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April 9, 2015 in Sonic Games
Sonic Team does not seem to know when to retire characters that have run their course, such as the Wisps. I believe these characters should have been left on Planet Wisp after their story ended in Sonic Colors and their appearance in Sonic Generations. But Sonic Team continued using them in newer games obviously for their gameplay abilities. However I think they could have still retired the characters and continued using these abilities by granting the abilities to Sonic via special shoes and shields.
White Wisp > Boost Shoes (change to provide unlimited Boost for limited time)
Yellow Wisp > Drill Shoes
Green Wisp > Hover Shoes
Orange Wisp > Rocket Shoes
Red Wisp > Burst Shoes (or maybe make this a shield, I'm not sure)
Cyan Wisp > Laser Shield
Blue Wisp > Cube Shield
Pink Wisp > Spikes Shield
Purple Wisp > Frenzy Shield
Violet Wisp > Void Shield
Indigo Wisp > Asteroid Shield
Crimson Wisp > Eagle Shield
Magenta Wisp > Rhythm Shield
Ivory Wisp > Lighting Shield
Gray Wisp > Quake Shield
Black Wisp > Bomb Shield
There would only be only mild differences such as Special Shields can act as normal Shields until their power is used (or if they protect Sonic from damage) and after their power is used they can either disappear or just become regular shields
Also if certain characters who already have these abilities are playable then Sonic should not get them in that game
Why does it matter what form they come in? Why bother changing a powerup from a wisp to a shield other than nostalgia?
If they're unfun as Wisps, they'll be just as bad as whatever other half-baked mechanic you can cook up to do the exact same thing. They'd be better off ditching them outright.
While I wish we had a story explanation in Lost World as to their return, they started as Wisps so they might as well keep them as Wisps if they're going to function the same way. They might be hoping that they might become marketable characters down the line, and for those who have played multiple games, their purpose will be consistent and understood.
They're nothing but temporary powerups, and in fact temporary powerups that were only fun in 1 game. I'd much rather they be some sort of multipurpose upgrades for Sonic, like combining aspects and abilities to extend the ability to make level design by having specific areas that you can access using them on repeated playthroughs. The problem? That's literally what the purpose of other playable characters back in the genesis days were, and they get a lot less shit for it. So I don't really care if they keep the wisps as optional powerups like in Lost World, but the fact is that if the player doesn't care about something or never bothers with it, it's probably not done right, regardless of whether it's optional.
Replace Wisps with Sonic friends, you can equip one per level and use it as many times as you like, one passive power and one active power, Sonic's friends become useful again and his powers contextualised. Win-win.
Why does it matter what form they come in? Why bother changing a powerup from a wisp to a shield other than masturbatory nostalgia?
The shields and shoes are an existing structure of power-ups that are established in the Sonic series identity, not nostalgia. A new structure to replace the old one is not needed, especially wih characters that have had their story purpose played out and finished.
The Wisps are powerups just like shields though. There's no need to arbitrarily change them as though it'll magically make everything better. And further on that, Wisps are just about the only powerup that exists in recent games, outside of Lost World 3DS and Generations Classic. Nostalgia isn't going to make them better or fitting more. It averts the silly story issues, but Runners provided all the handwaving that's needed.
And still, if there's anything that needs changing its the nature of the Wisps as part of the game design. They're tacky, contextual gimmicks that just detract from the rest of the experience.
I suppose now that Sonic Runners has actually explained their presence, I don't really have any remaining qualms with the wisps sticking around, just so long as they're implemented well enough (I.e. as good as their gameplay contributions execution was in Colors as opposed to how they were kind of troublesome in Lost World).
It's not the fact that they could be replaced by "shoes" and "shields", it's the fact most of these power ups suck ass. Most of them are horrible to control and are not very fun. They've been in at least 4 games now. I wouldn't mind Sonic Team retiring Wisps and starting from scratch.
One issue I have is these power ups often take control out of Sonic's reach. Rocket wisp to reach a new platform. Laser to go on an automated track. Rhythm Wisp... wtf was this for? In Mario Galaxy, every power up gave control over Mario.
Indeed. Make them as fun, if not more fun (giving us Sonic control along with it) to use as they were in Colors, or leave them on the story/lore/cutscene sidelines, I say.
The shields and shoes are an existing structure of power-ups that are established in the Sonic series identity, not nostalgia.
A new structure to replace the old one is not needed,
especially wih characters that have had their story purpose played out and finished.
Powerups aren't characters.
Powerups aren't characters.
But the aliens that give said powerups are.
That's the key difference, my friend.
The Wisps could have been better implemented but to be honest, I felt that the Wisps were rather boring to use in Colors Wii. They didn't do a whole lot for me and their uses didn't feel very Sonic-like to me then again, neither was the game but that's a different fish to fry.
I really do feel that Colors DS and Lost World 3DS is what I feel the Color Powers should be. Using their abilities to wreck havoc in the levels, kind of like what Sonic does. I mean that satisfying last hit in the boss battles in Colors DS is something that can't be said in words, it's that great of a feeling. Give me that same feel or let me wreck shit up and the Wisps are a-ok for me. Don't use it for the sake of it or for boring puzzles, that's not Sonic to me.
I didn't read all the replies but I'll give my two cents on this.
I would really love to just see it return to shields and shoes to be honest. They were just a power up that instantly worked, let you move around as you already were used to (maybe with an extra jump or something) and provided passive abilities and/or an extra hit. You could keep a shield and its ability for as long as you were able to avoid getting hit and/or entering into terrain that would negate it like the fire and electric shields when you hit water. It seemed like a way to encourage better skill through a level and didn't impede on any sort of momentum. Other things like the fast shoes just made you go faster for a short period of time to get a better score really.
I don't really like Wisps due to the fact that they seem to really just cause an unnecessary slow down to the game. The powers are counter intuitive to what Sonic is mostly able to do - which is to run around and go fast. I know that isn't the point of the game but I feel when a level starts hitting its stride and starts having a bit of flow, the wisps sort of 'interrupt' that. It doesn't feel cohesive, and I don't think it ever really did. It honestly feels like the wisps are meant to be in a totally different type of game but SEGA tried to do something to spice up the series. I am not sure why it ever really caught on, personally I don't see a lot of merit in them as characters beyond Sonic Colours and as a power up in any of the games either.
It also comes down to a thematic choice for me as well. Shoe power ups only seem fitting since Sonic runs. It logically seems like a good connection. The fact that they were contained in a old monitor back in that time seemed to fit the theme as well, even if from a story standpoint it seemed a little weird. But the fact is not many people questioned it because I think it was established even through the enemies that things were contained in them when you jumped on them. It worked for a myriad of reasons just beyond 'nostalgia' even when I look back at it now. Simplicity I think is the key for this series to work really well.
The other thing is too that when I looked at the item boxes in the old games I knew exactly what the icons meant even without having to have any sort of explanation - if I saw the running shoe in a box it only could have meant one thing - go faster. If you see an Eggman face in a box you knew it was going to hurt you. But again once you hit the box it activated and didn't require any sort of tutorial to figure it out. Wisps require an explanation. Sure their designs reflect their power but you also have to interact with the level now in a way that is completely different from what you were just doing. Sonic games should have a sense of flow to it and like I stated - Wisps don't feel that way to me.
Don't get me wrong, Wisps are actually the least of my worries concerning the games and if they were here to stay permanently I'm not going to lie...I'd probably be a little miffed but nothing I'd start actually getting pissed off over. They don't make sense to me in the context of the game but they are also relatively inoffensive in the long run. But they are at least one element I'd like to see go away all the same.
Edit: and just to clarify I don't want to see Wisp powers replicated as shields. I just want core, simple power ups again that don't detract from the gameplay experience more than anything. To just straight up switch the wisps with a shield and keep the powers the same does -nothing-.
I don't really like wisps even in Colors, but something I think that should be done is if SEGA ever decides to have Tails and Knuckles legitimately return as playable characters, they could give them some wisp abilities. There's too many wisps already as it is.
Sonic could have the ability to laser, Knuckles can drill, and Tails could hover.
Mostly I just hate how wisps can make Sonic do things that his friends are supposed to do.
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