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Defending The Treasure Hunting...


SpaceySpace
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Lol unpopular opinion alert but I did not mind the treasure hunting levels in SA2 after replaying the game 2 years ago and still today.. Heck, I would even go so far to say that Knux's levels were better than Rouge's. Plus, for those having trouble with the levels (similar to Heroes and its Chaos Emeralds) there's some tips here too. 

 

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I would love for a game to combine the gameplay/control of SA2 with the radar system of SA1. 

12 minutes ago, SpaceySpace said:

 Heck, I would even go so far to say that Knux's levels were better than Rouge's.

Well,  he doesn't have Mad Space, so...

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SA1's treasure hunting would actually be pretty good if the emerald locations were less patronisingly easy (like with the other characters, the difficulty spike doesn't really occur until the last one or two levels). SA2 went the other direction and made searching for each emerald too intricate and obtuse, not to mention dumbing down the radar for seemingly no other reason than to make it seem more like a linear Sonic level.

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I find the treasure hunting levels fun nowadays because I actually have an understanding of what the clues refer to.  I don't have an encylopedic knowledge of hints that allow me to know where every emerald is from the first clue or anything, but I know where to start looking when a hint monitor says "ghost train mountain" in Pumpkin Hill, or "narrow passage" in Aquatic Mine, etc.

I feel if the stages had been designed a bit better and/or they had used subtitles rather than Omochao to provide the names of locations within the level (such as aforementioned Ghost Train Mountain etc), the experience would've been a bit more intuitive for a first-time player.  As is, they're only fun for those who understand the clues, and due to the random nature of the emeralds, it takes many, MANY playthroughs to reach that point.

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There are places it could work. In a more open-ended game? Obviously yes, because exploration is already the objective whenever you aren't following some other task, and a hot/cold method for searching would be a natural fit for that kind of thing. Hell, it already is for some open world games. In a competitive setting? Surprisingly, yes - while the learning curve is very sharp, as Jez mentioned, and the balancing could use work, SA2 set a pretty good foundation for multiplayer hunting, and clashing over a single emerald shard can be almost a race in of itself at times. As an alternative to hunting down completely obscured secrets (like special stages are) rather than having to rely on guesswork? Sure, it could work, as long as it's sensitive enough that I don't have to put up with that beeping from several screens away.

But in a game where the focus is otherwise on getting from point A to B as quickly and stylishly as possible? Not really. In SA1 and 2 it's a curveball that interferes with the pacing of the game and rightly cops flak for it, and that's even coming from the same series that introduced those slow, janky-ass mechs that Tails and Eggman were locked into.

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I am in the camp that if you combined the tight controls of SA2 with the radar of SA1 rhen the treasure huntuing is actually very good.

Actually I kind of had fun with the treasure hunting in SA1, sure the controls are not as tight but its actually not so bad.

SA2 however really screwed the pooch with its crappy radar and infuriating level designs (fuck you mad space, fuck you!)

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I had no problem with the game-play personally though I preferred the radar from Sonic Adventure. I actually replayed Sonic Adventure 2 over the summer and Meteor Herd was getting kind of annoying. I actually had to restart the level a few times. Once because I was having no luck and twice I knew kind of where it was but I couldn't figure out how to get it and it was a hard to reach spot. 

Didn't play through the Dark Side though so maybe I should give the Rouge levels a try again sometime soon. 

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Haven't watched the video yet, but I can already say this: the radar definitely needs to be like SA1 where it can indicate multiple emeralds at a time. And if they want to make a "hard" mission, I think placing the emeralds randomly on the map is harder than always placing them in a fix location. So I think in SA2, they did it kinda backwards.

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One thing I will say is that I find the Knuckles and Rouge sections of Cannon's Core to be very fun, and it's a shame that they never bothered to make any more linear/puzzle-driven levels using the movesets.  Obviously it only lends itself to enclosed stages like those of Cannon's Core, but still.

Even in more open levels though, the gameplay could lend itself to Zelda BotW-esque "the fun comes from figuring out what the goal is and then creating your own personal way to get there", even if the actual performance of said way is not particularly challenging on a physical level.

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I can tolerate SA1's, but SA2's are a snorefest and outright painful to play at points. 

For what it's worth though - if you have the HD version of SA2 on Steam, the mod loader available for the game has a built-in code that restores SA1's radar functionality. Makes things slightly more tolerable. 

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Nothing to defend, I love em. Though I do agree the radar system from SA1 should've been used for SA2, Made them way more difficult than ever needed to be. But in general I've always found these levels pretty chill and a break from the norm. 

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SA's always felt kind of pointless and awkward, honestly, while SA2 actually fleshed them out with dedicated level design. The problem is that not everyone liked them enough to justify expansion on the concept. Not to mention, they changed the radar. I went back and played SA2 recently and while I still think they're ok, they're very much a relic of the past.

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A bit of irony here. While I think the treasure hunting was mediocre at best in both adventure games, worse in SA2 for sure, I actually do think they could work in a future 3D sonic title. No not an adventure title but in a open world game like a sonic utopia as the base concept. It'd be rather simple to execute it effectively within that concept. 

 

P.S. Mech shooting, no. Rest forever in peace.

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Well, Mario Odyssey is the most successful collectathon ever probably and it leans more toward coming across things in the environment than missions. There's probably still room to explore the idea from that perspective. 

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I didn't play Sonic Adventure 2 as much as my sibling by any means... but when I DID play, it was usually 2 player, and it was usually the treasure hunting levels. I never had any issue with them - I thought they were both fun and frustrating ENOUGH without it feeling cheap or anything.

Plus the music in all of those levels... absolute love~

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8 minutes ago, Wraith said:

Well, Mario Odyssey is the most successful collectathon ever probably and it leans more toward coming across things in the environment than missions. There's probably still room to explore the idea from that perspective. 

Yeah but you generally find things in Odyssey by actually looking around and seeing something interesting or out of place, not by following a flashing light and a beeping noise. Open world Sonic would probably require some pretty huge worlds so some sort of "there is a Thing here" indicator might be worth having, but I don't think following a radar makes for interesting gameplay.

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4 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

Yeah but you generally find things in Odyssey by actually looking around and seeing something interesting or out of place, not by following a flashing light and a beeping noise. Open world Sonic would probably require some pretty huge worlds so some sort of "there is a Thing here" indicator might be worth having, but I don't think following a radar makes for interesting gameplay.

Agreed. I was mostly just contesting the idea of missions vs the more free form "hide and go seek" style. I definitely think "tells" would work better than a radar. I just feel like collectathons that lean too hard into a mission based structure end up feeling restricting.

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1 hour ago, Diogenes said:

If they were going to make an open-world, collectable based 3D Sonic, I think it'd be better to follow other 3D collectathon platformers and make it more mission based rather than something as simple as playing hot or cold.

True. I only made the point that I think it could exist and be executed well within that framework. How to do the collectathon thing is a different discussion.

As it was in the adventure games, it was not a great concept.

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3 hours ago, UpCDownCLeftCRightC said:

As it was in the adventure games, it was not a great concept.

I disagree.

Actually found the treasure hunting to be great gameplay as opposed to the "hit button and boost" formula the franchise is now.

It just needed refinement and good level design

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