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Sonic Omens (formerly Sonic 2020)


antyep
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I don't know if this was brought up on this forum. If so, I apologize.  With that said...

Finally, the Infinity Engine is put to good use with this game, Sonic 2020 - Episode White Jungle. From what I read, this game is supposed to explain why the Chaos Emeralds hasn't been used in main stories from Colors to now (minus Generations, but to be fair, that story involves time travel, so those emeralds could probably be from the past.). This game is probably the first 3D Sonic fangame that has actual cutscenes with voice acting! The dialogue....could be better (I hear the English is the writer's second language, but I'm not sure.). But while this revisits White Jungle (which I swear it was destroyed), the game uses elements from the game Ori and the Blind Forest.

It's available for download here. https://gamejolt.com/games/Sonic2020/469351

 

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Haven't played it myself (I'd probably get like 2 fps on the lowest settings...) but honestly I don't think it looks too good. The first section looks like a somewhat janky remake of the original White Jungle, which is ok I guess, but not that interesting. The second section though, it feels like they gave up trying to make a level. There's a switch hunt with basically no guidance or indicators, there's a weird section that's just semitransparent platforms and dash hoops, and because it's all a big vertical climb it looks like you could lose several minute's worth of progress with every missed jump. The third part's a big flashy escape sequence but it seems like the equivalent of a mach speed section without the auto-run, in that one mistake could put you horribly off track and completely disoriented.

Graphically it looks nice enough (if a little excessively effects-heavy) and most fan games don't even get to the point of having cutscenes so there's some commendable effort there, but it feels like they've fallen into the trap of rushing ahead to the flashy stuff before getting a proper handle on the fundamentals.

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I think it looks pretty good. The graphics definetly look good at least. I'm kinda getting sonic 06 vibes in a way.... well, if 06 was good, anyway. 

I'll download it later and give it a try.

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Just played it.

First off, this is one of the most fully featured 3D fan projects that I've ever experienced and the amount of work here really does show. The team should be recognized for that alone.

With that being said though, there are a lot of issues. I won't harp on it too much with it purely being a fan made demo but the jank in level design is very apparent. The game sort of expects you to know how every system works (along with their rough patches) right off the bat and, with an overabundance of pitfalls, it's really all a test of trial and error. I really don't know how someone with no experience with this style of gameplay would handle some of these sections. They're just not intuitive for the most part. While the mechanics themselves are solid, some of the segments in this level aren't.

And that second level... yikes, it's just not good. The game just isn't in a good enough state to be doing such platforming where the penalty for failure is completely starting over. Hell, even in a complete and tight platformer I'd question a level like this. Having to start over because of one bad jump just isn't fun. It's repetitive and got annoying quickly.

After that there are also just a number of technical issues that keep the gameplay from being enjoyable. The camera doesn't always keep track of what's coming up during loops (which really shouldn't be an issue in a boost game). Glitches are abundant. It really isn't optimized (on a processing level) in a number of areas and, while the special effects are great, the actual texture work of these levels are early 2010s Unreal dev tool asset quality. They really don't mesh well with what are, otherwise, well made Sonic series assets.

Also, for the few lines that are there, that script could use a second pass. Sonic sounds so gd robotic and unnatural with these lines.

Now with this all being said, a lot of this is par for the course with projects like this. For what it is, the proof of concept is there. This is more along the lines of what I wish ST would do with the main series than anything else they've put out in the last 8 or so years. It's great seeing the 3D fan game space starting to turn out more complex offerings like this. Moving away from simple Unreal/ Unity engine tech demos, or custom engine playgrounds that don't lead anywhere.

If the team behind this can optimize what's here (and probably just remove that second level)... a lot of good could come from this.

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  • 2 months later...
Styx_Linoone

This looks amazing, both aesthetically and in game play. I wish Sonic Team would make something like this, they'll probably stick to boost for the time being.

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iambitter21

Russian shadow... that's all I'll say. This team needs a better acting coach, this voice acting is bland and boring.

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Was curious why this was called White Jungle. 

On 3/27/2020 at 3:37 PM, McGroose said:

I think it looks pretty good. The graphics definetly look good at least. I'm kinda getting sonic 06 vibes in a way.... well, if 06 was good, anyway. 

I'll download it later and give it a try.

Glad I'm not the only one who immediately saw Sonic's Tropical Jungle.

On 6/23/2020 at 1:58 AM, antyep said:

And they made a new episode, Shadow of Water.

And it looks so amazing! Though the voice acting and dialogue can use some uh...work, everything is so beautiful!

https://gamejolt.com/games/Sonic2020/469351

Shadow of Water huh?  Hm.

That monster does look more marshy than anything and the bits of boss fight against it is probably why the boost games generally stick to runner or in short spurts platforming bosses.

Like that they included the bike, btw.

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MetalSkulkBane

I agree with @Strickerx5 on impressive size, this is closest to finished 3D fan Sonic game I ever seen. Not 2D, 2,5D or fighting game, actual game, cutscenes bosses and everything. At times (albeit short) you can forget it's fanmade. I'm hyped we finally reaching the day where something like that is possible.

With that said, why this thing has no real tittle other than "Sonic 2020"? It sucks.

Petty complain? Maybe, but seems like easiest to fix. Even "Sonic Revelation" would be  by generic, but accurate according to the story premise. Sonic Clash, Sonic Destiny, Sonic Jewel, Sonic Spiral. It's not that hard. All of those are now by me. 

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  • antyep changed the title to Sonic Omens (formerly Sonic 2020)
antyep
On 6/26/2020 at 2:55 AM, MetalSkulkBane said:

With that said, why this thing has no real tittle other than "Sonic 2020"? It sucks.

Petty complain? Maybe, but seems like easiest to fix. Even "Sonic Revelation" would be  by generic, but accurate according to the story premise. Sonic Clash, Sonic Destiny, Sonic Jewel, Sonic Spiral. It's not that hard. All of those are now by me. 

Or how about Sonic Omens?

 

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charmsb

It's definitely janky but I'm a bit annoyed at how much they rely on Ori and the Blind Forest for creative decisions. Soundtracks, location names, setpieces, I mean come on

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Scritch the Cat

I am at the moment trying to play this game.  Just getting it to display correctly requires a lot of clicking the window, but once I get that and go to “New Game” I get stuck on the ensuing Select Episode screen.  I don’t mean it freezes; I mean pressing play does not seem to do anything.  What is wrong here?

Edit: In the “Select Level” mode The Wellspring loads just fine, so I’m not sure what is going on here.

 

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Strickerx5

Just played the demo.

Patreon mess aside (for now), the team has made a lot of progress over the last year. A lot of the jank I wrote about last time has been addressed (at least in the first few levels) and the game just, overall, feels a lot better to play. Hell, they even made that tree level barrable this time (still not a fan of its overall design though).

Again, it bares repeating, I am ecstatic that more full-fledged fan-games such as this are starting to show up. This project really is forming into a complete package experience. A story (though I feel it does raise more questions than it answers which, fair enough, this is a demo and all but still), cutscenes (special shoutout to having a multitude of environments and not just levels), a connected world, multiple characters, full use of the Sonic toolset; it's flat out amazing. This really is what I'd like to see from official releases.

This all being said though, there are still a few issues that I took away from my time with this demo. For starters, I'm simply not a fan of Shadow's chaos abilities. I feel that most of them fall into the tired old stop and go mentality which really doesn't mesh well with boost gameplay (that chaos spear in particular).

Also, in terms of stop and go mechanics, the later levels also had quite a number of them in general across all three play styles. Personally, I really don't feel as though things like gate switches belong in a Sonic game (especially in a boost game) but I know that everyone sees them differently. Though, again, I really do think these things kill all of the flow that most of these sections bring. When I'm going full speed through great obstacles only to be hit with a room where I have to defeat all enemies or hit a switch to progress... I don't know, I'm just not a fan of that.

It should also be said that I am not big on any of the bosses here. I wouldn't call any of them necessarily bad, but I do think that the timing on when you can actually hit them (and how many hits they need to be taken down) needs to be greatly tweaked. As it stands, I personally find them to be long segments of waiting for the AI to do the one move that I can hit them afterwards on. Not particularly enjoyable.

In terms of artstyle, while I do think that a lot of assets in here are starting to mesh well with the environment (especially in the new levels), I do still feel like that whole "Unreal asset kit" problem is present. It's a minor thing as the game still looks decent as is imo, but I do think that a bit more work going into making some textures more... (I don't want to say "cartoony" because that shit can and has been taken all the wrong ways in this series) colorful and soft, I think it'd go a long way. Again, I do love the detail in certain assets though.

Lastly, I do still think the voice acting needs work. It's a lot better than it was a year ago (especially Sonic), but it sounds like they're using most of the VA's first takes in here. You can tell when they trip over lines and it happens often. Not to mention the actual sound quality of the voice work being all over the place.

Overall, while there's still certainly large areas where improvement can be made, what's here is pretty damn impressive. I can easily say it won't be everyone's cup of tea but, for me, I really did enjoy most of my time with it.

 

Now, with all that being said, I do want to hit on the Patreon mess a tad bit.

I'm still admittedly learning exactly what's going on here but I am conflicted. First and foremost, they shouldn't be taking money for this project directly, period. That's just asking for Sega to get involved with a C&D and that could easily jeopardize any other fan project. In a time where the community is making so many advancements, that shit would be damning.

Looking over the team's Patreon, I don't currently see any mention of Sonic at the time of writing which is a good thing. I don't know if that was always the case (again I'm still learning) but in the here and now, I do believe that this is a way to go. I don't personally believe that the team shouldn't take donations as a studio itself. They seem to have other, original projects going so I believe that should be highlighted when looking for cash. This is what a ton of other fan artist do so I don't really see an issue in following that route. As far as Omens goes though, any direct links to that content and the Patreon account (or paid benefits in general) needs to be scrubbed. We all know that if this was any other company in this position, Omens would've been hit with a C&D long ago. Let's not test them please.

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Scritch the Cat

Got it to work; apparently I must click play with the mouse immediately after entering that screen.  Confusing

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Scritch the Cat

An update: So, I wanted to give this the benefit of the doubt.  A work in progress game is bound to have some rough spots, and I'm willing to see them through for the sake of assessing the full product.  But upon getting to Waterfall Chase and repeatedly being killed by something, I couldn't figure out what, I gave up, and now I am ready to say that this game is not very good at all.

Let's start with what many consider to be its good point; the presentation.  I will agree with the general sentiment that of all Sonic fangames, this is the one that "feels" the most like an actual, for-profit game; whatwith its voice acting, animated cutscenes, and worldbuilding.  However, it really doesn't feel like a Sonic game.  Maybe that sounds about as subjective as opinions get, given Sonic has been a variety of different things by now, but aside from the occasional jokes from Sonic and Tails, the tone seems all wrong.  Honestly, if this reminds me of any Sonic game that game is Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, except that game was at least more humorous.  This one's too wrapped up in being some sort of serious fantasy epic where the main narrative focus is just figuring out what is going on.  While past Sonic games have incorporated some Lovecraftian elements, they didn't compromise almost all levity for their sake, and while there were maybe one or two tracks I liked in this game the rest of the music I found a generic, forgettable bore.  I'm not a big fan of ambient game music in general, but if there's one series I think it's particularly ill-suited for, it's Sonic.  I feel music in this series needs to set a pace for the level it's in; since that has been its usual policy from game one it inevitably feels wrong when that's abandoned.  Finally, whose idea was it to make characters' pupils reflect light but not their irises?  For lack of a better word, that looks creepy.

Now in terms of gameplay, while a lot of 3D Sonic fangames have some issues this one does feel worse than most.  Another thing I'll admit to not being a fan of in general is the boost, and I have, many times, but there are games using the boost that play, at least, cleanly enough.  That may very well be since they have a lot of forced 2D sections, invisible walls, maybe even pre-scripted paths Sonic snaps to when he boosts.  In games where Sonic is given full freedom of movement, I'm not saying I'm sure boost can't work but this game sure doesn't convince me that it can.  In truth, a lot of it doesn't seem designed to use the boost; some levels don't even seem designed for fast running except for some steep sections placed as obstacles but again since those are obstacles and one has to use the boost at some points, it must be observed that it feels very clumsy.  Sonic veers off-course too easily, especially when paths are narrow and at their far right and left are cliffs or walls that Sonic can run on, and the quick-step also seems like it doesn't really move in lengths that are useful for these environments.  The homing attack also seems comparatively weak, and I think it might be worsened by how the trajectory is made too fast by the combination of boost and freedom of movement.  I had a few too many times when the attack couldn't hit what it was supposed to.

The first boss seems unfair with its combination of attacks that chase Sonic and Egg pawns scattered around; that is because this attack requires Sonic to run towards the camera and thus players can't see what are in his path.

Regarding Level Design, it's okay at best.  Some of it would probably be something good if the game can manage to improve how it controls, but with them that finicky it feels like one has to be much too cautious in this game.  The plane stages are generally unremarkable; it doesn't make sense that the plane can stop totally in midair instead of always moving forward, and while I don't demand realism on that front it feels like the levels are designed more around the plane being able to stop than the plane being able to fly quickly.  That section where it has to enter spinning barrels through a gap and then wait for the gap to spin to the other side to go out is awful; confusing and boring.  The worm boss I found much easier to stay totally still except for dodging.  In other words, these stages do not feel designed for a jet fighter.  I will second that the stage where you have to get up a tree via jumping and exploration, and one slip up will send Sonic back to the bottom, is awful. Utterly awful and if that was the first stage I wouldn't even continue playing it.  It would be obnoxious but managable in games whose controls and moveset were made for such tasks, but Sonic's were not.  The water at the bottom seems put there for no other reason than to prolong the level while players search for air bubbles.  As noted, I didn't bother with that Waterfall Chase level since I had no idea what kept killing me.

Oh, and fix that bit about starting the game and selecting a chapter; it's either glitched or badly designed.

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