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Hey... Sonic Colors wasn't very good.


mrtwommr
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In fact, it is one of the worst "3D" Sonic games I have ever played! By the way, do you see this "I" word? It means it is my opinion, and I don't want to impose it, but please, try to at least revisit this game with a grain of scepticism.

 

The thing that is consistant with people's opinion on this game is that there aren't much adequate arguments about it! Instead I mostly see something like "Well, at least it's not werehog swinging Excalibur trying to dodge Shadow that shooting a gun and glitching through a wall - it's about what Sonic's really about!", some minor things like "Finally a light hearted story and not this edgieness!", "The game starts from action - a great tribute to good-old days!" and just counting things that are "good" without explaining why, like "It has good soundtrack, level design, Super Sonic etc." And I want to crush all these nonsense arguments once and for all.

 

First, yeah, for most of the people Sonic Colors came after the series of bad games. They had either been full of bugs (like 06), had bad controls (ShtH, Secret Rings and Black Knight) or incorporated not needed gimmicks (ShtH, Black Knight, Rush Adventure and Unleashed). Let's now try to apply these three things to Colours:

1) Is this game full of bugs? No, it isn't. But it also isn't new, since the last of this kind of games was '06.

2) Does this game have bad controls? Well, if we overlook that if you have no Wii controllers except WiiMote, then you basicly cannot play this game, because the controls there are awful, then yeah, SC's controls are OK, if not too slippery for this kind of level design, but I'll talk about it later.

3) And now my favourite. Remember people screamed at how stupid it is that an anthropomorphic hedgehog turning into anthropomorphic werewolf is (do I need to explain how stupid this criticism is and do I need to specify that most people raged not at the Werehog's gameplay, but at the fact that Sonic turns into a Werewolf?), and made fun out of the word "Werehog" that Sonic turns into pig (even though hedgehogs are given their name for their piglike snout and the word "Werehog" itself was made by japanese who aren't so good in English)? Well, aperantly, no one cares about the fact that anthropomorphic hedgehog turns into strange alien creatures! Apperantly, it is what Sonic is about. So yeah, how exactly did Sonic's day stages from Unleashed evolved in Colors? By adding into them a thing, that is essensially the Werehog?

 

Second on our list is story, and hell, now even some Colors fans accept that the story was at least mediocre. I would say it is the worst main series got, even ShtH's and '06's stories are above in my list. The reason why is that the story is not just lighthearted - it's outright comedy, the kids comedy to be exact. And it wouldn't be half bad if the jokes were good, but no! Most of them are about that Tails' translator is not working properly and gives out nonsense, like "HUHUH BALDY MCNOSEHAIR!!!", and the one I given to you as an example even dares to repeat itself 3 or 4 times! It's so bad, that a five year old can make plenty of these jokes! Also, most of the time the plot repeats itself, hell, even locations of pre-boss cutscenes are the same with different background!

 

Third is how this game tries to be like classics... Holy hell, where to begin... I saw so much people praising... The way the game starts!!! Just because it doesn't have a cutscene!!! Despite Sonic 3 & Knuckles - the best amoung the classics and the best amoung ever - has the cutscene before Angel Island!!! I see that this game tries to be like Sonic CD in a lot of areas - it also starts with no cutscene (yeah, it has an opening, but in the original it is played if you wait enough at the title screen), it has only one playable character, and it has a gimmick. However, CD had massive levels with exploration as one of optional objectives to get a good ending, and the gimmick didn't create new playstyles, but helped to create more massive levels, unlike Wisps in Colors! But Colors tried, even it's levels in challenge mode look like levels from Sonic 1, but it doesn't make Colors more classic! Seriously, it's like a kid, that tries to be adulty by smoking cigarets - it doesn't make him more adult, unlike having a job, which, in our case, is the analogue for great level design, but again, I'll talk about this one later.

 

Now on what I have to agree with. Yes, the soundtrack is great. Although I don't like "Reach for the Stars" and especially credits theme for autotune, I love everything else, it really suits for the atmosphere of the game! Also, playing as Super Sonic in regular stages is nice, and it is a good Super Sonic I might say, but in my opinion, this game really lacks SS boss fight and getting SS is too long.

 

And now the main reason why I consider this game so bad... The level design. Oh, the level design.

First, despite the game has 3D graphics, it is a 2D game. About 80% of the game is in the 2D perspective. And these 3D sections are some of the worst in the series. They are empty, they are linear, and a lot of the time it doesn't even matter there whether you had a 3D or 2D look there! The most you'll get out of them is quick step sections and a really good one in third zone, act five. Also, in 3D sections a lot of automation is present. Yeah, that thing, which is criticised in all the Sonic games, but not in this one. Great.

But that's not even half bad if the 2D sections are good, right? Well, if we'll take them out of context, imagine that it's not a Sonic game and just a generic platformer with a gimmick - yeah, it's pretty good. Above average at least. However, as a Sonic level design... It has too much barebones blocky platforming and, again, barebones puzzle elements. The speed is mostly in 3D sections, and 2D is mostly based around Wisps. And I heard a lot that they are optional, and most of the times they are, but the levels are built around them, which means even if you don't use them, Sonic can't go fast and what you are left with is constant Marble Zone with the rare occasion of linear speed section!

 

As a conclusion, I really don't understand what to love Colors for. It looks more like a Mario game than a Sonic game, and if it satisfies you - then sorry, but you picked a wrong franchise. Again, I really would like people to revisit this game, because the amount of hypocrisy around this game is too big! Thank you for your time.

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I've settled on "I don't feel this game that much but I understand why people do" on this one. It doesn't have a lot of what I came to Sonic for but to a casual player it's a simple, fun, polished platformer. There is literally no other 3D Sonic game that fits that casual friendly approachable criteria aside from maybe Generations imo. If I take all the design decisions as ways for them to make Sonic approachable to younger/more casual gamers then..yeah, the game works pretty well as it's intended to, honestly. 
 

It's fine. It's not great, but sometimes fine is fine. 

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29 minutes ago, Josh said:

I've settled on "I don't feel this game that much but I understand why people do" on this one. It doesn't have a lot of what I came to Sonic for but to a casual player it's a simple, fun, polished platformer. There is literally no other 3D Sonic game that fits that casual friendly approachable criteria aside from maybe Generations imo. If I take all the design decisions as ways for them to make Sonic approachable to younger/more casual gamers then..yeah, the game works pretty well as it's intended to, honestly. 
 

It's fine. It's not great, but sometimes fine is fine. 

Well, I believe that Generations was more or less focused on that casuality. That may be the reason behind the easy S ranks you can get in-game. 

One of the problem I see with Sonic games are that... well, many had levels that were too long for its own sake. I am now looking at Heroes, mainly. 
I think the ideal length of a stage was really shown in Generations and Mania - ideal level should take about 2:30 for skilled player and 3:30 for casual player. This is true for first 6 classic and modern levels in Generations, whilst, yeah, the last 3 are the ones before ending so you can accept them lasting more.

Mania - the "ideality" starts with Chemical Plant 2 and Studiopolis (as even not that skilled player may go through Green Hill 1,2 and Chemical Plant 1 in a minute, each)

Why is the time appropriate ? Because in 2-3 minutes you can have enough of the random moments those games can provide. That´s what Forces did wrong (each moment ended too soon) and Colors did it wrong for most levels (those blocky ones and those quick step ones you could go through in a minute).

 

What I see as a problem with Heroes is that there was so small amount of time that it ended up screwed. Basically, Seaside Hill and Ocean Palace are, at least for me, much better than the rest of the game. And what happened is that... there were only 2 designers - Iizuka and 1 more guy. That guy got sick of it, like the guy that was building Sonic Xtreme, so Iizuka did the rest of the level design by himself and also went work-sick.

That is also the difference between Heroes and e.g. 06. 06 had the level design complete, but the physics and gravity and all that stuff was not done yet.

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For me, Colors was never appealing, not even when it was released. I played it only using an emulator, which wasn't ideal, but it deffinitely didn't make me want to rush and buy and play the game properly either.

For me, it's one of the few Sonic games that has basically no saving grace at all. Even Shadow the hedgehog, Sonic 2006 and the storybook games had things that I liked, but Sonic Colors has NOTHING for me.

The story? Super childishly written, there's never a real feeling of suspense, that something is at stake, every scene only serves to get to the next joke, very often consisting of Sonic monologing to a boss that can't talk back. Tails is basically 100% useless, serves no real role other than to crack jokes with Sonic, barely an active participant in the story. You could have him talking through a radio only and wouldn't really change much except for that 1 scene towards the ending.

Gameplay I found to be awfully dull. Mostly 2D block platforming, barely resembles what made classic 2D Sonic games unique. The rare 3D sections are mostly on rail or on a narrow hallway, making for bland, uncreative platforming, even if you can call it that. The Wisps, the new addition that way overstayed their welcome as Iizuka unnaturally clings to them for some bizarre reason even tho they should have been a 1 time thing only AT BEST, is basically just a way to have the moves of other characters without actually having to include them in the game and make them playable: climb along walls, dig underground, float or fly in the air...gee, if ONLY there were characters that could do all those things in the franchise..maybe a red echidna and a two tailed fox would be a neat addition to the cast that can do those?

Basically, similar to Unleashed where they made Sonic a brawler besides being a runner even tho they already had a strong character that likes fighting that is way underused, they made Sonic a swiss army knife of a character, being able to handle any situation he could possible ever face, making all the other established characters obsolete as playable characters.

The other character they made obsolete is Super Sonic. The fact that they included him as an unlockable is cool, but that joy very quickly goes away once you realize you have been playing as Super Sonic all along: the boost pretty much acts as a Super transformation, making Sonic go at max speed and making him invulnerable (to normal enemies at least) at the press of a button. After playing the entier game like that, Super Sonic can be hardly considered a reward for collecting all of those damn red rings, since the changes are almost cosmetic only. You don't get an experience that was unique to Super Sonic only, you only get an experience that only slightly differs to what you experienced already.

People keep praising the music to high heavens, but for me, it's one of the least appealing soundtracks a Sonic game ever got. It sounds it wants to be a Mario soundtrack more than anything. It lost its edge, its energy, its power, it's frankly unmemorable and dull for me. Apart from the Tropical Resort tracks, I can't recall a single tune, even tho I played the entire game to 100% completion. The only other tune I can remember is the theme song, but that's because all for the wrong reasons. It's this obnoxious mix of autotune overload, constant monotone drum banging and generic sounding synths. Give me the Shadow soundtrack any day of the week, even that's a much better OST IMO, and that's a soundtrack I don't hold in high regard either.

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Colors is actually the best boost game, because its gimmick is minimally disruptive, the heavy skew towards 2D makes for stronger and more coherent level design than constantly switching between 2D and 3D, and the game absolutely nails the aesthetic aspects like level themes, graphics, and music.

That's not to say it's a perfect game by any measure. Yes, the game goes too heavy on the jokes and they're probably more miss than hit. And yes, the level are very blocky, and that's not great design for a Sonic game. But I still appreciate the game's story for being light and fun instead of always clawing for some imagined legitimacy from being "serious", as well as giving us some of the most natural character interactions in the series to that point. And if you haven't realized that every boost game is blocky as fuck you haven't been paying attention. It's honestly kind of a 3D-Sonic-in-general problem.

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Disagree. Everything in Sonic Colors was a calculative, safe measurement so Sonic Team wouldn’t have to do too much to improve themselves and push them further in improving Sonic’s design. I honestly believe that those who say Colors is superior to Generations and especially Unleashed, narrow down the few aspects of Sonic’s core gameplay they specifically find appealing which is; “Jumping on platforms” as it is a general requisite for most platformers, therefore they associate that with Sonic for large portion of his identity as a platformer. It seems to be the main repetitious theme of those that prefer Colors and I don’t understand why there is a reason to push this narrative that Colors is a better game because you “jump” on things more or “it’s fundemntals allows for an expansion on gimmicks”. Sonic is a fast character in which a game should compliment his design, not pull it back for Mario inspirations and frankly; Gimmicks aren’t necessarily all that important if the level structure isn’t unique or well designed or Sonic. 

11 hours ago, Diogenes said:

And if you haven't realized that every boost game is blocky as fuck you haven't been paying attention. It's honestly kind of a 3D-Sonic-in-general problem.

What you are referring to is mainly Colors and Forces, with Generations being a nice chunky factor. Unleashed does not have this issue whatsoever because the team wanted to go out of their comfort zone not in it.

Arid Sands doesn’t have blocky monumentous blocky platforming, apotos doesn’t, Empire City doesn't, Eggmanland doesn’t. None of the levels consist of 2D sections so disgustingly cramped and blocky  where you feel slightly claustrophobic.

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1 hour ago, Jar Jar Analysis 1138 said:

What you are referring to is mainly Colors and Forces, with Generations being a nice chunky factor. Unleashed does not have this issue whatsoever because the team wanted to go out of their comfort zone not in it.

Nope, sorry. About the only sense that Unleashed has "less blocky platforming" in is that it has less platforming to start with.

Really, you're going to try to tell me Eggmanland of all places doesn't have blocky platforming. We're just going to pretend all those sliding square platforms and the light-up platforms and the pop-out Eggman-face blocks don't count?

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22 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

Nope, sorry. About the only sense that Unleashed has "less blocky platforming" in is that it has less platforming to start with.

Really, you're going to try to tell me Eggmanland of all places doesn't have blocky platforming. We're just going to pretend all those sliding square platforms and the light-up platforms and the pop-out Eggman-face blocks don't count?

If the slow paced platforming isn't very good it probably shouldn't be the focus of the game. 

Sonic Unleashed is more of a really fast paced twitch platformer ala Super Meat Boy, Dustforce etc where everything comes down to your reaction time. These games are a bit of a far cry from the traditional platformer and not everyone's cup of tea but I like them. 

Putting the blocky platforming as the focus when the way Sonic controls in the boost games is suited for a completely different kind of game is counter-intuitive. 
 

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12 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

Nope, sorry. About the only sense that Unleashed has "less blocky platforming" in is that it has less platforming to start with.

Well no shit my hedgehog friend, it has less “platforming” than the other because Unleashed decided to go more natural in its approach and started to redefine platformers in it’s own way rather force itself into a blocky corner. 

And yes, you just proved my point.

Besides that, Unleashed’s platforming in general has more variety than just a string of “blocks” together. Jungle Joyride’s beginning act after the quick step section is a good example. 

 

18 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

Really, you're going to try to tell me Eggmanland of all places doesn't have blocky platforming. We're just going to pretend all those sliding square platforms and the light-up platforms and the pop-out Eggman-face blocks don't count?

Eggmanland is a massive stage that has a lot of shit going on and having blocks is not a deterimental thing. It’s when it’s abused, the problems arise. At least those are interesting platforms

 

1 hour ago, Jar Jar Analysis 1138 said:

And if you haven't realized that every boost game is blocky as fuck you haven't been paying attention. It's honestly kind of a 3D-Sonic-in-general problem.

You implied that blocky platforming in all Boost games are highly misused. And to correct myself a bit, Generation’s block platforming isn’t as bad as Colors or Forces. It’s technically inofensive but there are issues with the placements. Thankfully, Classic Sonic isn’t so bad either.

 

I agree it became a problem with Colors and after but not before. 

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My thoughts on Colors have basically remained the same since the day I finished it. It stripped a lot of what I personally loved about Unleashed away and left me with something that I found to be a lot more... basic. It started a pretty awful trend in narratives that the series still hasn't recovered from and the gameplay is way too blocky and stiff, nerfing moves like the boost way past where it was needed. Not to mention it being the beginning of 3D Sonic games relying too much on 2D segments.

Though, with that being said, I still believe that it was an overall positive stepping stone for the series in general. As much as I love Unleashed (and still personally believe the negative reception it got was tragically overblown), the werehog just didn't do the series any favors. Especially after 06, the series needed a strong game and Colors fit that bill at the time for many. As much as I harp on it, at the end of the day, it's still a solid platformer overall. Not to mention that it's one of the few times that ST actually listened and didn't turn tails running after a game was critically panned. They actually took what worked and went from there, focusing on the well-received day-time levels from Unleashed. While the execution was beyond shaky, it's foundation was solid enough to make a decent platformer with interesting gimmicks that actually added to the base gameplay.

I can go on all day about how I believe it was one of the weakest outings for modern sonic with ramifications that we're still feeling today (and I probably have), but it really was a good face for the series at the time. It deserves recognition for that.

Not to mention that it led to Generations which, while certainly worsening some of the issues Colors started, stills holds my favorite rendition of gameplay in this series to date.

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I will say, while Forces' gameplay is very Colours'-esque, even Colours still managed to have stages longer than 2-3 minutes and Aquarium Park had some massive stages in terms of alternate routes/layers.  Colours has Forces beat on that.  The only thing they're on equal grounds for is uninteresting, low-difficulty 3D sections.  Forces has a leg-up on Colours for lack of re-used geometry as well, which Forces keeps for extra stages only.  Although Colours has more stages overall so that evens out.

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