Category: Racing games


A toast to everyone who’s been having a ball grillin the ever loving shit out of Sonic Boom! Savin me ALL kinds of trouble and piss that I could be using to kill those damn cats who keep singing at night!

Anywho, seeing all the turmoil erupting after the bust, there’s been like this… mass awakening going on. Sonic fans starting to smell the coffee and realizing that “hey, Sega’s REALLY fucking up the sonic series, we iz doomed!” Sure is nice of them to get over their unwarranted self importance to start caring about the actual products rather than their status as fans.

That being said, I started to dig out every Sonic game I’ve owned to go on a crying train about where it all went wrong.

Holy crap, I still have this game!?

Back in grade school, I thought this was the second racing game that took actual skill to beat (the first being F-Zero GX) seeing the amount of actions you had to take during a race to ensure victory. Course, by the time I learned all the nuances, I just used power characters and abused their easy shortcuts. Power characters had it easy (or at least Knuckles did). Breaking through everything while maintaining their top speed was a joy.

Playing it now, I realize that there isn’t any real skill involved. It’s actually very petty micromanagement strapped into a racing game. You have to be careful not to use so much air during a race, collect a shit load of rings to carry more air, do several million tricks and character specific actions to gain more air, and hope no one kicks your ass which would cost you all your air. Sonic Riders was a racing game with zero margin for error and almost no accessibility whatsoever, it’s a wonder that I even liked the game back then. Wait, I had a gamecube, I had really shitty taste back then. I even thought Wind Waker was worth anyone’s time…..

Thinking about it now, I started to actually miss some of the improvements in Zero Gravity. Not having to hold down the jump button just to actually “jump” and get bigger air from ramps was one, not having to manage air was another. Luckily, Gamestop sells Wii games at all time lows so hurray $12 games! It’s not everyday that I give a game a second chance (giving Injustice a second chance atm). Trying to think exactly what I did not enjoy about it. After about 4 weeks I got rid of the game, I didn’t even want it in my collection.

Zero Gravity was a sequel of demands and deterrents in itself. It had plenty of improvements like the aforementioned jumping controls, the music is way better, and there aren’t any silly QTE’s mid race like having to spin the control stick to gain air while riding a pulley. Never made much sense to begin with. Not every action you do drains your GP meter like it did for air, and catching rails with speed characters isn’t such a pain in the ass. If anything, Zero Gravity was a more convenient game.

The thing that pissed me off, however, was the changes to how characters and gear worked. Characters no longer had their abilities based on their types (Speed, Fly, Power categories were removed) so everything they could do was entirely gear dependent. Chapped my ass since I usually gave knuckles Grinder shoes so I could have the abilities of smashing things and riding rails. Unfortunately, in this game, that is virtually impossible without the “omnipotence” gear you get. It wasn’t too big of a deal considering that you could play your favorites without worrying if they’ll get decent shortcuts… but then Sega pulled this “gear change” shit.

In Riders 1, you had a leveling system where by collecting rings in acquirements of 20, you could increase the max amount of air you carried as well as gaining access to new attacks. To explain, boosting up someone’s ass allowed you to perform different attacks based on your air level, for example Knuckles would roar at someone, but leveling up would allow him to punch someone.

In this game? No such thing as leveling exists. Instead, you gain access to gear changes that you have to change into mid race. Collecting rings from 20 to 50 to 75 instead of the 20-40-60 for some reason gets you these changes. The problem? The gear’s ability to access short cuts (like rails or flight rings) is tied… to the fucking gear changes. So you can’t really gain any access to these areas until maybe the second lap of the race. It seemed like a really stupid means of “balancing the game” by forcing you to swallow rings before you can access any meaningful short cuts. But this cuts into another issue. Performing gear changes actually depletes your rings, so if you were hasty and performed your first gear change, you’d have a much longer time to collect rings and get to your second and 3rd gear changes. This combined with the fact that if you fall into a pit, you lose all your rings anyway, so that’s an even longer wait. Plus, you still need rings to buy new gear.

What’s this all mean? The micromanagement aspect is STILL present. And if anything, they made it much WORSE in this game by virtue of the gear change system. All of he races in this game become nothing more than mad dashes to collect rings and not much else because that’s the only real “skill” needed to play this game. Every other mechanic was simplified to the point of absurdity that farming rings is the only real goal of the game.

And I mean simplified. You can’t even friggin boost in this game. The one move that most racing games would have for players to quickly catch up with their rivals was strangely removed from ZG. Why? They had to make way for the “gravity boost” and “gravity dive” features. 2 moves that are actually more of a hindrance than a plus. Gravity Boost is basically like drift, however, in that you only really use it to navigate 90 degree sharp ass turns that crop up in every race. And after the super special “beat dropping” dubstep crap is over, you get a really shoddy boost doesn’t even propel you far enough to catch up to anyone. It’s not even viable to exploit. Then you get the Gravity Dives which are… slightly more useful, but in select areas. It starts off like the boosts accept the beat drop moments have a fixed time frame, and you actually do bypass your rivals. You’re really just flying in the air. But… the amount of speed you gain starts to dwindle about half-way and it’s a total bitch to control. It’s not suitable to use this on any part of the road that isn’t straight as your character can only move on-rails. It’s only useful on select parts of the course where you can find large pieces of debris the “slide boost” on. IE if you touch any of these debris, your character gets a sudden boost of speed. And since there’s plenty of debris on the road, you have plenty of boosts at your disposal.

…..Then it hit me. Seeing how gravity boosts and dives are practically used in every race at very specific portions of the course, how your ability to access short cuts was heavily limited, and how there’s no real boost function all led me to one conclusion. Sega took control away from me. It shouldn’t have taken me this long to realize just how completely scripted the courses felt until I started not giving a shit and played the game more relaxed than usual and noticed that all the gravity dive sections appeared near the end of each lap. This wasn’t a racing game at all. It was Sega’s personal experimentation project with features they never properly ironed out… but felt necessary to force you to experience before gaining access to your precious gear exclusive short cuts. Since most Gear-Cuts take you around the gravity sections of the race often, you would have less incentive to use gravity boosts and dives. And why would you? Gravity boosts are a complete liability that can cost you a race if you so much as fuck up an inch in trying to catch a wall or a sharp corner. Gravity boosts would be nice if you didn’t slow waaaaaaaay down while activating it. This would give opponents the chance to catch up with you and pass you while you’re still trapped in middair. It’s absolutely absurd and moronic for any racing game to force a mechanic on you that actually hinders your ability to stay in the lead. To use gravity boosts without losing your place requires that there be no opponents within 5 miles from your rear. And using gravity boosts to do wall runs is even more risky as those shortcuts don’t really ensure victory either. Gravity Dives would’ve been more useful had the game not make them only functional on straight roads or be purposefully designed to work on one section (and one section only) of a course.

This combined with no actual ability to catch up with your opponents (and having no boosting mechanic either) makes this a racing game that is dependent on sheer… dumb… luck. Yes. You have no real control over how to actually win a race, you just have to pray. Between having to amass several rings to be able to do anything combined with the utterly useless gravity features that Sega tried ever so hard to promote, makes this a game that is damn near unplayable without some yac to go along with the sadness. Now granted, they do have gears that already have Gear-Cut abilities unlocked at the start, which would be fine if they actually performed well in comparison to the default gears the characters are given. All to balance them out, no less. >_>

I initially sold the game due to not having a means of playing catch up, but decided to try and use the “awesome features” the game provided you with this time. Turns out, they don’t fucking work to your advantage. There are zero benefits to using zero gravity. It’s a Nintendo experimentation game masquerading as a racing game, and it shows. The design choices are completely baseless and without reason. More pointless micromanagement than anyone ever needed, and just an overall SLOW racing game in general. It’s just not fun. When you know you’re not in control of a race 100% of the time and you spend more time scavenging for rings than actually competing against other racers, there is no such thing as a fun factor. And to think, they could’ve taken the courses, the music, even the tired story, modified them all and made a regular ass Sonic game where you’re going around kicking meteotech robot ass. People wouldn’t even be kissing Sonic Colors’s ass because the techno-dreamworld Sonic game would’ve been made back in 07. Instead, we got a shallow racer that thinks it’s Sonic Shuffle 2.

*sigh* too bad. It had a sweet ass sound track.

Sooooooooooooo much wasted potential…..

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This…. is bad.

Mario Kart 8 barely makes a dent in Pii U sales.

It sold well for a while. It’s the top seller… but only amongst those that already own the Pii U. Japan’s not running out to buy the device for it. Not to mention being lower than Mario Kart 7, even.

What’s even nastier is the fucking Vita is outselling the Pii U. By just a million units. I don’t even know what Vita TV is, and it’s kicking Pii U’s ass.

At this point, Nintendo has to be getting cold feet. 20k units in 2 weeks and that’s lower than 3DS. So far, their major titles have bombed. We all knew Nintendo land wasn’t gonna do shit. Pikmin had no chance in the jaws of ammut.  Wind Breaker obviously did jack shit. 3D World rightfully follows in the footsteps of 3D Mario…. but it’s fucking Mario Kart!

It’s probably too early to call it in, but people can’t possibly be that turned off from the console to not get to some Mario Kart. Hell, even NSMBU made more of a dent.

*sigh* I need to start packing soon.