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Pokeyph

Modern Sonic Games Too Linear?

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Well to be fair, there really wasn't much you could look at anyways, outside of some texturework and finding the medals in the not so obvious/just plain jerkish locations. Not to mention that being able to alter the camera at will would probably end up being really wonky with Unleashed's level design.

Yeah, that's pretty much my main beef with it. The levels are designed in such a way that you can tell you're meant to just keep moving forward. The fixed camera's just a symptom of that.

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Has there ever been anything really significant to stop and look at in a Sonic game before the modern ones?

 

Well, that depends on what you consider "significant," but just the fact that you didn't necessarily have to go fast all the time (outside of those Mach Speed Areas in Sonic '06, of course) was rather nice.

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Go play Super Mario Bros and tell me linearity is a problem.

 

Are they linear? Yeah. Is that the problem? I sure as hell don't think it is. 

 

Can't speak for everyone when I say that though, this idea had to stem from somewhere.

Edited by Underaged Hot Anime Girl

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Yeah, that's pretty much my main beef with it. The levels are designed in such a way that you can tell you're meant to just keep moving forward. The fixed camera's just a symptom of that.

 

Don't all main 3D Sonic games require you to go forward?

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Yeah, that's pretty much my main beef with it. The levels are designed in such a way that you can tell you're meant to just keep moving forward. The fixed camera's just a symptom of that.

 

Go play Sonic 1-3 and tell me what else there is to do  other than get to the goal sign and go on a fetch quest for the emeralds.

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Don't all main 3D Sonic games require you to go forward?

 

Yes, but his issue is that the Modern Sonic games, especially in the case with Sonic Unleashed and downplayed to a degree in Sonic Colors, pretty much gave you no choice but to go forward, at high speed.

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Yeah, I think another problem with linearity comes from making the background so damn awesome looking that you feel restricted and unable to go to it.

 

Like Tropic Resort or Planet Wisp in Colors for example. All those flying cars and other scenery and you stuck to a path that encourages you to stay on it instead of allowing you to branch off as a side benefit. And the worst of it comes from Starlight Carnival which flat out automates you at the start of the level.

 

Not sure how else I can contribute right now, but that's my input.

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I think the aforementioned "racing" perspective does bias us towards looking at each level from a linear perspective.  If the camera's always more or less right behind you and you can't see anything except what's directly ahead, then what you're looking at is never where you are, but rather where you're going to be.  You don't see your surroundings in terms of left, right, down, up, or back - only what's straight ahead.  In other words, the camera treats the level as a line, and that's because the Boost gameplay is most suited to a level that's a straight line.  Thus you can never explore, as surroundings are always background, something that exists in the distance or in the future, but never where you are.  Levels are majestic open spaces with gorgeous views but you can't touch any of it.

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Don't all main 3D Sonic games require you to go forward?

 

Well yeah, but there's a lot of variety as well. Various platforming elements and places where you have to slow down, watch your step and move in different directions in order to progress. The snake room and wall-walking puzzle in Lost World, the icicles in Ice Cap and the entirety of Casinopolis are just a few examples from Adventure alone.

 

Go play Sonic 1-3 and tell me what else there is to do  other than get to the goal sign and go on a fetch quest for the emeralds.

Aside from the fact that the first three games are 2D, it's also worth noting that in addition to their branching routes, they also have a plethora of extensive platforming segments and various levels that are designed in a way that makes it impossible to progress simply by running forward and not stopping.

 

I should mention that I'm not saying the modern games are bad. Unleashed, Colors and Generations together are some of my favorite entries in the series. I'm just saying that this particular aspect of the level design is something I'm not pleased with and I hope they fix it in the future. Sonic can run, yeah, but he has numerous other skills that are glossed over nowadays in favor of keeping him in constant motion.

Edited by AXB

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I think it depends on your definition of linear. Olda Sonics had you goin back and forth around loops and platforms and secret holes and stuff, I mean like right at the beginning of Carnival Night Zone Act 2 you can make a jump that sends you way further into the stage. This is like.. exploration leading into branching paths, on a relatively linear level because yes the goal is always "get to the goal", but the great thing about Sonic was usually "get to the goal in a different way each time you play!" especially in Sonic 2, 3, and CD. CD is definitely the least linear Sonic game because the stages are designed to be travelled back to the beginning from the end in order to be able find everything within it. If you treat CD like a regular linear Sonic game you'll be done with each stage in about a minute.

 

Anyway I digress, Sonic has always been linear. However, Adventure and Unleashed through Generations do linearity differently. With Adventure, yes you do get to wander around and explore the stages a bit more, walk off to the side to find a life or ring box, or walk behind this thing (try not to let the camera kill you) and find an animal to save. However the stages are very.. one path and one path only. You'll be experiencing the same stage every time you play it, more or less.

 

That's something Unleashed, and especially Colours and Generations actually do more like the classics, there are many paths through the stages and you can reach them depending on your timing and such, there are probably some parts in those games that some of us haven't seen yet, and other parts that others of us haven't seen, know what I mean?

However it gives you the feeling it's linear because you go forward, all the time, and you can't go back, you can't walk to the side and find a life box, or find a secret hole through the wall by spin dashing in a certain place. (Classic Sonic in Gens does this to an extent of course)

 

But ya. Modern Sonic is linear in different ways to Adventure. They're both linear, Sonic is almost always linear, I think the better question is how to make the most of that linearity. Someday I'd like a mix between that branching path gameplay and explorable gameplay in 3D.

Edited by SuperLink

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Depends on what you want out of a Sonic game honestly; Some people like to go fast, some people like to look around. Sega haven't balanced either, so that's why we're here.

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I like branching paths and lots of secrets, which a linear design can easily provide. I think Sonic Generations did a lot for opening up the 3D gameplay by virtue of using the red star rings as markers for each alternate path to the goal. I still want the 3D levels to do something like the 2D version of Generations' Sky Sanctuary with the second half of the level splitting into three unique pathways that connect at the goal.

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I dont think being linear is the problem really. Its more that sonic doesnt have a set of skill manouvers that make a platform game more intersting to play. The classics had momentum, which was enough for back then. A linear mario game would still be interesting because he has a wide range of moves and techniques that can be used in so many different puzzles and platforming. I think sonic adventure 2 was on the right path because sonic was able to do at least some tricks and manouvering was quite easy. It was pretty rewarding. I dont really get too much satisfaction out of plain jumping, side stepping, drfting and a forced homing attack. Its seems too shallow to base a whole game off. Mario has

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*ignore that 'mario has' at the end. Now, as an example, we could add momentum based gameplay, like everyone suggests and i think is a great idea. But also more moves for different situations. For example: (and these should be combined to create complex and skillfil level design)

RT + A = will make sonic do a vertical boost jump (few meters high)

LT + A = will make sonic propel forward to smash through hard objects.

B = spindash + rolling down slopes to gain moment to reach higher places.

Y = (metered) will make sonic slow down time (for fast fans and lasers etc).

X = evade. Gives you slow down time for bosses.

A = standard jump + homing.

In my opinion. These moves create a far more intersting and skillfil platformer and dont resemble a racing car mechanic. Althogh sonic should probably run at sonic adventure speed for this to full work. Momentum down slopes would create the fast thrill seeking parts though. And leave the boost for selected intense mach speed sections only.

Id really also like to see a return to puzzle solving. Eg: rolling over lit squares in sequence, or having to smash a few walls to allow water to flow to an area which will open up a new pathway etc..

Edited by Riverstone

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Linearity isn't the problem as far as I'm concerned.
I really don't care how linear or broad a stage is, as long as the level design within it is good and I enjoy the challenge of getting through it.
I could care less how open the classics were, what matters most is good level design and fun. If you must sacrifice open-ness and introduce linearity from time to time to achieve that, then so be it.
 
 

Yes.
For me Sonic 06 is the best non linear game. Game have many way to pass level for example Tropical Jungle level two for Sonic.

 

Crisis City, Wave Ocean, Flame Core, Dusty Desert, Radical Train, Kingdom Valley and Aquatic Base were all massively linear. So I ask you? How is it non-linear?

Also Sonic games are by definition, linear. You go from point A to point B. You're not permitted to occupy each stage and fuck about as you would in say GTA. It doesn't matter how many different routes there are, in the end, its still a linear progression.

 

EDIT:

Riverstone, I honestly don't think that moveset would work. 

 

X = evade. OK, evade in what way? Wouldn't it amount to the dodge-roll/quick step we have already? Wouldn't it be easier to map it to the triggers in the exact same way?

 

LT + A = Boost Jump. But why? What is the need for a completely separate jumping move?

 

RT + A = Propulsion towards hard objects. So that's effectively the homing attack/Jump dash/air-boost. Why does this need such a cumbersome button slots?

 

In addition, Mach Speed sections need to die in a fire. Sonic should always be fast, no need to seperate the fast from the slow for no real reason. This is one of the many reasons 06 was bad. Besides, I don't see how having such a clunky moveset would make for a more interesting and skillful platformer? Why should you need to slow down time?

 

One other thing. I really don't get the resemblance of the Unleashed gameplay to a racing game....Sure you're almost always going forward and the level design is linear. However, you have to platform and simple though it may be, it simply doesn't resemble racing games in the slightest.

Edited by Scar

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I believe you can't create a Sonic game with really wide levels (save for hub worlds/adventure fields), at least not for Sonic's playstyle. You'll always have to "go foward". What is really interesting is having levels with a little wider areas with various paths and routes to the player to choose (one with platforms, other with loops, a high patch, a low path, etc). Not one continuous race track eventually split in two (which in Unleashed's case, most of the alt. paths can only be accessed if you have ninja reflexes, and if you missed it, you can't go back). In my opinion, the 3D game that has one of the best level designs and stage gimmicks is Sonic Adventure, see levels like Twinkie Park or Red Mountain. But I have to say, Generations did this job very well, especially with levels like Seaside Hill and Sky Sanctuary. It was the biggest step in the right direction the serie did in some years, and I hope Sonic Team handle a new or better way (improving the current gameplay) to design their levels to be a little more wider, with more paths to the player to choose easily (not all the time of course) and less automatic sections.

Edited by Jango

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I seriously can't see why Sonic Unleashed is mentioned as a 'racing game'. I can't compare it to, lets say, Forza Horizon, so it's not a racing game.

 

You grind, you dodge, you homing attack stuff, and you have some simple platforming (but platforming nonetheless). You can't do these stuff in a racing game.

 

Sonic Colours had some very interesting 3D sections (like the end of Starlight Carnival Act 5), so more of that would be pretty cool. Sonic has always been linear by nature. What Sonic Team needs to figure out is how to put depth in a linear game.

 

Super Mario Galaxy is a great 3D platformer...but it's linear as hell. Then again, Sonic's ideals are completely different from Mario's. I sometimes think that SEGA made things too hard for themselves making Sonic fast in the first place. That Z-axis completely screws Sonic over all the time.

Edited by KrazyBean

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I seriously can't see why Sonic Unleashed is mentioned as a 'racing game'. I can't compare it to, lets say, Forza Horizon, so it's not a racing game.

 

You grind, you dodge, you homing attack stuff, and you have some simple platforming (but platforming nonetheless). You can't do these stuff in a racing game.

 

Well, eh..

:P

 

 

Yes, of course, the game has platforming, grinding, dodging, pretty much like a Sonic game should be, but when people say it looks like a racing game (besides the tire skidding sound while drifting), is because the levels are like corridors and you just move foward as fast as you can, using your nitr... I mean boost.

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