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Has "Solo Sonic" been detrimental to the series?

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I'm also okay with how Super Mario Bros 2 and 3D World did it, characters with differences without unique moves, it's not special but still okay. Rosalina was the only one who had a real unique move.

1 minute ago, Splash the Otter said:

My point is that I want them to have more differences than just their air action.

In SA1 he had a tail slash attack instead of a spin dash. I'd like to see that in more games.

As I said, if you want more skills… they really should add something to the gameplay, open up new routes or at least offer a new way to traverse the stages. 

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14 minutes ago, Splash the Otter said:

My point is that I want them to have more differences than just their air action.

Why? Is it because you think adding more moves is going to give them more of a personality? Passive abilities like Knuckles tearing through rocks and Mighty's hard shell are a great way to go. 

See, if we're talking about the Classic Sonic games right now, which I think we are, then I really don't think you understand why they were successful in the first place. A simple one button setup is what the series was built upon, and aside from some Debug Mode shenanigans and a much-needed unique "Super Sonic" button, the core of the gameplay excelled with only a single button. This was a boon to Sonic's accessibility, and I don't think adding extra moves would help at all. Sonic Advance is the only example we can really point to for this, and I don't think I've ever used a character's special attack once, aside from Amy, who was gimped to begin with. It was inoffensive at best, but fluff at worst. We don't need it.

But if you're talking a 3D Adventure-esque game, then we have more room to discuss this. There's application for attacking on the ground in 3D, since not everyone can have a homing attack without it getting repetitive. If that's the case, go nuts. If it were me in charge, I'd have a two button set-up, but I'm not here to fantasize games that Sonic Team will never make, so I'll leave it at that.

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1 minute ago, Splash the Otter said:

In SA1 he had a tail slash attack instead of a spin dash. I'd like to see that in more games.

This is kinda just extraenous when you think about it, though - Tails can already just roll, which is itself an omnipresent hitbox that you can jump-cancel at any time. Even if you happen to find yourself at a complete stop for any reason, you can just spindash through anything right in front of you. Or you can just, you know, jump on top of them or through them. Considering those existing options, for what reason would you ever need a generic melee attack on top of that? You don't gain anything from standing still to do that.

Don't get me wrong here - just because I appreciate the concise elegance of one move that does everything doesn't necessarily mean I'm not open to more than one move per character, but it has to be a niche that their existing tools doesn't already cover. Otherwise it's just redundancy trying to play itself off as the illusion of depth. Consider, for sake of example, giving Tails a peelout-esque move that gives you a quick burst of height instead of speed. Or creating a single temporary platform in midair that you regain once you touch the ground again. Or even just straight up picking up other enemies like you can with Sonic and bonking them against each other.

Obviously these aren't terribly balanced suggestions because they were thought up on a dime, but the point is they cover niches that his existing moveset doesn't and a good moveset strives to be varied above all else. Adding moves just for the sake of having more moves is pointless, especially if it's just going to be weaker versions of shit they already have.

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1 hour ago, Indigo Rush said:

See, if we're talking about the Classic Sonic games right now, which I think we are, then I really don't think you understand why they were successful in the first place. A simple one button setup is what the series was built upon, and aside from some Debug Mode shenanigans and a much-needed unique "Super Sonic" button, the core of the gameplay excelled with only a single button. This was a boon to Sonic's accessibility, and I don't think adding extra moves would help at all. Sonic Advance is the only example we can really point to for this, and I don't think I've ever used a character's special attack once, aside from Amy, who was gimped to begin with. It was inoffensive at best, but fluff at worst. We don't need it.

I wasn't talking about the Classic games, but I never cared for one-button gameplay. Certain characters like Amy and Fang will need a second button when they become playable, and if they get one then everyone should get one. That's why I hope the sequel to Mania has two-button gameplay like in the Advance trilogy.

1 hour ago, Indigo Rush said:

But if you're talking a 3D Adventure-esque game, then we have more room to discuss this. There's application for attacking on the ground in 3D, since not everyone can have a homing attack without it getting repetitive. If that's the case, go nuts. If it were me in charge, I'd have a two button set-up, but I'm not here to fantasize games that Sonic Team will never make, so I'll leave it at that.

Yes, this is what I was talking about. But what makes you think Sonic Team will never make one?

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I love how the OP saves any correlation with the title till the very end. Someone's sidetracked by a different hangup, perhaps?

Anyway, I don't think it's been detrimental for the most part. As with the multiple playable characters thing, though, one might argue it's been used back to back with only a few bits of slight variety. Which, to be fair, is most of those same games. Only Colors is truly Sonic only in the traditional sense.

With that said, I do think Forces and to an extent, Lost World has taken fair baby steps towards changing that, with the Avatar & Shadow in the former and a completely different set of control schemes in the latter. Before anything major is done to change this habit, they needed to set the stage again since 3D games have always been a different story from 2D, as Mania Plus has indirectly showcased.

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Unless you consider not having other playable characters to inherently be detrimental (which I don't think is a defensible position), I don't think any problems have come from "solo Sonic". There's plenty of problems that they have failed to solve while the series has been in this "solo Sonic" mode, but most of them predate Unleashed, and I don't see how solo Sonic either is responsible for the rest or has made it meaningfully harder to fix any of them.

And I still stand by my argument that the series should stay focused on Sonic until they figure out the right way to make a Sonic game, because I also still stand by my argument that games like 3&K and Mania had the right way of handling multiple characters. If you're going to have multiple playable characters, they should all flow from the same core mechanics. Figure out what Sonic is supposed to be like and you've got a solid structure to build any other characters from.

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2 hours ago, Indigo Rush said:

Why? Is it because you think adding more moves is going to give them more of a personality? Passive abilities like Knuckles tearing through rocks and Mighty's hard shell are a great way to go. 

See, if we're talking about the Classic Sonic games right now, which I think we are, then I really don't think you understand why they were successful in the first place. A simple one button setup is what the series was built upon, and aside from some Debug Mode shenanigans and a much-needed unique "Super Sonic" button, the core of the gameplay excelled with only a single button. This was a boon to Sonic's accessibility, and I don't think adding extra moves would help at all. Sonic Advance is the only example we can really point to for this, and I don't think I've ever used a character's special attack once, aside from Amy, who was gimped to begin with. It was inoffensive at best, but fluff at worst. We don't need it.

 

I think it's a little dangerous to get fixated on Classic Sonic's simplicity. Most other platforms get away with having a secondary action button, and I think giving people a way to less awkwardly engage with enemies low on the ground kind of made sense even if it was executed poorly.

If classic Sonic is going to continue adding characters they're gonna have to get a little more creative to justify their existence. Like, if Amy got in and was only able to use her hammer as an air action it'd be kind of a waste compared to say, letting her have a momentum driven hammer jump. 

This isn't to say you need to strap melee attacks to someone like Sonic. I'd just have the button let the player easily curl up or start charging the spindash like gems or something.

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1 hour ago, Splash the Otter said:

 I wasn't talking about the Classic games, but I never cared for one-button gameplay. Certain characters like Amy and Fang will need a second button when they become playable, and if they get one then everyone should get one. That's why I hope the sequel to Mania has two-button gameplay like in the Advance trilogy.

If you really use your noodle, there's a lot of things you can do with one button. Amy could simply have a spin jump that only activates in mid-air (acting as a double-jump), but it has a bigger range of effect. She seems pretty athletic, so maybe she could have a wall-jump, you don't need a secondary button for that, either. Her hammer could break through certain ceilings that Knuckles can't break through because of his short jump, then Amy can just wall jump up to her own path. There ya go. And if we're dead-set on keeping her from spin-jumping and rolling, give her a slide attack while in motion, and a Mega Man 3 styled slide kick at a stand-still, or maybe make it a super-peel-out type move like in the "Amy in Sonic 3&K" ROM hack.

EDIT: I'd also be cool with Amy's air-action being an enhanced version of Sonic's insta-shield ability, assuming that's officially removed from his movepool in favor of the drop-dash. I think the two can co-exist (the cheat code in debug mode where Sonic has all the abilities is great) but if not, Amy can have it.

I don't know why Fang ought to be playable, but we see him bouncing on his tail a lot in Sonic Triple Trouble and in the Mirage Saloon boss, so there you are; he can have a bounce ability that resembles the cane attack from Duck Tales, so there's no overlap between that and Sonic's Bubble Shield action. Ray's gliding mechanics heavily resemble Cape Mario, so it wouldn't be the first time they got inspiration from another game. Perhaps give Fang a shorter jump to make the bounce-jump more useful. Just spitballing at this point... and if you're wanting Fang to use his fire-arms... why.

 

Quote

Yes, this is what I was talking about. But what makes you think Sonic Team will never make one?

...you must be new. I really don't know where to begin with this. 

Also I see you quoting me there, Wraith, I'll respond in this post if I can

11 minutes ago, Wraith said:

I think it's a little dangerous to get fixated on Classic Sonic's simplicity. Most other platforms get away with having a secondary action button, and I think giving people a way to less awkwardly engage with enemies low on the ground kind of made sense even if it was executed poorly.

If classic Sonic is going to continue adding characters they're gonna have to get a little more creative to justify their existence. Like, if Amy got in and was only able to use her hammer as an air action it'd be kind of a waste compared to say, letting her have a momentum driven hammer jump. 

This isn't to say you need to strap melee attacks to someone like Sonic. I'd just have the button let the player easily curl up or start charging the spindash like gems or something.

Mkay I think my post addressed most of this after all, but I still think the single-button route is the best. My concern is over-complicating things. A secondary button is, as I said before, at best inoffensive. It's not the end of the world, but it could force a mindset that everyone needs some kind of melee move. 

Anyway, that's my tea.

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16 minutes ago, Indigo Rush said:

 

Mkay I think my post addressed most of this after all, but I still think the single-button route is the best. My concern is over-complicating things. A secondary button is, as I said before, at best inoffensive. It's not the end of the world, but it could force a mindset that everyone needs some kind of melee move. 

Anyway, that's my tea.

This is a legitimate concern since we've seen it happen before, but I just don't think the same game design pitfalls that Dimps fell into will apply to better devs. The Advanced games are deeply flawed in pretty much every way aside from like the Sprite animations.

It's definitely not a necessary addition by any means, but I think it could work with the right mindset.

I also just want to get more mileage out of the characters speaking as a series veteran, lol. I want more toys to play with per character. Ray felt great but Mighty on the other hand was a little too reigned in.

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1 minute ago, Wraith said:

I also just want to get more mileage out of the characters speaking as a series veteran, lol. I want more toys to play with per character. Ray felt great but Mighty on the other hand was a little too reigned in.

So, I felt the same at first, but I loved his defensive shell ability a lot, and I think his hard-drop has quite a bit of utility for speed-running. I admit though that there wasn't enough usage of it in regards to alternate paths, so perhaps next round they could expand on that, assuming Mighty would be on the cards from the get-go rather than a late DLC addition. I'm not sure what else we could add to him, but then again I wouldn't have thought of a stomp ability, either. Maybe a wall-jump ala Chaotix? Eh.

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11 minutes ago, Indigo Rush said:

So, I felt the same at first, but I loved his defensive shell ability a lot, and I think his hard-drop has quite a bit of utility for speed-running. I admit though that there wasn't enough usage of it in regards to alternate paths, so perhaps next round they could expand on that, assuming Mighty would be on the cards from the get-go rather than a late DLC addition. I'm not sure what else we could add to him, but then again I wouldn't have thought of a stomp ability, either. Maybe a wall-jump ala Chaotix? Eh.

It was just really hard to find movement applications for it. I was really disappointed when I saw how the stomp interacted with slopes. Alternate paths to take would help but what I really want changed is that. Let me use it to get a momentum boost or something.

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21 minutes ago, Wraith said:

It was just really hard to find movement applications for it. I was really disappointed when I saw how the stomp interacted with slopes. Alternate paths to take would help but what I really want changed is that. Let me use it to get a momentum boost or something.

Oh, 100% agree with that. I was wanting Mighty to slam down onto the curve and rocket across the ground at super speed. I do like it when there's a spring right underneath me while I'm already going fast, so a quick hammer-drop followed by a clean upward bounce is pretty satisfying. 

I always tear my hair out when I read/hear the idea that Classic Sonic has reached it's potential and isn't needed anymore. Total bunk: there's always something to be tweaked, big or small. It just takes some thought and a little inspiration. Mania added so much that could be taken for granted. Mighty could've just been a skin of Sonic.

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3 hours ago, Diogenes said:

Unless you consider not having other playable characters to inherently be detrimental (which I don't think is a defensible position), I don't think any problems have come from "solo Sonic". There's plenty of problems that they have failed to solve while the series has been in this "solo Sonic" mode, but most of them predate Unleashed, and I don't see how solo Sonic either is responsible for the rest or has made it meaningfully harder to fix any of them.

And I still stand by my argument that the series should stay focused on Sonic until they figure out the right way to make a Sonic game, because I also still stand by my argument that games like 3&K and Mania had the right way of handling multiple characters. If you're going to have multiple playable characters, they should all flow from the same core mechanics. Figure out what Sonic is supposed to be like and you've got a solid structure to build any other characters from.

Disagree, even the story is not interesting if it's just Sonic, Tails and Eggman, simply boring if it's those 3 only in multiple games. Even the gameplay would be lame, they did that and no one liked it, I don't say use different gameplays, just have them be Sonic-y like the Avatar for example was. Even though I prefer canon characters, Shadow would be perfect in a modern game, but I don't like him in Forces as a skin, although it's still something.

But in classic games? Why not? Gameplay has been figured out and it works well, so they can introduce Amy and maybe Honey, they really need more girls btw, and I don't get the one button complaint for a classic game, it's supposed to be a simple moveset and that's not to say there can't be more skills without buttons, like Mighty's spike immunity when curled, Knuckles wall breaking and climb plus the fact he has a lower jump, just give them more differences, like the SM3DW example.

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In a word. No.

The games are bad, because they're poorly conceived and poorly designed. There is no creativity. The maintain a baseline level of technical competence, and that's it.

Mario games haven't ever been bad, despite being almost exclusively "Solo Mario". 

In fact, its equally bullshit to suggest that the mere existence of Sonic''s shitty friends is what led to the decline (aside from Shadow's game). Solo Sonic isn't to be blamed, and neither are his friends.

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20 minutes ago, Jack the Shadow said:

Disagree, even the story is not interesting if it's just Sonic, Tails and Eggman, simply boring if it's those 3 only in multiple games. Even the gameplay would be lame, they did that and no one liked it,

If your stories and gameplay aren't fun with your main characters you've got some real deep problems in need of solving, and throwing more characters at it isn't the answer.

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28 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

If your stories and gameplay aren't fun with your main characters you've got some real deep problems in need of solving, and throwing more characters at it isn't the answer.

Realistically you can't have tons of stories with just 3 characters, I'm not blaming them as characters, you need to introduce new ones all the time (or almost) to create new plotlines.

Besides, it gets tiring after a while. And we do have a cool cast that is severly underused.

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And I'm not suggesting they never use any other characters ever again. But bad writing and bad game design do not come from limiting the cast. A limited cast is not the problem, and more characters are not the solution; they should be addressing the actual problems with the writing and gameplay before worrying about adding more characters to them.

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If Forces was indicative of anything it's definitely that having all those characters around didn't immediately mean the game lived up to its potential. Especially not when it came to it's premise. If anyone over there seriously thought that their story was immediately going to feel more epic because there was more people around to do nothing than we're in a deeper rut than I thought.

Whether a game has two characters or twelve, it's not going to feel like it's been handled much better than the other if the method of storytelling is the same. That is, Sonic runs through stages and the others spout interchangeable dialogue that tries and fails to give the illusion that they're being useful. 

Playability isn't really my number one concern at the moment. I'd be fine if they were skins with one specific ability to differentiate them should that be necessary. I've always been of the opinion that characters need to serve the story first. Otherwise, there's no point in having them be different characters. You could get a similar feeling playing as Tails by just making us play as a Robo-Sonic that can fly. There's a reason people would want it to be Tails though. 

That's usually how I approach it though. I'm typically not the person to go to when it comes to discussing how to make game mechanics work.

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4 hours ago, Indigo Rush said:

If you really use your noodle, there's a lot of things you can do with one button. Amy could simply have a spin jump that only activates in mid-air (acting as a double-jump), but it has a bigger range of effect. She seems pretty athletic, so maybe she could have a wall-jump, you don't need a secondary button for that, either. Her hammer could break through certain ceilings that Knuckles can't break through because of his short jump, then Amy can just wall jump up to her own path. There ya go. And if we're dead-set on keeping her from spin-jumping and rolling, give her a slide attack while in motion, and a Mega Man 3 styled slide kick at a stand-still, or maybe make it a super-peel-out type move like in the "Amy in Sonic 3&K" ROM hack.

I don't know, I'd rather not limit her hammer to just being an air action.

4 hours ago, Indigo Rush said:

I don't know why Fang ought to be playable, but we see him bouncing on his tail a lot in Sonic Triple Trouble and in the Mirage Saloon boss, so there you are; he can have a bounce ability that resembles the cane attack from Duck Tales, so there's no overlap between that and Sonic's Bubble Shield action. Ray's gliding mechanics heavily resemble Cape Mario, so it wouldn't be the first time they got inspiration from another game. Perhaps give Fang a shorter jump to make the bounce-jump more useful. Just spitballing at this point... and if you're wanting Fang to use his fire-arms... why.

I guess that could work. As for his firearms, why not? They're his signature weapon after all.

4 hours ago, Indigo Rush said:

...you must be new. I really don't know where to begin with this.

I've been here since 2013.

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8 hours ago, Indigo Rush said:

Sonic Advance is the only example we can really point to for this, and I don't think I've ever used a character's special attack once...

It doesn't really help that all of the special attacks just kill your movement. Advance 2 made it so they didn't do that...if you were at rush speed, but at that point you'd just roll anyway.

Something confusing about Adventure was that Tails and Knuckles had those attacks too, but once you were moving fast enough the button just made you roll, so it's like what was the point?

Knuckles having a "wall spindash" for faster climbing was a positive idea for an evo of what he can already do.

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3 hours ago, Jack the Shadow said:

Disagree, even the story is not interesting if it's just Sonic, Tails and Eggman, simply boring if it's those 3 only in multiple games. Even the gameplay would be lame, they did that and no one liked it, I don't say use different gameplays, just have them be Sonic-y like the Avatar for example was. Even though I prefer canon characters, Shadow would be perfect in a modern game, but I don't like him in Forces as a skin, although it's still something.

This. Solo Sonic games tend to get extremely repetitive and being the titular character doesn't justify it. IIRC, Crash Bandicoot has multiple playable characters even with Crash as the central focus.

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50 minutes ago, Mountaindewandsprite said:

IIRC, Crash Bandicoot has multiple playable characters even with Crash as the central focus.

In the span of however many games, the only other characters that have been playable in Crash were Coco, Nina and Cortex...

Which were only 2-3 games to 5 games.

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6 minutes ago, StaticMania said:

In the span of however many games, the only other characters that have been playable in Crash were Coco, Nina and Cortex...

Which were only 2-3 games to 5 games.

Hm...was Crunch playable in one of those?

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