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The 3rd Option

Is the lack of "alternate gameplay" the only reason why people liked Colors at first?

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34 minutes ago, Wraith said:

You still should be expected to do it. Whether you actually find it fun is subjective, but the S rank is given to you for mastering the level, ideally. 

Alright, I can grant to you that the game is centered around the Wisps and that you should master them to get higher scores.

But what I'm trying to say is that said mastery doesn't involve speed or precise jumps at all. The mastery is just too centralized around the Wisps and not enough around the boosting and jumping mechanics.

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7 minutes ago, The 3rd Option said:

Alright, I can grant to you that the game is centered around the Wisps and that you should master them to get higher scores.

But what I'm trying to say is that said mastery doesn't involve speed or precise jumps at all. The mastery is just too centralized around the Wisps and not enough around the boosting and jumping mechanics.

A lot of the wisps are focused in some kind of movement or platforming mechanics, even if it's not the exact same thing as the main game. They tend to have a few movement focused abilities of their own to go with the transformation.  To actually get high scores also usually involve executing these segments quickly. They work as level gimmicks, essentially. Little toys you play with to pass a challenge and bump up your score. Think back to the grinding or quickstep segments from Unleashed or maybe the zipline in Sonic Mania's first level if you want a more complex version of the same idea. 

Coming from someone who's not crazy about the game just about the only thing I can hold against it is how shallow it all is. 

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It also helps that if you owned a Wii, but not an Xbox 360 or PS3, and thus did not play the full, HD versions of Sonic Unleashed until much, much later, Colors was an enormous step forward.  The controls play much smoother and easier than, say, Secret Rings, Unleashed Wii, and Black Knight.  While the levels themselves are nothing to write home about, when you hadn't played anything from Sonic that was terribly better, the ease of movement and the lack of hindrance from what were still at the time very polarizing gimmicks (motion controls, werehog, sword) certainly helped.  I also appreciated the attempt at a simpler story as the complex, apocalyptic plots that Sonic Adventure started were beginning to become repetitive and dull.  And I'm not not saying the plot is perfect or anything, far from it, but it showed that it was taking steps towards reshaping the franchise into something that was playable and not terribly stale.

Sonic Colors wasn't groundbreaking, but it was at the time a much needed leap in quality that was marginally better than those that came before it, and leagues better than the alternative (Sonic 4).

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1 hour ago, Tara said:

...and leagues better than the alternative (Sonic 4).

Well it's not that big a leap. You've got a 2D Sonic game compared to a 2D Sonic game with better production value overall. 

 

It's actually not a difficult choice, surprisingly.

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Dat clickbait title.

It's not because a game isn't "perfect" that one of his properties will be the "only reason" why people will likes it. Sure, the game isn't about precision plateforming, it have too much 2D compared to the 3D, a kinda blocky LD and pretty bad bosses…

But if it wasn't a solid game, not having an alternate gameplay wouldn't have been enough for sure. I think that it was a part of why he was liked. Sonic Unleashed was cool and introduced a brand new gameplay to the saga, while also having one that was seen as kinda tedious. But if Colors wasn't fun enough in its own right, it wouldn't have been liked has well. The polish it got, how it was a superior version compared to Unleashed Wii and some stuff (like the return of a playable Super Sonic), and the comparison to the other game that were here at the same time also were a part of its success

 

So nope, not the "only reason".

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15 minutes ago, StaticMania said:

Well it's not that big a leap. You've got a 2D Sonic game compared to a 2D Sonic game with better production value overall. 

 

It's actually not a difficult choice, surprisingly.

Depends on your tolerance level, I guess, but I'd argue the difference is "2D Sonic game with shoddy physics and level design that seems to actively work against said physics, with low-calibre nostalgia pandering and an overall lack of creativity" compared to "2D Sonic game that also has shoddy physics but for the most part doesn't really suffer because the level design works with it, albeit as a result of a noticeably increased emphasis on automation, and also is its own thing and thus isn't attempting to halfheartedly piggyback off the success of much better games."  To me, the latter was easily a lot more fun and a much better investment of time and money overall, even if I don't have quite the same burning hatred for Sonic 4 that the majority of the fanbase (rightfully) does.

Pick your poison, I guess is what I'm saying.

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Its a legitimately good game that is unfortunately overhyped as the second coming of Jesus due to the series` notorious track record for mediocrity. Because of that, more overzealous fans feel the need to downplay other games merits and over emphasize this one's. It's extremely unfortunate because I really do like this game and enjoyed it when it came out, but discussing it for the few years afterwards was some of the worst times I've had on this site and I'm glad it's behind me.

At the end of the day, it's not a particularly innovative or deep game, but it's solid enough on it's own rights I feel to be enjoyable. 

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I was going to quote people who hit the nail on the head for me, but there were too many quotes, haha. Pretty much what everyone said. After the lackluster games that came before it, it was a very solid game and I initially took it as a sort of testing step in a new direction for the series. I was so sick of all the weird added gimmicks (even if I did love the daytime stages in Unleashed and the production value behind it, werehog was just kind of annoying to me) and we finally just got a Sonic game that wasn't something like "Sonic but now with ______!" I'll be 100% honest here...I was totally excited. At the time, I kept on thinking that this was going to be the stepping stone to more, even better games that built upon the positives it established. Looking back, the optimism that kind of blinded me is gone now and the flares glare a bit more at me...but I still think it's a good game and I still have fun with it. At the very least, it feels polished and like there was actual care put into it instead of just mediocrity or throwing a bunch of gimmicks at the wall.

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I think the reason why Colors was such a huge hit with critiques is not only of the one gameplay style, but because it was the first modern game of the series that was... well good. Colors did abandoned everything from the game, that people have criticized for years: Non of Sonic's friends, no forced in alternative gameplays, no bugs, no glitches, non out of place story elements like human princesses, demons and gods. It was just a simple, but fun game.

Fun was the reason, why people liked Colors so much. It was just fun, which is something Sonic technically didn't had for a long time. 

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I'd say Colors was probably the first 3D Sonic game that didn't have a "but" that you had to append to any praise given to it. It's a pared down, more focused and more importantly natural evolution of the ideas in Unleashed but without stuff tacked on to pad. The only other Sonic game that had done anything similar to that point is Heroes, and my love for it can't cloud that Colors is a dramatically better designed game even if the Wisps occasionally make its focus wander a bit. I suppose you could frame that as "lack of alternate gameplay", but how I would phrase it would instead be "lack of all of the bullshit."

 

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Sonic Colors was the first mainstream Sonic game that while playing and finishing it, I was hit with an overwhelming sense of disappointment that at the time I tried my best to completely ignore due to how much everyone else around me was praising it. I never thought it was a bad game but going into it (and later Generations) I was expecting things that I liked about Unleashed to still be present. You know, at the time I was like 17. I didn't really look into how games were made and what not. I knew enough to know that because it was on the Wii, it wasn't going to look at good as Unleashed but even then I didn't like the way the cutscenes looked. The aliasing on everyone was driving me crazy and that was before I even knew what the word was. 

The disappointment stemmed from a pure emotional response and not really a quality one, of course. The things that I liked the most about Sonic, the things that enchanted me to get into it (and video games by default) was the interactive experience of going on an adventure, the characters, and that sense of fun mixed with a genuine sense of danger. 

Shadow the Hedgehog came out when I was still relatively new to the Sonic series. At the time all I had played was Adventure 2: Battle, Heroes, and a few of the Classics on my uncle's genesis. I was easily able to overlook all the bad shit about it and enjoy the fact that all those characters I loved were in the game, on their own missions, doing their best to fight the common threat they all had. Sonic 06 was a game that I knew going into it was bad. I didn't have a 360 at the time it came out and I got one just on the cusp of Unleashed about to hit the scene. There wasn't much of a reason for me to be disappointed by it at the time. That's changed over the years of course. Shadow's game is one I feel nothing for when people criticize it and Sonic 06 not only got worse everytime I played it but also every time I thought about it. It eventually got to the point where I consider it to be the poison that still affects this series and the decisions made regarding Sonic and why the potential and ambition it had was abandoned in favor of doing less and less with each title now. 

However, Unleashed just had so much that hit the right spot with me. There was a lot of ambition there too.

I loved the thrill of the Modern Sonic stages as they were. Colors didn't really do that. It was more 2D and a bit too heavy on the platforming in a way that made it feel more like that Mario series I had abandoned a while back. Plus, the wisps were fun but only when I had the ones I liked to use... and that really only amounted to the laser and the frenzy, both of which were designed to make you go really fast and destroy shit, which is what I was already doing as Sonic. Rocket just made you go up and float back down which I kind of felt was a waste of time. Going slow as the hover wisp was boring unless there was a trail of rings nearby.

A true example of me being at odds with everyone at the time was the drill wisp. Everyone loved the drill wisp. I hated the drill wisp. Every time I saw it I wanted to skip over it but I felt that there'd probably be some goodies or a secret path I was missing if I didn't take it. I just hated going under ground and searching for shit to keep me alive while under there. It was only ever a bunch of regular rings, the occasional red ring, or another drill wisp to keep you from dying in the ground. A part of me probably just wanted to run into an electric shield or something like when I dug in Adventure 2.

The story I liked better in Unleashed. Even though it eventually hit a huge gap of nothing in the middle, it was okay because the look and feel of the fact that I was on an Adventure never went away due to how the game was set-up. That was a feat that would never be repeated to this day. The large gap of nothing in Forces, for example, is filled in by nothing. You don't have new places to visit, new people to meet, new stories to watch unfold in missions, or new food to buy and taste. You didn't in Colors either which also really disappointed me. The hubs were replaced with this map where you tap to the right or left and go to the next mini-stage. Each one I went to I found myself wishing for another cutscene to see if there was anything else I was going to get out of the story but it really was just a large comedy routine. 

Even the supposed main threat, we found out, was dealt with by the time we beat the first boss of the game because of a piece of a robot that got lodged into the side of Eggman's precious cannon. There was no point to any of what we were doing. 

Obviously the game didn't look anywhere near as good as Unleashed. That was to be expected for Colors though. I was blindsided by it for Generations however...

The music I also wasn't enamored with either. I thought the soundtrack was okay and I still do but the sound it has is a very strange one to me. Coming off of the tunes from Unleashed, which I thought was beautiful, and going to Colors where there was so much synth and fakeness. It didn't do anything for me. I had to think hard about the differences between some of the tracks because they all sounded relatively the same to me aside from Sweet Mountain and Aquarium Park. I can't even remember what Terminal Velocity sounds like.

There was also the fact that it was the first Sonic game I managed to beat the very same day I got it. That didn't sit well with me either.

I think my disappointment with Colors really did just stem from when I came into the series and what I wanted out of it being at odds with the new direction they were taking. It's strange because I love Generations despite it having some similar issues, though, some of them were fixed. 

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Lack of alternate gameplay is one way to put it, I guess. After years of bullshit (Sonic in Arabian Nights with shit motion controls! Sonic turns into a werewolf with design philosophies that literally reject the core ideals the series was built on! Sonic with a sword! And MORE shitty motion controls!) Colors used a “gimmick” that was non-intrusive and meshed with the gameplay and was fun. I’d argue this is the first time that the terms “back to basics” or “finding our roots” that Sega’s marketing had run into the ground talking about Sonic games in the past actually applied after Heroes.

The story was simple. Looking at it as a blueprint for the future of this series’ stories is depressing, but in a vacuum, it’s a simple and silly story that as a one-off, is funny and works despite a few wonks. The gameplay is mostly 2D - that’s a little disappointing, but again, I think that had this been a one-off thing it would’ve been fine. It’s blocky and focused on platforming, but it’s still fun regardless, and when the game does open up to 3D sections that aren’t straight lines, it feels fantastic. The wisps, as aforementioned, are non-intrusive and fun for the most part. The level concepts are fantastic, and the music is fire (but when is it not). 

Colors got praise when it dropped because it was good. Even if you don’t like it, you have to admit it’s competent, or at the very least, not stupid, which is more than I can say for any game in this series that was released from 06-10. No, the story isn’t as sharp as Black Knight’s, but it didn’t need to be. It’s not that kind of game. And no, it’s not as ambitious as Unleashed, but it’s better solely because it doesn’t have the assfuckingly stupid inclusion of the Werehog. I’d actually argue this series’ main problem is ambition. But Colors is the first game in this series in a long time that didn’t try to bite off more than it could chew, and it’s all the better for it. 

In the past couple years there’s been some backlash to the praise Colors got upon release, attempts at revisionist history to claim that not only is the game not good, but that it never was, either. True, Colors is a blueprint for everything bad about Forces. But that has less to do with Colors than it does Forces for just fucking up simple, basic ideas. Colors has issues, and it isn’t flawless. And maybe it’s reputation for a little while as the thing that saved the series was a little premature. But with the one-two combo of Colors and Generations (a game that most people won’t deny is actually good) dropping a year later, had the series continued on this upward trend, I’ll be damned if it wasn’t deserved at the time. 

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I have a lot of passion for Sonic Adventure since it's one of my favorite games in the franchise, but colors and generations are both clearly better, more focused games overall. Colors was a hero for the franchise in that it was the first no bullshit "3D" sonic game, arguably ever. It got us out of the dark era that started sometime during the adventure era and with generations at least temporarily gave people hope that Sonic might be fully revived one day. It was universally seen as a good game, probably not quite at the great level because it did have a number of issues.

Fans of the earlier 3D titles were not as happy as everyone else because the game was mostly 2D and the much lighter tone and lack of other characters, but the mainstream did see colors as an overall success given where the franchise had just come from.

I definitely appreciate Colors for what it was and I think the consensus on the game overall beyond just the sonic community is that it was a solid title.

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And Eggman being the final boss, the environmental messages, the colorful, creative, and madcap environments, Badniks making a comeback, and other small throwbacks. Unfortunately, Lost World exaggerated or neglected many of these elements, which is why it was less successful, in addition to the worse gameplay.

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I'm seeing a lot of praise for Colors having "focus".

But how much is focus worth when the game is focused on content that's just alright at best? I'm sure most will agree Unleashed and the Adventure games are worth more since they reach higher highs despite the general low opinion of the "not playing like Sonic".

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4 minutes ago, The 3rd Option said:

I'm seeing a lot of praise for Colors having "focus".

But how much is focus worth when the game is focused on content that's just alright at best? I'm sure most will agree Unleashed and the Adventure games are worth more since they reach higher highs despite the general low opinion of the "not playing like Sonic".

It's pretty apparent that, for this franchise in particular, focus and polish are worth quite a bit.  Almost every 3D game is lacking it so it's become valuable. 

I prefer Unleashed to Colors but it's hard to say Unleashed wouldn't have benefited from a more focused approach. No matter how you try to frame it, it has merit.  

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16 minutes ago, The 3rd Option said:

I'm seeing a lot of praise for Colors having "focus".

But how much is focus worth when the game is focused on content that's just alright at best? I'm sure most will agree Unleashed and the Adventure games are worth more since they reach higher highs despite the general low opinion of the "not playing like Sonic".

I agree with wraith. SA1 I love so much for its ambition and the successes it had in developing and continuing the narrative and feel of the classic era in 3D. However it lacked so much in actual execution and often felt much less than the sum of its parts because the gameplay was so underdeveloped in favor of at the time impressive graphics.

Colors had comparatively less flash but more focus on being a solid game with less bugs and more cohesion and as a result was a better overall game.

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1 hour ago, The 3rd Option said:

I'm seeing a lot of praise for Colors having "focus".

But how much is focus worth when the game is focused on content that's just alright at best? I'm sure most will agree Unleashed and the Adventure games are worth more since they reach higher highs despite the general low opinion of the "not playing like Sonic".

I guess it comes to down personal taste on this matter. It's a choice between a game that has higher ups but comes with more negatives, or a game that doesn't have quite as high positives but doesn't come with as many negatives. (I'm sorry, that was probably a horrible way of putting it...)

I'm personally in the latter camp. As much as I love the day stages in Unleashed and the production value overall with the game, I don't really like the feeling of having fun one minute and finding the game tedious the next. I'm a bigger fan of consistency, even if that means sacrificing a little to achieve it. I'd rather have some fun throughout the whole thing than alternate having a blast and groaning. But others prefer the former, and that's totally fine.

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1 hour ago, The 3rd Option said:

I'm seeing a lot of praise for Colors having "focus".

But how much is focus worth when the game is focused on content that's just alright at best? I'm sure most will agree Unleashed and the Adventure games are worth more since they reach higher highs despite the general low opinion of the "not playing like Sonic".

Considering how much the series has struggled with basic competency, and how most other 3D Sonic games are also "just alright at best", often dipping worse, and being less "Sonic"...yeah, it's worth a fair bit.

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3 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

Considering how much the series has struggled with basic competency, and how most other 3D Sonic games are also "just alright at best", often dipping worse, and being less "Sonic"...yeah, it's worth a fair bit.

I'm so sick of this franchise's insincerity. The pontaff writing, the social media farce, the hatred towards it's own characters, Mania's own nostalgia dependency. Why can't this series be competent AND genuine?

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1 hour ago, TideKai said:

I guess it comes to down personal taste on this matter. It's a choice between a game that has higher ups but comes with more negatives, or a game that doesn't have quite as high positives but doesn't come with as many negatives. (I'm sorry, that was probably a horrible way of putting it...)

I'm personally in the latter camp. As much as I love the day stages in Unleashed and the production value overall with the game, I don't really like the feeling of having fun one minute and finding the game tedious the next. I'm a bigger fan of consistency, even if that means sacrificing a little to achieve it. I'd rather have some fun throughout the whole thing than alternate having a blast and groaning. But others prefer the former, and that's totally fine.

Yeah. I prefer Unleashed but I wouldn't vote for having the werehog or the medal collecting system return. Those were the only two problems I had with the game but they take up a substantial amount of it. They can't really be ignored despite my preference for Unleashed as a whole.

It helps that the werehog wasn't something I outright hated. That was probably mostly due to the fact that I loved being able to explore those beautiful environments and at my favorite time of day. I'm a night owl so when the sun goes down, I'm the most active. It gets my blood going. I wish more Sonic stages took place at night.

Also, the rain. I love the rain too. More Sonic stages in the rain please. That would have looked gorgeous in Unleashed.

 

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4 hours ago, Nuggets said:

Lack of alternate gameplay is one way to put it, I guess. After years of bullshit (Sonic in Arabian Nights with shit motion controls! Sonic turns into a werewolf with design philosophies that literally reject the core ideals the series was built on! Sonic with a sword! And MORE shitty motion controls!) Colors used a “gimmick” that was non-intrusive and meshed with the gameplay and was fun. I’d argue this is the first time that the terms “back to basics” or “finding our roots” that Sega’s marketing had run into the ground talking about Sonic games in the past actually applied after Heroes.

The story was simple. Looking at it as a blueprint for the future of this series’ stories is depressing, but in a vacuum, it’s a simple and silly story that as a one-off, is funny and works despite a few wonks. The gameplay is mostly 2D - that’s a little disappointing, but again, I think that had this been a one-off thing it would’ve been fine. It’s blocky and focused on platforming, but it’s still fun regardless, and when the game does open up to 3D sections that aren’t straight lines, it feels fantastic. The wisps, as aforementioned, are non-intrusive and fun for the most part. The level concepts are fantastic, and the music is fire (but when is it not). 

Colors got praise when it dropped because it was good. Even if you don’t like it, you have to admit it’s competent, or at the very least, not stupid, which is more than I can say for any game in this series that was released from 06-10. No, the story isn’t as sharp as Black Knight’s, but it didn’t need to be. It’s not that kind of game. And no, it’s not as ambitious as Unleashed, but it’s better solely because it doesn’t have the assfuckingly stupid inclusion of the Werehog. I’d actually argue this series’ main problem is ambition. But Colors is the first game in this series in a long time that didn’t try to bite off more than it could chew, and it’s all the better for it. 

In the past couple years there’s been some backlash to the praise Colors got upon release, attempts at revisionist history to claim that not only is the game not good, but that it never was, either. True, Colors is a blueprint for everything bad about Forces. But that has less to do with Colors than it does Forces for just fucking up simple, basic ideas. Colors has issues, and it isn’t flawless. And maybe it’s reputation for a little while as the thing that saved the series was a little premature. But with the one-two combo of Colors and Generations (a game that most people won’t deny is actually good) dropping a year later, had the series continued on this upward trend, I’ll be damned if it wasn’t deserved at the time. 

Truly, Lost World is the extent and epitome of the flaws of Colors. Forces contains both the gameplay flaws that date back to Unleashed and are perhaps inherent to the Boost, and the extreme of anti-Colors sentiment. (And obviously the flaws of 4/Generations/Man-“brick’d by a ninja”) 

 

For example, the... well... morbid tone of the game is a backlash against all the “BALDY MCNOSEHAIR!” in previous ones. 

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Is the lack of alernative gameplay the reason I liked Colours? No, it really wasn’t. I liked Colours because to me, it was fun. It was bright. It was visually pleasing, thanks to the art direction on the levels and the CG animated scenes. I liked the themes of the levels and the passion and creativity I saw in it. I liked the music, a lot. It just hit all the right notes at the right time for me, with the exception of the repetitve bosses. Yeah it was probably a bit too easy in hindsight but the final boss and the final move of Unlimited Colours just left me on a high when I completed it. It’s still my favourite modern Sonic game, despite the fact that later games have (imho) taken the ‘wrong’ things from Colours to push forward, such as the simple storytelling and having the wisps back without any actual reason and such. But if they re-released it as ‘Colours HD’ on the current generation of consoles I’d consider it a real treat.

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