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Sonic Mania: Any flaws?


MetalSkulkBane

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I don' believe in such thing as "best game ever", but game can come close to being best version of itself

What I'm trying to say it that Sonic Mania was considered pinnacle of 2D Sonic gameplay. And now Mania 2 should be announce any day now (seriously, what's the hold up), but also first hype calmed, I wonder: are there any flaws that Mania 2 needs to fix? Even small ones?

And let's just skip 3 obvious ones:
- more original levels, actual identity beyond "past games in hd"
- better story than some muble-muble plot-device gem with fairly weak conclusion, "go play Forces"
- "adding Amy/HyperSonic/etc" because no matter how good the game is, you can (almost) always just add a little more. If we'll get Amy, I'll demand Metal Sonic. Then Chaotix, finally Modern characters like Shadow or Cream and it never ends. And not having specific content

Here my nitpicks I managed to squeeze

Spoiler

1) Harder bosses (or at least choice of difficulty)

For me best Sonic levels are easy to beat, hard to master and beat in record time. And I wish bosses had the same philosophy. But a lot of them require waiting and no matter how good you are, you can't speed up the process, so I can't force challenge myself.
Heavy Gunner is good example how this sucks.
Also Super Sonic fight is just lame.

2)Let me play Special Stage as unlockable bonus
Come on, Sonic 4 allows that. They are way more fun than Red/Blue Balls or Mean Bean minigame. And it's not new content, the stages are already in game.

3 )There are few "traditions" from the past can could go away
Inst death from being crushed by block wasn't fun in 90s, isn't fun now. Or 10 minute time limit. Or when you loose all lives in Act 2, you start in Act 1.
Also auto scrolling plane level sequence is nostalgic, but doesn't work with Sonic speedy gameplay.
I know those things happen rarely, but should not be there in the first place.

4) Complete Nitpick: Encore Mode/Mania Advntures discontinuity

I'm begin petty, but why have 2 "sonic return" stories that clash with each other? Encore should just not have story at all.

 

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The only major problem I had with this game is the boss design. The stages are probably the best set of levels in a serious with lots of interesting choices to make and ways to optimize your run, so I'd like to see the boss design move away from all the waiting around and linear gameplay and take on a similar open ended approach. 

I actually thought the bosses in the previous classic games were a lot better because there were more opportunities to score more hits if you knew what you were doing. I've seen people say this is "cheesing" and shouldn't be allowed but I prefer the feeling of figuring something like that out to the alternative of long having figured the boss out and just going through the motions. 

Some bosses are designed well but have quirks I don't like. Others are just bad and bring down the experience.  I'd prefer it if the team didn't push themselves to have bosses every act. It's more satisfying to just pass the goal at the end of that first act to me. It's just about the only thing I prefer about Sonic 2 compared to its sequel.

Aside from that the game was...kinda perfect? The only things I can think of are original levels and more characters but neither of those things are deal breakers for me if they don't happen. I'd be bummed if we didn't get any female characters to play as but I'd still buy it. 

I really trust this team to push the classic formula and really experiment with what you can do, but I liked Sonic Mania enough that I'd take a level pack sequel pretty happily, idk.

 

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Yeah, echoing the bosses thing. There's a lot of times where I'll hit the end of a zone and think "oh god this overly long boss" and just use the dev menu to skip it. Heavy Gunner didn't need that many phases, Hydrocity 2's boss is one of the worst, etc. It's maybe not too surprising given how bad Hidden Palace's boss in Sonic 2 Taxman was, but still. Maybe I should hammer out a quick mod to cut the Act 1 bosses... 

I'd also have at least made the save system more generous i.e. start at Act 2; I've had multiple friends give up at Flying Battery because of the saves working like Sonic 3. Other than that, it's just the tiny, small stuff really, like the bugs Plus introduced (that I also fixed through modding, lol) 

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The "pinched" crushed deaths were aggravating in the originals, and they still are here. Need to round the edges of the hitbox's or change the consequence of getting pinched to getting knocked back rather than full on crushed. 

 

To many points in the stages that more or less walled off exploration efforts by launching you for miles or pushing you past points of no return. Even when you are taking your time, its too easy to fall into a slipstream that puts you on the other side of the map. 

 

No Mystic Cave..... and they dipped back into the same level pools too often. GHZ gets a pass... again, but CPZ had recently seen a refresh in Generations, and the Lego game, and again in the upcoming Forces. As much as I liked what they did with the level, I think we all could have benefited more from reimagining a level that hasn't been seen since the original game. StarDust Speedway was remade for a Gens BossBattle and a cutscene in S4EII. 

Its hard to justify the reasoning for not going with other iconic levels. There are so many to choose from that haven't been touched for years. I'm pretty sure half the hype for a S3&K re-release is just so people can get their hands on Ice Cap Zone again. This was their chance! 

 

Nitpicks on an otherwise great game tho. 

 

 

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Just another echo for the whole "boss battles are too long/too frequent" sentiment. I don't mind that S3k has boss battles at the end of every act. In fact, I quite like it, so I was really pleased to see this feature return in Mania. But too many of them take a long time to beat, and you stand around waiting for the boss to expose its weak point whilst you do either nothing or basically nothing. I'm just going to list every boss here and summarise my thoughts on them.

  • GHZ1: Fun play on the original GHZ boss. Can be attacked almost all the time and encourages you to time your hits effectively. Goes down quickly. Good boss.
  • GHZ2: Confusing attack cycle; you have to be close to him to lure him into using his arm to attack, and it's not clear that you can them jump on his arm. The boss doesn't loop forever and you'll fall off a cliff if you take too long fighting . You can cheese hits by just walking behind him. A bit obtuse, but overall a good boss.

 

  • CPZ1: Rubbish. You spend ages just waiting around for him to come out of the slime, and longer still for him to stop bouncing around. Tank the hits - it's not worth your time.
  • CPZ2: Love it. Total curveball for people who aren't familiar with Puyo Puyo/MBM, but it's rather straight forward and the AI is as low as it could be. It's over fast and is a welcome little change of pace.

 

  • SPZ1: Great idea, but it takes forever and you're mostly just dodging slow attacks. It didn't need a big intermission between each cycle, and the attack pattern could have been modified to make the fight more enjoyable. It's a drag to play through. If you've got Super forms unlocked, you can just let the game play itself for 1 minute and 40 seconds... Bleh
  • SPZ2: I'm a bit mixed on this. Eggman doesn't really do... anything really. Everyone except Knuckles can make well timed jumps to hit Eggman at any time, and this is a fun feature. 2 of his 3 "attacks" leave him vulnerable, with the sun being free hits and the wind being more strategic with risks and rewards. It wish his did more than just float back and forth, but not a bad boss fight really.

 

  • FBZ1: I kinda like this. The rules for bouncing off the enemies aren't' actually consistent with how bouncing works anywhere else in the game, which is confusing. And it's a shame that the boss only creates one type of badnik. But yeah, this is simple and fun. If you know what you're doing you'll be done with it very quickly.
  • FBZ2: Amazing idea, wonky execution. You can't see when the bumper is hittable or when you'll phase right through, and you can very easily get crushed by the underside of the spikes. The spikes should have been embedded in the wall rather than jutting out. It's a bit of a chore to play as is.

 

  • PGZ1: Obtuse method of making him vulnerable, and his attacks are pathetic. Tank the hits and get this boring fight out of the way.
  • PGZ2: I genuinely love this. Too many Asteron's perhaps, but that's my only problem with the fight. It encourages you to play fast but doesn't put you in any danger if you're taking your time and learning the ropes. 

 

  • SS1: Middle of the road. Nice idea in that it builds on an enemy you've already encountered in the stage. A bit slow though, and I recommend you tank hits so you can beat it before its cycle loops.
  • SS2 Pre-Patch: Way too long, way too confusing regarding how you attack Metal during the first phase. Sure, I figured out spindashing into the mini Silver Sonic's  on my first attempt, but it wasn't clear at all for those who didn't instinctively try it. And then the final phase was a bit... eh. An anti-climax, but not bad. The lack of a checkpoint was cheap though.
  • SS2 Post-Patch: Metal now takes fewer hits and the mini Silver Sonic's explode which gives you an extra method of attack in the first phase. There's a checkpoint after the first phase too. But the final phase is... urgh. It looks amazing and it's always great to see a Chaotix throwback, but it plays bad. Really, really bad. Don't try to jump to attack him as it's very likely you'll fall behind and end up in the bottomless pit. Spindash into him and jump to dodge his super basic attacks. The idea of having a big boss fight at the halfway point is cool, but the execution here was just so off.

 

  • HCZ1: Clever throwback, nice change of pace, short. I love this. Everything about it from the collapsing wall at the start to the moment you jump in the Screw Mobile is great.
  • HCZ2: Urgh. Way too long. If this fight was just the first phase, it'd be great because it'd tick all the boxes. It's a creative twist on an old fight, doesn't outstay its welcome and yet it can't be cheesed. But the second phase is just a bigger version of the original Act 1 boss from S3. That means you can't hit it as readily as before and it takes more hits, but is no less threatening. Boring! And it takes as long as a regular boss on top of phase 1. Phase 2 should just be cut entirely.

 

  • MSZ1: Cute idea, but the depth perception is a nightmare. I often feel like I'm just waiting around for him to attack from the sides. Not good, but not awful. It depends on the RNG determining where he's going to attack from.
  • MSZ1K: Simple, fun, nice throwback. No complaints. This boss is fine.
  • MSZ2: Love the idea so much, but the boss spams invulnerability frames so much that it feels like they're just trying to pad out the fight. And rather than lasting for 8 hits, it really should only last 6 (2 for each Nack, Bean and Bark). The attacks are also pretty cheap to avoid sometimes. Fortunately the fight is over fast.

 

  • OOZ1: Garbage. Never played this boss before? You're almost guaranteed to get crushed to death with a move you won't be able to see coming. Played it at least once? You'll cheese him to death before he can do anything.
  • OOZ2 Pre-patch: Wonky hitboxes and the potential to get unfairly crushed. It's  bit of a bullet hell. Cool idea though.
  • OOZ2 Post-patch: Now it's actually fun.

 

  • LRZ1: I like this. You do have to wait around a bit to begin with, but you learn his patterns. Once he's open for attack, you can take him down very quickly.
  • LRZ2: Heavy Rider is cool. It's a bit tough to see where to hit her and you might get caught out by the fire stream, but it's a late game boss. I enjoy this one.
  • LRZ2K: Heavy King is okay. A bit useless at attacking you though.

 

  •  MMZ1: Fun spin on the S1 final boss. Pre-patch you could get crushed during the intro animation, but that's the only problem with it. You have to wait for you chance to attack, although it's not egregious. You're always active in this fight.
  • MMZ2: This one is just weird. It's a very CD-esque fight. I like it.

 

  • TMZ1: Nope. Nope. Nope. Horrible fight. The first phase takes too long to give you a safe opening, and in the second phase you just wait for ages for the elevator to be going in the right direction. Even cheesing hits is impossible sometimes. This fight sucks.
  • TMZ2: Anti-climax end to the game. Cheese hits, wait out boring attack cycles. I rarely see any of the Phantom Heavies other than Gunner and Shinobi, both of whom pose absolutely no threat other than to waste your time. 

Now other than boss fights... being unable to replay the amazing Special Stages is such a let down! I'm that they could have been easily added to the Time Trials screen, so it's a shame that this never happened. The level length in the game is inconsistent too. MSZ2, SSZ2 both feel way too short for example. And then there's FBZ2 which is either an arduous gauntlet if you take the upper route, or insanely short if you take the lower one. The routes don't feel all that different in terms of difficulty, just length. 

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Agree on boss length being an issue. With some being just awful. Another thing was the over reliance on old zones Green Hill and Chemical plant were fine, but the later ones really lack that same creativity and some like Oil Ocean were  just annoying. The final zone was just bad in my opinion , the gravity gimmick was annoying and both stages are too long. Lastly encore mode was a big disappointment with some ugly palette swaps and minimal changes to the levels.

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It was a good game. Bosses were honestly mostly a bore but standard classic sonic style. Honestly there are not many classic era bosses i care for outside maybe mecha sonic and the final egg mecha in the deathegg. Music was "fun" and visuals great. But overall for me i got bored after beating it twice with the emeralds. But not bored like i cant finish but more like once im done i have little reason to come back to it. And quietly it went into storage. And that is the flaw in sonic games for me lately. Outside plastering red rings or whatever the collectable is in a sonic game there is little reason to come back.  But thats more a modern sonic game issue though. So perfect? Not really I doubt there is any sonic game that sits as a 10 in my head from the last 30 years of my life but its probably sitting more along the lines of a 8 for me.

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In my opinion this is not the best sonic game ever it’s very good but It need a lot more new zones and encore mode  was not very good besides the opening angle island zone is the same zones but different colors. In my opinion sonic adventure 1 was the best sonic game 

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well... I mean if we're getting a mania 2, more original levels is a go-to. old levels are NOT the worst thing in the world ever as much as people highly make it so, but it would be nice to have some more originality in a game meant to celebrate the classics. and if we are getting old zone in there too, why not add more obscure zones that not many people know about. like sleeping egg, or gimmick mountain, or that one forest set on fire (I always forget the name).

as for other things, yeah mania plus felt kinda lacking in the substance department. mighty and ray were nice and all, but the game doesn't do all that much with them. I'd like them to have their own secret path only they are able to transverse across. and heck, give them their own LEVELS to run through.

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1 minute ago, batson said:

One thing: some of the levels are way too long to be expected to be cleared in a mere 10 minutes. I never had problems with the time limit in the classic games, but I sure as heck did in Mania.

dude REALLY? it actually takes more than 10 MINUTES to make it through a stage in mania?

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My biggest beef with Mania is the amount of stuff that was done just because that's how the classics did it.  Lives systems, save files that only start you from the zone, not the act, and yeah, the 10-minute time limit are all particular examples that are extremely unfortunate hurdles that stand in the way of many casual players finishing the entire game.  By all means these things should have been as they were in a classic mode, but the default mode should've been more accomodating and up-to-date.

I hate what they did with Blue Spheres.  Blue Spheres takes far too long to complete for how frequently it can be accessed - having to actively avoid the sparklies on checkpoints because I don't want to play the bonus game just doesn't feel RIGHT.  I wish they had come up with a new minigame that was as quick and painless as the gumball machine in Sonic 3, with rewards that are taken back into the level, with a mandatory end point thanks to a finite number of moves or a time limit like the Gumball Machine/Energy Sphere games had.  Even the pinball machine from Encore Mode is a bit slow to earn bonuses on and too easy to keep a good loop going in which you never fall out unless you intentionally stop trying.  But yeah, Blue Spheres just feels silly to me, it's pretty much an entirely seperate endeavour so I don't understand why it was implemented in a way where it constantly interrupts the main game.  I could see that style working for a Sonic 1-esque access where you get the bonus game between acts, but not multiple times within acts.

Beyond that I agree with most of the stuff in this thread.  Wasn't too bothered by the bosses though, in fact I wish there was a boss rush mode for Time Attack.

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Studiopolis zone is way too automated. It honestly shocks me how often people xall it the best level given peoples propensity to get super bent out of shape over automation these days.

The Mirage Saloon act 1 was bad.

Way too much forces fanservice moments imo, like having the hooligans, Mighty and Ray just cuz.

Game could use somemore originality, but hey, we k ow the circumstances behind that.

Obligatory "Where is Classic Amy?" post.

 

Ending had no real pathos to it, making the adventure feel kinda unsatisfying by the end.

 

 

I actually fundementally disagree with the complaints regarding the life system tho.

Too many systems in Sonic games fall appart when u remove the lives system.

 

 

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Because of the way the save system works you're not going to lose more than like 5 minutes of progress when you game over now. In a game where replayability is the point I don't see it as that much of an issue but I guess casual players are used to constant progress and not having to deal with any do overs. 

I think lives still make for a pretty satisfying collectable. Whenever I play a game without them something feels missing 

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The bosses, as everyone has said.

I think the biggest offender is Flying Battery Act 2's. I remember on my first experience sitting there as it carved through my lives, because the game kind of does a poor job of implying what you need to do to damage it, and when you do figure it out the hitbox is so small that it's hard to bounce him into the spike-wall, until you learn the exact rhythm it's looking for.

It's tedious but easy enough when you do learn, but getting there is.. oy. What a mess.

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1 hour ago, Wraith said:

Because of the way the save system works you're not going to lose more than like 5 minutes of progress when you game over now. In a game where replayability is the point I don't see it as that much of an issue but I guess casual players are used to constant progress and not having to deal with any do overs. 

I think lives still make for a pretty satisfying collectable. Whenever I play a game without them something feels missing 

Lives always give me the incentive to not die, because I don't want to start over; its a weird impetuous. 

But I get that casual gaming is more on just taking it easy and being forced to start over from the beginning is a hell of a demotivator if you're just trying to play leisurely. 

 

 

I'll just keep this short since everyone pretty much covered the basis; boss design needs to be improved a lot. Both as a challenge and in terms of conveying what you should do, as well toning down the padding portions of "wait for the weakpoint and attack" 

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Yes!

For starters, fuck the dropdash!

This is mainly due to muscle memory, as whenever I play Classic Sonic or 2D Sonic games akin to it like the Advance series, I’m   old school to the point I expect the Instashield. The Dropdash alone has been one of my most hated abilities introduced, and not once did I ever use it throughout my whole play through of Mania, which is more annoying as I want that split second invincibility that ensures I can get a hit—instead, I double press the jump button only to get hit by the enemy because my muscle memory of Classic gameplay expected one thing and got something else.

And this wouldn’t be much of an issue if the game didn’t make it the fucking default ability on my first play through. 
 

Yes, I have a BIG ASS bone to pick with that one ability. Bite me. Give me Instashield anytime.

Second, I hate those special stages. Never been a fan of the UFO chase from CD, and I was disappointed it was the main way to get the Emeralds. On top of that, I never thought I would ever be annoyed of running into the Blue Spheres special stages, as that’s my favorite of the special stages, but Mania makes them annoying by having you enter them with every goalpost you make stars over.

Anything else is actually minor compared to these two grievances I have with the game. Although I will add that it also doesn’t do a good job with storytelling transitions that S3&K excelled in for the Classics, as often times the scene changed with no explanation—something which was fixed in Mania Plus, but I played the first entry before Mighty and Ray were added.

Mania at best, gets second place to S3&K.

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39 minutes ago, CrownSlayer’s Shadow said:

Mania at best, gets second place to S3&K.

That's a good place to be really.

Also, do you somehow not have the same muscle memory issue with any other 2D Sonic game or do you only go back to Sonic 3?

Because that seems like a weird bone to pick with this game specifically.

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8 hours ago, JezMM said:

My biggest beef with Mania is the amount of stuff that was done just because that's how the classics did it.  Lives systems, save files that only start you from the zone, not the act, and yeah, the 10-minute time limit are all particular examples that are extremely unfortunate hurdles that stand in the way of many casual players finishing the entire game.  By all means these things should have been as they were in a classic mode, but the default mode should've been more accomodating and up-to-date.

And that's exactly what I hate about modern gaming, every dev makes their games easy af because players cant beat it, tutorials everywhere, etc..I'm glad they kept it classic there. I agree that an optional modern mode would be okay though.

Other then that..the only thing I did not like about mania was the ending and that it basically only said 'go buy forces'. It should've had it's own proper ending.

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The thing about lives systems is that it punishes lower skilled players and rewards higher skilled players.  How many people in this thread ever got a Game Over on Mania, I wonder, even the first time through?  Those who did, who enjoyed it?  More importantly though, how many people get Game Overs now, where they're familiar with the game?  I can see the psychological motivation of having the threat of a Game Over screen, but I don't think it's worth harming the enjoyment of lower-skilled players when it's purely an imaginary concept for higher-skilled players.

I watched my wife get to the boss of Act 2 of Flying Battery twice and get a game over on it both times.  She had enjoyed the game up to that point but put it down and never picked it back up again after that.  I didn't really blame her even though I knew it meant she missed out on a bunch of incredibly fun, much better designed levels.

Naturally though, as said, I think the ideal solution there would have been an optional "casual mode", or if they wanted to be welcoming, making the casual mode the regular mode and classic mode the optional one (both available from the start of course).

 

I do agree that 1ups are a nice thing to collect though, I'm not sure what I'd replace them with in a casual mode.  I can't remember what the Character Item Box in Encore Mode turns into if you have a full party, think it was just a 10-ring box or something right?  If I had to come up with something, I'd turn it into an "insurance ring box" or something.  When you break one open, it gives you 10 rings that go into reserve for the next time you die, so you start over with that amount.  Or a shield for the same event maybe.  But I'm getting a bit off-topic into game design ideas there.

 

To get back on-topic, the 1up Jingle is hateful in a game with a soundtrack that is otherwise so incredibly good. In particular it feels so old-fashioned and jarring compared to whatever cool stuff Tee Lopes is doing with the level's music.  I guess that's another example of "that's what the classics did so we're doing it", mind you.

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A nice benefit to using the mod loader is that you can turn off the 1up jingle for 100 rings, though not for the monitors for some reason. I don't mind the latter as much though since you have to deliberately grab those whereas hearing it after getting so many rings in a level gets old fast

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