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Soniman

What defines the post Unleashed era to you?

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Havent made a Sonic topic in forever so I kinda wanted to start simple.

This isnt necessarily a slam or praise of the modern era, just want to know what are its most defined aspects that stick out to people the most?

Steady degradation of story quality beyond what even 06 accomplished (or at least a total loss of engagement and energy from the universe of Sonic in-story context), and an increasing sense of apathy towards the series in general.

 

...Hey it's a legit answer, you asked not me.

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Sonic-only gameplay, non-engaging story to the point of may as well non-existence, liner levels with no chances to explore, and complete dismissiveness of any character past the classic 5.

I guess mine is negative, but I can't find anything positive about these games to me, I just get sad...

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Sonic-only gameplay, non-engaging story to the point of may as well non-existence, liner levels with no chances to explore, and complete dismissiveness of any character past the classic 5.

I would say all of this, but I want more than Sonic as a playable character, but pretty much everything else is my taste.

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Well that's easy.

Sonic as the only playable character 

Limited Cast

Boost

2D/3D Gameplay 

Pontac/Graff

Usually Eggman as the Final Boss

Limited Story

and basically going back to classic roots in general.

In other words, I pretty much dislike the current Unleashed-Era, It's just feels like people are holding SEGA back so much to where they're pretty much limiting things. I miss and prefer the Adventure-Era because like Vertekins said: Sonic games had heart and effort put into them and use to mean something!

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Now before I post something, the OP looks rather barren so when you say "Post-Unleashed era" you're referring to the everything that proceeded, Boom included or just the main series?

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Interesting topic. Looks like what I'd have to say has already been said; 2.5D sections, more lighthearted and simplistic stories, no more monsters or gods that eventually spontaneously break their contracts with Eggman out of the blue, and shout outs to the past. I'd say the recent 3D games have gotten more colorful every game and I think that's a hallmark element of this era's aesthetics. Most games after SA1 and before Unleashed(?) focused on lots of greys, metals and concretes due to their fascination with industrial and urban settings, while Colors, Generations and Lost World were brightly colored and the saturation of colors became risingly apparent to the point that some people complained about Lost World being too bright, for some reason, coupled with the chibi-ish look of the zones. I'd personally like to see the art department try to harmonize the super cartoony look with the realistic-yet-surreal look next game to please both those who love and hate Lost World's style.

Edited by Auto

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As others have noted, when it comes to the Modern Era (Colors - Rise of Lyric/Shattered Crystal), there are a few key elements that define it, for better or worse:

  • Sonic the Hedgehog as the only playable character.
    • With Unleashed, he also has his Werehog and Super forms as second and third playable options, respectively. With the Tornado Defense levels, while Tails is auto piloting the rocket biplane, it's Sonic who's manning the gun.
    • In Colors and Lost World's multiplayer/Sonic Simulator mode, you control Robo-Sonics. Otherwise, you only control Sonic and Super Sonic.
    • In Generations, he's also joined by his younger Classic self as a second playable, as well as their Super forms. Their allies are not directly controllable, however, as they're functionally items, to a degree.
    • Only with, Sonic 4: Episode 2, Rise of Lyric and Shattered Crystal can one actually play as other characters.
  • A minimalist cast, usually with only Sonic, Tails, Dr. Eggman, Orbot and Cubot having major roles. The rest of the supporting cast are either demoted to extra or gone altogether.
  • A speed-oriented gameplay style with a mixed focus of sidescrolling (2D) and free-roaming (3D) movement perspectives.
  • Ken Pontac and Warren Graff as the English writers for the stories.
  • A minimalistic story with a distinct focus on the comedic elements of the series.
  • An even clearer focus on reintroducing and utilizing the classic elements of the series.

As for my thoughts on this era, it has been hit or miss over the past five years. Colors and Generations still holds up as something enjoyable, but the way that the later games use these key elements leaves quite a bit to be desired. That it's still ultimately better than the Heroes/Shadow/'06 era doesn't make it any less of a mixed bag. All in all, I don't regret my experiences with the Modern Era, but I still feel that it could've been executed a lot better than it did.

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I'm curious as to what makes Lost World such an acquired taste. I go back to it a lot and one of the most cynical members of the fan base surprisingly loves it, yet it has mixed reviews and some think it's worse than what was the most universally despised Sonic game of all time and relapsed the "dark age" phase.

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Minimalist games that play well. 

Not really a fan of the "Minimalist" part. but I enjoy the modern era for the most part. Just wish the games were longer. Generations was a blast but it was 3 hours and Colors wasn't all that much longer. It feels like I'm getting a taste of some of the best Sonic games ever...but only a taste. 

Honestly curious to see what Sonic Team does next considering how good Generations was. 

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I guess you could say that they're mainline games that I like after so many other mainline games that I was indifferent to at best. In spite of their flaws, Colours, Generations, and even Lost World are still games that I enjoy overall.

...That's all I have to say in the grand scheme of the subject really. I know why people have their grievances with the post-2010 games and direction, and yes, there are things that I would like to see more of as well, such as other playable characters (with similar enough gameplay so as not to feel too gameplay roulette-y), and plots with a little more meat to them. But in the end, I still like these games a good deal, and there's more in them for me than there is with a sizable number of the games that came prior to them, including all of the previous mainline 3D games with the sole exception of Adventure 1.

Also, I won't say that I think the overall writing in recent times is the greatest by any means, but I honestly don't think the writing in the games have ever been that great for the most part anyway. And I'm not saying that in a "Well we might as well accept it since it's never been good" manner either, I'm not saying that to justify or defend the current writing, I'm just saying that I never saw any major loss in regards to the series' previous instances of writing since I personally never cared too deeply for much of it in the first place aside from when it provided unintended laughs.

But one thing that's difficult to deny is the feeling, the impression that despite their foibles, those games had a sense of ambition and passion on part of Sonic Team. Back then, the studio didn't care about whether or not a decision they made would be received well or not, they decided to do it because they wanted to. And whilst more often than not that yielded questionable results, you can't really knock them for following their vision. And what makes it all the more endearing? The fact that Sonic Team used to attest to their projects with, for example, behind the scenes blogs.

Doesn't that sort of go against the many complaints about the series regarding consistency though? (And I know they could still apply to an extent in recent games, but that's beside the point.) I get what you're saying, and that is certainly admirable, but I think it's easy to forget now that that part's supposedly in the past that this isn't exactly something you can have both ways just like that, at least not without a lot of compromising.

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Now before I post something, the OP looks rather barren so when you say "Post-Unleashed era" you're referring to the everything that proceeded, Boom included or just the main series?

how can we not include the national treasure that is Boom?

 

Sonic has struggled ever since the transition to 3D? Don't stand back and took a good, hard look at what could constitute a solid formula and work at perfecting it, just keep pulling silly gimmicks like Wisps and Parkour out of your ass, going through experiments like used nappies!

Kinda dont see the issue? The wisps are power ups, a staple of the platform genre and spught to enhance the gamepay rather then work against it like werehogs or mech shooting. And parkour was something EVERYONE wanted and expected from Sonic because its an extension of his natural abilities. Execution is one thing but these are not just random ideas that only serve to pad out the game as opposed to..well....werehogs, treasure hunting and mech shooting

Edited by Soniman

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'Minimalist' is a word Wraith used that I think puts it best.

Minimalist stories, minimal content, and now with SLW a minimalistic art style. Minimal amount of characters to play as, minimal amount of things to do, minimal amount of things to care about, and at times scraping the bare minimum of what it takes to make a Sonic game.

To be fair, the first two out of these three games were rushed... and they were also pretty good games, so I'm not knocking their quality by any means. SLW's, maybe, but yeah. It's just that the past few games have felt like they've only wanted to meet the minimum requirements to call it a game and then shove it out there.

You can feel the ambitions in little bits and pieces scattered throughout Colors, Gens, and LW, but the big picture just feels undecided on if it wants to go big or not. The inconsistency started with SLW doesn't help this image because now things feel just as wishy-washy as they did before this sort of 'renaissance', which kind of shows that going the minimalist approach on everything about the series hasn't really helped nearly as much as a well thought out and solid direction would.

Also what's Boom? I don't even know what you're talking about.

I think the actual, main problem comes from the core development time for a Sonic game still being too short and that not changing despite the shift. They shifted from throwing every idea they had in no matter how sloppy or half assed it turned out, to using their time to polish the core and not putting a lot of content in. They're aiming low so they don't get cut off at the deadline again (and even then that still happened for Generations clearly so lol) I think it's a fair compromise, but neither should have to happen. They need time to complete their vision.

People always say that they wonder what Sonic 06 would have been like if it wasn't rushed out, but I pretty much think about that for most of the 3D Sonic games out there these days. 

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