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Miragnarok

The Wisps, or; Throwing the Baby Out Instead of the Bathwater

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38 minutes ago, Marco9966 said:

Source?

I forget where it was on here exactly, but I believe it was brought up in connection to Forces discussion.

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To say something about ST´s lack of originality...

1. Wisps being used in 4 mainline games plus a spin-off and minor titles.

2. Mainly in Generations and Lost World: Failing to deliver nostalgia with badniks from classic games redone in HD (to the point that a mobile game by different team in SEGA (Demiurge) being able to deliver that IN A MOBILE GAME)

3. Levels being butchered since Generations with either dumb choices (Lost World) or "improvements of engine" (Forces) + level design being nerfed to boost to win + sometimes jump

4. Reusing the same levels all over again in mainline (Generations, Forces) and minor titles

 

 

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On 12/6/2018 at 8:53 AM, DabigRG said:

Actually, didn't he or one of the programmers admit that they don't really get why people love the boost?

Hmm... this reminds me... I think I should do a Boost topic soon enough. I believe that the Boost is kind of a mistake as well, to the same degree of the Wisps. 

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1 hour ago, Miragnarok said:

Hmm... this reminds me... I think I should do a Boost topic soon enough. I believe that the Boost is kind of a mistake as well, to the same degree of the Wisps. 

Nah.

Might just be me, but I don't think either the Wisps or especially the Boost in and of themselves were really an issue. 

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What's so bad or upsetting about Wisps coming back they add to the gameplay with their powers story wise they might just want to put a end to Eggman's evil after he ravaged their home planet.

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17 minutes ago, Fire-N-Space said:

What's so bad or upsetting about Wisps coming back they add to the gameplay with their powers story wise they might just want to put a end to Eggman's evil after he ravaged their home planet.

Realistically, I'd say its the fact that them coming back had no acknowledge, nevermind fanfare in-universe.

Outside of that, just people resenting that SEGA is pushing what they know people liked once.

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On 12/8/2018 at 6:59 PM, DabigRG said:

Realistically, I'd say its the fact that them coming back had no acknowledge, nevermind fanfare in-universe.

Outside of that, just people resenting that SEGA is pushing what they know people liked once.

And also that the other characters still didn’t return after all this time.

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23 minutes ago, Miragnarok said:

And also that the other characters still didn’t return after all this time.

Well that is just a easy angry mob then.

Also, false.

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Yeah, pretty much my problems with the Wisps are more narrative acknowledgement and how clunky and disruptive they feel in gameplay. The lack of other playable characters really have nothing to do with them in my opinion, especially since in Forces they were the primary gimmick of the only non-Sonic default playable characters. 

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On 12/7/2018 at 3:36 PM, Miragnarok said:

Hmm... this reminds me... I think I should do a Boost topic soon enough. I believe that the Boost is kind of a mistake as well, to the same degree of the Wisps. 

Not if i do one first :D

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I haven't seen a decent justification for the ire toward the wisps. There's this hand-wringing about how they should only show up when the story dictates or when they're relevant or whatever when the same arguments are rarely leveled whenever characters that are displaced or even dead return. You have to jump through more hoops to get Silver or Blaze involved or even Knuckles away from the Master Emerald than you do to just understand that there are a lot of wisps and some of them stayed on Sonic's planet. It's baffling to me that that point keeps being dragged on from people who are fans of characters like Shadow and Blaze.

So I don't care that they keep showing up "without context" and I don't care about how close they are to the established lore because most Sonic characters have a sort of anchor point that they move on from after the game is done and there's not much actually wrong with doing things that way. They don't have anything at all to do with the Chaos Emeralds not being tied to the plot since they fill two completely different roles and the idea that the chaos emeralds have to be in every game is dumb anyway. I actually like that they tie back into what the series used to be about. Their abstract designs make them feel old-school too. 

THAT BEING SAID, I don't like them and it's pretty much entirely down to mechanics. They're the sort of lock, meet key game design that's been all over this series since heroes came out. They transform Sonic and give him unique abilities so people seem to think this makes them some kind of power up or stand in for other characters abilities, but that's never been the case since neither the shields nor any alternate character from any point in the series did things this one note and shallow.

The wisps are more like level gimmicks, like the vines in Angel Island Zone or the Hourglass in Pyramid Cave. It's a really simple, shallow mechanic that will open up a new path or speed up your progression through the level that you usually have to mess with a couple of times to get the hang of. Once you do it's smooth sailing and next time you play the level you won't think about it. The wisps don't fit the description of an alternate character or a power up but they fit this exactly.

So this isn't a bad idea in theory, but making level gimmicks both nonspecific to the levels they're in and spread out over the entire game makes for some really shallow level design, especially when there's only eight. It simply doesn't take long to reach the skill ceiling on these things, so the harder a game leans on them and spreads them out, the less interesting it's going to be. I generally like Sonic Colors but most of the levels don't stick out in my brain at all and I could pick out individual levels from even the worst games in the series.

The way to fix this would be to either tweak the wisps into being real power ups that give Sonic a more dynamic move to use or lean less on them when designing levels. Lost World takes the second option which makes them feel more like an after thought but I appreciate the attempt to build more dynamic levels where you can skip them if you want without losing out on depth. Forces tries the first one but the level design is even more watered down than it was before so it ends up evening back out. 



 

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On 12/11/2018 at 11:11 PM, Wraith said:

I haven't seen a decent justification for the ire toward the wisps. There's this hand-wringing about how they should only show up when the story dictates or when they're relevant or whatever when the same arguments are rarely leveled whenever characters that are displaced or even dead return. You have to jump through more hoops to get Silver or Blaze involved or even Knuckles away from the Master Emerald than you do to just understand that there are a lot of wisps and some of them stayed on Sonic's planet. It's baffling to me that that point keeps being dragged on from people who are fans of characters like Shadow and Blaze.

So I don't care that they keep showing up "without context" and I don't care about how close they are to the established lore because most Sonic characters have a sort of anchor point that they move on from after the game is done and there's not much actually wrong with doing things that way. They don't have anything at all to do with the Chaos Emeralds not being tied to the plot since they fill two completely different roles and the idea that the chaos emeralds have to be in every game is dumb anyway. I actually like that they tie back into what the series used to be about. Their abstract designs make them feel old-school too. 

THAT BEING SAID, I don't like them and it's pretty much entirely down to mechanics. They're the sort of lock, meet key game design that's been all over this series since heroes came out. They transform Sonic and give him unique abilities so people seem to think this makes them some kind of power up or stand in for other characters abilities, but that's never been the case since neither the shields nor any alternate character from any point in the series did things this one note and shallow.

The wisps are more like level gimmicks, like the vines in Angel Island Zone or the Hourglass in Pyramid Cave. It's a really simple, shallow mechanic that will open up a new path or speed up your progression through the level that you usually have to mess with a couple of times to get the hang of. Once you do it's smooth sailing and next time you play the level you won't think about it. The wisps don't fit the description of an alternate character or a power up but they fit this exactly.

So this isn't a bad idea in theory, but making level gimmicks both nonspecific to the levels they're in and spread out over the entire game makes for some really shallow level design, especially when there's only eight. It simply doesn't take long to reach the skill ceiling on these things, so the harder a game leans on them and spreads them out, the less interesting it's going to be. I generally like Sonic Colors but most of the levels don't stick out in my brain at all and I could pick out individual levels from even the worst games in the series.

The way to fix this would be to either tweak the wisps into being real power ups that give Sonic a more dynamic move to use or lean less on them when designing levels. Lost World takes the second option which makes them feel more like an after thought but I appreciate the attempt to build more dynamic levels where you can skip them if you want without losing out on depth. Forces tries the first one but the level design is even more watered down than it was before so it ends up evening back out. 



 

It’s not just characters appearing without context, it’s also about characters NOT appearing where there is indeed context for them. Tikal’s had it the worst, with her absences including Battle, Chronicles, the Rivals games, and several others. But where was GUN in Unleashed, or Gemerl in Chronicles? Gemerl would have explored the Gizoid plot pretty well.

 

And i already mentioned how the explanation given for the Wisps doesn’t explain anything. Why are they still in capsules? Why are they on the Lost Hex of all places? Why are corrupted Wisps still a thing? 

 

I agree on the whole gameplay section, though. They only got shallower between Colors and SLoW. They need to be made more active. I also agree that they’re linked to the early days of the series in a very nice fashion.

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17 minutes ago, Miragnarok said:

It’s not just characters appearing without context, it’s also about characters NOT appearing where there is indeed context for them. Tikal’s had it the worst, with her absences including Battle, Chronicles, the Rivals games, and several others. But where was GUN in Unleashed, or Gemerl in Chronicles? Gemerl would have explored the Gizmodo plot pretty well.

 

And i already mentioned how the explanation given for the Wisps doesn’t explain anything. Why are they still in capsules? Why are they on the Lost Hex of all places? Why are corrupted Wisps still a thing? 

Why would Tikal come back when she's gone? That's just silly. 

And I don't see them not taking every opportunity to link the games together as a storytelling flaw to begin with. It doesn't make sense to approach the games like the Archie comics when you're trying to attract new players all the time. If an old element is brought back, I want it to have meaning. I don't care for just throwing stuff in to give long time fans a dopamine boost for knowing sonic trivia. 

If the Wisps are still on the planet it's an easy hand wave that Eggman is still experimenting with them. 

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Seems to me it's not really about the individual plotholes and inconsistencies. It's more that all of them add up and fit together in one perfect "Sonic Team doesn't put any thought into anything" puzzle.

Pretty sure most of us are more then happy to overlook plotholes or gameplay/ story segregation if there's some mild issues in an otherwise solid entity, but it's like recent Modern Sonic games are complete Frankenstein monsters made out of the ill-fitting limbs and bones from a whole bunch of well intended ideas. All these small minor irritations add up, on a story, gameplay, emotional and meta level all at one.

In that regard, Sonic Forces is the most perfect showcase to see it in action, from Classic Sonic who A ) Doesn't fit the theme of the game B ) has broken gameplay that feels like an afterthought and C ) has no bearing on the plot, to the Wisps not having a context, still being encapsulated. Etcetera etcetera. It's mostly minor stuff I can forgive in most games, but practically every element of the game has that same "Why is this character here, Did they even WANT to include this type of gameplay, what's with the art direction" vibe to it. Chaos Zero being useless in both story and gameplay, Eggman as world ruler being utterly underplayed, Green Hill Zone looking visually out of place,  the list goes on and on. Like it's Sonic Team just going trough a checklist of "what people like" and a bunch of new "cool ideas" and throwing it together on a heap.

But it has been going on for longer, Forces is just the most balatant about it.
I can make a list for Lost world and Colors, and probably further back.
Seems the Wisps are just one of the more obvious victims of this trend.

And as for why that is, it's, at least to me personally, because most of these ill fitting elements are at least Sonic central. Classic Sonic and Boost and such at least feel natural in a Sonic game. But Wisps already feel like an off beat side element that should only appear in Spin off games specifically tailored toward more puzzle and exploration orientated gameplay, they just break the pace in standard Sonic fare. So that makes them stand out even more as a sore thumb, despite already being in a giant sore thumb parade.

Almost makes me miss games like Shadow, that despite feeling out of place in the series as a whole, was at least devoted to the direction it was going for and had all it's elements dedicated toward it. If I have to choose between "Game with a insane premise but is dedicated toward it" or "Game with good premise and we'll desperatly grab some other stuff you liked in the other games as well to make it even better!", I choose the former.
Sadly "Game with a good premise we're dedicated too" is an option only available once every 5 years or so.

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9 hours ago, Miragnarok said:

It’s not just characters appearing without context, it’s also about characters NOT appearing where there is indeed context for them.

What does that have to do with the Wisps directly?

9 hours ago, Miragnarok said:

Tikal’s had it the worst, with her absences including Battle, Chronicles, the Rivals games, and several others.

Tikal's a spirit ball thing, dude. She's never truly been back in a game story to my knowledge.

However, I will say that if she is completely overlooked in Chronicles, that is something of a shame.

9 hours ago, Miragnarok said:

 But where was GUN in Unleashed, or Gemerl in Chronicles?

Now those are indeed oversights on SEGA and Bioware's parts.

Especially considering Cream herself is optional in the latter.

9 hours ago, Miragnarok said:

 Gemerl would have explored the Gizmodo plot pretty well.

 

Gizoid.

9 hours ago, Miragnarok said:

And i already mentioned how the explanation given for the Wisps doesn’t explain anything. Why are they still in capsules?

Because that's the gameplay element. Items have almost always been obtained from capsules and the Wisps were worked into that. The fact that they .

With that said, I do feel the IDW comic overexplained that aspect in.

9 hours ago, Miragnarok said:

Why are they on the Lost Hex of all places? 

 

Okay, that is a fair question. One that could easily be solved with an extra explanation on top of the one we got in Runners, but a fair question.

I do feel like it was something of a wasted opportunity that they don't bother to explain them there since that's "canonically" their comeback and it's in a place as weird & hostile as the Lost Hex.

Could've went hand and hand with more elaboration on the Zeti and what they're capable of. Especially since Zomom and Master Zik essentially shit that out at one point. 

9 hours ago, Miragnarok said:

Why are corrupted Wisps still a thing? 

 

Go read the published version of Endangered Species.

9 hours ago, Wraith said:

If an old element is brought back, I want it to have meaning

Exactly.

Which is unfortunately(?) the main thing giving Magnarok an argument.

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10 hours ago, Wraith said:

Why would Tikal come back when she's gone? That's just silly. 

And I don't see them not taking every opportunity to link the games together as a storytelling flaw to begin with. It doesn't make sense to approach the games like the Archie comics when you're trying to attract new players all the time. If an old element is brought back, I want it to have meaning. I don't care for just throwing stuff in to give long time fans a dopamine boost for knowing sonic trivia. 

If the Wisps are still on the planet it's an easy hand wave that Eggman is still experimenting with them. 

Nobody even mentions her absence in Battle, Chronicles, or Forces for whatever reason. And her being “gone” is a wide-spread fanon. In that case, if she were gone, why would Sega allow post-reboot Archie to use her, when they forbade characters like Black Doom? 

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2 hours ago, Miragnarok said:

Nobody even mentions her absence in Battle, Chronicles, or Forces for whatever reason. And her being “gone” is a wide-spread fanon. In that case, if she were gone, why would Sega allow post-reboot Archie to use her, when they forbade characters like Black Doom? 

I guess it's because she was explicitly in the form of a Chaos Force ghost who couldn't do much besides communicate with the other characters in dire times.

Still, even that's rooted in the fact that she supposedly gave up her physical form to allow the Master Emerald to contain Chaos and then disappeared with him at the end of the game.

 

I'll still give you Chronicles, though, since she's the reason Knuckles knew what he did about the Echidnas.

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21 minutes ago, DabigRG said:

I guess it's because she was explicitly in the form of a Chaos Force ghost who couldn't do much besides communicate with the other characters in dire times.

Still, even that's rooted in the fact that she supposedly gave up her physical form to allow the Master Emerald to contain Chaos and then disappeared with him at the end of the game.

 

I'll still give you Chronicles, though, since she's the reason Knuckles knew what he did about the Echidnas.

Emerl also encountered Chaos alone. But at the end it is implied from the Emerald shard’s description that Emerl’s joined Tikal and Chaos.

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On 12/7/2018 at 3:08 PM, superman43 said:

 

Mainly in Generations and Lost World: Failing to deliver nostalgia with badniks from classic games redone in HD (to the point that a mobile game by different team in SEGA (Demiurge) being able to deliver that IN A MOBILE GAME)

 

Uh, can you explain the feel process with this? That seems rather odd a connection to draw.

24 minutes ago, Miragnarok said:

Emerl also encountered Chaos alone. 

I mean, from a realistic standpoint, Chaos was only there some Emerl could copy him and is apparently optional.

In-universe, though, he's a mutated Chaos Chao he had a physical form to manifest, again unlike Tikal. Hence why he was later a part of the Eggy Six, even if it was [apparently?] just a illusion.

24 minutes ago, Miragnarok said:

But at the end it is implied from the Emerald shard’s description that Emerl’s joined Tikal and Chaos.

...What?

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Simple - Buzz Bomber, Crabmeat and Caterkiller are in SEGA Heroes. And they are simply HD-ified versions of the original sprites from Sonic 1 and it is done well.

And in Generations... they look realistically... but it´s not really charming. And in Lost World made their designs too cartoony.

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4 hours ago, superman43 said:

Simple - Buzz Bomber, Crabmeat and Caterkiller are in SEGA Heroes. And they are simply HD-ified versions of the original sprites from Sonic 1 and it is done well.

And in Generations... they look realistically... but it´s not really charming. And in Lost World made their designs too cartoony.

...Huh....

Eh, whatever.

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