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Plasme

Sonic Mania is better than Sonic Mania Plus

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More does not necessarily equal better. If you add loads of stuff to a game that's of lower quality than the rest of the game, it's no longer consistently excellent, and the overall quality of the product falls as a result. We've seen this before in fighting games, such as Dead or Alive 5, where the re-releases generally added dull, uninspired costumes and characters (aside from a few) who dragged down the quality of the original Dead or Alive 5 product. I believe Mania Plus does much the same to Mania.

The new Metal Sonic boss is particularly egregious. It looks cool, but doesn't really do much more than that. It's very difficult to attack, because unlike the Sonic and Knuckles boss it's a clone of, you don't always bounce back when you attack it. You often phase/glitch right through it and die, so the only way to consistently attack it is to roll into it then immediately run right and hope you don't fall to left, fall of and die. It isn't as satisfying and responsive as jumping into the boss from Sonic and Knuckles. While the original Metal Sonic boss was somewhat lacklustre, at least it was responsive and didn't cause cheap, annoying deaths. In my eyes, this is a clear downgrade and there's no way to go back to the old boss.

Mighty and Ray are alright, but not on the same quality as the main trio. To start with, both their sprites are lazy, and are edited straight from Sonic. Hortinus' sprite hacks are far better than this official output. Ray's sprite is downright atrocious, looking like a badly edited sprite job outside his unique animations. Their moves are alright, Mighty works best, because his shell actually synergise with the game's level design's love for spikes and traps. He's the most helpful throughout the game. Ray's abilities are downright awful. His flying, first off, is completely copied from Mario and is uninspired. The cape worked in Mario, since the skies are usually clear, other than the secret areas you can reach. His ability in Sonic makes no sense, and was simply done out of a lack of innovation. It simply isn't conductive with the level design outside of a handful of levels with no ceilings, since you just bash into objects with no idea where you are going if you are flying fast, and it's painfully slow if you are being careful. It's good to look cool when you memorise levels and speedrun, but ouside of that, it's pointless outside of making minor changes to failed jumps (and when used that way, it's a very slow ability, since it doesn't have any momentum unless going at full velocity).

It also doesn't help that Mighty, and especially Ray, are the most boring characters possibly imaginable. I would have taken one of the Chaotix over Ray, and that's saying something. If we are going to insist on not using modern characters due to this ridiculous strict Classic/Modern dimension split, it would honestly have been better to invent someone rather than reuse Ray. He's incredibly boring visually, which isn't helped by his terrible sprite. Why they didn't just use Amy is mind-boggling, unless they are saving her for Mania 2 (even though Iizuka has said nothing such is coming).

Then there's Encore Mode, which is just downright terrible. All the pallete swaps look very desaturated and drab. There are a handful which work, such as Chemical Plant and Oil Ocean. The rest are bleak and boring. The level design is barely touched upon other than putting the special stages in incredibly irritating locations. The special stages in encore mode are hard, but break the perfect difficulty they had reached in Mania. More dragging down Mania's original quality. And the new bonus game, while great conceptually, is incredibly buggy and unresponsive. Not to mention it's very linear, so gets predictable. I find the board is quite badly designed too, since it's difficult to get past the second board unless going at full speed when you see it, since the bumpers are very difficult to pass with the buggy controls.

While these things aren't offensive, they are of a far lower quality than the original Mania product. They flab up Mania, decrease it's value and make the product worse overall.

 

 

 

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18 minutes ago, Plasme said:

The new Metal Sonic boss is particularly egregious.

That's not really a Sonic Mania Plus Exclusive, it's a Update Exclusive. People who don't have Plus still fight this boss.

20 minutes ago, Plasme said:

Ray's abilities are downright awful. His flying, first off, is completely copied from Mario and is uninspired. The cape worked in Mario, since the skies are usually clear, other than the secret areas you can reach. His ability in Sonic makes no sense, and was simply done out of a lack of innovation. It simply isn't conductive with the level design outside of a handful of levels with no ceilings, since you just bash into objects with no idea where you are going if you are flying fast, and it's painfully slow if you are being careful. It's good to look cool when you memorise levels and speedrun, but ouside of that, it's pointless outside of making minor changes to failed jumps (and when used that way, it's a very slow ability, since it doesn't have any momentum unless going at full velocity).

You say Ray's abilities are copied from Mario and are uninspired, but then go into detail about how different they are from each other.

Quote

It also doesn't help that Mighty, and especially Ray, are the most boring characters possibly imaginable.

How so?

30 minutes ago, Plasme said:

I would have taken one of the Chaotix over Ray, and that's saying something.

You would take Charmy over Ray? What would be the difference?

 

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Just now, Sonictrainer said:

You say Ray's abilities are copied from Mario and are uninspired, but then go into detail about how different they are from each other.

 

Nope. I say that the move is a straight copy, which it is, but doesn't fit in nearly well with Sonic because the level design in Sonic doesn't fit the move as Mario level design does.

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Encore mode is just an extra side mode that shouldn't take away from Mania mode. It's like saying adding the Mission mode for SADX made the game worse even thought that mode is optional.

I'm not an artist or anything, but I think Mighty's sprite looks fine. Though I do agree that Ray's head is a bit too big, and his height is inconsistent with Sonic Mania Adventures and the Archie Comics (yeah I know they're 2 completely different things, but still).

Their abilities are great though, Mighty's one-time immunity to spikes and hammer drop are very fun to (ab)use, to me personally. Ray's ability is catered more towards experts, it's not as easy to use as Tails' flight or Knuckles' glide, but it doesn't really have to be.

I do agree with you that the Metal Sonic Kai boss is broken and needs fixing.

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As I've said, just because a mode is optional doesn't make it immune to criticism. Encore mode is downright bad as I've stated above, and takes away from the excellent design of the original Mania. This drags down the quality of the game as an overall product. 

If you added a mode in Portal which was exactly the same as the original game, but with awful pallete swaps and dull level design changes, that wouldn't make Portal better, it would be a redundant, poorly designed mode which should never have been added. I feel the same way about Encore. 

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47 minutes ago, Plasme said:

Mighty and Ray are alright, but not on the same quality as the main trio. To start with, both their sprites are lazy, and are edited straight from Sonic. Hortinus' sprite hacks are far better than this official output. Ray's sprite is downright atrocious, looking like a badly edited sprite job outside his unique animations. Their moves are alright, Mighty works best, because his shell actually synergise with the game's level design's love for spikes and traps. He's the most helpful throughout the game. Ray's abilities are downright awful. His flying, first off, is completely copied from Mario and is uninspired. The cape worked in Mario, since the skies are usually clear, other than the secret areas you can reach. His ability in Sonic makes no sense, and was simply done out of a lack of innovation. It simply isn't conductive with the level design outside of a handful of levels with no ceilings, since you just bash into objects with no idea where you are going if you are flying fast, and it's painfully slow if you are being careful. It's good to look cool when you memorise levels and speedrun, but ouside of that, it's pointless outside of making minor changes to failed jumps (and when used that way, it's a very slow ability, since it doesn't have any momentum unless going at full velocity).

Ray is very much a character for repeat playthroughs or higher skill players to me. Hated him at first, love him now. It's true that his gameplay isn't distinct from or more advantageous than the cape feather, but in relation to Tails or Knuckles - who can also reach high parts of levels - he has a few niches such as being able to fly indefinitely if you pull it off right and said flight being able to carry much more momentum and speed. You know how Tails slows down every time you tap the fly button in midair, meaning he only gains speed in midair when he's falling? Ray is much, much faster and can clear further and potentially even higher distances as a result. He may seem slow at first but once you get used to dive bombing as an evasive maneuver to avoid being snagged by the level design, you'll then be rewarded with a crap tonne of speed and uplift. It does require skill and isn't easy to grasp at first but handling Ray right can be a joy. The game's all about maintaining speed and momentum so he's an amazing fit since playing as him makes you interpret those aspects of the game completely differently, beyond just looking cool. Ray has made the game totally refreshing to me.

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Just now, Biggs said:

Ray is much, much faster and can clear further and potentially even higher distances as a result. The game's all about maintaining speed and momentum so he's an amazing fit since playing as him makes you interpret those aspects of the game completely differently, beyond just looking cool. Ray has made the game totally refreshing to me.

Only by memorising the level design and knowing when to use the move, and when to thrust into high velocity. That's not good design, it's trial and error. Knuckles, Tails, even Mighty, have moves which can be used more dynamically and aren't memorisation based. With Ray, you can only really use the flight to rescue jumps dynamically, because everything else is a shot in the dark.

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The game fixes too much of the complaints for it to be all that bad imo, like bonus stages after all medals have been collected, transitions across all acts, and new characters/a game mode to change the formula up a bit, but honestly I feel the same way, kinda. Encore mode is cool, but the new color pallets make the aesthetic feel messier than it was before, the new characters are great but make the base game feel more lackluster for not offering alternate paths and content for three out of five characters, and the storyline and endings for encore mode only serve to make the original campaign feel weaker imo, with how much they repeat themselves inconsequentially, and offer a less decisive ending for the game.

People said that Mania felt incomplete beforehand, but I'd say it feels more like that after the update, what with how some of the stuff was thrown in, regardless of the consistancy and how well the game would hold up afterwards. I'm all for games updating themselves to add stuff like the general polish and unfinished business ala the transitions, and stuff like Encore mode are good fun with its new mechanics regardless, but I wish more time was put into it overall, as a singular package.

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55 minutes ago, Plasme said:

While these things aren't offensive, they are of a far lower quality than the original Mania product. They flab up Mania, decrease it's value and make the product worse overall.

It's £5 DLC which is contained in it's own mode.

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3 minutes ago, Mayor D said:

 

It's £5 DLC which is contained in it's own mode.

Sonic Mania Plus is considered the definitive edition , and is the only physical release of the game. So no.

Also, even if it was just DLC, I said 'Sonic Mania is better than Sonic Mania Plus'. The base game would still be better than the 'upgraded' plus content even if it was exclusively DLC. Just because something is optional DLC, that doesn't mean that it therefore is immune from criticism and doesn't drag down the quality of the rest of the game.

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6 minutes ago, Plasme said:

Only by memorising the level design and knowing when to use the move, and when to thrust into high velocity. That's not good design, it's trial and error. Knuckles, Tails, even Mighty, have moves which can be used more dynamically and aren't memorisation based. With Ray, you can only really use the flight to rescue jumps dynamically, because everything else is a shot in the dark.

That's why you have a button to cancel out of it, into a spin no less, which at least protects you from enemies.  My first time through the game as Ray, I didn't find it any more trial and error than playing the stages for the first time as any character was when I literally didn't know what was beyond my current viewpoint at any given time.  Ray is completely given the tools to react to oncoming threats, you don't have to use him at full speed.  I actually take way more damage when blindly gliding as Knuckles, since cancelling out of that leaves you totally vulnerable.

 

Anyway, technically speaking, if all content in a game has to be factored in to rating the experience, whether it's optional or not, Encore mode can't really wreck the game anymore than having an obnoxious amount of Blue Spheres stages to complete, shoehorned into the main game despite having no bearing on the gameplay outside of the bonus stages whatsoever.

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1 minute ago, JezMM said:

Anyway, technically speaking, if all content in a game has to be factored in to rating the experience, whether it's optional or not, Encore mode can't really wreck the game anymore than having an obnoxious amount of Blue Spheres stages to complete, shoehorned into the main game despite having no bearing on the gameplay outside of the bonus stages whatsoever.

I think Blue Spheres was a major design flaw in the original Mania, but Plus does nothing to smooth this over unless you have already gotten all gold medals in Mania and it gives you the terrible (but admittedly better) pinball table, so I hardly think that qualifies as a success.

Your comment is therefore irrelevant to the topic.

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1 minute ago, Plasme said:

Just because something is optional DLC, that doesn't mean that it therefore is immune from criticism and doesn't drag down the quality of the rest of the game.

That's very true, but... there is taking things a bit too far and honestly your OP reads like you're just looking for problems rather than actually voicing legitimate issues, you've got maybe one or two which I kinda agree with, but this line...

They flab up Mania, decrease it's value and make the product worse overall. 

Come on.... seriously? The vanilla game is still there aside from the new level transitions and the upgrade boss which whilst having flaws, is a damn sight better than the endless run which used to be there.

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Just now, Mayor D said:

That's very true, but... there is taking things a bit too far and honestly your OP reads like you're just looking for problems rather than actually voicing legitimate issues, you've got maybe one or two which I kinda agree with, but this line...

They flab up Mania, decrease it's value and make the product worse overall. 

Come on.... seriously? The vanilla game is still there aside from the new level transitions and the upgrade boss which whilst having flaws, is a damn sight better than the endless run which used to be there.

If I took Portal, added in a pointless optional shooting mode where you shoot androids, and re-released the game as Portal: Definitive, which would be better, Portal or Portal: Definitive? Portal, because it doesn't have inferior game modes which drag the quality of the game down. The shooting mode wouldn't be shrugged off because 'well it's optional man'! The same applies here, despite Encore being far less offensive. It still drags down the nearly consistently excellent quality of Mania. Same can be said for Mighty and Ray.

I'm not saying Mania Plus is bad, although I think the DLC was sub-par, I'm saying it's inferior to Mania.

And as for Metal Sonic Kai, it's a disaster to play, while the original Metal boss wasn't, as I explained above. 

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2 minutes ago, Plasme said:

I think Blue Spheres was a major design flaw in the original Mania, but Plus does nothing to smooth this over unless you have already gotten all gold medals in Mania and it gives you the terrible (but admittedly better) pinball table, so I hardly think that qualifies as a success.

Your comment is therefore irrelevant to the topic.

Well, the plus update DOES add a cheat to the game to allow you to clear them all instantaneously so agree to disagree.

 

Also I noticed your OP didn't make mention of the fact that Encore is more than just a palette swap - it does also add the character switching mechanic, which is something very unique that I personally enjoy a lot, since it creates for a more dynamic play experience where I may end up forced to take a combination of paths that I might not normally take if I was playing a single character all the way through a stage.

 

Actually, there's a lot of stuff in the OP that you describe as "annoying" which I think Plus' defenders would find to just be challenging content (such as the special stage rings being harder to find).  Like you say not enough about the level design was changed to be harder, which is a fair criticism, but one of the things that WAS changed you complain that it's too hard.

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Just now, JezMM said:

Actually, there's a lot of stuff in the OP that you describe as "annoying" which I think Plus' defenders would find to just be challenging content (such as the special stage rings being harder to find).  Like you say not enough about the level design was changed to be harder, which is a fair criticism, but one of the things that WAS changed you complain that it's too hard.

I don't think the swapping mechanic is well implemented. The levels aren't designed around it, and because the levels are all designed to accommodate each character's moves, there isn't much reason other than to swap to the character with the most movement options. 

I think the swapping mechanic only works well in limiting the player's lives, which is does well. But I actually think the lives system in Encore made the game easier, because certain bosses that were difficult before weren't designed with character swapping in mind, and so could be cheesed outright with immediate respawning.

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11 minutes ago, Plasme said:

If I took Portal, added in a pointless optional shooting mode where you shoot androids, and re-released the game as Portal: Definitive, which would be better, Portal or Portal: Definitive? Portal, because it doesn't have inferior game modes which drag the quality of the game down. The shooting mode wouldn't be shrugged off because 'well it's optional man'!

As this topic proves, this is purely a matter of opinion.  Maybe a few people would like that weird minigame they added on, and if they didn't?  The original game hasn't been affected so no issue really.  I'd say, in the situation where I didn't care about the new content, both versions would be equal in quality.  In the situation where I did like it, obviously it would be better.

Like, you can't just say something wouldn't be shrugged off when there have been a bunch of game remakes over the years where exactly that has happened.  If I recall, it was a common opinion with the remake of Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga that the added Bowser's Minions side-game was kind of half-baked, but the original game still held up making it a worthwhile purchase even if you don't care about the new content.

5 minutes ago, Plasme said:

I don't think the swapping mechanic is well implemented. The levels aren't designed around it, and because the levels are all designed to accommodate each character's moves, there isn't much reason other than to swap to the character with the most movement options.

That's why I like it though.  Getting to use a variety of movesets to clear a stage, taking a path that normally I only take with a certain character, and then swapping to someone else after reaching that path and having to continue as them instead on a route where I've never played as that character before.  To clarify, generally speaking I rarely actually made use of the manual swap button, and would break every character switch-up capsule I saw just to keep things surprising and a self-inflicted challenge.  Just mixes things up nicely for me in a simple way, and honestly I can see myself gravitating towards Encore Mode more often than Mania Mode for future, casual playthroughs if I don't fancy any particular character for the whole experience (my only gripe is

 

the lack of Extra Zone, but I can always just load-up the level select cheat and play that at the end seperately).

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1 minute ago, Plasme said:

If I took Portal, added in a pointless optional shooting mode where you shoot androids, and re-released the game as Portal: Definitive, which would be better, Portal or Portal: Definitive? Portal, because it doesn't have inferior game modes which drag the quality of the game down. The shooting mode wouldn't be shrugged off because 'well it's optional man'!

Wasn't the optional shooting mode for Portal Team Fortress 2? 

....Look... I understand what you're trying to say, but your argument doesn't make sense in this scenario, it only makes sense in two scenarios which in this case, neither of which are true.

Let's just put aside the hyperbole statement about adding android shooting to portal, because we all know the developers behind that are smart enough not to make a change like that which would radically impact the key primary design of the game, so can we agree to not bring in these kind of hyperbole examples otherwise this is going to become a debate about designing against your primary design.

 

Mania in it's vanilla form is still there... Encore Mode is a separate DLC extension which lives in it's own partition of Mania, Encore mode doesn't overwrite the main game, if you're buying the DLC, you're going to judge the DLC, not the base game. 

 

Your scenario is only valid if it's in this case.

Scenario 1: It was there from the start

Binary Domain and Spec Ops: The Line are two very good games.... However.. both of them include bad multiplayer modes which the developers have both admitted were 'tacked on' due to external demands put on them.

In the case of Spec Ops, they went as far to admit that it impacted the quality of the main game... Because the original game budget (both money and time) was spent to design these modes at a cost to the main experience, it impacts the overall enjoyment and the original price point.

Maybe then you would have a point, if Encore mode was in the original game and had impacted the primary part of it. But that wasn't the case, Encore mode was commissioned after the primary game was done.

Scenario 2: It overwrites the primary game or fundamentally transforms the primary game.

I cannot think of any examples of games doing this where it's had a negative impact, No Man's Sky being a very recent example, technically you could include the 2 weeks that Payday 2 decided to add loot boxes, but then you'd overlook it's major 2.0 update which radically improved the game.

But if encore mode overwrote the base game, then yes you would certainly have a point... but it doesn't do that.

Edit: Actually I can think of 1... Destiny, The Taken King update locked out many users of the vanilla game to features which they had from launch. Mania doesn't do that

 

Also, when has anyone every said that DLC being included has devalued the original akin to what Mania does? Bioshock 1 added some DLC after the release, which wasn't that great.... now all editions of the game include it and it usually falls under a 'definitive' label... anyone seen anyone claim that devalues it? Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, that had a huge extra piece of DLC added which sucks, now all versions of the game come with it, everybody sill agrees the original game is fine. 

Pinball Arcade, not all the tables that get added are as good as previous ones, does that mean the original game is now lesser?

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1 hour ago, The Deleter said:

The game fixes too much of the complaints for it to be all that bad imo, like bonus stages after all medals have been collected, transitions across all acts, and new characters/a game mode to change the formula up a bit, but honestly I feel the same way, kinda. Encore mode is cool, but the new color pallets make the aesthetic feel messier than it was before, the new characters are great but make the base game feel more lackluster for not offering alternate paths and content for three out of five characters, and the storyline and endings for encore mode only serve to make the original campaign feel weaker imo, with how much they repeat themselves inconsequentially, and offer a less decisive ending for the game.

What? I really can't wrap my head around what you are trying to say here. That the original game is worse because it doesn't have routes/content for characters who weren't in the original game? Or that Encore Mode doesn't go far enough of having routes/content for the original characters?

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I definitely prefer Metal Sonic Kai over Metal Sonic with moving spike walls that make it so you can't possibly lose. Seriously found the second half of the fight a total joke. Because the spike walls push your rings with you if you get hit, you can just infinitely pick them up by hugging the wall and go again and again and again til you win. MSK is visually more interesting and more satisfying to fight for me personally since there's an actual fight here.

I prefer Plus because I really enjoy the encore mode. I've always wanted the ability to play as multiple characters in levels. I would have preferred to switch whenever I want, but the item boxes works as an ok substitute. Plus may be my go to mode from now on since I like my playstyle to change on the fly, to coax me into trying new paths. Will for sure be once I master getting a route for the 7 emeralds as well as beating the stages comfortably.

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1 hour ago, Space☆Yeow said:

What? I really can't wrap my head around what you are trying to say here. That the original game is worse because it doesn't have routes/content for characters who weren't in the original game? Or that Encore Mode doesn't go far enough of having routes/content for the original characters?

He's saying the product feels less "clean" because now there are characters on offer that don't gel as well with how the game is designed as the ones that were in the game originally. Like, a first timer will pick up Mighty and not find a lot of immediate utility for him like they would Sonic or Tails. They wouldn't fall into that trap before.

I think it's a fair point even if I don't think it makes the game worse. 

To actually answer the OP, I do think Mania+ as a whole makes the game feel more unpolished with the bugs and halfhearted additions to the Main game it adds. As a full package it kind of gives the game some more baggage that I don't think is all that fleshed out or great(The bosses, the blue sphere stuff, and now encore mode, mighty and ray, the pinball stage etc) It's hard to say that makes the game worse since the base content is still there, though. Just more stuff you have to wade around to get to what I consider the real "meat" of Sonic Mania and why the game is as good as it is: The level design. 

I don't think it makes the game "worse" though. I think that's a weird way of phrasing what you're actually feeling. 

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