Category: Uncategorized


Corporate Fascism 

In 2 days, there’s gonna be a vote on a bill that would allow the FCC to completely rape the internet. Essentially, some arab sounding douche wants to overturn Net neutrality laws that were established back in 2015 to keep communication cartels (Verizon, Comcast) from effectively locking you and me out of the internet. Essentially turning the internet into broadcast television. What this reversal would allow these bastards to do is slow down/block any websites they see fit. Or set up pay walls charging you money just to visit a website.

This will kill the internet. 

Imagine if you wanted to provide people with entertainment that wasn’t on youtube. You have your own website, you paid a mildly cheaper price for a domain than you could for a tv channel, you do all the work, you market it, you get people to know your place exist… but those same people cannot even access the site because your content was deemed a threat by the FCC merely because you had the nerve to make a parody of Verizon. Or was making content that entertained people and took viewership from a big name website… who could then have the FCC set up a paywall on your site without your approval, you don’t even get a cut of the profit, and effectively cuts off your viewership? This wouldn’t be net neutrality as it means there is no neutral grounds for people to provide content equally with those that have buddies in high places.

I recall a story where Verizon deliberately slowed down the speeds of certain websites as part of a “test”. These sites had no choice but to be a part of this test, it can happen at anytime without your knowing, and there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it. Suppose it was done indefinitely? Maybe you’d have pay a fee just to have smoother streaming? That’s what Netflix had to do for both Comcast and Verizon, and as a result, had to raise their rates just to keep up with these payments. 

Goddamn You, Orwell. 

This is what corporations do. They destroy everything that people need and lock everyone out to gain and maintain power over the masses. People can grow their own food? Now they need to pay a steep fee for a license to grow food. They do everything in their power to eliminate competition before they can even be a threat. The internet gave people the ability to compete without the need to go through corporations to make money. Another ground of competition. And now, they plan on taking it down.

America is on it’s way to becoming China. With all the crap about overpopulation being a hot topic, sibling rivalry will be a thing of the past. 

MGS2 was right all along.

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Well I did say I was gonna refrain from mentioning it! 😛

…fuck it, I got nothing better to write about atm. :P.  My views on the story aren’t too different from yours, actually. With the exception of Quan Chi. His demise is actually pleasant despite how illogical that fight turned out.

I didn’t touch upon the story as it’s been 2 years since the game’s been out, and unlike most material, I assumed it would be redundant to cover it as well… for some reason. If the previous 2 NRS fighters have taught me anything, NRS is bad at MK stories and spectacular at DC comic stories. Of course it seems like everyone has all these genius ideas for DC super heroes and nothing else, the fucking nerds.

 I liked MK9’S story up until it was revealed that Cyrax was turned into a robot despite the fact that his arc had actual closure with him abandoning the Lin Kuei, and NRS continues to fuck it up from there on out. Killing Kung Lao, turning Subs into a robot, and having Sindel rape everything in the whole game. By then, the story was beyond unsalvagable. That being said, X’s plot is objectively handled with much better care. The main issue is that it focuses on shit no one cares about. What you mentioned, the outworld civil war, Is glossed over in favor of New Generation characters that I assumed garnered no actual favor from the fans, otherwise no one would be bitching about them. 

New Generation characters are never fan favorites no matter what happens, and only exist for storyline purposes when the creators get tired of creating continuity for existing characters. The players know this and it pisses us off because we enjoy particular characters for more than just their gameplay and fighting style, and the developers are outright assuming that fighting game fans are all tourneyfags who don’t care about the characters and see them as nothing but tools for victory. There’s a reason people hated Lucario in Brawl because some people actually liked Mewtwo. 

Fortunately, NRS had enough sense not to can the old vets… cept Jade… and for everyone else, Baraka. But i’ve talked intro shit long enough. “Lets get on wit it”

So the story starts off with.. narration. Because we don’t need to be drawn into this story with the age old “show, don’t tell” technique. We learn that Shinnok is an asshole who tried to take over all the realms or… shit. But Raiden kicked his ass and sent him down to the Netherrealm as  punishment for his transgression. Then we get a recap of MK9. This is probably one of the worst ways you could do an intro. First off, as it is a sequel, if it is going to recap events of the previous installment,  that is literally all it should do. Or vice versa and exclusively talk about material that relates to the current entry. These are, afterall, storylines that don’t seem all that connected to each other outside of a cliffhanger. As far as the player is concerned (as well as the game itself), the events of the previous installment and those of this game have nothing to do with each other and comes off as rushed and stuffed together. Shinnok’s rebellion has nothing to do with Shao Khan’s desire to win Mortal Kombat. It’s information overload without providing context as to how these 2 events correlate with each other. In essence, the opening prologue assumes you are already familiar with MK material from a timeline that… is being retconned up the arse. That’s a problem with the whole game, too. More on that later.

Anyway, we come to a random ruined city where Shinnok has already invaded. It’s been 2 years since MK9 so… w/e details happened between then and now is not important unless you read some damn comics. Because money, not to “explain” shit. Everything that went into MKX might as well have been a series of ransoms. Johnny Cage, Sonya Blade, and random Kenshi are all leading a new special forces unit to stop the invasion by assisting Raiden at the Shaolin Temple. Instead, they are ambushed by Scorpion and Sub-Zero whose asses Johnny proceeds to kick simultaneously. 

This… bothers me frankly as Johnny is the joke character of this franchise, yet he’s holding his own against 2 arguably superior fighters at once with no assistance whatsoever. This is probably one of those “more than meets the eye” tropes as this comic relief douchbag who jobbed so hard in 9, is all of a sudden powerful and skillful enough to beat 2 zombie ninjas whose skills dwarfed his own in comparison. Now, I could buy the theory that Sindel completely trashing everyone in 9 was enough cause for Cage to take his training more seriously, and people can improve a lot in 2 years time. That and one can assume that the zombies don’t train and are simply enforcers of Quan Chi. But even so, I refuse to buy that he could outperform Kenshi, a guy who regularly beefs with overpowered ass Ermac, when dealing with zombie ninjas. I don’t. 

Anywho, they go to the woods and fight more Quan Zombies, taunting me with an unplayable Nightwolf, and trashing Jax who is just plain ashy. After that, they fight their way to the temple where Raiden and Fujin are fighting off demon hordes. Assuming I didn’t play Armageddon, how the fuck else am I supposed to know who Fujin was? Again, we are assuming the player did not come into the series via 9. Because he has no introduction, no context to his presence, and he remains absent for the rest of the game. He was merely an easter egg for longtime fans, voiced by that gatdayumm Troy Baker. 

Anywho, Quan Cheap shows up with his zombies (Sans Jade for no reason other than a negroid limit) only to have them get their asses kicked, prompting Shinnok to come out of the wood work, also voiced by that gatdayumm Troy Baker, and proceed to make the 2 gods scream like little bitches. Then they are then saved by Johnny Cage himself. Raiden should be embarrassed. Afterward, Shinnok kicks the shit out of Johnny and Sonya… and something really bullshit happens. Johnny Cage uses his Shadow energy…. to survive a lethal blast from Shinnok… and proceed to defeat him!!!

Remember my “theory” of Johnny taking his training seriously? Throw that shit out of a window because now he’s strong enough to defeat a ….. a fallen elder god… WITH THE POWER…. OF LOOOOOOVE!!!! FRIGGIN LOVE!!!!

for a game about gore, this is the gayest shit they could use for an ex machina! It’s a silly, unjustifiable anime trope that serves no purpose than to artificially give the good guys an excuse to win what was built up to be an impossibly one-sided fight! It’s cheap, lazy, and makes the suspension of disbelief an insult to your brain. And it’s fucking Johnny Cage!! The joke character who jobbed harder than Baraka and the four armed fucks… is now more powerful than liu kang!  Yep, I feel sorry for the MK fandom for having to endure this horse shit. 

Raiden then uses Shinnok’s amulet to seal Shinnok…. inside of it? Someone wanna run that by me? Bah, anywho, Johnny is all happy that Sonya called him “Johnny”…. ugh… when did MK become sn anime? 

25 years later, Johnny tells four teenagers with attitude that he survived fighting because of an arcade ending in MK9 because fuck you, now you have to replay arcade mode in 9 just to find out what other endings might be canon so they don’t sneak fuck you with another curveball twist that makes no sense in context.

So Johnny is leading a new special forces team consisting of

Cassie Cage: Military Nepotism at it’s finest where Ashley Burch aims to take Laura Bailey’s job of overused female voice. Her last name starts with B so it’s guaranteed. Speaking of which..

Kung Jin: Johnny Bosch once again is typecast as a jackass who just treats everyone with disdain for absolutely no reason other than “writers don’t know how to write a popular rebel without a cause””. Fights with Green Arrow’s moves because WB wanted to save money. Easily the most hated character in MKX.

Jaqcui Briggs: Token black girl who doesn’t get a whole lot of back story unlike the other 3 because the devs like vanilla and lemon ice cream more so than chocolate. With the exception of…

Takeda: Son of a blind guy who was raised by Scorpion…. eww. Deserves a better role but is instead religated to the nice guy of the group who just wants to bang Jaqcui. 

Cage gives them their first mission of infiltrating the Lin…

Oh… ok… so we’re in outworld now. Um… here we see Kotal Khan riding in a carriage. .. 

*hysterical laughter*

*cough* Sorry, I don’t know why I find this funny. Some half naked aztec riding around in a wooden wagon with Kano, another greasy shirtless dog. I just think Outworld would have something more… “out there” than a plain old wooden carriage for transporting royals. It just makes them seem primitive. 

Kotal Khan is making a deal with Kano which is nothing but a ruse by Mileena to lure him into an ambush. She, Rain, and bleached Tanya watch from afar as a Tarkatun horde tries to kill them. Kano tries to kill Khan here, but gets his ass kicked and is stabbed in the back. Afterward, Khan beats the remaining black off of Tanya and proceeds to the roof where he fucks up more Tarkatuns, and eventually has to kick Rain’s ass. Oh look! He’s an actual character that is literally unplayable! Not even as DLC, not even in XL. Brilliant, Warner Bastards. Just…. Brilliant. 

Before Rain is executed, he is saved by Mileena whom Khan eats for breakfast. As he tries to kill her, Mileena uses Shinnok’s amulet to blow him off before fainting and being saved by Rain.

This chapter was goddamned perfect.

So it is with a heavy dick that I ask if you enjoyed it…. because that’s the last time you’ll have the story be as good as this chapter. 

So now we come back to the special forces high school who are on a field trip to defeat Sub Zero. The plan is to sneak up on and take down the Lin Kuei Solid Snake. However, Jin says fuck that plan because he’s an idiot. There is literally no reason for him to disobey orders other than “Cassie needs to know to be a better leader, so let’s have Jin’s dick ass behavior be her fault!” Or something, I don’t know. Goddamn he’s terrible. 

So Subs whoops all of their asses and reveals that it was a training exercise set up by Cage… wait… what!?

Ok, clearly I don’t know shit about MK Lore,  and I probably should’ve bought it up earlier… but why the fuck would a sect of Ninjas actually trust a military organization… with the location of their hideout!? I’m assuming the Lin kuei were very secretive and wouldn’t want to risk any real exposure lest their enemies try to wipe them out. Suppose the Lin Kuei started some activities that Special forces didn’t approve of, or thought was some sort of threat. They could be carpet-bombed!

 And why would they want to waste their time giving exhibition matches to people that could potentially be their future enemies, one of which is a fucking shirai ryu ninja! A rival clansman! You mean none of these Ninja fucks thought “Holy shit! Enemy, die!!!”? 

Anyway, they report to a refugee camp where Li Mei, yet another character I wouldn’t know about had I not play Armageddon prior. Fortunately, the game doesn’t expect you to know who the hell she is, and she doesn’t even fight, so newcomers wouldn’t be thrown off. Anywho, she laments that Mileena had Shinnok’s amulet, and Raiden decides to find out why.

How did Mileena get it anyway?

Anyhow, Sonya acts all bitchy toward Cage for some reason (probably regrets fucking him) and the noobs are sent to Outworld to investigate. 

Here, Jin just lays it on yah about why he’s shit. First, he just goes off at the mouth about Outworld being a shit hole that attracts the attention of Erron Bla-… Aw jeez, is Troy Baker voicing this asshole too!? Jin manages to convince him to give them an audience with Kotal Khan. Before that is a public execution for the mere theft of vegetables. Jin decides to stop the execution because fuck yeah ethnocentrism, and causes a riot. D’vorah stops the riot and grants them an audience with Khan. The gang tells him he’s a dumbass and then…. flashback?

Ok, this is one story mode’s many short comings. There are too many flash back sequences. Flashbacks shouldn’t be so damn common in any story as it means the creators don’t know how to give people the short version of a particular story. You could’ve just had Jin tell the gang that “I was a theif myself and I believe we all deserve second chances”. Not only would that allow us to understand why he was an idiot, it also opens up the development of character relations. The other 3 could relent and say “damn, we didn’t even know”…or anything!  Instead, that little arc goes nowhere for the rest of the game, and that is no good.

A flashback is supposed to provide contextual information that is relevant and important to the rest of the plot. Not just a background story that may or may not be interesting to the audience. If you’re gonna do that, then at least have the characters actions be reflective of those flashbacks in how they react to certain events that come up. What does Jin’s past as a thief have to do with the theft of Shinnok’s amulet, for example? Did he perhaps steal it and give it to Mileena to cause Raiden trouble over his resentment towards him allowing Kung lao to die at the hands of Shao Khan? No!? Perhaps he’ll use his thieving ways to steal back the amulet from Kotal Khan when inevitably betrays the group? No!? Perhaps he picks pockets some guys for prison keys! Not even close! The flashback only occurs to… give you clarity on why Jin started the riot… and nothing more. It does not enhance the story in any meaningful way, especially since Jin becomes invisible for the rest of the game. But… not before completely degrading Kotal Khan. See, Cassie tries to negotiate a term of cooperation in regards to how to deal with Mileena, but is refused thanks to Jin’s horse shit. But, in the only scene which he is useful, Jin appeals to Khan’s “sense of honor” or w/e bs they came up with because it’s a convenient excuse, by fighting him in single kombat. So here, Khan loses to this fuck face and pleads to be killed. Yes, I probably wouldn’t want to live  on knowing I got my ass kicked by Chinese Green Arrow…. but don’t you have a country to run!? 

If you died here, then who would be your successor!? Your death would infact allow Mileena to retake the throne and, using Shinnok’s amulet, abuse it’s power, killing herself and then allowing Rain’s power hungry ass to take over Outworld, and seeing that MK9  arcade endings matter now, he would violate the “Reiko Accords” and invade other realms! Did the writers not think about these consequences!? It makes Khan out to be a weak willed leader who would sooner end his own life than look out for the good will of his people! 

Also, gotta hand it to NRS to make all the workers in this background stage humanoid… and heavily tanned. Outworld has all kinds of races to do manual labor, but apparently chocolates are the only ones suitable for the work. Hidden in plain sight, indeed.

Back at the refugee camp, we get Sonya receiving word that the amulet he was guarding was a fake (20 years on the job and you just now noticed this?), but he gets cut off even though it looks like s mystical relic so I don’t know how it would lose reception. Then Johnny comes around and they have an argument about Sonya working too much and not having ti- i’m sorry…. do you care!? This is Mortal Kombat!! You have a story and a universe of weird magic shit going down between interdimensional wars and invasions! Why the fuck would I be more interested in why these characters have committment issues!?

Anyway, we get another flashback so soon after the last one where Cage and Sonya infiltrate Quan Chi’s manor, but get ambushed by said marty stu and his ninja zombies plus zombie jax. Cage gets stabbed, causing another zombie to appear in a pool of blood. Suddenly, Raiden just pops in conveniently and tries to heal Cage. Sonya beats up Quan Chi in a scene that everyone should like but absolutely despise. I say fuck Quan Cheap and humbly welcome any demise he gains. Stomping his nuts in apparently reverses the zombie effect, allowing Subs, Scorpion, and jax to live again…. but not Kung Lao, Liu Kang, Kitana, Jade, or Sindel?

Now this is a better flashback as it does indeed give context to details within the story…. but has 2 problems. Subs was a robot…. right? A zombie robot. How the piss did he regain humanity!? Also, the remnants keep the bodies they have… and not go back to their original ones!? Jax is technically Ben Grimm! A rock zombie! How the fuck did he make a baby!? Did Quan Chi really care about how his zombies reproduce!? Necrophilia has never been so fucked up!

Anywho, we get an obligatory Sonya vs Kano fight that ultimately goes nowhere. Doy!

Back in outworld, the gang tracks down Mileena in the jungle. Oh right, there was another goddamn flashback explaining why there’s a civil war in the first place. Mileena was simply ousted, she’s pissed. Meh. In the jungle, Rain explains he gave Mileena the amulet so that it would kill her, but hopefully not before she kills Khan. But eh, D’Vorah takes them all down, delivers Mileena back to Khan, and kills her with a story exclusive fatality. She couldn’t just bite off D’Vorah’s face?

Then Khan gets the amulet and imprisons the Teen Titans because it’s too shiny to give back to Earthrealm. Then D’Vorah steals the amulet and reveals that she’s working for Quan Chi.

Ok… what the fuck!? There’s a million problems wrong with this set up. Why is D’Vorah working for Quan Chi? What does she gain from helping to revive Shinnok? Was she just an agent all along, including the years in which she helped oust Mileena!? What benefit would that be to Quan Chi, why would he care who’s in charge!? If their goal was to get the amulet, wasting all their time in outworld political wars did nothing for them. It was pure convenience that allowed D’Vorah to secure the amulet for Quan Chi. The writers only thought about the twist in the plot rather than how anything led up to that twist. This is where a flashback would be helpful…. but noooooo! We’ll save that for Takeda’s daddy issues.

Jax apparently became a farmer,  hoping to get away from all the freaky shit that’s happened to him (a realistic black character!?). But Sonya eggs him back in because Jaqcui is involved despite his wishes that… everyone seems to treat as being a flaw of his character for some reason (Cage and Jax pre-fight dialog for example).

Anywho, imprisoned, the teen forces have a pity party over losing the amulet. Pussies. Takeda, being the only useful character atm tricks a guard and gets his key. Another flashback. During their escape, they find out D’Vorah stole the amulet and fight their way off the docks. I also loved how Ermac slams Jin’s head into the ground. So satisfying! 

They contact special forces only to find that Jax came out of retirement. This is literally the only time Jax and Jaqcui interact w/ each other the entire fucking game. Ah well, it’s more than jin gets with Lao.

In the Netherrealm,  conveniently enough, SF is already in position to take down Quan Chi. Sareena is there, yet another damn character I wouldn’t know about if I didn’t have Armageddon!  So what happens is Quan Chi falls off his horse, and runs away like a little bitch, while Jax rips ass on Sindel and Kitana. Sareena mentions Bi Han in hopes that you played MK Mythologies, Sub-Zero so that you would understand that easter egg. Jax trails Quan q to his manor where Liu Kang basically says he’s too weak to revive Shinnok. Convenient! Jax kicks both of ther asses and orders a pickup for Quan while he waits for D’Vorah. And that is the last we see or hear from Jax for the rest of the game. 

SF has Quan un bondage for interrogation, but is interrupted by Scorpion and the Shirai Ryu who simply wants Quan dead. Thus, he proceeds to kick everyone’s asses FLASHBACK gatdayumm! 

This one actually provides context for this exact scene, and is the only flashback that is well executed. Subs informs Scorpion that Quan Chi was responsible for killing his family. And there’s Frost, another gatdayumm character the game expects you to know!

So he beats up Quanny, D’Vorah arrives (Uh… Jax? What happened dawg!?) And gives Quan the amulet.  He chants some shit before getting decapped. And now Shinnok is alive. He kidnaps Cage and goes to the shaolin temple, with Teen Forces making it back in time for Scorpion to not admit he fucked up.

Raiden is just chillin, having a talk with Bo Rai Cho, Steve Blum not wanting to be outdone by fellow va whore Troy Baker, obviously, and reminiscing about Kang and Lao. Unimportant Flashback.

then bo rai cho is killed by Shinnok. He has the remaining zombies fight off Raiden. I actually enjoyed this segment. You have 2 Shaolin Warriors fighting against a god whom they both put their faith in, but were let down. That and Raiden was constantly lamenting on his guilt of letting these 2 die, now he’s fighting against the ghosts of his mistakes. This was a damn good scene!

Afterward,:Raiden is captured and Shinok poison’s some shit called a Jinsei, a fucks up Earthrealm. Teen Forces are heading over over there, but get shot down. And worse yet, Khan begins an invasion. Tjis Jaqcui’s chapter, but unlike Jin, Takeda, and soon Cassie, she gets no backstory or  any development whatsoever.  Her chapter… is all about shipping her with Takeda. During an invasion and subsequent corruption of Earthrealm. 

I get it. The game was made by white folks.

When khan learns that Shinnok is taking over, he blurts out that he plans to use the teens as bargaining chips, the moron. Why would Shinnok care about people who haven’t been a threat to anyone thus far? He’d probably kill you off for trying to buy him off with weaklings, and then shit on Outworld for kicks anyway. 

Mileena was probably better suited as a leader because Kotal Khan is an incompetent jackass who doesn’t think about the ramifications of his own actions and just pulls plans out of his own ass on a dime. Hasty decisions lead to early demise.
So now ive just lost interest by this point as Subs comes from nowhere to push back Outworld, gives the teens words of encouragement.. and they go on to pull… all the bullshit in the world!

Takeda and Jaqcui taking on Kang, Lao, Kitana and Sindel… and surviving. Killing D’Vorah before she completely covers Cage in puke juice, and Cassie… fucking…. Cage… defeats a Pyron/Diablo looking Shinnok…. because “derpaderp! Heriditary awesomeness! ” Fuck this whole sequence. 

The idea that Johnny Cage was descended from  cult of god-like warriors was ridiculous enough, Johnny beating Shinnok the first time was utterly retarded, but they wanted Johnny the douche to replace liu kang as the main hero when there is nothing interesting about him… but I draw the line when the  fucking daughter can just suddenly access that power and defeat a  more powerful Shinnok!?

At least Johnny could use his power prior to fighting Shinnok! Cassie can’t just get a random powerup and just beat a stronger shinnok out the gate!

Ugh!

Shinnok is beheaded, cage and sonya get back together, Raiden becomes evil, and now liu kang rules the fucking Netherrealm.

This story is full of shit. It’s told much better, but it’s far less interesting as it focuses on characters no one cares about. You want more Raiden because he was the main character of the last title. Not some new kids that came out of nowhere randomly. Too many flashbacks that reveal nothing of importance, characters act like idiots…… my head hurts

Old trope? Fuck it. It’s relevant to the stupidity of this sequel.

You all know how much I was jakin off to getting this game when it was announced. Not having a PS4, the announcement that it was on PS3 was a beautiful thing! At least until 3 months after it’s next gen release where NRS broke my balls! “Kancelled” they said! All because they refused to get another developer to port the game instead of High Voltage, a bunch of inept retards who kouldn’t port a PS2 game to PS3. Now that have upgraded, I kould finally obtain what I had been so wrongfully denied!

Unfortunately, I might have to uninstall the shit as the game has a krash bug. Lovely! No wonder it was kancelled on PS3, they kan’t even get it to work on the goddamn PS4! 

So… after a couple of weeks of playing, here’s what they’ve opted to fuk up. I’ll refrain from mentioning the story.

1. NRS went to the Namko school of arbitrarily changing the goddamn move kommands. 

Great… so now I have to relearn the assholes they bothered to bring back! Idk about anyone else, but back-forward motions are my kryptonite. Half the time, I find myself jumping in the air while trying to attempt these motions. Rotationals (Down-Fowards, Half-Circles) feel more natural as you don’t really need to take your thumb off quickly to tap the other end of the d-pad. That or you risk accidental inputs or jumps. I suppose you could buffer them shits between moves to save yourself the trouble, but eh.

So imagine my dismay when I go to muh boi Jax to find his Dash punch is a goddamn straight motion!! Nooo! You just fucked him up right there! Square, Tri, Dash Punch! Dat was muh spammy kombo, It’s now fucked beyond all reason!

Beyond that personal tiff which chaps my ass to no end, not only did they change the inputs, they also thought it was a good idea to switch the buttons that they are performed on. For example, Cyrax (Or Triborg, w/e the fuck you wanna call him) has his air grab changed from Down-Foward Square. … to Down-Back Circle! Does that change make any sense to you!? A special attack shouldn’t just be put on any random button. It should match up with those designated buttons. An ariel grab makes sense on a button designated for punches. Circle is usually designated for kicks. It doesn’t feel natural, is what I’m sayin. And it’s disorienting as hell!

Here’s the thing. If you’re gonna bring back kharacters, have the decency to keep their move sets unchanged. Though I’m assuming this was done for another reason altogether. More on that later. Some of these changes makes sense, like Jax’s ground punch being down down Circle instead of down foward/back X like in 9. But again! Different button! What the hell!?

2. Game komes off as “too serious“.

Mortal Kombat was never a series that took itself seriously. After all, finishing moves started getting goofier and sillier as the series went, maybe as a mockery of the soccer moms and politicians who went apeshit over the game, similarly to Robocop 2, or because they were high, or just wanted to be funny. W/e the case is, the games knew they were ridiculous, and in a way, was part of it’s charm. Hell, MK9 was pure slapstick. Certainly it was also trying to take itself more seriously than the previous entries, but it had enough… don’t know the word to describe it. It just had it.

MKX, on the other hand, just feels morbid and depressing. Every facet of this game feels lifeless, kold, “dramatic”. A major kontrast with the installments. I’m assuming the praise of the 9 went to NRS’ s head and they started thinking they kould do something more serious with the game. It komes akross as something trying to be epik and grandiose. The whole presentation almost justifies Bo Rai Cho’s appearance because goddamn.

I’m assuming this is because the game is based around the plot of MK4 which some may perceive as being one of the darker entries in the series, and the light tone we get is from Tanya. I get it. Mortal Kombat was always a dark series. It’s main attraction was black humor to the core. But even so, does it have to feel so depressing? It almost komes off as humorless. Like the kreators were trying too hard to make this game “darker-er” if that makes sense.

And no. Johnny and Cassie don’t mitigate that one bit. For fuck’s sake, one of Cassie’s fatalities is a goddamn selfie joke! What kind of out of touch elderly man would think this dated reference was a good idea!?

3. Everyone loves Kano’s heart rip fatality. 

Personally, I hate it. Blame Temple of Doom. That being said, we have 5 different kharacters with a variant of that one fatality. Making it less desirable for me to use these kharacters.  Yeah yea “just don’t do the fatality”.

That’s not a fault itself. Or maybe it is as it speaks to a lack of imagination most of these fatalities have. Or the game in general. Yes, i’m sure kriticizing a game for lacking imagination or originality when it’s part of a series that previously had well over 13 palette swaps is an oxymoron…. but kome on. Very little of these fatalities kould even be konsidered unique. Or even kool. They focused on simply making them as grotesque as possible. If that’s what they were going for, so be it. But they focused so much on the gore that the fatalities become distinct without difference. And try-hard lame to boot. You know something is wrong when the X-Rays kick more ass than the series trademark.

4. New kharacters are bland.

It’s hilarious when the game was first unveiled, everyone was so enamored with Ferra/Torr. Quite frankly the least imaginative kharacter they could think of, but because white folks love Mad Max so damn much, Ferra/Torr immediately gained a following. .. for a few days. Must be a thing a real MK fan would understand. Everyone loves Baraka even though he looks no better than a demon hell spawn.

What else do we have? A bug bitch who wants to be a hanar from Mass Effect. A kowboy who looks like he’s into bdsm, 4 new generation kiddies. … ok, Takeda is actually kool, and an Aztec warrior voiced by Phil Lamaar. There’s also the generic tremor. Again.. something is wrong when new characters from Deadly Alliance and Deception look more badass than the new characters in this game. Outside of kotal khan and Takeda, you would be hard pressed to try out any of the new guys. They look absolutely boring, drab, and reek of rushed design schedule. I say that in particular because some of the concept art look a helluva lot better than what they fart into this game.

All this shit compared to what we get in the final cut is amazing. These new fucks could’ve looked a helluva lot better had they not just gone with the most basic looking designs. Hell, even the alternate costumes barely have any real distinction or appeal. Want D’vorra to have a hood on… or a spiked belt strap for a bra? Ferra/Torr with a burlap sack for a mask… or a bird cage!? Erron Black with stripper gear… or shirtless!? What a fine selection of choices you’ve provided! 

But hell, they have the excuse of being new characters and thus not subject to harsher critique.  The vets come out the cut lookin worse than before. What the hell happened to Kitana’s face!? She had this latina look going for her NOPE, transformed into a man between installments. NRS doesn’t have the best track record in designing faces, but by the balls of Ra… she is downright hideous! That and her costume is the worst example of feminist pandering you could ever find in gaming. What exactly is she supposed to be wearing? Is she a circus performer now? 

Ironically, Sonya seems to age in reverse. Johnny’s face is too long. Ermac has a mouth now, and that just fucks his whole design up. Just all kinds of unnecessary changes here and there. The overall art direction just didn’t advance much… and seems to have gone backwards. A lot of the alternate costumes are shit and not worth any amount of time needed to unlock them (Especially Sub-Zero), and retardly enough, they have Russian cold war costumes. What the fuck is WB’s interest in the cold war? And what MK fan would care about a cold war costume that’s merely just winter fucking clothing! They have no business being in a mortal kombat game. For all the money invested into those piece of shit Russian costumes, you could’ve made Rain a playable fuckin character! Or Kai even. Have a game based around MK4, and you don’t even use most of new assholes from that game. Cause damn sure we didn’t need Kano back.

Well, Reptile looks better, I guess.

5. My precious Kung Lao…. is neutered!

This is kurrently my biggest gripe. Kung Lao was mah boi back in 9, second to Jax. The amount of ass you could whoop with this man.. you know, granted you’re not fighting Kitana or Kano. But in X!? He’s is absolutely worthless! Take one of the smoothest kontrolling kharacters with some of the fastest and stylish moves of the previous games… and make him stiff, have shit kombos, remove his rolling kick… and render one of his kombos non-functional!

The Fist Fury shit that he had in the first game… is listed as being in this game… and yet it doesn’t…. fucking…. work! After the first 2 punches, the rest of the kombo doesn’t even kome out. I don’t know if the timing is stricter, a nerf that isn’t detailed in the movelist, or faulty programming, but w/e the case is, as far as I’m concerned, that shit isn’t in the game. Even so, Kung Lao just feels stiff and awkward to handle. Chaining his normals into his specials even feels difficult to do. More so than everyone else! Lao literally kan’t kombo for shit in this game, and it bugs the hell out of me. He has no options outside of useless gimmicks provided by the variations. They fucked him up! I don’t kare what anyone says, they fucked him up! He ain’t the same person. Currently a wasted character slot.

It seems that a lot of kharacters I used in 9 got nerfed in some way. Kano’s balls… spin attacks are much slower to activate, Johnny’s Somersault loses height and arcing properties as well as having more delays on start up, Quan Chi is simply pathetic… basically just leaves me with Jax and reptile. I noticed characters I don’t care for (like Subs and Raiden) are significantly more pisstakingly annoying than before, even though Raiden’s little… thunder grab or w/e got nerfed too (opponent gets blasted away unlike in 9 where the opponent would just fall to the floor, allowing you to do follow up attacks while the asshole is still airborne.)

As well, a lot of kharacter kombos are easier to pull off than in 9, which I suppose is good. Make the game less intimidating for newbs and all… but all these nerfs! How broken was 9 to justify…. actually, don’t answer that. Still, changing inputs is a dick move and just alienates people. Especially if the new inputs make no sense or just serve as a “soft nerf” by making the inputs harder or confusing without necessarily removing the moves. Cause some developers think they’re slick like that.

6. Variations might as well be a blazblue gimmick. 

Now here was an interesting idea when it was first announced. Take a single character and give em 3 distinct fighting styles! A beautiful incentive to experiment with certain kharacters time and again. Though I suspected that this would make moves for characters much more difficult to remember because you have 3 different movesets to watch out for. 

And while I wasn’t too far off the mark with that assumption, it was too much to hope for these variations to have any real value beyond cheap gimmicks to artificially induce replay value. The variations serve no real value in fights and may be liabilities in the long run, depending on the character you use. That and they are just as uninspired as the fatalities. Take Jaqui for instance. All of her variations deal with changing how her projectiles work and nothing else. You got shot gun, some plasma shit, and full auto which is a machine gun volley and some missiles.  Unfortunately, I find myself using shot gun as the attacks are much faster and cover a wider range than the other 2. Full auto has poor recovery, and plasma has no range. So there’s no real incentive to using the other 2 variant. 

On the other hand, there’s reptile who’s variations just give him 3 different buffs to work with. You can turn invisible, rip off the Flash’s speed force from Injustice, or just have a poison cloud. All his shit is useless, however, as activating these buffs puts you at risk of getting smacked. The amount of time it takes to turn these buffs on is simply too long and leaves you vulnerable to attack. And worse, these buffs only last for a few seconds or until you get hit, so they’re not even worth it! These didn’t even have to be variations.  Just configure those buffs to other buttons. 

Also I must bemoan the desire for devs to put input buffs into fighting games. They’re not RPGs. Get over it. No one has the time during any match to try and activate these useless powerups for the brief windows they’re given. It’s practically insulting to say I have to activate a buff to have any kind of advantage in a match.

The variations are either imbalanced or useless altogether. But more insultingly, it makes little difference which ones you choose as the difference in abilities are limited to 1 or 2 moves at best. They’re completely pointless. Many of these differences could’ve fit on a singular fighting style. Splitting them was unnecessary.  Unless it’s for what I suspect…

7. They focused too much on balance. 

Ok, back dashing is pretty common in fighting games now, right? It allows you to retreat from rowdy opponents and get away from a potentially deadly attack. 

Why am I being punished for this!? 

In X, you now have an energy meter that dictates whether or not you can backdash, run, or use background items. I can understand not wanting players to abuse the stage for their own advantage (but leaving those backgrounds as is instead of making it gameplay was too much to ask for)… but why the fuck are you placing restrictions on basic movement!? I didn’t think fighting game devs could be more arbitrary and obnoxious than ASW with their negative penalty bullshit. 

How far down have fighting games gone when developers start thinking that back dashing is an abusable technique whereby they have to limit their usage!? This game has enough micromanagement with breakers, ex moves, X-Rays, interactables and so and so. All that shit you gotta keep track of, and you have to limit back dashes. You might as well be playing MK2 with all these hinderances. When you find that a fighting game limits what you can do in it, it’s clear enough that the developers are dictating how you should play the game. Which of course begs the question “if you didn’t want me to abuse this technique or gimmick, why put it in the goddamn game!?

I don’t know what tourneyfags they’re trying to appease, but obviously they have some super sacred knowledge of the inner workings of fighting systems that back dashing gives all players some universally unfair advantage that I was previously unaware of. Perhaps a few players had some hit and run tactics whereby they smack players around, then back dash followed up by fireball? That kind of shit? Idk, these anal retentive cocksuckers obsess over details like that.

But see… I’m assuming that’s why all of these changes were implemented. Changed inputs, attack properties, variations, and micromanagement nonsense. … all of it was done for competitive balance. And their idea of balance is exclusively “stop the abuse!” Rather than giving all characters viable abilities that allow them to compete on equal ground. 

But… that’s kinda problematic in itself. Everyone believes that it is virtually impossible to have a completely balanced fighting game due to how different and varied a character’s array of moves are, and the intended play styles the devs have in mind. Not to mention, the players will always find exploits to win because they don’t give damn about balance. They care about winning. That’s where all these restrictions come in, this desire to reduce the risk of exploits being found. Hey, you could just make it so that Jacqui isnt shit by giving her better moves. No? Neutering kung lao was higher priority? Fuck you too!

Then… it hit me. The over-balancing acts, the tonal differences, the more extreme gore, and even the story are all symptoms of… well, simply put, Ed and the boys want to be taken seriously

I went back and played Armageddon on the Wii. Yeah, I was shocked I still had this game too. And… it’s crap by all means… but it’s goddamn hilarious. All the stuff that went on that game was over the top silly. The team kinda treated MK as a parody of itself while still trying to maintain a lore that is deep and interesting enough to keep the fans around. But you know what I noticed? Unlocking the krypt shit in that game revealed a lot of bloopers. In particular, these were just bugs the devs found while play testing which… they thought was funny and decided to share them as bloopers. What developer you know actually did some shit like this? Beyond that, you had this other silly like motor kombat… Which honestly. .. kicked ass. It reviled in the silliness and didn’t give 2 shits what people thought. And… that might’ve been the point I was missing with the earlier games.

Mortal Kombat was a fighting game franchise that did it’s own thing. They didn’t try to focus on making a competitive fighter, it didn’t care about or even that soccer moms had panic attacks and the mere sound of “finish him!”. Mortal Kombat was the Sonic of fighting games, by that I mean they would say “fuck conventional design, we want to kick ass! We want to grab people’s attention by their balls”. And that they did. While every other fighter aside from… maybe Soul Calibur, was busy fiddling with more “tactical” special moves and a new love affair with stances, MK just kept building it mythology, with the gameplay being supplementary. And through it all, they kept making fun of themselves. Cause they just didn’t give a fuck.

This might not be the most appropriate phrase to use, but I get the impression that the midway team had a preserved sense of child-like awe… goddamn that sounds gay…

I dont know a better phrasing though as MKX definitely comes off as a game made by a team that is ashamed of it’s origins. NRS wants to be taken seriously,  NRS wants to be grown up, NRS wants the world to know they have matured. They want EVO to accept them so badly that they practically fucked up everything they had going for them in 9. They want to be AAA, they want that E-Sport recognition. How does that saying go? “When I grow up, I put away childish things including the desire to be seen as grown up” or some shit like that?

Whatever the case… MKX isn’t a total loss. The brutalities are fun to pull off, the Krypt is more fun than the actual game, and I suppose if you want child-like awe, you have to go for “Test your luck” or kustom kombat. Otherwise, the game simply isn’t as fun as 9 was. Hell, the game just feels slow. I watched some old vids of UMK3 and it looks so damn fast! Overpowered, abusable moves, yes. BUT DAT SPEED!!! NRS is fuckin up with these slow ass animations and recovery times. And nothing excuses crashes or input bugs (which I suspect is the case for kung lao since one of his listed kombos doesn’t even fucking work).

Gahhh, well, hope those Ninja Turtles are worth the anticipation. Surely NRS will have fixed the crash bug in that game by the time the complete edition drops.

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.

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? 

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.

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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!

Thy vanity be quenched!

Lets keep this short

Shit I dig

1. Retro Sonic Stages are actually not shit. Considering how tacky the little bastard controlled in Generation, I was expecting the worst from these stages. They aint bad, I must admit. Actually had the most fun on these stages. Yes, I am overwhelmed by the irony.

2. Avatar has something resembling a homing attack. Being dependent upon wispons for attacks would have been lousy.

3. Avatar Soundtrack. I should not like so many of these songs! Damn yah Guardian Rock, Aquatic Road, and Imperial… w/e. Sounds like jpop, unfortunately, but it’s so… catchy.

4. Avatar somewhat compensates for the absence of playable characters alternative to 2 goddamn Sonics.

5. Writing seems to have improved. Your mileage may vary. At the very least, they’re not trying to induce laughter with every piece of dialogue. 

6. Knuckles isn’t a pants shitting retard.

7. No puzzles!

8. Surprisingly fast paced.

9. Contains unlockable stages. Considering the game’s actual length, this… mitigates it somewhat. 

10. Items are easy to unlock.

11. Can make more than 1 Avatar. Y’all gonna have to kick me off of this bitch! I’m having the time of my life!

Shit I hate

1. Knuckles is still something of a butt monkey.

2. Modern Sonic has the worst stages. Thanks to the idiotic decision to go back to using wisps for boosting, Modern Sonic stages are just mildly faster Retro Stages. Either that or “Rogic” doesn’t know when to shut the hell up. You know the VA ain’t shit when I’m clamoring for Jason Griffith to come back.

3. Having only one Wispon per stage, and needing to change Wispons afterward is not only tedious, but is a cheap method of artificially inducing replay value. That and they’re STILL primarily used for collecting Red Rings.

4. Green Hill is it’s own region rather than an area on South Island. It bothers me, dammit!

5. Travis Willingham

6. For a “hard” difficulty, you’d think it would take longer to beat the game.

7 & 8 redacted

9. Where the hell is my drift!?

10. Somewhat awkward control scheme. I have to use the shoulder button to fire a wispon!? This was probably done so that the incredible lack of tag stages wouldn’t have a confused control scheme where you needed to “switch” characters. I still don’t like it. It’s supposed to be an action game, the face buttons should be all you’re using. Certain weapons, like the thunder whip, just feel retarded on a pressure sensitive shoulder. I can’t count the amount of times i’ve hit square just expecting to dish out pain, only to lose rings instead.

11. Customization items are… pretty shitty. i was expectatiing poor quality, yes, but… seriously? I was hoping for more “Sonic-esq” items, not the ballsy and moronic decision to include FUCKING CROCS FOR SHOES!

Grotesque! Vile! Insane!

 I know the Japanese have bad taste, but goddamn! Yes, I know they’re still exclusively targeting children to a degree, and children wouldn’t know how to dress themselves, but come on!

More on this later. Im still trying to get Silver’s shoes… oh crap, they’re pink!?

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.

​In  the  packaged  game  software  field,  sales  amounted  to  8,650  thousand  copies  (4,650  thousand  copies  for  the  same period in the previous fiscal year) thanks to the strength of the new title “SONIC MANIA,” which earned the highest Metascore in the new titles of the “SONIC” series released in the past 15 years. In addition, the Group launched “Total War: WARHAMMER 2,” a new title of the “Total War” series, following its popular predecessor in PC games.”

I got this from crystalize. And I need a goddamn translator.

The wording here is broad and might be misleading. They don’t give an actual list of games or hard numbers. And I find it hard to believe that many people would buy the collector’s edition of Mania (the only way it would count as “packaged”). This could go either way.

If Mania sales are good/decent, this could mean a resurgence of interest in the brand. If they’re shit (as many are unfortunately hoping), this franchise is completely fucked.

TLDR, in the words of Garrus Vakarian 

Well they had to start using their brains eventually.”