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Why do they keep shoehorning in 2D sections?


PerfectChaos
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It's okay in Colours because that was basically a 2D platformer overall, but they seem to always shove these in, why?

Particularly strange in Generations' modern stages since they're meant to contrast the 2D gameplay and the 3DS version was meant to represent the 2D boost Sonic. And Unleashed's were the worst IMO, since they were so bland and you literally just jumped over an obstacle or two.

Does anyone actually like them? They don't seem to add anything to the gameplay, they're just... there. The last fully 3D Sonic was, what, Heroes? I could kind of understand that the Boost gameplay is so resource intensive that it wouldn't be feasible to have fully 3D stages, but in Generations only half the game was Modern Sonic, Unleashed cheated with Werehog filler,  and the direction Lost World took should have been far less resource intensive and easily fully 3D. Thoughts? Am I nitpicking?

Edited by PerfectChaos
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He who chases two rabbits, catches neither.

I'd be fine with seeing them occasionally as a level/act gimmick like how Mario Galaxy treats them, but Sonic seems to treat it as a crutch rather than a design quirk, and both sides of the coin end up worse off for it. Like they simply can't design a full 3D world that isn't suspended above a fuckoff huge death pit or surrounded by claustrophobic stage boundaries and that repeatedly funneling players towards choke points for 2D sections is the only middle ground they've managed so far. Part of the problem is Boost gameplay, granted, and that comes with its own host of problems (namely, the pacing requires them to design literal kilometers of stage at a time just for a game that can be finished in a day when the stages are played back to back), but for once I'd like to see Sonic games that are either purely 2D or 3D so they don't end up diluting one another.

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It was an interesting enough gimmick when they first started doing it, being able to transition smoothly from one to the other. But I really feel they've been using it as a crutch, shoring up their lack of good 3D design by shoving all the platforming into 2D sections.

And it's a way to try to court classic fans, while still (intentionally or otherwise) completely missing the point. "Hey look it's Sonic from the side just like you always wanted!"

...also yeah I'm sure it's cheaper to make too.

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He who chases two rabbits, catches neither.

I'd be fine with seeing them occasionally as a level/act gimmick like how Mario Galaxy treats them, but Sonic seems to treat it as a crutch rather than a design quirk, and both sides of the coin end up worse off for it. Like they simply can't design a full 3D world that isn't suspended above a fuckoff huge death pit or surrounded by claustrophobic stage boundaries and that repeatedly funneling players towards choke points for 2D sections is the only middle ground they've managed so far. Part of the problem is Boost gameplay, granted, and that comes with its own host of problems (namely, the pacing requires them to design literal kilometers of stage at a time just for a game that can be finished in a day when the stages are played back to back), but for once I'd like to see Sonic games that are either purely 2D or 3D so they don't end up diluting one another.

But at least with Lost World's Zelda map they've finally figured out how to make a Sonic level that's not suspended over a death pit/3 inches wide (intresting to note is that the Yoshi map is fully 2D while the Zelda map is fully 3D, maybe they're onto something here ?).

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And it's a way to try to court classic fans, while still (intentionally or otherwise) completely missing the point. "Hey look it's Sonic from the side just like you always wanted!"

...also yeah I'm sure it's cheaper to make too.

Yeah, that's where they're really missing the point. IIRC the Unleashed case (or something) actually says something like "features 2D gameplay reminiscent of the classics!" or something, which I find hilarious because it's nothing alike. And I'm sure no classic fans really care for these parts.

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Because they know that the 2D games are still the most enduringly popular installments of the franchise, but don't want to just make a new high-powered all-2D game because it would mean admitting defeat in the 3D realm they don't think it would have mass-market appeal, even though Mario and Rayman have done it.

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Because they know that the 2D games are still the most enduringly popular installments of the franchise, but don't want to just make a new high-powered all-2D game because it would mean admitting defeat in the 3D realm they don't think it would have mass-market appeal, even though Mario and Rayman have done it.

Well they tried doing a 2D only game with Sonic 4, but that game bombed, and while Mario and Rayman's 3D game's are already good enough that they don't really need to worry about it anymore, Sonic still has to worry about figuring out how his 3D would work.

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But at least with Lost World's Zelda map they've finally figured out how to make a Sonic level that's not suspended over a death pit/3 inches wide (intresting to note is that the Yoshi map is fully 2D while the Zelda map is fully 3D, maybe they're onto something here ?).

Gonna be honest, the reason the Zelda map was fun was because you had all these little areas to explore and each one had a different Zelda easter egg in it.  Take away the fanservice factor and how are they gonna convince players to explore every direction when Sonic has typically always been about heading straight for the goal but with a number of different paths leading there?  When you play the Zelda stage with the mind of going for the goal, the Hyrule Field section is over in seconds.  It was mostly very flat and devoid of platforming too, I think too many people jumped on the "THIS IS HOW 3D SONIC SHOULD BE" simply because it was something different from the norm.  I'd say a stage like Speed Highway Act 3 in Sonic Adventure is MUCH more illustrative of how a "wide open" 3D Sonic stage could play (if we're still not bothering with trying to bring classic momentum gameplay into 3D, at least).

 

 

 

As for 3D gameplay versus 2D gameplay, I would have no qualms with them being seperate again.  In the Boost gameplay, it kind of annoyed me how they always resulted in these bottlenecks, so no matter how many routes they put into the 3D sections, you'd always be flung back to a neutral state a couple of times a level as they joined them all up into a 2D segment.  The wonder of conquering a percieved vast open 3D space is lost a little when that journey has some mandatory segments where the percieved vast open 3D space is flattened down onto a narrow path viewed from the side.

Edited by JezMM
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Gonna be honest, the reason the Zelda map was fun was because you had all these little areas to explore and each one had a different Zelda easter egg in it.  Take away the fanservice factor and how are they gonna convince players to explore every direction when Sonic has typically always been about heading straight for the goal but with a number of different paths leading there?

Sonic-the-hedgehog-3_040.gif

GET BLUE SPHERES

Okay but seriously though, it's not that hard to convince people to go off-path as long as you put anything of substance out of the way - the classic games are proof enough of that. You rub the right walls, eventually you start finding, if not special stages, neat bundles of rings and monitors to help you along the rest of the level, and sometimes they can be neat little shortcuts in of themselves so it effectively works both ways. That being said I haven't actually played the Zelda map yet so I'm not entirely sure what exactly everyone's talking about - I should probably get around to that.

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Gonna be honest, the reason the Zelda map was fun was because you had all these little areas to explore and each one had a different Zelda easter egg in it.  Take away the fanservice factor and how are they gonna convince players to explore every direction when Sonic has typically always been about heading straight for the goal but with a number of different paths leading there?  When you play the Zelda stage with the mind of going for the goal, the Hyrule Field section is over in seconds.  It was mostly very flat and devoid of platforming too, I think too many people jumped on the "THIS IS HOW 3D SONIC SHOULD BE" simply because it was something different from the norm.  I'd say a stage like Speed Highway Act 3 in Sonic Adventure is MUCH more illustrative of how a "wide open" 3D Sonic stage could play (if we're still not bothering with trying to bring classic momentum gameplay into 3D, at least).

Well 2D Mario games are all about running into the exit while Mario 64 was less that and more about hunting down the stars, so they can easily make players explore areas with Sonic if they make the level design non-linear like Dark Souls and provide stuff that you need to find that you can keep on the next level and are actually useful to the platforming/momentum building (like say a deployable speed booster), NOT JUST COLLECTABLES (this is why I don't like playing pure platformers like Mario, the level design and game structure doesn't really encourage exploration and platforming in of itself is too basic of a gameplay feature to rely on).

Sonic-the-hedgehog-3_040.gif

GET BLUE SPHERES

Okay but seriously though, it's not that hard to convince people to go off-path as long as you put anything of substance out of the way - the classic games are proof enough of that. You rub the right walls, eventually you start finding, if not special stages, neat bundles of rings and monitors to help you along the rest of the level, and sometimes they can be neat little shortcuts in of themselves so it effectively works both ways. That being said I haven't actually played the Zelda map yet so I'm not entirely sure what exactly everyone's talking about - I should probably get around to that.

If you just put the hidden loot behind fake walls then you'll VERY quickly run across the classic Doom problem of "Mash E to find secret" ,or in Sonic's case, hump walls till you find a counterfeit.

Edited by NoirSuede
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Generally, I liked how the 2D sections worked in Unleashed, Colours and Gens where the level would transition nice and smoothly, I think it's a nice concept and it's worked relatively well. They started feeling very weird though in Lost World where Sonic would fly off somewhere in 3D, the screen would fade to black and then he's dropped in a 2D area with no connection whatsoever. That was just odd.

I think another (and bigger) problem they've had though is that the engine they use just can't handle the physics to match the design they're trying to make, forcing them to rely on very blocky designs. Whenever they do try some curvy designs to remind you it's a Sonic game, you never end up with an authentic experience because the physics just aren't there for it. 

Edited by Gatestormer
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Generally, I liked how the 2D sections worked in Unleashed, Colours and Gens where the level would transition nice and smoothly, I think it's a nice concept and it's worked relatively well. They started feeling very weird though in Lost World where Sonic would fly off somewhere in 3D, the screen would fade to black and then he's dropped in a 2D area with no connection whatsoever. That was just odd.

 

However the neat 2D transitions pretty much disallows free camera control in the 3D sections because if you turned the camera around when the game transitions then glitches would happen.

I think another (and bigger) problem they've had though is that the engine they use just can't handle the physics to match the design they're trying to make, forcing them to rely on very blocky designs. Whenever they do try some curvy designs to remind you it's a Sonic game, you never end up with an authentic experience because the physics just aren't there for it. 

https://www.youtube.com/embed/mT3lR9WnTeE

Edited by NoirSuede
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If you just put the hidden loot behind fake walls then you'll VERY quickly run across the classic Doom problem of "Mash E to find secret" ,or in Sonic's case, hump walls till you find a counterfeit.

Before I go to bed I just wanted to quickly clarify that I didn't literally mean just brushing up against walls until one gives - that works in 2D games because the lack of a third dimension leaves much less room for error, but 3D games have much different methods to throwing secrets out there. Destructable walls can be given different textures, floaty platforms can be placed a little out of the way, even just a slightly open cave opening can be enough challenge to find if you tuck it away well enough. The problem isn't the method so much as finding a means rewarding enough to tempt people to seek these things out to start with, and to be frank, shit like Red Rings is anything but rewarding.

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Sonic-the-hedgehog-3_040.gif

GET BLUE SPHERES

Okay but seriously though, it's not that hard to convince people to go off-path as long as you put anything of substance out of the way - the classic games are proof enough of that. You rub the right walls, eventually you start finding, if not special stages, neat bundles of rings and monitors to help you along the rest of the level, and sometimes they can be neat little shortcuts in of themselves so it effectively works both ways. That being said I haven't actually played the Zelda map yet so I'm not entirely sure what exactly everyone's talking about - I should probably get around to that.

The issue with the Zelda map in particular is simply that all the other paths lead to dead ends.  There's only one way to actually progress towards the goal and it can be accessed within seconds of the starting point if you ignore all the other areas.

A fun bonus level, but not something to base general stage design on.

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The issue with the Zelda map in particular is simply that all the other paths lead to dead ends.  There's only one way to actually progress towards the goal and it can be accessed within seconds of the starting point if you ignore all the other areas.

A fun bonus level, but not something to base general stage design on.

Well you can say that the Zelda map's more of a baseline design on how future maps should be laid-out, it's basically the Unleasehed of 3D Sonic map design.

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I'm gonna go with "cheaper to make." I remember seeing a mod (or a glitch) that made Classic Sonic's stages 3D (or was it Modern Sonic's 2D sections 3D?) regardless, half the map was pretty much nonexistent because you weren't supposed to see it.

Particularly with boosting, you'd have to make HUGE maps just to fill that 2-3 minutes of playtime for the average Sonic levels. Probably why they slowed Sonic down so much in Lost World.

Personally, I don't like it one bit, when I buy a 3D title, I want 3D.

Edited by WittyUsername
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Before I go to bed I just wanted to quickly clarify that I didn't literally mean just brushing up against walls until one gives - that works in 2D games because the lack of a third dimension leaves much less room for error, but 3D games have much different methods to throwing secrets out there. Destructable walls can be given different textures, floaty platforms can be placed a little out of the way, even just a slightly open cave opening can be enough challenge to find if you tuck it away well enough. The problem isn't the method so much as finding a means rewarding enough to tempt people to seek these things out to start with, and to be frank, shit like Red Rings is anything but rewarding.

Everything can be made rewarding with enough purpose, for example they can make the Red Rings act as audio-tapes and give some lore about the place it's in, or if they're too lazy to write some lore they can make the Red Rings currency to unlock gear that can be used to access a level backwards/sequence break.

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Weird how the Zelda stage is the big example of how 3d Sonic should be, I thought Sonic Generations itself did a pretty good job showing it, in particularly in City escape and first section of the planet wisp stage.
Nice mix between Boost heavy corridors and Adventure style open world platforming.
But yeah, then the forced pointless 2d sections.

Agree with the comments said before, probably a way to lenghten the game, and possibly a lacking capability in getting intense platform challenges in 3d.
And because of the flaws and inperfections of previous games, Sonic fans have zero tolerance for any trickery to prolong the game lenght,whether it's forcing us to replay stages, slower side characters, collectebles or anything. They're desperately looking for a way to cheaply get lot's of level mileage.
Personally I think the solution may be in some sort of level editor thing. But then again, I know nothing about gamedesign so I'm probably chasing moon logic.

But yeah, the 2d/ 3d transitions irritate me to no end, it's just disorientating. 3d Sonic just works on an entirely diffrent mental level then 2d Sonic.
I really hope they just stick with one for the next big game. 2d or 3d, whatever. Have a vision and stick with it.
You'll always piss off a faction of the Sonic fanbase, but at least make the ones happy that you aim for, instead of vaguely confusing all of us.

Altough Generations did a honarable job of combinging the era's together. Not enough Classic physics and too much boost/ blocky platforming, but man, a more balanced Generations would be awesome.

As for exploration, rewards are barely needed, I always love exploring in Sonic games even when there's no real point too it.
In fact, ESPECIALLY when there's no point to it and it's just me having fun without the game holding a gun at my head to force me to explore. (Angry look at Shadow the hedgehog and Shattered Crystal)
The freedom and sense of choice making just fits like a glove with it's adreline rushes and sense of empowerment Sonic gives you.

Edited by Roger_van_der_weide
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Weird how the Zelda stage is the big example of how 3d Sonic should be, I thought Sonic Generations itself did a pretty good job showing it, in particularly in City escape and first section of the planet wisp stage.
Nice mix between Boost heavy corridors and Adventure style open world platforming.
But yeah, then the forced pointless 2d sections.

Agree with the comments said before, probably a way to lenghten the game, and possibly a lacking capability in getting intense platform challenges in 3d.
And because of the flaws and inperfections of previous games, Sonic fans have zero tolerance for any trickery to prolong the game lenght,whether it's forcing us to replay stages, slower side characters, collectebles or anything. They're desperately looking for a way to cheaply get lot's of level mileage.
Personally I think the solution may be in some sort of level editor thing. But then again, I know nothing about gamedesign so I'm probably chasing moon logic.

But yeah, the 2d/ 3d transitions irritate me to no end, it's just disorientating. 3d Sonic just works on an entirely diffrent mental level then 2d Sonic.
I really hope they just stick with one for the next big game. 2d or 3d, whatever. Have a vision and stick with it.
You'll always piss off a faction of the Sonic fanbase, but at least make the ones happy that you aim for, instead of vaguely confusing all of us.

Altough Generations did a honarable job of combinging the era's together. Not enough Classic physics and too much boost/ blocky platforming, but man, a more balanced Generations would be awesome.

As for exploration, rewards are barely needed, I always love exploring in Sonic games even when there's no real point too it.
In fact, ESPECIALLY when there's no point to it and it's just me having fun without the game holding a gun at my head to force me to explore. (Angry look at Shadow the hedgehog and Shattered Crystal)
The freedom and sense of choice making just fits like a glove with it's adreline rushes and sense of empowerment Sonic gives you.

Mario Maker works because it's 2D only, if they somehow decide to make a 3D version for Sonic then it can only possibly work on PC.

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I have four words for you: It's a COP OUT.

I actually touched on this topic a little bit in the popular/unpopular Sonic opinions thread. Here is my original post.

I am not even sure if this is popular or unpopular, but I have a recently formed opinion on Sonic Generations. In particular the 3ds version. First off, let me say I absolutely loved the PC/Console version and is probably my favorite Sonic title since SA/SA2. I finally got a DS and figured I'd have to get generations.

After playing the first level as 2d Sonic, I was beyond pumped to see a 3d Sonic game on a handheld. Boy was I quite disappointed, Not in the 2d gameplay or the level designs (I loved all the levels, especially Mushroom Hill), but I was VERY, VERY dissappointed in the way the 3d game was presented. Like really Sega, you can't give us a 3rd person view? It basically felt like I was playing two 2d levels. That was not 3d, that was a BS cop out imo, where the most 3d you get is when the camera angle turns while you go up a loop or boost through a long pathway or I guess the special stages were pretty sweet. (They were ACTUALLY 3D) I'm all for bringing classic Sonic back, but you can't do this shit...You need to have both 2d/3d and make it feel different at the very least.

Anyways, I had to get that off my chest. I'm not sure if anyone else agrees with this, but it really ticked me off in all honesty. Felt like a cop out for Sonic Team and it makes half the game very dissatisfying. 

Anyways...OP, you aren't alone, and you are not nitpicking! I agree completely with what you are saying, and imo the Sonic game that demonstrated this the WORST was Sonic Generations for the DS (See quote above).  I was absolutely stoked when I got my DS and Generations, only to have my dreams crushed very quickly. Going into it I was thinking it would be a carbon copy of Generations, only different levels. Boy was I wrong. The whole game was basically a 2D Sonic side Scroller. Like...really Sega? What a cop out imo, and yes it is nice to please the classic Sonic fans (I'm one of them and have played Sonic games since their inception back in 1991) but make a separate game if you want classic Sonic. Don't put out a supposed 3D game and make it a 2D side scroller....

What's unfortunate is I loved Generations for the PC, even with the mini 2D parts for 3D Sonic levels. You are correct though, they don't belong in 3D game play and Sonic Team needs to realize that its a cop out.

Edited by GOAT
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I've always felt that the 2D sections in modern Sonic games are way more clunky than the 3D portions. They're just very basic, simple platforming challenges with not a whole lot of meat to them. It's like they're trying to appeal to classic Sonic fans but don't understand what makes classic sonic games fun. Although, admittedly, Colors' 2D sections were pretty fun, but in their own unique sort of way, not so much because they were similar to classic sonic games.

So point being the 2D sections are generally boring and if they're gonna make a 3D platformer I'd rather them just go ham and make the whole thing a 3D platformer. Yeah.

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Well, to Sonic Generation 3ds's defense, it was more Classic Sonic versus Rush Sonic.
Altough as soon as Dimps isn't litteraly copy pasting Genesis/Megadrive Sonic's level designs, the Classic Sonic stages start to become Sonic Rush like again. Despite the 1 on 1 copying of the earlier games, it seems they still didn't learn anything about classic Sonic game design. Oh well...

The thing mostly bothering me with the 3ds game is that they couldn't just go for the "The handheld version of Sonic generations" route and make it Game Gear- Game boy advance- Sonic Rush themed.
Then the lack of 3d wouldn't be so noticeble.
Now it's only the DS era that's based on handhelds and the rest on the main games, making it really weird.
I guess the Game Gear games have some sort of copyright problems around them, that they were so completely ignored by all incarnations of Sonic Generations in every way possible?

But uh, hey, play Sonic Lost world on the 3ds, there's your 3D Sonic on a handheld.
Altough yeah, flying platforms in space level design, and too much emphasis on fighting robots.

Now I want to see if it's possible to get a Sega Dreamcast emulator running on the 3ds, if a 3ds could handle a Sonic Adventure or something. And hey, House of the Dead 2.
I'm baffled we haven't had a on rails shooting game on a DS/ 3DS yet.

Edited by Roger_van_der_weide
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Now I want to see if it's possible to get a Sega Dreamcast emulator running on the 3ds, if a 3ds could handle a Sonic Adventure or something. And hey, House of the Dead 2.
I'm baffled we haven't had a on rails shooting game on a DS/ 3DS ye
t.

Actually that's where your wrong...

We do have an on-rails shooting game on the DS, It's called Dead N Furious (Touch the Dead in other countries, but you can see the controversy in that).

Dead-N-Furious.jpg

 

And while it's not too easy to find much info on, House of the Dead 2 has been brought to DS in Japan as "English of the Dead" 

But from what I understand, it's not a dreamcast port, they had to build it from the ground up. I researched it years ago when I wanted a House of the Dead game on DS.

2358b.jpg

And lastly, there are plenty of rail shooters available on the 3DS store, your just not looking hard enough.

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