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The Ranking System


Rusty Spy

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Since the "Jaded Fanbase" topic was getting a bit crowded with thoughts about the ranking system, I might as well give it it's own topic.

So share your thoughts about it here!

To save my lazy bum time and effort, I'll repost what I said in the above mentioned topic.

The ranking system adds challenges for people who want to perfect the game. Although, perfecting all the stages in the game is enough of a reward for some people as sort of a 'bragging rights' reward.

Also, you can post what you may like or dislike about certain parts of the ranking system over the coarse of the games, and what you'd change about it, etc. Pretty much anything that has to do with the ranking system.

Personally, SA2 did the ranking the best, since acing a level required both a good time and good amount of points earned through enemies and the like. It didn't focus on reaching the end of the stages as fast as possible(I'm looking at you Rush) nor did it force you to beat every single enemy and collect every ring you come across. This is mainly due to the bonus points that you can get for performing certain stunts, most notably, defeating a chain of enemies. It required a perfect blend of speed and point gaining, and rewarded you for beating multiple enemies at a time and beating the level with large sums of rings.

So, discuss!

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I was never really a fan of the ranking system. I saw the Emeralds as 100% completion in the old games - it was a bar set high enough to be fun, but not insanely high. I don't think I want Sonic games to be so hard as to demand perfection.

They've messed ranking up in the past, I think. Heroes wasn't fun enough for me to bother, but I got all the A-ranks in ShtH because they were easy. Never made 100% on SA2 though, because that game really cuts it close with the rankings.

I think I'm gonna try to do that soon, actually.

But I get what you mean about SA2. Ranking should bring a lot of different factors into your grade - speed, rings, and enemies destroyed are the basics, but the trick system in SA2 was freaking great. I loved being able to interact with the level (yeah, Pyramid Cave and Final Rush!) for trick points. If a game came out that used gimmicks like the old games and tricks like SA2, I'd love it.

In all, I don't think an "A" or "S" should mean perfect. It should tell you that you're very good at the game. Often though, I think the difficulty on A-ranks need perfection, and that takes some fun out of it. I thought Rush was just fine also.

Edited by Badnikz
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The ranking system kind of ruins casual play if the game makes fun of you when you have the gall to fall into one of it's bottomless pits, or actually spend some time looking around in a stage.

Plus, Sonic 2/Sonic 3 style special stage entrances would screw it up pretty badly.

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Often though, I think the difficulty on A-ranks need perfection, and that takes some fun out of it. I thought Rush was just fine also.

I can agree on that. Simply dieing will instantly deduct all your points making it impossible to get an ace rank without restarting the level over again. They should only deduct a few points with every death, at least enough to make it still possible to ace a stage with enough skill.

And the criteria for getting an ace ranking is pretty hard, too, in some games, and on a few occasions, taken to a ridiculous extreme, mainly in some of Black Knight's missions.

The ranking system kind of ruins casual play if the game makes fun of you when you have the gall to fall into one of it's bottomless pits, or actually spend some time looking around in a stage.

While it is true that it is a bit much, it by no means ruins casual play since it doesn't really restrict gameplay for not getting good ranks, aside from getting 100% and whatever unlockables that come with it, and even then, the unlockables are usually just extras and not entirely needed to get the full experience of the game.

Plus, Sonic 2/Sonic 3 style special stage entrances would screw it up pretty badly.

Not really since whenever you come out of a Special Stage, you restart from the same position you left, with the same time and score.

Edited by VirgoTheCougar
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As for casual play, it's just a peeve of mine that on the first few playthroughs of a level, I have to be graded. The object of the game is to get to the end of the level, not score high. Making it to the end of a hard level should feel rewarding, but then the "E" smacks down on the screen and we have to listen to Sonic say something like "Whoa, barely made it!"

Thanks, Sonic. I think rankings would be better in a separate Time Trial mode, because they encourage speed running anyways.

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Here's what I posted last in the other thread...

-------------------------------

Last night, I spent around 15 minutes in Shadow's Kingdom Valley killing everything I possibly could and getting every Ring in the stage, and then I shot down a tower and couldn't get away fast enough to keep it from falling down and killing me, reducing my score to 0 and wiping out my chances of an S rank. And that was the normal stage, not Hard Mode. I never realized just how much I hate the ranking system.

I think completing the mission should be enough. This bugged me in Sonic Adventure 2, which had 5 missions in every level. I completed the extra mission, but still, I had to do it again in order to 100% the game because I didn't do it perfectly. There must be something other than getting the highest rank in levels they can do to provide extra challenge.

...Either way, though, I'm going to try Kingdom Valley again today, unlike most people who play Sonic 2006! XD

-------------------------------

I don't like being "graded" on my performance in a level; I like to explore, try out the new stuff, maybe die a few times, and then finally finish it. In a rather indirect way, it's sort of like how I don't enjoy reading a book as much if I know I'm doing it for a grade in school. I'd like to see a more exploration-oriented way of "completing" levels. I always liked being judged on my thoroughness, not lack of it. Sonic 2006 already has this to some degree, as described above, but not in the format I'd like.

EDIT: I agree with Badnikz's last statement. Nothing beats the sheer thrill of finally completing that level you spent an hour and 20 lives on. The last thing I need is for the game to tell me I didn't do good enough.

Edited by Reading
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I think it's a nice feature. It's easy to implement and it's better to have it than not.

Although, maybe it should be hidden by default for those who doesn't like to have their performance graded.

Nonetheless, those willing to spend extra time with the game to perfect everything should be rewarded adequatly.

Edited by FlameStream
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I can agree on that. Simply dieing will instantly deduct all your points making it impossible to get an ace rank without restarting the level over again. They should only deduct a few points with every death, at least enough to make it still possible to ace a stage with enough skill.
When you're dying due to crappy design, sure, but if it's a legitimate death, isn't that proof enough that you don't have "enough skill"? Getting through a level without dying is a pretty reasonable challenge, I'd say.

Not really since whenever you come out of a Special Stage, you restart from the same position you left, with the same time and score.
And at a standstill. As compared to just blasting past the checkpoint/hidden special ring without stopping.

Making it to the end of a hard level should feel rewarding, but then the "E" smacks down on the screen and we have to listen to Sonic say something like "Whoa, barely made it!"
I've never understood this argument.

Okay, so you screw around a bit or you die a few times or whatever, and you finish the level with an E (or whatever the lowest ranking is).

...well, so what? Does the game's opinion of your skill really matter that much to you? If you tried and failed, just shrug your shoulders and say you'll try harder next time. And if you're not trying to get a good rank, the rank is irrelevant to your goals, so it shouldn't matter at all.

It just seems like such a silly thing to be bothered by.

Myself, I like the rankings. It's a good challenge to go for after finishing the story, and gives you a tangible reason to replay levels and refine your skills.

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The Sonic Rush games are stupid hard when it comes to getting S ranks, so I'm never going to bother with that task. At least with Sonic Adventure 2, they were all pretty reasonable - bop a few extra enemies, cut a few corners...

But the way Sonic Rush goes about it has got to be the most fucking retarded way to achieve an S rank ever.

Aside from SA2, the only Sonic game in which I've gotten perfect ranks was the PS2 version of Sonic Unleashed. Heroes isn't fun enough for me to try it and the reward is a bit ass, anyway.

Still. Yoshi's Island was probably harder to get 100% on. I only fully completed the first world in that game.

Edited by Jake
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When you're dying due to crappy design, sure, but if it's a legitimate death, isn't that proof enough that you don't have "enough skill"? Getting through a level without dying is a pretty reasonable challenge, I'd say.

Sounds reasonable, and it sure hasn't stopped me from getting ace ranks in all missions in SA2, Heroes, Shadow, and Black Knight, but building up enough points to get an ace rank is hard enough in most games as it is, and having to restart a level because of one mistake is tedious enough.

And at a standstill. As compared to just blasting past the checkpoint/hidden special ring without stopping.

Sure, though a few seconds delay shouldn't effect your score as far as time is concerned. Though of course they could just put the Special Stages at the end of the levels and avoid the dilemma altogether.

Edited by VirgoTheCougar
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Simply speaking:

The Ranking system only works in Sonic Adventure 2. Because they actually implemented it in with a purpose. The grinding wasn't so asinine as to provide entire routes through levels, but were little optional trick locations that could either improve your time or give you a nice points bonus. Hitting enemies in quick succession gave you a combo score. You knew exactly where you were with SA2's ranking, because at the end of the level the A Rank was always a threshold that you knew you could attain, if you tried a bit harder. The number of evenings I willingly spent playing Pyramid Cave over and over again, especially on Hard Mode...

...in recent Sonic games I barely bother. The developers put no throught process into the scoring system, it's simply "get to end in X time/with X score somehow/without dying and shoving a broomstick up your bum" without giving real options as to HOW to achieve said parameters.

Sonic 06 took the real utter piss with it though, because Sonic Team made the decision (that can only be described as absolutely retarded) to tie ranks with the number of Rings you had at the end of the level. Sure, Time etc came into the equation, but in Sonic 06 it wasn't a case of simply not-dying - it was not-get-hit-by-anything-whatsoever-and-make-sure-you-have-at-least-a-million-rings. We all know how impossible that task is, given that the game's willing to throw any glitch at you to make sure you lose your stash every five minutes.

If Ranking is to stay, I'd like them to simply stick with A-E (what's with all this S/AA/AAA/X-TREEEEM bollocks?), and actually think about level design to apply an efficient scoring system to the mix.

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Though of course they could just put the Special Stages at the end of the levels and avoid the dilemma altogether.

That! I liked Sonic 1's system, except that going too fast made you miss it.

Rankings... My worst enemy yet best friend. It's fun to go for the A/S ranks all the time, but it does get tedious. I get tired of playing the same level over and over and being killed by a silly glitch or something. Which is most often why I die in the games. Granted in Unleashed, all I have is night time left and I hate those stages. *shudders*

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Indeed, I kinda liked being able to A rank SA2, even if some moments were really frustrating. I managed to ace the game twice, but I haven't bothered with other games such as Heroes or Rush with it.

Oh and yeah, it needs to stay as A to E, S sounds too full of it and I think it's hilarious how the lowest grades in Rush and Unleashed (low-end version) are D and C respectively.

lawl @ Zero Gravity's "extreme" ranking, too. What the shit is with this "extreme" popping up in those games? Extreme Gear! Wow I feel totally rad riding Extreme Gear, should have just called them hoverboards. Now it doesn't look like a real word anymore.

Edited by Jake
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Sonic 06 took the real utter piss with it though, because Sonic Team made the decision (that can only be described as absolutely retarded) to tie ranks with the number of Rings you had at the end of the level.
Odd, I always thought it was based moreso on how many enemies you kill. Most of the time I could get at least an A (usually an S) just by getting rid of damn nearly every enemy in the level I came across, completely irregardless of how badly I did in other factors. Not that I'm doubting whether you're right, I just think we're both judging the system based on outliers at the moment. I simply can't imagine "S"ing a level based on a combination of factors, and least of all based on how quickly you finished in the first place.

I'm gonna have to agree with you on the rest of your post though. I like the ranking systems, but without a proper context there's really not much point in having them. With the way things are now, you might as well simply record highscores for each factor instead of slapping a letter on it all as a collective grade. Seriously, when was the last time we saw an actual table of high scores in a game like this anyway?

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Odd, I always thought it was based moreso on how many enemies you kill. Most of the time I could get at least an A (usually an S) just by getting rid of damn nearly every enemy in the level I came across, completely irregardless of how badly I did in other factors.

It is TECHNICALLY a combination of factors, but even if you smash pretty much everything, you're not getting an S-rank on Sonic's Crisis City Hard Mode unless you finish the stage with +400 rings.

And when the obstacles come racing at you in the Mach Speed section... yeowch.

I did it, but it took me in the region of a week. Which was just absurd.

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It is TECHNICALLY a combination of factors, but even if you smash pretty much everything, you're not getting an S-rank on Sonic's Crisis City Hard Mode unless you finish the stage with +400 rings.

And when the obstacles come racing at you in the Mach Speed section... yeowch.

I did it, but it took me in the region of a week. Which was just absurd.

See, that's why I don't even bother with that bullshit. It takes the fun out of things (as if 06 was even fun), I just like running through the levels I'd actually appreciate if they just gave a time limit for level completion.

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I don't personally like the ranking system since it reminds me of how many of the modern games have turned into racing games.

That being said, I try not to let it bother me too much. It's ultimately a superficial element that's annoying, but inconsequential.

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I love the ranking system, though I do think they should not penalise you so much for dying as they do, even if they bump up the score requirements a little to compensate.

If it were up to me, I'd make it so your score is reset to what it was when you passed through a checkpoint. The only penalty would be your time would continue as normal (like in Unleashed), so you'll have lost a few hundred time bonus points as punishment only.

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That's what I liked about the older Sonic games (and SA1). The score was an afterthought. It served no purpose, but that didn't stop hardcore players from trying to achieve higher scores and better times than others.

Grades aren't necessary to keep people from wanting to do better at the levels.

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That's what I liked about the older Sonic games (and SA1). The score was an afterthought. It served no purpose, but that didn't stop hardcore players from trying to achieve higher scores and better times than others.

Grades aren't necessary to keep people from wanting to do better at the levels.

But the ranks encourage more people to try for high scores, and rewards players capable of doing so. Plus the ranks keep track of the high scores, unlike the previous games where it is left up to the player to keep track of it themselves.

SA1 kept track of scores, yes, but it didn't offer the reward for achieving them.

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Why can't Sega just stick with no ranking stuff in Story Mode & Stage Trial Mode so people could do whatever they wanted to, and then leave ranking for an optional Time Attack?
Why bother? I see no reason to implement two separate level selects just because some people are inordinately bothered by getting a poor grade. Same goes for not crediting a player's skill their first time through.
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Wellllllll... Sonic Heroes had a crappy reward for getting all A ranks, and Sonic Unleashed had no reward as far as I'm aware. Neither did the Rush games.

SA2 was the only game to have a substantial reward for giving players A ranks, and even that sucked (still a reward, nevertheless). So the whole "rewarding players" thing is a bit moot.

Also, SA1 kept track of high scores. Just go to trial mode. EDIT: Nevermind, misread your post.

Edited by Jake
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Good point Diogenes, but the only real 2 ways I know where you can go with AND without rankings is either that; or do it SA1 style, and put it where you enter the Action Stages thru the Adventure stages, where if you go through it in the storyline no ranking is given (and you could do each level as many times as you want), and have Trial Mode for ranking stuff. But then again, no-one seemed to like the Adventure stages. :unsure:

EDIT: fix'd sum grammurz

Edited by Azukara
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