Sonic the Hedgehog when someone farts out the critique of physics. 

As everyone knows, Sonic Forces came out 3 weeks ago, and… the game is merely ok. It’s incredibly short, and that is it’s biggest flaw. I don’t think Colors was this short. When you get right down to it, Forces is an overly demanding score attack game with the Avatar system as it’s primary incentive. The physics act as a perpetual handicap for these “platforming challenges” as the game tends to ensure that you always make it to the end of the level by the skin of your teeth. The way the springs operate is a dead giveaway. 

I hate how the springs work in this game.

I’ve given up trying to get all these missionary times. The parts I tend to collect rarely ever entice me. Extra crap that games want you do tend to turn me off real fast if they’re nigh impossible. So… the most I do is fiddle with avatars anyway. I notice I tend to only make birds because they’re just awesome design wise. They’re very malleable with all the different pieces I have on hand. I don’t really make rabbits, bears or hedgehogs as they tend to look ugly.

As it stands, the Avatar system was an ok first attempt at character creation. It’s just very limited in scope and should require less strenuous tasks to unlock as many of these parts are, again, not very good. The option to change the colors of different clothing would have been preferable to unlocking different colored clothes. Thats just asinine, and it seems unlockable pieces are rng at best.

Overall, the game is a moderate improvement. There’s definitely room for more, but the fact of the matter is that Sega understood somewhat that this series needs to get back on track. Based on what Kajin gave me, Sonic Team must’ve been furious with Sonic Bust that they just had to show them how it’s done. There’s no greater motivation for the Japanese than the artistic rape of their own properties by white folks. Whether or not they maintain this remains to be seen.

And yet, despite being an average-mediocre game, people have gotten it in their heads that the game isn’t merely bland, but is some…. crime against nature. A claim that should only be reserved for Boom! 😛 Every little detail was picked apart from level design to the fucking inclusion of character creation, and what we get is the notion that this game is terrible on all fronts. Now, everyone is entitled their opinions, and it’s a talking point that will inevitably come up more than once… but when is the opinion card truly valid? Cause from what I’ve been seeing and hearing, a lot of the rage and “frustrations” going into Forces is pre-meditated. 

Talking about Sonic Forces with anyone just swells up a desire to criticize level design…. see, that’s one thing I’ve noticed. People invent all these goddamn talking points to say that a Sonic game is bad regardless of the actual quality. Either the game has the wrong tone, the physics are off, boost2win, and now all of a sudden, we give a damn about level design. These are the same people that praised Advance 3 and Colors, but now… the level design is off. 

Level design, in terms of structured paths the player has to take to get to finish line, is the least Important factor of a game’s quality, mainly because the player is too focused on enemies or traps to care about whether or not they have a secret or alternative path to take. That has never been a requirement. If the level structure is more demanding of memorization or skillful maneuvering (like level 2 of Ninja Gaiden with the fucking ravens), that might frustrate people and would call attention to it, but otherwise, a linear level is still a fun level. Bad level design is when the actual structure does not account for the character’s given abilities and makes it impossible to progress. Not that it doesn’t have alternate paths. Donkey Kong Country Returns doesn’t have alternate paths, and yet this game is the “bees knees”. It’s still bad structure as it doesn’t account for coop. But that’s ok because “you don’t have to play coop”. The euphemism being “coop was included for shits and giggles“. And hell, Forces level design is technically no better than Colors, though they’re nowhere near as linear as Colors, and yet a game that is this slowly paced is considered a gem while Forces is automatically worse for the mere inclusion of Retro Sonic.

Gamers tend to bullshit themselves and others more so than any other…. “media culture” if you will. They invent talking points to justify their adoration or admonition of whatever videogames are on their minds. You might’ve heard the critique of “Interactive Movie” to paint a negative light on such games like Asura’s Wrath or the Last of Us. Heavily flawed games as they are, those are not flaws themselves. 9/10 a lot of people’s reasons for hating certain games is their popularity. A lot of gamers have built themselves up as harsh critiques, and apparently one or two games that get a whole lot of shine… that just doesn’t sit well with certain groups. Just gotta throw some dirt on it, make it seem less than good. And why the hell not? These are mal-adjusted people who have to shit on everything just to gratify themselves and feel superior. 

But that’s the thing. They know their actual reasons are petty and socially unacceptable. And a big part of these gamer cliques is the process of putting on a good public image. You can’t just say you hate that this game is popular. Cause everyone else is as bad a critic as you are. So instead you invent reasons to throw shade, and then you buy into your own con, and have no choice but to perpetuate that shit to maintain an image of consistency and conviction to those made up principles, no matter how damaging it really is.

EnterSonic 4.

Now if you recall, a lot of people, particularly the Wii fans, were openly excited for Sonic to follow in the masturbatory footprints of Capcom’s Mega Man 9, a game that was heralded as the premier validation of “graphics don’t matter”. A claim that was hilariously debunked when the then titled “Project Needlemouse” was finally revealed to have 3D graphics. I noticed a lot of people were fervently jacking off to the thought of a Sonic game going back to 16bit graphics. When the first footage of that game dropped, so did a lot of people’s expectations. It was betrayel! That oh so necessary validation of the Wii’s graphics was revoked! That friendship between Nintendo and Sega was but an illusion! Sega… had to be punished! 

But Nintendo fans knew that they were all about the gameplay, and attacking Sonic 4 on the grounds that it had the wrong graphics would’ve made them look like hypocrites. So what happened instead was that they figure they could use the game’s physics as the calling card to go in on it. That way, en masse, they can easily say “well it’s the physics I hate!”  Even though, no, it’s the graphics you hate. The same fandom that saw fit to praise and buy Sonic Rush could not in anyway suggest that Sonic 4 had bad physics. They accepted them in both Rushes. 

Forces is in the same boat. The game’s flaws are magnified to such an unbelievable degree that all of a sudden, character creation is “just a cheap gimmick“. What gamer hates the ability to create their own character, something of their own branding, their ideal self-image no matter the form it takes, and put it into a game? People enjoy feeling as though they’re a part of the game, and aren’t just playing something to move the plot along and experience someone else’s characters score victories. It’s a part of why people love Mass Effect so much, you get to craft the story anyway you want it with your own personalised character. It’s an interactive medium, the gamer wants to be immersed. The most gratifying feeling is going through the game with your own personalised character. Because it’s you taking on these challenges. It’s you being thanked and praised for your heroism. It’s you getting the girl/boy at the end. Not some preset character with a personality that you may or may not like, but you. Suggesting that character creation is in any way a flaw by default is a contradiction in terms.  

This was the most damning criticism because it made no goddamn sense. But again, that’s the idea. You see, there’s some new memes that’s been floating around about “edge“, and it’s used to mock people simply because they have a problem with a series being childish. Namely the sonic series. Apparently it’s wrong to think a series that has had more mature content in the past is diminished in quality when that content gets dumbed down not for a younger audience, but to avoid pissing off the fans that were perturbed by Shadow the Hedgehog. For a people that swore that being accurate towards the Japanese source material (which includes profanity in children’s entertainment) was “respectful“, they sure do bat some eyes when that shit hits close to home. This a cultural thing, btw. We just don’t take anthropomorphic characters seriously, and because everyone’s first taste of anthros began with Looney Tunes, we can’t shake the idea that anthros must strictly be comedic shlock for children.

But now we go back to having (the illusion of) mature content, and they cry “no fair!” But they arm themselves with signature talking points aimed directly at gameplay and mechanics. “Well it’s the level design I hate!” No, you hate that the game isn’t all rainbows and fuzzballs. Even though there was nothing to worry about. Hell, “torture” might be a meme in the future. 

If we assume that Sega were paying attention to fan demand, then this level of dishonesty amongst the fandom is not only foolish but is also disastrous. Elements that are good ideas are misconstrued as undesirable, and are revoked upon the next game. All because we want to hide our real thoughts out of fear of being judged as a petty and irrational gamer. The goal of these talking points is purely defamatory, and have no convictional basis upon which these idiots can guage shit.

I recall watching a vid of some asshole who said games like Unleashed and Generation were bad because he couldn’t … stop and look at the scenary. What kind of magical inbred thinking is this!? It’s not thinking at all. When you start having to make up flaws to make a game look worse than it really is, you look quite silly. It goes to show the desperate lengths one is willing to sink to just to get everyone on this bashwagon. You personally feel this game doesn’t deserve any praise, so you have to accentuate the negative aspects and hope no one bothers to ignore you.

I could tell you all freely that I hated Sonic Boom exclusively because of those character designs. It’s not socially acceptable because it comes across as shallow. And yet it’s the main complaint levied against Mass Effect Andromeda because the females are ugly. Fans threatened to boycott Dead or Alive 5 if the females didn’t have their exaggerated breasts as the director was intending to do. The Wind Waker caused a mass exodus from the Gamecube. Shth was hated in the first trailer simply cause the character had guns.

Gamers are very shallow people. And it’s about time we started coming to terms with that. The problem is no one wants to accept “I don’t like this because it looks ugly” as a valid reason because we’ve built it into our heads that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But people don’t it all the time! No one goes to any movie that doesn’t look good. No man goes to a woman that is fat or ugly. No one eats food that looks sloppy or unappealing unless they’re fucking hungry and have no alternative. That is how people simply are. And again, for a medium that is about the total gratification of one’s ego, we shouldn’t fool ourselves into thinking gamers are removed from the equation. That gamers are special snowflakes that have such refined tastes that aren’t so low as to reject a game based on superficiality. 

There were websites like “Blue Sky” that existed merely to  criticize the trends of “real is brown”, the fact that many games were starting to lack vibrant colors and looked dull and lifeless. Nintendo fans are especially guilty of this. They think by defending Wind Waker, they somehow earn respect points for not judging strictly by it’s gameplay. Nevermind their endless hatred for Call of Duty for being an FPS. Or their posturing that Galaxy is better than NSMB because of production values. They aren’t fooling anyone. I’m willing to bet those jackasses wouldn’t play Soul Calibur 2 if Link wasn’t in the game.

So now that the fandom finally has their equivalent to Mega Man 9 after 8 years of baited breath, one would assume they would be satisfied. But instead, it wasn’t enough. They orchestrated a division amongst the fandom and proclaimed default superiority as a means to bully and cajole Sega to… discontinue work on paticular Sonic games and continue to produce Mania titles exclusively. At least that is what I am seeing. There’s one guy on youtube who already jumped the gun at Forces “being more successful than Mania“, so there’s a clear desire for one to overtake the other. Not only to get more of what want, but to prove a point that a game needs love and care to make. Looking at the current sales of Mania, that prospect isnt looking good. And it’s causing some to panic early. 

I’m sure that’ll bring joy to some who’re annoyed by them.

Also, Forces has a better zone ratio than mania, though only Forces gets the shade for reusing 3 zones as opposed to Mania’s 8.

Advertisements

Nostalgia Pandering

This is a damn good vid. Though I do believe he used it more so to vent about Sonic because, as he states, other companies don’t fall prey to the shit Sega’s been pulling lately. 
Nostalgia comes off more or less as pretentious self-indulgence these days where companies seem more focused on reliving their glory days rather than using it to a significant degree.

After spending several years criticisizing most of the new Sonic games that have come out after Shadow the Hedgehog, I’ve gotten to a point thinking… “why do I even bother paying attention to this series anymore? They don’t care, they’re too xenophobic, they’re a bunch of dirty liars, and i’m just getting too old for this crap!” 

2017 was the year of fanservice in which Sega decided to fawn in their fans by going crazy with nostalgia and fan service. Sonic Mania created legions of moist assholes who, desperate for a good Sonic game (and after Boom, I don’t blame them one bit), tripped over themselves in delirious praise of it… which is good. Any love this series gets at this point in time is a miracle. 

What chapped my ass was how this supposed love letter to my old ass generation… was used as a proxy to wage a jihad against Sonic Forces. The newest mainline Sonic game that had everyone in a tiff. And I couldn’t begin to tell you why. But to hell with that. This isn’t about media warfare. There’s only 1 question on your mind.

Is there some tiny glimmer of hope that this game redeems the franchise in any meaningful way?

Uhhhhhh…… kinda?

If you’re a fan who’s been burned by Sega’s desire to coddle the Nintendo fandom by their idiotic proclamation to “Saving the Wii U“, then this game is like fresh cut spring flowers with a hint of lemon. If you’re an outsider, this game will be invisible. Mainly because Mario Odyssey came around the same time and you’ll be too busy masturbating and flaming detractors to notice. Forces is strictly for (Japanese) fans, which can be problematic when so many are ready to jump ship. Perhaps that’s why Mania was really greenlit in the first place… in either case…. let’s get on wit it.

STORY: D+

That’s being generous. 

As many of you already know, the story takes place in a post-apocalyptic world (I think) where Sonic has been defeated by a new robot known as Zero the Jackal… a nuch better name than “Infinite” but eh. As a result, the world falls into despair as characters…. who are MORE THAN CAPABLE OF BEATING INFINITE. ..form a resistance movement to stop Robotnik from further conquest. 

A survivor from the city (your personal character) who previously got his ass kicked by Infinite, is recruited to help take down Robotnik…. while everyone else does some shit offscreen, You’ll be too busy fighting and wisping to pay attention to in-game dialogue. 

While that’s going on, Tails gets attacked by Chaos 0 only to be saved by Retro Sonic… whose presence is poorly explained by the game and the fans, and those 2 have their own little adventure outside of the resistance movement until they eventually unite with the resistance anyway. And eventually, the real Sonic gets free and rejoins the fight.

Playing through Forces in it’s entirety feels like watching one of those Japanese OVAs or movies designed to sell merchandise from the theater. In that characters are included not to contribute to the plot, but to establish some form of continuity and fanservice. Otherwise, You’ll forget (and likely not care) that Knuckles took up a leadership position, Shadow had a prior encounter with Infinite, or that Tails was fixing Omega for some… reason. Even Shadow’s DLC was included simply to shut the fans up about having Shadow playable.

For the most part, the story is still sanitized for children, but the material has so much potential. A SATam for a new generation, without the environmental messages that white folks love to hate. The problem is that it’s constrained by the whims of being a game, being written by the Japanese, being translated by the fossils of ABC Saturday morning cartoons who are  all too eager to convince the world that they are hip by using “tru dat” as a response, or grammatically questionable lines like “Eggman’s army is officially buttkicked!”… but the biggest problem is that both Retro Sonic and the Avatar exist in the same narrative. 

You see, what kick starts the story is that Sonic is beaten and captured, a resistance is formed, and the new recruit is you. Sonic, being the hope and symbol of security for the world, is crushed! But now you, yourself have the chance to be that new hope. The world now hinges upon your shoulders. No one has much faith in you, and even the villain taunts you specifically. But in the end, you manage to pull through, besting the adversary that Sonic could not, and crushing Robotnik’s empire once and for all.

But then the very next scene pops in and now you have Retro Sonic. This little bastard could actually fit in with this plot. With Retard Sonic defeated, this Sonic from another dimension (that still doesn’t make sense) comes in to reinvigorate everyone’s fighting spirit (or just Tails) while fighting Robotnik and crushing his plans because even though everyone has lost all hope, and this other Sonic is a weakling compared to Retard Sonic, he fights on anyway despite the odds because he knows that if he doesn’t, the fat ass tyrant wins.

You see what I’m saying? You’ve got these 2 really good ideas going on, but they’re mutually exclusive for the most part. One story works one way, and vice versa. You can’t really have these 2 entities running around at the same time. Course, that’s just me thinking from my head. They mitigate this by making Retro Sonic completely and unequivocally irrelevant to the whole damn game. Hell, even Tails could be cast aside. 

But even so, the game then turns the Avatar into an irrelevant side character by… having Sonic return too… fucking… early. The narrative they had going would’ve put the Avatar/Retro Sonic as the next/last hope for the world with Sonic out of commission. But by having Sonic return to the fray right in the first half is just lousylousy plotting. Why? The game made it a point that Sonic was the be all, end all when it came to kicking Robotnik’s ass. His… defeat… alone was enough to spur the formation of the resistance! If this were realistic, the resistance would’ve disbanded the moment they hear Sonic came back.

Remember the Power Puff Girls?  The good one? There was an episode where the girls got fed up with the laziness of Townsville that they literally told them to fight a giant monster… on… their… own! That episode was a work of beauty because it taught regular ass people (and even the viewers) that you can’t always depend on your heroes to save the day. Sometimes, you need to be that hero.

This lesson of self-reliance could’ve been an excellent trope for this game, and would’ve meshed perfectly with the Avatar system suggesting that it is up to you, the player, to save the day! Don’t sit there with your arms crossed! Afterall, yah bastids wanted to think of the children! Might as well have lessons of morality to teach the poor little fucks.

OR…. you know… bring the dork back and have him preach about the Power of Friendship so that it gives your Avatar the strength and courage to fight against Infinite… because no one else could teach him that except Sonic, making him a morally necessary character to have early on. Cause that works…. pussies.

Ugh! Wasted potential is the creed of the game’s plot. TLDR they find out that the source of Ol’ Mysterio’s fear gas comes from his Reality Infinity Gem. But by utilizing prototypes, the resistance is able to wipe out Infinite’s power… and the guy pusses out and runs without so much as the Avatar delivering the coup de grace. Then Robotnik comes out at the end with a “Death Egg Robot” because the game hasn’t pandered enough. You kick it’s ass and…. friendship preach!

If the comics have more in-depth info, so be it. However, it is arrogant and (in Sega’s case, traditionally) idiotic to expect people to read some comics to acclimate themselves to a cheap game that is short… as… fuck. For all the lore you’ve crammed into Forces, you could’ve made a glossary like the one for Unleashed. 

As for the characters… well..

Sonic: I dub thee “Rogic” cause clearly the VA doesn’t give a shit about his delivery. Can’t blame him for phoning in most of his script, but what that does is turn his character into a disconnected, un-charismatic douchbag who fails to convince me that he even knows what the power of friendship is. His dialogue is the single most cringy fucking audio track this game has to offer. He embodies everything of an out of touch 40 year old virgin who tries too hard to be hip and relevant to the kids of today…. that might be symbolic of the franchise at this point.

Tails: Oh man… I don’t think Tails has been in good shape since Sonic Heroes. He’s been shit for decades…. but back in those days, he could actually fight. Why is he crying like a little bitch at the beginning!? He doesn’t even lift a finger to punch someone! I used to like Tails before Sonic Heroes, but these days he’s nothing more than a castrated dog. This game does him no justice.

Knuckles: Pretty much what I said before. But I still get the impression that he’s something of a moron, supposedly.  There were quite a few sprinkles of comic relief such as “operation big wave” or Amy callin him out for thinking Aquatic Road had fun slides, or Rouge and Sonic overriding his plan/command to attack a base head on without intel, and ofcourse, Rouge shoving him out of the way at the end. He’s not an idiot, yes, but clearly the token black guy is still the fool of the group. It’s minimal at best, but what’s the point of being a leader when none of the main crew even respects or trusts you?  All made worse by Jock voice actor Travis Willingham. I can’t stand his voice!

Amy: Irrelevant

Shadow: Shut up, Xiahou Dun!

Rouge: Honestly,  Kareen Straussman was perfect for this role. But does she have to talk with a slutty voice? Ruins the appeal, yah know?

Chaotix: Irrelevant. I pray to Amma that Charmy isn’t voiced by Laura Bailey. 

Silver: Uh… continuity? Also, again.. should have just ripped Infinite to pieces. 

Infinite: This guy’s threat quota is only relevant to the Avatar. A lot of liberties were taken with the main cast to artificially strengthen his powers. The bastard is a ripoff of the Pokemon Zoroark, for pete’s sake! His design ain’t bad, i’ll give him that. And Liam Obrien was a good pick for a VA. Otherwise, there shouldn’t have been any reason for him to beat Sonic and Silver so easily.

Robotnik: Mike Pollock is still shit. And Robotnik just seemed… invisible the whole game. You forget he’s the one that made Infinite in the first place. Hell, you forget he’s the final boss. Something tells me Japan doesn’t want to invest in Robotnik as a villain anymore, otherwise they’d have him be more involved in his conquest. Infinite did all the work, and this would’ve been the most appropriate reason for Robotnik to get stabbed in the back. But eh… have to appease the classic fans somehow.

The story IS bad, but certainly a step above the atrocities of Lost Mind and Boom. There’s literally so much potential here, I find myself confused as I anticipate a continuation of this plot… which probably won’t happen because… Sega

Gameplay: B-

A lot of folks have told me that this game is a downgrade to Sonic Colors. I had assumed it was because of vanishing blocks and bomb blocks making a return for gimmicked acts.

That horse shit’s been relegated to the unlockable extra stages, but… yeah, i’d say they weren’t bluffing. The game’s overall feel harkens back to the standard of Colors platforming that we’ve all grown nauseous to. 

Don’t let that turn you off completely, however, as that feeling is contained in Rogic’s stages. That said, Rogic is the absolute worst aspect of this game. His stages are short, and are literally straight lines half the time. Everything about Rogic is what many fans will bitch about the most, me thinks. Alternate paths are once again “Blink Misses” (you blink and you miss it). That and he talks too fucking much. I would also bemoan the return of wisp boosts, it just means the most encouraged element of new age sonic is hindered by micromanagement. But… this constitutes as “Good gameplay” because it forces you to conserve energy so that you boost at specific moments…. or w/e retarded justification that people use. Apparently good gameplay can only be so if it restricts you in some half-baked way… because “Challenge“? 

i’ve also had problems with his homing attack. Thanks to it’s botched targeting system, i’ve gone numerous stages missing jumps and falling into gaps. This combined with the game’s limited desire to let you change direction in midair. You feel like you’re playing Castlevania half the time. This is more prevalent in the 2D sections, but is nonetheless a stupid design choice.

Moving on, Retro Sonic is a real challenge for me…. mainly because I want be prejudiced against him… but I turned out liking his stages more. They’re very open, have a lot of areas for exploration, decently paced, good lengths, the erm…. physics-

TRAITOR!!!

Wait…WAIT!

Jjjjjust… let me explain! I’m talking exclusively about his acceleration speed! Back in Generation, i’ve always had a problem with Retro’s start up speed. The little blue bastard always felt like he had molasses up his ass, and it affected his momentum tremendously. That’s been fixed here as his acceleration…. while still crap… doesn’t feel like you have to break the damn controller just to move. Ofcourse, you can no longer gain momentum whilst airborne. I also found it weird that hitting a spring rapes all your momentum and bounces you straight upward. You can’t move until you descend. It didn’t make sense until  realized what the stages were really designed for. More on that later. 

Suffice to say, Retro Sonic is actually enjoyable to play this time around. He still doesn’t belong In this game, but credit where it’s due.

But obviously, the most fun for me were the Avatar stages. Here, all the experimentation and hours you put into crafting your personal internet fire starter get to shine here. Their gameplay style is mostly Rogic done right. Stages are about medium lengthed, and are the most open-ended of the bunch. Course, exploring every crevice and possible shortcut requires you to have a specific weapon equipped, and you can’t switch them out on the fly. If you want to use certain abilities,  you have to make preparations prior to each stage, which is a pain in my ass. I’ve noted before that this was a cheap trick to induce replay value upon the player by making wisps integral to the Avatar’s ability to actually explore the stages. Oh, and it’s not enough to just have the weapon. This is just so you can access the corresponding wisps in stage so you can use weapon specific powers. 

For example, I have a drill weapon. That purple shit you see there? In Colors or Lost Mind, you could use Wisps, no questions asked. Here, because I do not have the void weapon on hand, I cannot use the void wisp, meaning I would have to finish/quit the stage first, equip the void weapon, then replay the stage. This means any work you bother to do, you’d have to come back periodically. 

Congrats Sega, you’ve made the Wisps even worse.

This, ofcourse… explains everyone’s grievances toward the level-design. They’re designed not as proper levels, but more so as obstacle courses for when you actually try and get some work done. AKA Aqua Road is a very short and pathetic stage. But it’s not until you want to collect Red rings, Numbers, and moon coins, that Aqua Road becomes a literal nightmare. Everything in that stage was built not to kill you, but to hinder your ability to complete challenges. It also explains why Retro Sonic cannot initially move when first jumping on a spring. 

In Green Hill Classic, there was a red ring whose path toward it began with a spring that leads to a breakable platform, and continues on from there. If you fuck up and fall down by accident, and the platform is gone, then the way the Spring operates prevents you from making another attempt. Fetch Quests in Sonic games (starting with Unleashed) leave no Margin for error, so I’m certain the springs were designed like this deliberately. If so, This… is… bullshit. 

Back to the Avatar, it’s quite addictive what options you do have to work with. While you can’t alter the characters sizes so that their proportions aren’t all fucked up (A bear can’t be bigger than a bird!?), you can at least change their head styles and eyes… actually I don’t think anything compensates for the lack of proportion options. Their bodies look like long, lanky sausages half the time. But the ability to have your own personalised character is a huge plus, and is literally the only reason I bought this game. I’m a sucker for CaCs, as I’ve said before. And it’s been years since I’ve trolled people online, I’m feeling quite nostalgic! 

That… being… said. This creates a big ass problem for me. You see… each of these gameplay exist in 7 stages each. As there are technically 7 zones, each “character” has at least one zone in each of them. It’s a balanced amount for sure…. but… but. When you have the option to:

  1. Make your own character
  2. Have species specific abilities (which don’t amount to shit, but I digress)
  3. Can design their looks, voices, and victory poses.
  4. Equip different weapons, some even having their own perks (rings from defeated enemies, invincibility frames, etc)
  5. Having the option as it’s own slot next to the world map…
  6. The ability to gain experience points. (Yes i know you earn them regardless)

That is a considerable fucking amount of work to put into a character… only to have him/her limited to 30% of the stages while rest are taken up by 2 versions of the same character! See, this goes to my original point that both Avatar and Retro Sonic should not coexist in this one game. It crowds out any potential for either of them to shine on their own merits. Hell, Retro doesn’t even get extra/secret stages, which leads me to believe his inclusion was an afterthought or an undesirable executive order. Regardless, those are resources that were detracted from the Avatar character,  a feature that is a huge draw for this game. 

What is the point of customization if you don’t get to use it for most of the fucking adventure!? That is an absolutely SHITTY move on Sega’s part! Imagine if it were just the Avatar and Rogic! 30 stages total, 15 dedicated to each. That would be glorious!  But no, we have to make nice to my idiot classicfags. The self-hatred is strong! I don’t care how decent the Retro Stages are, that is bullshit to infinity and beyond! And no, unlockable stages don’t compensate for that!

Controlling the Avatar feels awkward at first. Being that they feel like Rogic and lack a boost action, you’d think that button would be used for the equippable weapons. Instead, you have to use the shoulder triggers to fire them off. I guess this was under the assumption that people would treat a gun attack like they would any particular FPS? Which is unnecessary and tacky because some of these damn weapons are melee attacks, and that just doesn’t feel right. This is coming from who’s played Terraria on PS3 where you have to use the shoulders to attack as well. This is an Arcade game. I shouldn’t have to become well adjusted to the controls for more than one stage.

But the real reason is because of the tag stages, where Rogic and Avatar team up for the most on-rails action you’ll get from this game. Switching characters isn’t a hassle or even a requirement as everything feels more automated for simplicity. Boosting switches you to Rogic, and weapons or wires switches you to Avatar. Simple enough. Tag stages aren’t bad. They just aren’t plentiful or memorable. It’s annoying how double boosts are automatic, scripted QTEs. They happen whether you like it or not.

Audio: B

I already touched upon voice acting a little, but I’ll reiterate. These animu voice actors are trash. I’d probably keep Kareen Straussman and the chick who does Tails, but Ditch everyone else. It’s clear that Roger Craig Smith has no interest or business playing this character. He just doesn’t have the right voice. RCS usually gets typecast as the soldier archtype,  everyone knows him as Chris Redfield. He’s currently Captain America in the new Avengers cartoon. He’s also Zhang Liao from Dynasty Warriors and Siegfried from Soul Calibur. All gruff, soldier types. Why the fuck would you cast him as Sonic the Hedgehog!? It’s like casting Dan Green as Knuckles. Having talent does not automatically fill in the requisite for playing a character. The voice has to actually fit the character. And hopefully in someway fill in the shoes of voice actors that people are already fond of. There’s a reason Kevin Conroy, Peter Cullen, Mark Hamil and the like are constantly called back in to reprise their roles. Their voices became synonymous with the characters themselves. Why else would the Japs be more consistent with recasting the same guy for “Sonikuu” for a thousand years? Just no. Roger isn’t cutting it. 

Speaking of Knuckles,  get rid of Travis Willingham! Can someone acknowledge Knuckles being based on an African and just hire Phil Lamaar at the very least!? Can’t stand Travis’s Jock ass voice…

Yeah, I said Phil Lamaar. Get fucked. Pretty Sure Rhasaan Orange is out of the question

I’m dreadfully concerned about the voices. These typical, overused  anime actors don’t fit any of these characters. When Sonic used mostly unknown actors, the cast literally flourished. A bunch of unknowns make these “professionals” eat dirt. Unfortunately, so many idiots are apologetic towards Roger’s shit performance because they love Resident Evil so much. And faggots are already clamoring for Johnny Bosch to get in this series. Was Troy Baker not enough torture!? I suppose not, people were hypnotized by Liam Obrien because Naruto was an unfortunate creature that taught a whole generation that bad anime is the new standard.

The music is pretty damn catchy! I even found myself humming a few tunes from Retro’s stages (Ghost Town, mostly). It’s nice to know that Sonic games still have  good soundtracks. Though I will contest that we are entering J-Pop territory, which is a slippery slope to completely engulfing the Sonic franchise in Animu tropes. Oh wait… we already have the power of friendship! 
Rogic, once again,  gets the raw end of the stick. No real memorable themes, but they’re par the course. But the Avatar just rapes the rest of the soundtrack. I have to punch myself in the balls to see if they haven’t shriveled, though. They sound way too girly for a Sonic. “SEXIST!” Go fuck yourself. 

I’m starting to miss the rap music from SA2. 😦

Replay Value: A-

Blame the Avatar once again for this point. Just making random characters alone is fun enough to warrant constant playthroughs. For me, at least.

Too bad most of the items suck. A lot of customization parts are less enthusiastic and varied. They seem too… “normal“. Idk about you all, but I don’t think an anthropomorphic character meshes well with school jackets, basketball jerseys, or football helmets. Tis why my bird has only the bare minimum and basic shoes. It’s like the creators didn’t think about the context of their series well enough to give it more diverse items. We get generic clothing (most of which look like school clothes), and some animu pandering shit. You have a scouter for that outdated meme, and the glasses from that… “drill that pierces the heavens” cartoon.

Also, some of the clothing items are pretty. If you decide you want to wear a scarf, football armor, or Amma forbid a goddamn fanny pack, you probably shouldn’t bother. Thanks to their sizes, and how zoomed out your character is on-screen, you’ll barely get to see those little touches. 

Suffice to say, it takes more work to make your character look halfway decent. It’s no Soul Calibur 5, that’s for sure. 

Unlocking all this generic crap is easy enough. Just get S ranks and complete missions. I just wouldn’t count on getting anything worthwhile.

And no, I haven’t played the Shadow DLC. I don’t have that kind of internet, still. 

Overall: C+\B- ?

Some guys I talked with were recommending some nicknames for Forces, like “Sonic Farces” or the like. I guess Lost Mind actually stuck with people. 

I suppose one could call it that, considering the whole thing doesn’t take itself seriously, and has loads of improbable situations (Rogic and Avatar breaking out of Null Space easily makes no goddamn sense)… but eh. I can’t really think of any nicknames as I don‘t hate Forces. Certainly, it has it’s flaws, and leans toward Japanese tastes and idiosyncrasies. And yet… I enjoyed it. More than I should have.

Maybe it’s that it tries to capture that zeitgeist of a pre-Unleashed era, where content was more than an excuse plot. Perhaps it’s the lack of forced comedy. The feeling that they actually tried to make something worthwhile. There’s effort put into the game. Polish, even. The gameplay not being total shit (well… cept Rogic). I don’t know. There’s plenty of room for improvement, certainly, but as this unfunny era goes, this was pretty decent. I don’t remember a time after SA2 that I actually anticipated a sequel. That says something.

Cheesy as it may sound but maybe… “Sonic Faith“? As in this game perhaps restores some faith in this franchise? 

.

.

.

Naaaah! Knowing Sega, they’ll fuck up next time!  Be like “oh no, some baka gaijin actually likes it! We can’t have that!” Sides, with the critics undoubtedly ripping it’s ass upside it’s head, they’ll use that as an excuse not to make a second attempt. But hell, I like it. Don’t know if I could recommend it to anyone other than Sonic fans.

Now pucker up and KISS IT dA!

Temptation of the Shadows

Recently, I watched a video called “Defining Adventure” by a Kazeblade, whereby he describes what would be important for establishing a hypothetical Sonic Adventure 3. By that, he takes an analytical approach to defining the 3 core tenets of the Adventure series, even stretching a few things to include Heroes and Shadow. While many would agree that he brings up valid points in those tenets (many of which are obvious), I feel his final statement more or less takes away from his argument. The one where he states that “clearly, there is something that drew people into these games”. 

This is where the tenets cease to matter.

 If you’ve read my shit, you know I put a higher stake on content than gameplay mechanics and features, which is what these tenets clearly adhere to (mild exception on part of the multiple story perspectives). And I believe the Sonic Community is sinking ever further into the same deluded trap that the Nintards dove headlong into, and that is the assumption that the gameplay is the driving interest behind why people buy video games. If you were to talk to people back in the early 2000s when Adventure was still relevant and fresh, you wouldn’t find people talking about how much they loved the exploration or the physics engines (no one gave a shit that the adventure games had technical errors because they were at least fucking playable, and went unnoticed until 06 turned every Sonic fan into an anal retentive cunt) but rather how awesome their chao’s were, or waxing poetic how they cried over shadow dying.. or bitching about the divergent gameplay styles like fishing and treasure hunting (IE Tenet 3 must be avoided like the fucking plague. No one liked that bullshit back then either). Gameplay, much like today, isn’t a great big factor as to why anyone plays games. So hell, you could make an Adventure 3 without any of these core tenets.

Why an Adventure 3 is a terrible idea right now is because the people running the series have swallowed the Nintendo Kool-aid and licked the jug clean. Sonic games of today are completely devoid of good content, being reduced to mere excuse plots to show off their new intricate game mechanics. Good content is what drew people to the Adventure series, and that is in short supply today at Sega. Now, we could just as easily say that the reason people look back at the Adventure games so fondly is because they’re… wellbabys first Sonic (just sayin), but I would argue that they’re the only (3D) titles that gave a damn about presentation. Something that even the fans themselves tend to forget.

And before anyone assumes, no. I am not speaking exclusively of story.

For instance, if you go back and play SA1… just lazy about in the Mystic Ruins for a bit. Bask in the ambience of the soundtrack that plays. This is exotic ass music for what looked like your typical 3D platformer level! If you were to play something like… Crash Bandicoot or the like, you’d probably get some upbeat, silly, run of the mill Jungle Music. But here, we’ve got this… chanting chorus shit in the background as you explore the jungles of Earth. It gives the area a more mystical feel. Peaceful and relaxing. And allowed it to contrast naturally with Station Square, who’s track was more noisy, busy, dull rock theme. At the time, Sonic was about Nature vs Industry, so having these 2 extremes represented in one game was a nice touch yeah no gives a fuck. Actually, I think this was the first 3D platformer to have a city for a hub world. Typically, you’d get magic castles or island temples. Here, you exist in a modern, urban setting with civilians walking about that you could interact with.

The zones, too, were far more unique than in the Sonic games to come. Casinopolis was the first zone in which you’re expected to gamble to complete the zone. Yes it’s pinball, but the objective is to win rings regardless.  And if you happen to lose without making enough, you get thrown in the garbage. Because welfare is for pussies.

 If you notice, Sonic zones in SA1 and 2 are all high speed action except this one. As well if you notice, being that it is a Casino, the style of music bends to it’s will. Sonic Zones usually have hard rock themes, yet the Casino sounds like the coco bongo club from The Mask. Again, the music sets the tone and atmosphere, and clearly ST didn’t wanna fuck that up with Casinopolis just cause Sonic had a consistent genre. Then you had the Lost World (no, not that piece of shit game). While not an entirely good zone, there was one area that would forever haunt me, and that was the room of darkness where everything is pitch black, you got this scary ass music  playing in the background, and the only way forward was to use mirrors to light the way, likely inspired by the 97 “The Mummy” movie. The area constantly filled you with dread as you pressed onward through the darkness, never daring to skip a single mirror lest your fragile mind be littered with unpleasant images, driving you insane.

This level of detail is also seen in SA2. Remember the Lost Ark zone? That one Robotnik stage where every room was damn near pitch black, and the music never going far beyond a mild melody. It truly gave you the impression that you were navigating an abandoned space station, trying to keep the lights on by killing everything in your path. And don’t get me started on the likes of Pumpkin Hill. . No fuck that… Aquatic Mines! How would you feel if you needed to explore a claustrophobic mineshaft to find pesky jewels, but at the same time you’re being jump scared by these creepy ass ghosts with razor sharp teeth and horrifying eyes? And these bastards could be anywhere! 

I ain’t gonna lie, the Adventure games could be scary as shit!

The Adventure games had a unique feel to them that the rest of the series just ignores outright, and i’d be quick to say they feel more… “urban“. Laid back. Down to Earth. Modern Sonic tries to encompass everything from Disney channel to college hipsters… just listening to the end credits is enough to cause ear cancer. Sonic should be one of those games you’d want to play on a late Saturday night. You get Sonic games with orchestrated (or castrated, take your pick) music and pixar/DreamWorks settings and something just instantly feels off. 

You couldn’t even begin to compare either Adventure titles with everything afterwards. Without that kind of presentation (and Chao Garden), future Sonic titles fell flat. None of them have zones resembling an atmosphere, a unique characteristic to help them all stand out from each other, etc etc. Nothing that would leave a distinct impression upon you for years to come. Just your basic, run of the mill generic action games.

Don’t get me started on the soundtrack. Unlike today where Sonic music is limited to tween rock, orchestral bullshit, and gay ass synth music, you had all kinds of genres, from hard rock, heavy metal, hip hop, mythical epic… shit, techno, that 70’s spy music in Rouge’s Zones, and… even teletubbies shit for the Chao. They explored various genres to give every facet, every nook and cranny, a distinct and unique feel to them. This variety of musical genres was sorely lacking in 06, much to my dismay. 

But presentation was just one thing. The strongest draw to the Adventure games was the stories…. well, that’s all #2 really, I doubt anyone cares that Chaos 0 is in Forces. And this can all be attributed to Shadow the Hedgehog. The “creator’s pet” as it were. Given that his story has the most development, depth, and level of suspense, you could argue he sold Heroes to people. 

Lets put it this way. You have a character that at the time, everyone looked at as just being another evil Sonic clone. But you play the game, you find that he has a little more going for him than being a shitty clone, but he was still meh. Shadow wasn’t anything special. Most of us already grew up watching SATam, Sonic Underground and reading the Archie comics, so Shadow’s dark past was nothing special. 

It’s not until you beat the game that he’s instantly your favorite character.  And you would know fuck all of why.

Cause you’re going through it, you get to the final fight, and you’re all like “man I knew Shad would turn good, now he’ll join-” then the mutha fucka up and dies. And you’re like “waitwhat!?” You get this ending with this sad ass music and the characters asking what happened to the guy. After credits you get a text saying “rest easy, heroes”, and a picture of Shadow afterward. And that fucks you up.

Suddenly, you can’t get that bastard out of your head. You’re thinking “Wow, they actually killed him!” That becomes the Aerith of the Sonic fandom for a little while up until Sonic Battle/Heroes where he is inexplicably alive. And he’s got amnesia. You’re thinking “oh wow, this is totes original, amne-” then you run into Shadow clones, and it fucks you up again! Oh crap, no wonder he can’t remember anything, he’s not even the real Shadow!” And that shit spirals out of control with Shth and 06 where Shadow’s fame was almost ruined, but the key with him was that, being a creator’s pet, he was the only character to get any  real, tangible development over the course of 4 games straight. Sonic, Tails, Knuckles? Oh they’re just there for another adventure. They don’t develop period, and Knuckles devolved much to my dismay, so the only character you could really only give a damn about was Shadow! He was the only mother fucker with actual progression to his narrative. And lets be honest. The first thing you wanted to know in 06 was who’s ass Shadow was about to put his foot into next. 

Hell, for those who remember the complaints that Shadow was stealing all the spotlight from Sonic, I hope that puts things into perspective. 

See…all this shit! And sons of bitches only focus on the mechanics, technical problems, and features and then proclaim they ain’t shit based off of that alone. There’s so much more to those packages, and no one bothers to notice. They take the content for granted. Yes, that chaps the foundation of my ass, because everyone does this shit. All on the Miyamoto kool-aid and we’ll never understand why people like shit. Like the damn Cuphead, people ignore what the game is about, and just obsess over the difficulty. How the fuck can anyone enjoy shit focusing squarely on gameplay and technical prow- you see, it’s all these damn computer centric games. Computer Centrism is less about spectacle (sans Uncharted) and more about the gameplay, it’s why Nintendo gets such unwarranted praise, they’ve completely signed over to computer centrism way before it took over the industry. With all the FPS’s and RPGs out there that demand attention to their gameplay (set up, strategy, skill point allocation, enemy strengths and weaknesses, specific loadouts, multiplayer), ni- can’t simply ignore this shit. 

The gameplay is constantly on their minds because that’s all computer centrism is! Arcade Centrism would leave you with impressions. The other leaves you with anal retention. And the over saturation of computer cetrism in the market got everyone so fucked up! And it doesn’t help that every gamer you see online is an aspiring game designer, and somewhere, someone keeps telling them to listen strictly to Miyamoto and to only pay attention to the technical and mechanical details of a video game such as “level design”. “Is this too linear? Is there enough collectables?”

The Sonic series hasn’t completely signed over to Computer Centrism because Sega’s DNA is still the Arcade. So even if you have all these damn fetch quests, the games still present the same objective of rushing to the goal as fast as humanly fucking possible. Part of why I don’t mind the whole “boost2win” gameplay, that shit reeks of Arcade Centrism. But see, Sonic rightfully continues being an arcade series, people are gonna bitch about them being shallow anyway. This generation is defined by computer centrism, which Sonic constantly rejects. Ironically, when Sonic does delve into computer centrism, people tend to hate them even more (Shth, 06, Unleashed, Lost Mind, Boom. Colors gets off scott free, somehow..). It’s a battle of 2 different extremes, wishing to engulf the franchise into one direction over the other.

I’ve just completely gone off topic. My point is the Adventure series probably feels the most unique and distinct from the rest of the franchise. These tenets have jack shit to do with why people enjoyed them so much. And hell, i’d be one to say they aren’t required to make an Adventure 3 (especially the damn “supplemental gameplay”). An Adventure 3 simply, honestly, needs good content. Including presentation and music… fucking ambition is what it needs. The level of detail ST put into all of those elements showed how ambitious and passionate they were with the undertaking. They probably lost that ambition with the death of the dreamcast. If you notice, most interviews talk about how depressed the teams were when Sega pulled the plug and went 3rd party. Part of why they don’t even try anymore and just cut corners on fucking everything.

But I digress. I understand that this isn’t the point of his argument and he’s just defining things, but we know Sonic fans are high strung, and the implications are there. A hypothetical SA3 must adhere to these themes to be a worthy successor, and that is simply not true. The only thing that even needs to come back is a chao garden.

Sonic Forces is finally out!

…. And it’ll probably be the first Sonic game I buy new in years since Sonic Riders.