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Fish964

Shadow the Hedgehog (2005) is SORELY misunderstood

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Posted (edited)

So if the title of my post does not already imply this, I LOVE that weird little game known simply as 'Shadow the Hedgehog'.

Now before I start rambling about why I think this game deserves a break, I will begin this post by acknowledging the downsides of this game:

- vehicles (aside maybe the jumping... thing) are utterly useless

- the game literally works against you in some missions e.g. a hero mission that is littered with G.U.N. soldiers

- the melee punch/kick combo attack is more pointless than the aforementioned vehicles

- a number of the firearms are more hassle than they are worth. Case in point, the rpg. You often have to stand dead in tour tracks just to aim the damn thing. Even then, chances of actually hitting anything are pretty slim.

Of course there are countless many flaws with this game but I just wanted to show that I DO get that this is far from a masterfully engineered piece of work.

However.....

Shadow the Hedgehog is still a fun game. It controls better than Sonic Heroes (2003), has more graphical flourish (admittedly with far less colourful enviroments) and the gunplay I do find highly satisfying. Stocking up on assault rifle ammo and mowing down enemies at top speed is fun for the whole family.

And yes, I adore the branching mission/story structure that the game allows. I love that the Neutral story is Shadow's personal vendetta against Eggman. I like the Hero storylines exploring his sensitivities. And of course, the dark segments let us BE the shadow of the Sonic world. Yes, much of it is silly, overly dramatic and at times, completely nonsensical. But is it fun? Yes. Is it satisfying to reach a certain ending based on your choices? Yes. Is the narrative supposed to be the next Pulp Fiction? Of course it isn't.

Above all else, this game FEELS good to play. Taking the best elements of Sonic Heroes, giving us a pretty wide range of firearms and setting us lose on a world of numerous possibilities and adventure? With a protagonist who possesses far more depth than Sonic and Tails combined? Then yeah, as an Action/Adventure fan, sign me up.

So I would love to know what people think of this game nowadays. I am not looking to fight people or say people are wrong. I honestly just wish to hear people's opinions/perceptions towards the game and why they do/do not like it and for which reasons. Looking forward to hearing from people!

Edited by Fish964

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3 minutes ago, Fish964 said:

So I would love to know what people think of this game nowadays

I hate it.

The controls may be better than Heroes', but only by a fraction; you'll still be careening around like a rocket-propelled drunk on ice if you ever try to go fast, the homing attack is just as limp and unreliable as it was in Heroes, and the awkwardness of most attacks, weapons, and vehicles still counts against it on this point. The gunplay, if you can even call it that, is never satisfying even when it works. You don't have the precision nor the visceral effects of an actual decent shooter; you just hold/mash fire while pointing vaguely towards enemies and eventually they fall over. If I want to be a gun-toting edgelord, why would I be satisfied with a game where the human enemies just grunt and fall over, compared to one where I can pop their heads like watermelons with a well aimed shot?

The branching story and moral choices to explore different sides of Shadow could've been interesting...but in practice it's just nonsense. Not only do your choices not drive the story, they hardly even make sense; you can reach most levels through a number of different moral paths, you can work with one side for one stage then betray them the next with no logical explanation, and where you end up next almost never has anything to do with what you just did. And then they don't even have the guts to commit to letting the player choose their own Shadow, with the Last Story ignoring everything you did and deciding Shadow's fate itself.

And it's not even dumb in a fun way. If it was big dumb action schlock I could appreciate it on that level, but it takes itself too seriously, never truly letting loose and going over the top.

It's not quite the worst game in the series and if you just went for one or two endings it's bearable (excluding a couple of particularly awful missions) but there is very, very little in it that I could possibly praise. 

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I don't think it's sorely misunderstood...

Since you literally have your own experience to go on, it's impossible to misunderstand your own feelings about a game.

That is...disregarding the story of course.

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I do actually prefer Shadow to Sonic Heroes. I feel like its control is a pretty solid improvement, including on a mechanical level; the light dash is arguably the best out of the Adventure series, as it's mapped to its own separate button and isn't nearly as glitched out as Heroes (as well as actually carrying momentum on the ground), and the rail switching actually works. Even the spindash isn't entirely worthless, though it's nowhere near SA1 or SA2.

The gunplay isn't atrocious despite how absurd it looks, and there's more variety in its means of padding than Heroes having you constantly do the same levels again but with minor tweaks, or just made longer. And while Shadow does have some absolutely atrocious levels, you never actually have to play the worst of them to see the Last Story. On the other hand, you do basically have to do each route twice to get each route's different ending, but I can at least choose to mix things up. 

This all makes it sounds like I think Shadow is great, but... no. It's still a bad game, it's just that I utterly despise Heroes in comparison, which says more about Heroes than Shadow.

On the whole it's still a fairly tedious game to play through, it has no shortage of shit missions even in the better levels, and visually it leans towards being extremely bleak above anything else. The bosses are also pretty damn shit. I don't care about the lore of Sonic too much, but this game's contribution to it is so bloody dumb that I actively try and forget it happened in that regard. It's a game that is so dumb that I can just laugh at how absurd it is on a surface level, but as Dio pointed out... I don't think that was the point, sadly.

It's a real shame too, because the game's expert mode is arguably how things should've just been - an absolute ton of A-B levels to run, jump and shoot through. That works fine, especially given how pretty much meaningless the 'choose your Shadow' stuff ultimately is. In the end, I don't think Shadow's misunderstood. It's bad and people give it a sound kicking for it. But I do think it makes some legitimate improvements on the mess that was Heroes, that get glossed over.

 

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I'm still very much mixed on this game, about as much as I was when I played it as a 12 year old in 2005. There are things I like about it, and things I absolutely hated on my run that prevented me from ever going back to it.

In terms of the things I liked; the levels are far more open with a focus on exploration, which prevents the high speed cap from feeling too intrusive. I died far less going fast in this game than I ever did in Heroes. The branching path system is a good way of incentivising replayability and seeing how your actions affect your overall progress. The weapon system is simple to grasp, and there are plenty of weapons to choose from which helps the overall combat focus the game was going for.  The music is easily the unique and interesting parts of the game, as Jun Senoue experiments with a sound aesthetic that captures the feel of the Adventure era, but way more in line with the darker tone the game was going for. In terms of story, I know it's meme'd to death nowadays, but the idea of having a game focused on another character besides Sonic was, and is a great thing and I feel this game ENDS on Shadow in a much better place than his initial ending in SA2.

 

And now for the other side...(sigh)

The greater focus on exploration means the levels are far bigger, which means depending on which mission you are doing, the levels can get extremely tedious and nowhere is this more apparent than in Lost Impact. The level can take up to a half an hour simply because you missed one of those goddamn artificial Chaos, and there's no way to search for them so you just have to go through the entire level and hope you get lucky. 

I mentioned that the levels are more open to accomodate for Shadow's speed before, but that just makes the moments the game throws actual platforming to you a bigger pain in the ass. The outside segments of Gun Forretress, and certain parts of Cosmic Fall. The game is NOT designed for precise platforming, and yet it insists on throwing as much at you anyway. 

The branching story has literally no impact on the narrative at all; you can follow a straight hero path and then suddenly switch to a dark path and the story will play out the same as it always does. Not only does it ruin the entire point of branching paths, it makes all of the characters extremely inconsistent and destroys my suspension of disbelief. And most damning of all, is the fact that none of it even fucking matters because the last story just invalidates any path you took. 

Lastly, for a game about Shadow, there sure are a lot of characters who have little connection to him in this game and impact the plot very little. I think every supporting character at the time was in this game, and NONE of them have a direct connection to Shadow, not even characters like Rouge, Omega, or Sonic himself. Its like they weren't confident Shadow could carry the game himself and wanted to remind everyone that it was still a Sonic game. 

 

 

I'll probably replay this game eventually; but yea, those are my current thoughts. It has a lot of potentially good ideas, especially nowadays within the series where its not really trying anything new at all. But the shoddy execution of it all just kind of kills it all for me. I know nostalgia for the Adventure games is pretty high right now, so this game is probably getting a lot more recognition lately which is good, but I REALLY can't ever forget how shoddy a lot of it's design decisions were and that fully prevents me from fully embracing it from a nostalgic standpoint. It's a nice concept that I feel the series should explore again, but as it is, it's just a mediocre Sonic game and an even worse video game in general.

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To this day I still pretty much agree with Johnny’s take on Shadow the Hedgehog 

Shits boring as all hell and very forgettable. I definitely find myself entertained more by titles like Sonic 06 which are at least memorable and eventful, even if for the wrong reasons, and have me laughing during its gameplay for how broken it can get. Shadow ever rarely if at all has me doing any of that. 06 definitely is the worst game objectively, and yet I’d still rather play it. Bad > boring in my book 

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I remember this game specifically being the first game I ever sold back to EB games back when I was 13, two days after the game was released. I made sure I got all A ranks and got everything for 2p mode before sending it off though (I wanted to at least make my parent's money worth it), and it was specifically because of the controls that I just couldn't stand the game and had to get rid of it. For me personally, a game can have all sorts of bells and whistles attached to it whether it's content rich or has the slickest art direction, but if it controls horribly, then it's an immediate turn off for me. 

I've even recently played StH with my younger bro just around two months ago (we were going on a Sonic nostalgia trip). He still enjoys it. Enough so that he even got around to the last levels of the game on his own time. I played for about 5 seconds however and immediately remembered why I didn't like the game. My lil bro even tried to coax me into playing 2p again with my response being a resounding "Hellllll no" in G minor haha.

So yea, I'll have to hard disagree with you on how the game feels. To me, it feels significantly worse than Heroes. Heroes might be a lil slippery at times, but at least when controlling the characters, they are tight enough that you can move your thumb stick in a full 360 and your characters will follow suit immediately. StH is not like that at all. He feels so massively restricted when trying to simply turn around. He has to make these long winding swoops to turn when going at even moderate speeds too. It's just so awful and ridiculous to me. He's supposed to be nimble and acrobatic like Sonic and is 3ft ffs, so why does he feel more so that I'm trying to turn a large tank at a 4 way? lol.

The gunplay never excited me all that much, too. You don't ever look through any scopes, recoil is non existent, which is expected in a game like this, but you're left with pretty much every gunplay all fulfilling the same purpose with them just meagerly hitting it's target (sometimes) with little to no impact. I have more fun doing Chaos Blasts and control, though. I wish they focused more on making up chaos powers instead now that I think about it. I'm trying to recall if this game had some type of Billy Hatcher gun where you trap people in eggs... I vaguely remember something like that but I wish there were more gun types that actually did different things as well. They should've gotten crazy with the gun types since they chose this route. 

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As far as being an actual video game goes it's a mechanical improvement of it's direct successor in every way but it's still not very good. The level design is wider and the controls are tightened. It's still not a smooth playing experience but you'll rarely die due to the sloppy controls in comparison. The wall jump has a little walk for some added fluidity. The light dash and rail switch mechanics finally just work without any asterisks attached. The combat sections are toned down even when they aren't rendered entirely moot by the weapons. Chaos Control and Chaos Blast were fun toys when I was younger and I like how they fed into the morality system but they were too game breaking for me to be crazy about them.

Gunplay is largely glossed over as a nothing addition and with non-interactive as it is it's easy to see why. You press the B button to melt enemy health bars. The weapon system almost feels like a last minute addition compared to how prominent it is in the marketing. It does serve one valuable purpose by letting you completely bypass the beat em up system that plagued this era of Sonic games. That's hilarious but not a solid enough reason for their inclusion on their own. The occasional odd ball gun like the omochao gun or the chicken gun is fun to use, but the vast majority of them function the same. You don't even get access to a cool spread weapon like a shotgun or something. It was probably a bad idea in the first place but it also feels like a missed oppurtunity in a lot of ways too.

I like the open ended level progression a lot better than the structure in any of the 3D Sonic games before or since, but a lot of the missions that unlock new levels are Heroes chaotix levels of tedium instead of being something cool like finding a new exit or searching off the beaten path for a collectible. Some cool missions do actually make it into the game along with some okay ones like "Find enough rings". They did enough to keep replaying the campaign interesting but you get the sense that they couldn't actually build enough interesting missions to support this fanning map concept. I still think it's a good idea overall that I would like for them to revisit in basically any type of Sonic game though. 2D, 3D, Adventure, Boost, doesn't matter. Being able to chart my own path through a shorter campaign is an appealing concept especially since this series is best in short burst sessions of replay-ability anyway.

In terms of gameplay it's just mediocre. I think it's better than most people give it credit for but that's not saying a lot. 

In terms of aesthetic, Shadow the Hedgehog's bizarre tone, insane plot  points, hilarious fucking dialogue from the moment to moment and the genuine sincerity it commits to it all to elevate it to one of the most genuinely entertaining things in this franchise to me, especially when I'm not the one playing it. 

In the intro Shadow cocks guns and rides around on a motorcycle that appears in one level and is so flimsy that it's virtually useless in the actual game. You can't walk 2 steps in the intro level without witnessing an explosion. Shadow is pondering the apparent mysteries of his past while Sonic is having the time of his goddamned life int the background as death, destruction and Jun Senoue roar in the background. The attempt to lighten up Sonic's character is appreciated but in the face of the actual, genuine apocalypse he starts to come off like a psychopath. The cutesy characters get shoved off into a corner of the map because nobody is sure what to do with them. 

There are so many little moments in this game that have hilarious implications on the characters and their world. The president ponders over Sonic and Shadow with a picture of them on their desk where his family probably should be. The chaotix spend most of the alien invasion chasing the bag with little consequences. Shadow announces to himself, privately and proudly, that taking candy from games is fine. 

The well reasoned and thoughtful Shadow devolves so rapidly over the course of the game into a gremlin. He's so inconsistent depending on what you choose to do and with so little connective tissue being applied to this open ended story the results can be hilarious. Shadow will be chilling with Black Doom in one cutscene and putting a serious dent in his plans an hour later. You can ignore people he actually has a relationship with and help team Chaotix with their chores. You can rob Eggman's theme park and put a dent in his bank account in what is strangely one of the only missions where Tails is present.

I just love telling people about the shit that happens in this game and the scenarios it sets up. Shadow can non lethally  spray machine guns into crowds of soldiers. Shadow can destroy central city. Shadow can enter the matrix. Shadow can attempt to assassinate the president. Shadow can fire the eclipse cannon at the white house. Shadow can stop aliens from destroying the planet or change his mind and join the fun at the last minute. 

The tone deafness of the game peaks in the flashback level based on the Ark massacre, where normal 12 year old girl Maria is allowed free reign to one shot armed soldiers and take machine gun fire like a shove to the ground before she dies from a stray bullet later. There's a tragic nuance to the Adventure games that this game breaks over it's knee several times over. That kind of thing makes it a worse addition to the lore to me than any of the alien stuff, but it's also so fucking hilarious at the same time. 

I can't decide if this game shouldn't exist or not. Would it be better for Sonic's lore or reputation if it didn't? Probably, but that kind of thing is so easy to ignore to me and this schlock brings me so much joy. 

If nothing else I think the game ends pretty well. Shadow being given demonic ancestors is about as nuanced as a sledge hammer to the face but he eradicates them all with the same level of over the top destructive energy by warping them in front of the eclipse cannon and firing it. Gerald's ultimate ambition to do good comes full circle, Shadow has no more insecurities about his origins even if he doesn't get the full picture, and he's finally ready to move forward, for good this time. It's loud, dumb, over the top garbage with a heart of gold. Exactly how I like my Sonic games to be.

If this game wasn't such a sloppy, middling playing experience I would probably be it's biggest fan, but as it is now it'll be that game I just think about every once in a while and start laughing. Not a good game. Not a good direction for the series to go, but I'll always consider it a good time.

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Honestly, the biggest mark I can give against this game is that it has, irrevocably, destroyed Shadow's reputation as a character in the eyes of the public. 

Absolutely nobody takes that character seriously anymore because of this game. So much so that he became the poster boy for an entire subculture of memes.

Ow_the_edge.jpg

When someone talks about Edgelords, you can bet your ass that Shadow will come up.

Shit like this is going to be Shadow's legacy in the public eye. Fuck SA2, this who Shadow is now.

 

It's so sad that it wraps around to being absolutely hilarious. It sucks if you're a fan of the character and want him to be taken seriously, but becoming a meme has ironically breathed new life into the character and kind immortalized him forever. Probably not the type of reputation that fans want, but it what it is.

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It's like with Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII. Everyone stereotypes him as a perpetually depressed mope when he was NOTHING like that in the game he originated from. (Thanks to lackluster tie-in material like Advent Children) Hopefully the remake has opened people's eyes to his original, true characterization.

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On 7/11/2020 at 3:28 AM, Kuzu said:

Honestly, the biggest mark I can give against this game is that it has, irrevocably, destroyed Shadow's reputation as a character in the eyes of the public. 

Absolutely nobody takes that character seriously anymore because of this game. So much so that he became the poster boy for an entire subculture of memes.

Ow_the_edge.jpg

When someone talks about Edgelords, you can bet your ass that Shadow will come up.

Shit like this is going to be Shadow's legacy in the public eye. Fuck SA2, this who Shadow is now.

 

It's so sad that it wraps around to being absolutely hilarious. It sucks if you're a fan of the character and want him to be taken seriously, but becoming a meme has ironically breathed new life into the character and kind immortalized him forever. Probably not the type of reputation that fans want, but it what it is.

I don't think this is true. Mostly because I don't think the core audience of sonic really gives two shits and if sega was a competent company company that's who they would focus on. And I don't mean people like you or me, rather children and young teens. Shadow's still popular as hell and never stopped being that. Kingdom hearts is some wild kind of embarrassing emotional edgy bullshit but nomura doesn't make games for the people who think that shit. He makes games for the people who's into his specific brand of bullshit.

The public eye doesn't matter if they aren't giving you money. And new life didn't get breathed into anything if the character was still popular. Make shit for the people willing to actually support you and keep it pushing.

You think the kids who made the sonic movie succesful give a crap sonic kissed a human lady? No

Do you think the people who are gonna See sonic 3:Shadow fall or whatever will give a crap shadow had a gun or said damn? Nope.

Heck I didn't even mention that so much time has passed there's a new generation who just unironically like that game, and the guns, and the fact he says damn a lot. Like kids don't care, they like the cool hedgehog what emo sometimes.

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I will admit, I have a lot of resentment for people who believe that Shadow's game was an embarrassment. It's such a common and poorly elaborated on opinion that people share constantly, even in videos that are made to show support and positivity for Sonic. A video about how the "Dark Age of Sonic" was actually amazing? Still have to put Shadow down. A video about the consistently memorable and fitting music in Sonic's entire history? Still need to mention that Shadow's game has bad controls and was a bad experience despite its kickass metal, industrial music. Sonic Adventure 2 was amazing? Just HAVE to say that Shadow's subsequent game that develops him further was "an insult to his character" and "ruined him by making him an emo angst machine who lost all depth."

Shadow the Hedgehog was a Choose Your Own Adventure that focused primarily on motifs of grief and identity. Shadow's internal conflict, his fragmented state of mind, having to put up with what feels like dozens of strangers demanding things from him and insisting he help them when he barely even knows who he is, what he stands for, why he stands for them. The only time he enthusiastically leaps into doing something rather than being forcibly coerced into doing it, the only cutscene where someone asks for his help and he dives right into it, determined to do as he's told, is when Maria begs him to help defend his home in Lost Impact. Sure, everyone hates that level because it's too long and it's hard to find the Artificial Chaos, but it also did an immense amount to build up and flesh out what life was like on Space Colony ARK. How being attacked by monsters was unusual, how Maria was extremely confused that monstrous weapons were being developed when it was supposed to have a focus on the betterment of mankind, that Maria complains that the Ark is huge and confusing, mentions how Shadow liked to slide down the slopes and find hidden passageways to share with her, her constant concern for others and putting the wellbeing of the Ultimate Lifeform above her own when she always reminds Shadow to be careful not to fall.

Shadow the Hedgehog showed multiple facets of Shadow's personality through the choices you made as the player. YOU are the one who decides which friend to help and why, you interpret and come to understand the most likely reasons for why Shadow chooses to help Eggman defend his Cryptic Castle, you decide whether you want to help the Chaotix with their investigation and why, you see how he behaves and what state of mind he'd most likely be in as a consequence of helping Black Doom all the time and drowning in cruelty because the pain of losing so much of his own mind is unbearable. Shadow was the most complex character ever introduced to the Sonic games with no easy way to determine why he'd do the things he does, up until his character arc culminates in him choosing to throw away his past, move forward with his life, kill the demon that wants only destruction (Black Doom), and forgive the people who did what they thought was best (GUN and the Commander) to the point where he chooses to work with them in Sonic 06 and grows closer to Team Dark until he knows he can rely on them, that he can do the right thing and CONTINUE to do it because it's what HE wants to do, not just what Maria had asked of him with her dying words.

The reason Mephiles' attempts to manipulate and control Shadow don't work is BECAUSE of Shadow's experiences during his own game, his bad memory and the chaotic circumstances of his life and his encounters and ultimate destruction of the Black Arms. It's BECAUSE of the game where he says curse words and shoots people with the guns that Shadow was able to grow and determine his own identity, what he wants to do, why he wants to do it. The entire reason Shadow says that amazing line at the end of 06 is BECAUSE he has faced the world turning against him before, he fought back, and he still wishes to do good in the world. Shadow the Hedgehog's video game was ABOUT him, and ABOUT growing and developing an identity in the face of overwhelming evils and mistakes.

I was 10 years old when I played Shadow for the first time, and I did not give a shit about him having guns and saying curse words. I thought that was really cool, and I had no reason to believe that it was in any way incongruous with his personality or the world of Sonic the Hedgehog. I thought it was cool. I found the skill ceiling of learning how to run fast, the discovery of where all the Specific Things are in such-and-such level, exploring the levels with a buddy and hearing the things they say and what kind of conversation they try to strike up with Shadow, the coherent narratives that you CAN make with specific choices and pathways. I love this game, I see nothing inherently wrong with it and I really appreciate that this thread exists so I can finally speak my mind about this cartoon hedgehog alien hybrid from space.

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7 hours ago, Shadowlax said:

I don't think this is true. Mostly because I don't think the core audience of sonic really gives two shits and if sega was a competent company company that's who they would focus on. And I don't mean people like you or me, rather children and young teens. Shadow's still popular as hell and never stopped being that. Kingdom hearts is some wild kind of embarrassing emotional edgy bullshit but nomura doesn't make games for the people who think that shit. He makes games for the people who's into his specific brand of bullshit.

The public eye doesn't matter if they aren't giving you money. And new life didn't get breathed into anything if the character was still popular. Make shit for the people willing to actually support you and keep it pushing.

You think the kids who made the sonic movie succesful give a crap sonic kissed a human lady? No

Do you think the people who are gonna See sonic 3:Shadow fall or whatever will give a crap shadow had a gun or said damn? Nope.

Heck I didn't even mention that so much time has passed there's a new generation who just unironically like that game, and the guns, and the fact he says damn a lot. Like kids don't care, they like the cool hedgehog what emo sometimes.

What the fuck are you talking about?

Like for real, what are you trying to get across? You don't think what is true? 

No shit kids like Shadow, that's not who I was referring to when I said that. 

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7 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

What the fuck are you talking about?

Like for real, what are you trying to get across? You don't think what is true? 

No shit kids like Shadow, that's not who I was referring to when I said that. 

I don't think who you were referring to matters much. I think sega's recent floundering has proven this.

Public perception means nothing , at the end of the day the only thing that matters is dollars amigo. Maybe we the fans and sega have invested far too much time worried about public perception whilst other game franchises have gotten away with other horrible fumbles. New life hasn't been breathed into this franchise, rather the smoke of the detractors have been cleared and there is obfuscated view of the obvious people very much still care about sonic its characters and make a lot of that criticism wasn't coming from any constructive place that leads anywhere profitable.

If shit makes money who gives a crap what youtube guy thinks

His kids likes it and his other adult friends odds are don't care much.

So that's what I don't think its true, not just for shadow but for sonic in general. I don't think there is a general public perception of sonic at this point. He's just...kind of a thing that exists.

 

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17 minutes ago, Shadowlax said:

I don't think who you were referring to matters much. I think sega's recent floundering has proven this.

Public perception means nothing , at the end of the day the only thing that matters is dollars amigo. Maybe we the fans and sega have invested far too much time worried about public perception whilst other game franchises have gotten away with other horrible fumbles. New life hasn't been breathed into this franchise, rather the smoke of the detractors have been cleared and there is obfuscated view of the obvious people very much still care about sonic its characters and make a lot of that criticism wasn't coming from any constructive place that leads anywhere profitable.

If shit makes money who gives a crap what youtube guy thinks

His kids likes it and his other adult friends odds are don't care much.

So that's what I don't think its true, not just for shadow but for sonic in general. I don't think there is a general public perception of sonic at this point. He's just...kind of a thing that exists.

 

I think you misunderstood what I was saying. I wasn't referring to anyone in particular; I was just musing how the character's perception has shifted as a result of the game. 

Yes, I know public opinion is irrelevant, yes I know kids will still like Shadow. None of those things were the point of what I was saying. 

 

All I said is that the game has made him the poster child of meme culture; that's it. So I don't know where you got...everything else that you said from.

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I’m in the ‘I like this game’ camp.
Sure it has problems.. and it will never be as good as Sonic Adventure 1 and 2, Sonic Generations, Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Colors in my eyes.. but at least it wasn’t a glitch ridden mess like Sonic 06. 
 

Sonic 06 is the ONLY Sonic game I never completed because the glitches infuriated me so much.

It’s funny how people often say all 3D Sonic games are full of glitches and bad cameras yet apart from Sonic 06, I have never found ANY glitches in a 3D Sonic game.

 

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My biggest complaint about Shadow the Hedgehog is that the choices you make often don't really make sense.

For example, in Cryptic Castle, you can choose to help or hinder Dr. Eggman. But even if you help him, he'll immediately attack you in the boss fight afterward and act surprised that you're even there. This is far from the only time this happens. Plenty of choices the player makes seems to have no real bearing on the game's predetermined choices, which I think takes a lot of the fun out of a game supposedly built around making your own path.

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Absolutely. The game was ambitious for including such a mechanic alongside 3d platforming and gunplay, but it could absolutely improve in the narrative cohesion department. With the CYOA elements being just a part of the whole rather than a core mechanic, it lacks narrative flow and relies on the imagination or choice consistency of the player. This could be considered a good thing or a bad thing, depending on who you ask and if they like to write fanfic or not. 

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12 hours ago, calamityCons said:

Shadow the Hedgehog was a Choose Your Own Adventure...

The game has a "Last Story"...

7 hours ago, StarWarsSonic said:

It’s funny how people often say all 3D Sonic games are full of glitches and bad cameras yet apart from Sonic 06, I have never found ANY glitches in a 3D Sonic game.

You must be a very lucky person.

Also personal experience rarely ever matter in this situation.

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Well, I for one actually do enjoy the game. I had a lot of fun with it back in the day. But, much like Sonic Heroes, I recognize that objectively it's a rather flawed game. But to me, it's not flawed enough to not be fun. Unlike something like Black Knight or Rise of Lyric. *Shudders*

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I agree with the OP in some places. I never disliked Shadow as a game. The platforming and controls were decent, and I too loved the branching paths.

Overall, imo a much better game than Heroes. But the guns and edginess were stupid.

I haven't actually played it in about 15 years, but I had a blast when it first came out. It was a bit cringy though.

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8 hours ago, StaticMania said:

The game has a "Last Story"...

I understand if having a Last Story disqualifies the game as a CYOA in your opinion. In my opinion, the mechanics of your decisions affecting what level progression you experience and multiple endings of the game alongside the implementation of who you murder or what you choose to save or if you just don't care and run to the chaos emerald at the end of the stage all qualify it as a significant departure from a linear story. Perhaps it could be considered closer to an RPG, in that sense? Mass Effect also has many story paths that you can take or ignore to get different endings, even if they usually have a singular climactic finale.

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I really appreciate the ambition behind the game, but I have to say that, overall, I really didn't enjoy playing through it as recently as last year. Heroes is the only game in the series I've played that I've had to put down, and I don't think I'll ever go back to it, so StH being built on that framework does it a huge disservice right out of the gate. Worse still is the fact that it's a direct sequel to Heroes, which frankly ought to have just left Shadow peacefully dead with how it treated him.

SA2 is one of my favorite games of all time, and I say that as someone who only became a fan of this series three years ago. A big part of that has to do with its tone, narrative and characters.

StH, while being a sequel to Heroes, is also a direct sequel to SA2, revisiting many touchstones from it, but I have to say I feel it really doesn't understand any of those touchstones. StH had the task of carrying on with a bastardized version of a character, and it really only doubled down on everything I hated about that representation of Shadow. I think it was genuinely misguided to harp on amnesia for a second time, as we already know everything about his story. I think jumping the shark by retconning Shadow's existence with the involvement of aliens was an unnecessary and clumsy addition to the lore, and it's not helped by the fact that they really don't do anything interesting with the Black Arms in general. The fact that Maekawa didn't work on this game is painfully apparent all throughout.

All that being said, there were aspects of the game that I didn't find to be quite so abrasive. For one thing, I really liked the buddy system in the game. There's something heartening about running through levels alongside Sonic or Tails, especially in a game with such an overbearingly moody tone. These ever-present partnerships don't entirely succeed in rehabilitating the misguided aims of the game, but they do provide some comfort nonetheless. Running through Final Haunt side by side with Sonic made the adventure feel less hopeless and lonely. The fact that Shadow doesn't have to be alone, that Sonic and friends haven't abandoned him, offered me a glimmer of the optimism inherent the to the first Sonic Adventure that I love so much.

It's probably old hat to talk about how great the soundtrack is, but I really love it across the board. If I had any complaints, it would be that the sound--that is, the hard rock/metal motif--has never struck me as totally appropriate for the character of Shadow, but I realize this is the soundtrack to a game starring Heroes Shadow, not SA2 Shadow. Funnily enough, my favorite track in the game is Lost Impact, which is probably the "softest" piece on offer.

Lost Impact as a level is definitely the highest point of Shadow the Hedgehog for me, I think largely because it starts to get at the themes and ideas that made Shadow and Sonic Adventure 2 so memorable and interesting. Having to terminate all the Artificial Chaos was really tragic to me. Chaos is a reflection of Shadow in many ways, them both being well-meaning, soft creatures who ultimately lash out due to injustice. The fact that Gerald had studied and reproduced him--that these are the only things left of him, and that you have to kill it all as you run through this familiar environment you've never seen from this angle before alongside Maria, with the threat of tragedy looming over it all, was kind of tremendous. I have to wonder if it was by accident...

That is, of course, if you choose the Hero route. There's something to be said about different players having different experiences of the same game, but I think if this game had been more focused, as well as more thoughtful in the way I found Lost Impact to be, I think it would have been better for it in the end.

I resent the label of the "Dark Age" because I think it's an infinitely more preferable era than the current one. Sonic Team wasn't afraid to do bold things with the franchise, for better and certainly for worse, too. But at least it was a time of ambition and vision. The branching paths system for this game is so bananas, I have to respect it, even if I don't think it was executed very gracefully--especially with the existence of a canon ending. I could have absolutely done without the vehicles and the guns, but I respect that, to my memory, you don't really have to engage with those aspects of the game most of the time.

While it's not necessarily the game's fault, I do resent that this is the depiction of this character that stuck; that this has to be the version of Shadow that most people immediately think of, because it's not accurate. At least, it wasn't. Sonic Team have pretty much taken this rendition of the character to its logical extreme and reduced him to a violent egotist who has no friends and an obsession of being better than Sonic.

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2 hours ago, HPX said:

I resent the label of the "Dark Age" because I think it's an infinitely more preferable era than the current one. Sonic Team wasn't afraid to do bold things with the franchise, for better and certainly for worse, too. But at least it was a time of ambition and vision. The branching paths system for this game is so bananas, I have to respect it, even if I don't think it was executed very gracefully--especially with the existence of a canon ending. I could have absolutely done without the vehicles and the guns, but I respect that, to my memory, you don't really have to engage with those aspects of the game most of the time.

Yeah this is kind of ironic. We can have a whole conversation about how scene direction, voice direction what the games present even the gameplay have been watered down to be inoffensive. But its actually worse, while its not quite as bad as a 06 a broken mess. A lot of the newer stuff...isn't good really. The last 3d sonic was forces. The entire point of this direction was to sort of focus on gameplay and core elements of the franchise while forsaking what some very loud members of the audience saw as " superfluous elements " . None of those elements being removed had anything to do with what good games there were , being good. Generations has every friend in it and unleashed has a werehog.Both of those games feature alternate gameplay styles.  And the bad games are still making the same mistakes they have been making before. So its just a much less ambitious , less funded, less interesting version of a thing.

There are younger kids in the fandom who call this new age a " dark age" I would call it the dull age. But it speaks to how people feel about the entire affair.

Quote

While it's not necessarily the game's fault, I do resent that this is the depiction of this character that stuck; that this has to be the version of Shadow that most people immediately think of, because it's not accurate. At least, it wasn't. Sonic Team have pretty much taken this rendition of the character to its logical extreme and reduced him to a violent egotist who has no friends and an obsession of being better than Sonic.

While i'm not afraid to critique sonic team, I don't think its them. I think some person has an idea about what sonic is in the west and they get to control how things are presented here. I could be wrong maybe iizuka is orchestrating everything, but he seems to not be this way in games. So considering Ian Flynn has received specific instructions not to follow those games, i think some folks on the other side of the world have ideas.

As for what he ended up as, I would argue its worse than that. Being better than sonic would be a goal...he's just a violent egotist

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