Jump to content
Awoo.

Why do critics always pan Sonic storylines but give Mario a free pass?


StarWarsSonic
 Share

Recommended Posts

Mario 64 = Princess gets kidnapped, that’s it.

Sonic Adventure = a storyline split between 6 character perspectives, an interesting look into the past to see what happened to Knuckles people as well as a kickass final fight against Perfect Chaos.

Super Mario Sunshine = Mario goes on holiday and gets framed by a clone so has to clean up the town.

Sonic Adventure 2 = Like Mario, Sonic gets framed as well but again, I just find the story more interesting with 6 different  character perspectives, the whole mystery revolving Shadow and what the ultimate life form really is. 

For me the whole final chapter in SA2 where you discover the past with Gerald descending into madness and Maria’s murder caught me off guard and I liked the fact the story was serious but not overly serious.

Plus the ending where we thought Shadow had died really stuck in my mind for a while.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Mario games (although I really dislike Sunshine) and I get critics may like Mario games more for the gameplay but can’t understand why they are so critical of storylines for the games for Sonic and Mario storylines are often praised.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

People slam Super Paper Mario through Color splash's stories because those are story based games.

Also, the simplicity means no one ever has anything too bad to say. Simple stories can be bland, but never enough to take you out of the immersion like the over the top stuff sonic's known for. 

  • Thumbs Up 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your examples aren't great, but for the most part it's that Mario doesn't create any expectations bigger than it's britches. No Mario game wants you to take it as seriously as any Sonic game has, nor do any of them have nearly as much cutscenes or dialogue. You take the narrative of the Mario series being a non-entity for granted, but Sonic keeps the focus on it a lot of the time, and it's harder to ignore when it's stupid as a result.

  • Thumbs Up 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sonic games are both less conventional and have more of a story focus. They draw more attention to their narrative, so the oddities are more apparent. 

I've never really seen a Mario review that found the storytelling remarkable or worthy of praise, though. You can discuss whether these stories are criticized fairly without trying to frame it as a hypocrisy thing.

  • Thumbs Up 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Because Mario's fuck ups are nowhere near as atrocious as Sonic's. Like, okay, even if we look at stories exclusively and not the games themselves, Sonic stories are almost universally awful. The go-to examples are Sonic '06 and Shadow, which are riddled with plotholes, inconsistencies, things that simply don't add up or make sense...there's a lot less that can go wrong narratively with "Princess captured, go save her" than constantly introducing new McGuffins and new world ending threats.

  • Thumbs Up 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mario's stories tend to be minimalistic and to the point, so there's generally little to complain about. Sunshine and Galaxy are the only mainline games that caught criticism to my knowledge for different reasons. 

Sonic simply isn't as timeless or as solid as Mario unfortunately, which opens up the tendency to do things people can complain about. 06 and possibly Adventure 2 in particular has arguably changed the course of the franchise to this day in part because of the impact and reception they received per their narratives.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What everyone said BUT Sonic's exiting world is exactly why I like him over Mario. Sure it has it's ups and downs, but no other franchise has this  excitement, adventure and energy combined with colorful world filled with strong characters and mysteries. (...even if newer games really try to kill that identity)

  • Thumbs Up 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I generally agree that Sonic stories are better. Mario games don't even really have meaningful narrative content to begin with for the most part. 

I just think the OP is built on a false premise. Mario's reliance on the same setup gets more criticism than anything else.

  • Thumbs Up 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The only Mario stories that get praise are from RPGs (Super Mario RPG, Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi) made by other developers and Shigeru Miyamoto never sold the main Mario games as a story-focused titles. For example, here's what he had to say about the lack of story in Super Mario Galaxy 2:

Quote

"I'd like to go with as little story as possible," he said. "I've always felt that the Mario games themselves aren't particularly suited to having a very heavy story."

Quote

"I just feel that the Mario games are something that should be a much more bright and active experience," he said. "With the Mario games, you don't need to have such a complicated setting where you have these particular characters with complicated backstories that can weigh down the bright and fun feel of the game."

https://www.wired.com/2009/06/super-mario-galaxy-2/

Thanks to this mindset, he even had a little participation in Paper Mario's downfall:

Quote
Iwata

Miyamoto-san really persevered with Paper Mario this time. Exactly what was he particular about?

Tanabe

Aside from wanting us to change the atmosphere a lot, there were two main things that Miyamoto-san said from the start of the project—"It's fine without a story, so do we really need one?" and "As much as possible, complete it with only characters from the Super Mario world.

Iwata

That's a difficult task. In some ways that would be the exact opposite direction from recent games in the series.

http://iwataasks.nintendo.com/interviews/#/3ds/papermario/0/2

Instead of using an unrelated franchise as a strawman (I see Nintendo and Mario being used as a "shield" for almost every criticism aimed at Sonic), we should ask ourselves: Why people don't like these stories? Are they really good? Are they bad? What Sonic needs to do to be better?

I know that Mario and Sonic are seen as rival franchises since the 90s, but this kind of discourse doesn't help Sonic in any way.

  • Thumbs Up 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, most people here agree that Sonic having greater, deeper stories is one of the biggest traits that make Sonic the Anti-Mario. Though many would say that Sonic is too extreme on that end, many others say its what make Sonic the superior and more interesting series over many of Nintendo's own games.

People gush about Mario cause of how he's what you'd come to expect from a kiddy cartoon mascot platformer. As a result, many can't seem to grasp the idea of a swift blue antro-rodent slaying gods of destruction, getting a rival who swears and wield realistic firearms, or interacting with humans who look like they've come from a different game entirely. Of course, the fact that Sonic handled quite a few of his plots poorly doesn't help his case at all. Nor when Sonic Team started trying and copying Mario success in simple stories from Colors onward since many fans feel the stories declined in quality since then.

Now Mario's no stranger to deep plots either. From the aliens who destroyed a village that was just celebrating Christmas in Partners in Time, to a villain that reads a book to call forth the universal apocalypse all because of forbidden love in Super Paper Mario, to a storybook of how a child who became the princess of the cosmos had to come to terms with leaving her mother behind in Galaxy 1. It's just that those are so rare compared to what comes in between that it's not the thing everyone who plays Mario looks back on.

 

Mario could have his image just barely tainted by the samey NSMBs series, the lackluster recent efforts from the Mario RPGs, and maybe his own share of mediocre characters that have no reason to exist. Complain as much as you'd like, but Mario has it way easier than Sonic. His biggest lows are nowhere near as catastrophic as Sonic's lows. Critically and financially.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Shaddy Zaphod said:

Your examples aren't great, but for the most part it's that Mario doesn't create any expectations bigger than it's britches. No Mario game wants you to take it as seriously as any Sonic game has, nor do any of them have nearly as much cutscenes or dialogue. You take the narrative of the Mario series being a non-entity for granted, but Sonic keeps the focus on it a lot of the time, and it's harder to ignore when it's stupid as a result.

There's a world of difference between your average Mario RPG and most Sonic plots. Lost World, despite the new baddies, actually has more in common with the former.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Because in the case of Mario, there's nearly nothing to pan. There's simply not enough there to really scrutinize. People can complain about the lack of story, but that's really about it. 

Sonic storylines (post-1998) are mediocre and nearly eye-rolling at best, and laughably awful at worst. There's usually a huge emphasis put on the story as well, with long in-your-face cutscenes between every stage and boss, so of course they're going to get attention from critics for how bad they are. 

  • Thumbs Up 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, DabigRG said:

Sonic may have more meat, but not everyone's gonna approve at how complicated that can be. 

Which has better meat: a vegetarian sandwich, or a spoiled burger?

Of course, no one will judge the sandwich for the quality of its meat. 

  • Thumbs Up 3
  • Too Many Rings 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

53 minutes ago, Osmium said:

Because in the case of Mario, there's nearly nothing to pan. There's simply not enough there to really scrutinize. People can complain about the lack of story, but that's really about it. 

Sonic storylines (post-1998) are mediocre and nearly eye-rolling at best, and laughably awful at worst. There's usually a huge emphasis put on the story as well, with long in-your-face cutscenes between every stage and boss, so of course they're going to get attention from critics for how bad they are. 

Not even his RPGs? (There’s also a world of difference between all but the darkest Mario RPGs and typical Sonic plots).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Miragnarok said:

Not even his RPGs? (There’s also a world of difference between all but the darkest Mario RPGs and typical Sonic plots).

I was assuming we were just talking about main series titles. The Mario RPGs have really good stories and deserve praise. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, Osmium said:

I was assuming we were just talking about main series titles. The Mario RPGs have really good stories and deserve praise. 

That’s what I meant by the “world of difference” between them. With the villains, even though the RPG villains are nastier than Bowser, neither are they so nasty they contrast the aesthetics nor does Bowser get a nastiness upgrade. Their presentation is still very, very silly, just crueler than Bowser or other usual villains. Unlike Bowser and co, they can not be agreed with or tamed, but are otherwise similar to him. Sonic baddies, on the other hand, are not only so ugly they contrast the aesthetic of the characters, but usually so cruel and vicious as to make the series overall darker. Eggman is also given a severe vileness boost in many (mainly comic book) adaptations to match.

 

If the Mario RPGs were like Sonic, then the Shroobs would be like reptilian aliens or something. There’s also enough colorful aesthetics and a light overall narrative that makes the dark moments just that, moments. The narrative is still filled with jokes even in its darkest moments, and doesn’t take most things seriously at all. It doesn’t try to hammer in any darkness or drama, with  personal drama between characters sometimes being present, but not cranked up too high. Sonic Lost World is the closest thing to a Mario RPG; villains worse than Eggman but not so evil that they contrast everything else, lots of comedy and bright colors, and a few personal issues between characters. Is that what everyone wants? A better Lost World? 

  • Thumbs Up 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I seem to be the only person on this forum that likes the stories from SA1, SA2 and Sonic Unleashed lol.

So should Sonic Team just do a Nintendo and scrap storylines altogether in 3D games? Or just hire better writers?

maybe get the IDW writers on the project?

  • Thumbs Up 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like the stories in the Adventure games fine nd wouldn't mind going back to stuff like that. 

 

A game needs to be built with the narrative in mind from the start for it to work. Sonic Team used to understand that. They need to at least get back to that level first on the game design side because I don't think its just an issue of changing who's writing the dialogue. 

  • Thumbs Up 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, StarWarsSonic said:

I seem to be the only person on this forum that likes the stories from SA1, SA2 and Sonic Unleashed lol.

So should Sonic Team just do a Nintendo and scrap storylines altogether in 3D games? Or just hire better writers?

maybe get the IDW writers on the project?

I actually do like those stories as well. I was just trying to point out why critics don’t mind the Mario RPG stories.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 minutes ago, StarWarsSonic said:

I seem to be the only person on this forum that likes the stories from SA1, SA2 and Sonic Unleashed lol.

Don't say that...

It's not good identity building.

Quote

...do a Nintendo and scrap storylines altogether in 3D games? Or just hire better writers?

Don't do this either...

It's actually negative. Mario doesn't make up all of Nintendo, other Nintendo games do actually have story to them.

 

Hire worse writers.

  • Thumbs Up 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my opinion, the best way to see where Sonic is going wrong is observing better received story-focused platformers and see what they did with their plots. Sonic isn't the only game in this genre that tries to create a narrative or have detailed characters, you know.

To give some examples:

- Klonoa: Door to Phantomile has a very sad ending that even made some people cry;

- Sly 2: Band of Thieves is one of the best examples of using gameplay and story at the same time, without one interrupting another. It also mixes silly and serious themes very well;

- Celeste's story was very well-received and praised for mixing a well-done plot with level design.

Personally, I think these games did some things better than most Sonic games: Klonoa had a very sincere and surprising plot-twist, every character is important and has enough time in spotlight in Sly 2 and Celeste uses a real issues without sounding too pretentious. Sonic is a different kind of series, but this doesn't mean that Sonic Team & cia. can't learn from other games.

  • Thumbs Up 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 minutes ago, StarWarsSonic said:

So should Sonic Team just do a Nintendo and scrap storylines altogether in 3D games?

Mario games do still have stories, you know.

And there's no reason the Sonic series needs to give up on telling stories. It just needs...probably a hell of a lot of rethinking, maybe some new talent. Personally I feel like Sonic's never really succeeded at telling stories that appeal to people who aren't already fans; if you haven't already bought into this weird mess of a series, if you aren't already eager to see these characters doing their usual stuff, the games aren't going to do a lot to convince you to care. There's not a lot of inherent charm or immediately gripping characters or compelling setups, and there really should be considering the mass appeal the series used to have. In fairness maybe I'm just too close to the series to look at it more objectively, but whether we're talking Adventure or Forces or anything in between Sonic's always a bit stiff and awkward and just...lacking something.

  • Thumbs Up 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

You must read and accept our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy to continue using this website. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.