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The Boost: Was It A Mistake?


Multikaris
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The Boost mechanic has several antecedents (Advance 2 & Heroes for examples of them), but the first instance of something akin to what the Boost is today was introduced in Sonic Rush. This boost came from the fulfillment of a meter through gameplay. In its debut, you could fulfill the Tension Gauge to a maximum point, and briefly gain unlimited usage of the Boost. One could also Spin Attack during a boost, to help with downhill segments. Boost probably originated as part of a hardware gimmick to show off the dual screen potential of the DS, allowing players to jolt between the two screens. These hardware-based gimmicks were once very common (this is the origin of Big’s fishing, Chao Gardening, lock-on technology, etc), but seemingly vanished after the examples in Lost World (does Forces’s shared avatar online rental feature count?). 

 

This move returned in Sonic & the Secret Rings, under the alias “Speed Break”, likely somewhat inspired by Sonic 2006’s Mach Speed Sections. This could only ever be used when your meter was full through the accumulation of Pearls. Time Break was an alternate move that could be used this way. Notably, this title was a game where players were automatically moving forwards under most circumstances, meant to showcase motion control. This move was also akin to Shadow the Hedgehog’s Chaos Control meter, except without flight. The screen blurred as Sonic rocketed forward. This allowed for the ability to blast across enemy-riddled sections easily and collect more rings. 

 

Boost did not occur in a major capacity in the main series until Unleashed. This mechanic was changed to become the focus of the gameplay, in a startling and radical total abandonment of the rolling and momentum mechanics of the older games. Now it would fill quickly, as Sonic collected and attracted rings to him, making the Light Speed Dash more situational. This move served as not only acceleration, but also a crowd-control weapon, a method of traversing water (which was instant death otherwise, like it had been in several past games), attracting rings, and leaping over gaps with a jump. Most new moves the game had were oriented around the vastly increased velocity of the gameplay, such as the Quick Step and Drift. While the Drift did offer new options for controlling our hero whilst turning around, this would cause the player’s natural turning to worsen in later games. The move’s attack purpose was further exaggerated, with Sonic otherwise only having his Homing Attack, Spin Jump, Stomp, slide and spinning kick in his arsenal when not a Werehog, the last of which was very underpowered, and would be axed after this game. Enemies would also fall in one hit from Sonic’s attacks, something that had previously fallen to the wayside in favor of life bars. 

 

His rolling abilities were now gone, though the slide is somewhat of a substitute for them. To me, the slide just feels far more generic than rolling. Rolling emerged from the fact that a hedgehog was chosen, and tied into the pinball and billiards elements of the earlier games. However, I think the Slide could compliment rolling, if used right, like in Advance or Adventure 2. Perhaps slides can be used to lay down under low ledges, dodge attacks and feint for a counter-hit, and to hold onto momentum before one returns into a roll. The Slide’s aesthetic has a lot of pizazz to it, as well, distinct from Amy’s head-slide or something like Mario sliding. Boosting was the main tactic to use on bosses, as they ran away from the player. Confusingly, in Night stages, enemies that were done in with a single hit from the Boost would now take several blows as a Werehog. In the WiiS2 version, the Boost bar was segmented. One boost would cost one unit of the segmented gauge, which could be expanded via gameplay. Boosts could not be performed continuously, and when one boost started, players had to wait for it to end before they could launch another.

 

 In Colors, Air Boosts and Air dashing were mapped to the same button, depending on if one had Boost energy or not, due to the control limitations of the Wii. More notably, Boost energy was only granted by White Wisps released from capsules or Badniks. This would make players more judicious about when to use the Boost, allowing for slower level designs. Unfortunately, the results were a lot of block platforming in the stages. Notably, the game does not allow for Boost gauge customization. This game also introduced the concept of Boost-based finishing moves used against final bosses, with the Final Color Blaster. In Game Land, players were even rewarded with the sound of a bowling ball hitting pins when they struck a group of enemies at once with it. In order to discourage speeding into pits, diamond-shaped, orange warning signs were added onto them. These static, non-interactive signs came off to me as a bad idea, more of a patch onto poor level design than a true gameplay function. Why not let players leap off of these signs for better platforming control? They did fit the setting, as the theme park was still partially under construction… by Eggman no less.

 

Generations weakened the ring magnetism of the Boost, and also drained the bar much faster when crossing water. There were also add-ons to the Boost available for the player to obtain. These included Endless Boost, which provided unlimited boosting but made you more vulnerable, the Blast Off which can grant free boosts under certain circumstances, and the Auto Gauge which automatically fills the bar under certain circumstances. Notably, the Shadow rival fight had an interesting use of the boost as the primary mechanic. Boosting into each other felt good.

 

Lost World, while lacking the Boost, introduced 2 equivalent mechanics in a spammable Spin Dash and a run button. These mechanics had no penalty for their use, unlike the Boost. This allowed users to spam them for efficient battle and transversal of the game’s tubular maps, which did not help with the smaller and simpler Badniks in the game. However, enemies would often again take multiple hits, but this mechanic felt far less natural or arcadey compared to even the Werehog, and one did not see any sort of live counter for enemies. Enemies would have to be hit with a charged Homing Attack or a new Kick move, which were quite good ideas on paper, allowing players to knock enemies into each other and slam them around. These mechanics were utilized adequately, but not in an exciting way (may have to do a topic on this later), making combat feel largely cut-and-dry, although a degree of the billiards elements made a return. No synergy existed between his moves. The Kick didn’t work with the Homing Attack, the Bounce, or the Spindash. Determining whether the kick or Homing Attack would work was reduced to a guessing game, as enemies had no tells. For instance, you don’t have a clue to kick the Anton until it is too late and they have counter-attacked your HA with a grapple

 

What momentum elements that remained of the Boost did not exist in this new Spin Dash. You could only use a single jump out of the Spin Dash now, rather than the greater variety available with the Boost.  Sonic now relied on a gear-shift system. Once Sonic ceased to move, he came to an utterly dead stop. I ended up quitting the game at Tropical Coast Act 4, where one has to use these mechanics to grind apple juice to proceed.  I think the rest of this should be covered in a Lost World analysis, however. 

 

Given how the team refused to lessen the number of 2D segments or add back other characters to the game, I feel that in philosophy, it is still ultimately a Boost title, just without a true boost incorporated. The aesthetic was even further simplified to prevent distracting the player, to the point where the aesthetics sometimes look mind-bendingly odd & abstract (Dessert Ruins makes no logical sense whatsoever), or irritatingly bland and Mario-ish (The overall progression seems to be based on NSMB). Other characters in the series, aside from newer and less-liked creations such as the Deadly Six, were made even less important than previous games, due to a lack of optional missions concerning them. Grinding was also made less interactive than ever before, reduced to an automated sequence as the basis of a few stages. Due to the game’s poor reception and sales, the next main game returned to being a standard Boost title.  (We don’t talk about Rise of Lyric, right?) 

 

Forces continued the general trends of the era and took them to uncomfortable extremes. Levels have become cartoonishly linear, and present negligible challenge. This is purportedly due to a nodule found in Generations that is missing in this game. It also added a “Double Boost” move for the co-op stages, where Sonic uses the energy of the custom character to increase the potency of the Boost. However, the Boost cannot be given skills to change its properties, unlike Generations. Grinding, meanwhile, became a bit more interactive than in Lost World, perhaps as an engine leftover. 

 

Frustratingly, people complained about SLW being slow, but for the wrong reasons. The real reason why I believe that SLW is slow is not in the lower running velocity and disappearance of the Boost, but instead the gimmicky Wisps, intrusive tutorials, almost paywall-like animal collection, and unintuitive puzzles. This may have resulted in the Boost formula returning in full force in the next Sonic Team-developed main game. 

 

Boosting has continued to appear in some form in various spinoff entries. Examples include the Soul Surge from Black Knight, the Sonic Boom from Rivals, and the Dash Boost from Dash. Each has had different mechanics, and often, any character would be able to use them.


 

My ideal version of the Boost?

 

The short answer to this would be Advance 2’s Boost mode, along with maybe having the Boost as a Super Sonic-only move. The long answer is that this Boost, even if incorporated into normal Sonic play, would take elements from the Rush and Secret Rings Boost designs, in that a bar must be filled using specific items to use the Boost, and it can be combined with rolling to provide more control on slopes, and more damage potential.  Perhaps a second meter could provide unlimited Boost usage for a short period, like how the Rush boost worked? Possibly, a second degree of Boost could also be used, more akin to Speed Break. Maybe different characters would have different styles of Boost? Like one character having the Secret Rings boost, another the Rush boost, another the Unwiished boost...

 

However, I personally feel that Boost actually limits the level design of games, with levels having become made long stretches of horizontal areas to boost across, with death traps rather frequent. To me, it has become clear that any attempt after Unleashed to prolong a game with the Boost-reliant formula is inadequate, with games still being rather short. Most games are padded with at the very least a higher number of 2D sections, with the first game in 3D’s favor in years being the infamous Rise of Lyric, which incidentally, wasn’t a Boost title. Other examples include Lost World’s puzzle and gimmick stages, the Werehog, Classic Sonic & the Avatar,  etc.  The continued absence (and decreased emphasis overall) of other characters (until Forces) doesn’t help.

 

Hmm… maybe I’ll do a topic on the hardware-based gimmicks that were once frequent in the series.

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I wouldn't say the level designed is limited by the boost. In fact, more effort could be added to boost games and it could do wonders, depending on how it is done. I liked the boost, and that is coming from a guy who would not be upset if the boost were not to appear in Sonic Frontiers. I have come to terms with that.

Can't say I don't like your ideal version of the boost, though, as I do like it. Also, you technically are not wrong about the boost games and their efforts to be longer being insufficient. I do see that problem. I just think Sonic Team has not had the mind to take advantage of the possibilities there may be if they were to expand on the boost, level design and all.

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2 hours ago, Multikaris said:

However, I personally feel that Boost actually limits the level design of games, with levels having become made long stretches of horizontal areas to boost across, with death traps rather frequent. To me, it has become clear that any attempt after Unleashed to prolong a game with the Boost-reliant formula is inadequate, with games still being rather short.

 

I would agree that the Boost is a major contributor to the lack of content - leading to shorter games, just due to the burden of developing them. But it really doesn't have to be a limiting factor beyond that. Boost stages don't have to be "horizontal trap gauntlets", thats just the easy/lazy way out.

Rush had a focus on areal mobility and a refreshing level of vertical-ity that frankly hasn't been seen since. Unleashed featured a small handful of creative set-pieces that kept Sonic in a singular location while still pushing the pace, like the Grand Tree at the end of Savannah Citadel. Generations leaned in on open spaces in its best levels, like Seaside Hill.

Its not like every level was a Sonic 06 mach speed zone where you ran forward at all costs. There were some inspired designs thrown in there from time to time.

They boost doesn't limit the stage design. You can still accomplish whatever it is you want with a bit of elbow grease. They seemed to be going in the right direction... Until Forces came along and forfeit everything they learned up to that point.

 

 

2 hours ago, Multikaris said:

Most games are padded with at the very least a higher number of 2D sections, with the first game in 3D’s favor in years being the infamous Rise of Lyric, which incidentally, wasn’t a Boost title. Other examples include Lost World’s puzzle and gimmick stages, the Werehog, Classic Sonic & the Avatar,  etc.  The continued absence (and decreased emphasis overall) of other characters (until Forces) doesn’t help.

To be fair, the games have featured significant padding of other play-styles long before the boost showed up on the scene. Its not like its a problem exclusive to this play-style.

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I think that the boost can work as a character-specific gimmick, and I agree about the idea of different characters having different versions of the boost.

The level design does not need to be changed in order to accomodate the boost, as long as it's open enough or does have some wide spaces here and there... think of Sonic 2's Chemical Plant: it's classic level desing, but boost could work very well there (there are many other classic levels as well which are suitable for the boost). The idea is that the boost should be an optional feature or something that's required only in some special occasions, not something you should hold for the entire game while Sonic rams into everything and you just watch.

Back on the character specific boosts, I have a series of personal movesets for some characters (some I'm still working on them and occasionally change them a bit), and I already put boost mechanics into some. (2D gameplay, not sure if they can be adapted to 3D)
 

Spoiler

-Blaze would keep a boost that's very similar to the one from Sonic Rush, though she would be unable to roll (she would spin in a tornado of fire instead, but that move wouldn't let her gain much speed even on slopes), and despite not having a proper boost gauge, she would consume rings while boosting (maybe 1 ring per second like Super Sonic?). To compensate the lack of spindash and the weird replacement for rolling, she basically has a permanent burst wisp from Colors DS, which at minimum level of charge does not consume rings and can still launch you forward (a bit diagonally upward), as an invulnerable ball of fire too, so you can gain some momentum from standing, even with no rings.

-Sonic and Shadow would gain a wind trail effect that's activated after reaching a certain speed, and in this status, they can ram into badniks without curling into a ball and still destroy them. I'm not completely sure, but I think this type of "boost" is the same as the time travel mode of Sonic CD (I think you can destroy badniks without rolling after fully charging it, but I rarely did it because the level design does not really allow for it). Aside of that, it's just the regular Sonic gameplay, with rolling as the best way of gaining speed. Well this one is not even a real boost, it doesn't give you additional speed, just partial invincibility (spikes and other stuff can still hurt).

-Tails would get the same Boost Mode that was in Sonic Advance 2: specifically, it's activated when he stops running and starts floating by using his tails as a propeller. He's not invincible while in this state, but he gains more acceleration, higher speed, and better air control (just like in Advance 2, no difference). I think Tails is the most fitting character for this type of boost due to his tails indeed.

-Cream would get a weird and slower version of the boost that replaces the spin-dash: imagine Amy's bunny hop from Advance 1, but you can chain them infinitely and gain speed by doing several of them consecutively. Basically she hops around like a rabbit and gains speed from that. The positive effect is of being very easy to control or stop (the momentum gets reduced very fast if you decide to brake), and you can also use it just as a quick dodge move instead of as a boost, because it's very reactive (might be useful in bossfights); the negatives are that it doesn't make you invulnerable, and since it requires little jumps, it can detach you from walls and ceilings (can be activated out of rolling though).

-I'm considering something for Knuckles as well but I haven't decided yet. It would likely be some short burst of boost, visually represented as firey punches or something, but I still didn't think of a complete moveset for him and have no idea yet

Other characters I have (or I'm making) a moveset for are Amy and Silver, though they won't have any boost. Time ago I also had a few ideas for Big the Cat and even Infinite, but I abandoned them for now; I doubt they would get a boost anyway... maybe Infinite but I'm not sure.

 

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To me, the mistake was Sonic Team thinking the Boost gameplay they had with Rush and Unleashed could be used as their new foundation for the mainline platforming games, and completely bin the gameplay foundations they previously had (Mega Drive/Adventure gameplay) in the process.

Boost gameplay is overspecialized to the point where it's borderline antithetical to the genre and simply can't carry an entire game on its own terms. Slower-paced mechanics, minigames, or entire playstyles always have to be supplied to to get more mileage from the assets made and extend the game campaign--even if it comes at the expense of clashing with the gameplay focus or putting a big spotlight on the gameplay's weaknesses, especially when compared to non-Boost Sonic titles and non-Sonic platformers. (Though I believe this is also a result of the developers' skewed priorities of game design--I don't believe ST is or has been interested in making platformers for an extremely long time.)

The future of Boost gameplay should be in its own lane and in a different genre, where it's not being pitched as the answer to whatever the next Super Mario, Kirby, or Ratchet and Clank game is going to be. It has way more in common with Wipeout, F-Zero, and even Mario Kart more than anything else--and I say that as a compliment. If the gameplay was retooled to compete with the likes of those games, I think it could easily be even better than what we've gotten up to now.

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1 hour ago, Sega DogTagz said:

To be fair, the games have featured significant padding of other play-styles long before the boost showed up on the scene. Its not like its a problem exclusive to this play-style.

Yes, but excluding the Werehog and Avatar, these alternate play styles have less substance than the ones before the boost, and seem to be much more required to progress, and are often even more divergent than the old playstyles ever were. And with a few exceptions like Mania, even alternate characters that don’t have alternate gameplay exist anymore. 

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Boost "gameplay".

No, you're not going to be able to do this first try, you need to know the level and time your moves and all that. No, it's not the most efficient or direct route (though still getting an S rank is pretty telling). No, you can't beat every boost level like this. But if that's enough for this to be an acceptable platformer you've set an extremely low bar. The boost has made practically everything that was bad about 3D Sonic gameplay even worse, except maybe the camera, and only because it's been so stripped down that there's no reason to look anywhere the developers haven't already pointed the camera for you. Either you're coasting through a high speed area with little more than a couple properly timed button presses when the game bothers to ask for your input, or you're bumbling through its attempts at "real" platforming with terrible low-speed controls and almost no moves or mechanics that are actually relevant.

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I saw a tweet a while ago saying that Boost gameplay should've been for self contained special stages, not the entire game and I really agree with this 

to me boost was a fun design experiment but it's done. It's over and there's no real way to innovate that gameplay style. It's fun in short bursts but not what the whole game should be

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Boosting is just very narrowing both for the player and the designers. They have to make the levels incredibly large, but also have to rely on 2D design to pad out a lot of the content while making up for how stiff boost Sonic is when not in boost.

Players just kind of fall prey to a lot of automatic habits when boosting, and become less open to experimentation in this type of game, which also means side content around the boost formula just comes as clunky, even if on its own it's ok.

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5 minutes ago, BubbleButt TV said:

I saw a tweet a while ago saying that Boost gameplay should've been for self contained special stages, not the entire game and I really agree with this 

to me boost was a fun design experiment but it's done. It's over and there's no real way to innovate that gameplay style. It's fun in short bursts but not what the whole game should be

Well, I would say that there could be ways to innovate the boost, but to still give you credit; I think there is not much to use to innovate the boost, and technically, even I would say there are only a limited number of ways to innovate or improve the boost, if small ones only. I still would say you are right on mostly everything else. I loved the boost, but I do think it is time to move on from that.

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To answer OP's question (at least presented in the title): No.

It made fun games that challenged reflexes and honestly made the most out of what Sega seemed to do best in their heyday: extremely flashy, arcadey gameplay that doubled as a visual feast and a technical marvel.

The gameplay style itself was just an experiment that's run its course, that's all. I don't even think this is all you could've got out of a game centered strictly on high-octane speed, but it seems obviously like the most Sega themselves could come up with. Colors and Generations were already signs that they didn't know where to take it next beyond speedspeedspeed, and could only pad it down with things to slow the pace or make it easier. And for that reason, it's been best for them to move on.  

And despite the inseparable association fans hold to it's titular move, there's nothing inherently wrong with Sonic having a main move where he blasts off quickly in running form, no not even as a move you can start while mobile. I've come around over the years to the existence of a boost in Sonic's arsenal, although I still believe it has to leave room for other abilities too. And I don't think that's impossible either! We're just used to seeing it in games where there's no need for other moves.

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I think it's bad and they should get rid of it as soon as possible but I'm realizing it's more of a symptom than a disease.

They're not designing great platforming stages that the boost is rendering redundant. Their intent is to design stages around spectacle and instant gratification and it has been for a long time now.

 

Sonic Adventure still has some physics based gameplay, but it went out of the way to neuter rolling before SA2 killed it outright. SA2 simplified the enemies down to a few types that were completely helpless against Sonic's movement in a 3D space, introduced grindrails, tight spaces for sonic to slide over, and doubled down on homing attack chains. All novel at the time but immediately became crutches before long. Heroes's physics were completely broken so the game tripled down on being duct taped together with automated running sequences, rails and spectacle along with a dozen other 'red light-green light' mechanics being added on top thanks to the team system bloating Sonic's kit with abilities that were functionally useless outside of specific contexts. 06 had the terrible mach speed chase sequences. I could go on.

By the time the Boost came around in Unleashed it felt like a no brainer. The enemies aren't going to fight back anyway so you might as well just blow past them instead of dealing with the awkward stop and go of the homing attack/slide segments. At least there's some kind of basic mechanic around water now beyond it just killing you. This drift is borderline useless but it was better than trying to do tight turns without one before. Etc etc. I could go on but I think you get the idea. Of course they came up with a move that lets Sonic blast off instantly. There'd been a dashpad every 15 seconds for the past 10 games. Why not just put that in the hands of the player at that point?

The boost is just the final stage of a long line of changes toward making Sonic simpler, more linear, and more spectacle focused that they've been making since SA1 began development. Automation, tempo based gameplay and samey level gimmicks are so baked into 3D Sonic's DNA that I'm not sure if getting rid of the boost would even help anything. They need an overhaul to their mindset regarding level design and movement from top to bottom. They need to release themselves from many of the design crutches the Adventure games created, not just Unleashed onward.

 

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46 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

Boost "gameplay".

 

I hate the video... mainly because it reminds me that you could do that for most of Forces 3D sections.

 

But even so as damning as something like that appears to be, you can do the same thing with Mania. Took me a while, but you can clear GHZ no problem with just the drop dash and a ton of restarts (thank you for the god tier player friendly time attack Mania Devs).

 

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With all the responses I have seen here that are not in favor of the boost, it makes me think; I know they also want to give the games more quality by extending development time, but if they realized the boost was getting stale, maybe that is why they wanted to try something new different as they said with Sonic Frontiers, and maybe that is why it took so long after Forces to even get a teaser trailer for Frontiers?

I mean, I don't want to veer off topic, but this is just a thought. If they wanted to try something new with Frontiers, I can imagine them taking a while to try and come up with a new idea?

But yeah, whatever they are doing with Sonic Frontiers, it may have been decided to try something new with it because of how stale the boost formula was getting. I can imagine that if they used the boost formula completely with Sonic Frontiers, I can't see any good coming out of it.

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The boost is just a move, a category of moves maybe, and it's not even exclusive to Sonic.

A lot of other platformers have boost-like moves and they have good level design as well. Warioland 4 had boost, most 2D Metroid games have a boost, every Kirby game with Wheel (and Forgotten's Carby) has boost, even Mario Sunshine and Mario Galaxy 2 have a boost, Odyssey too! The problem is not the move, but how it's implemented and the level design it comes with.

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This isn't a subject matter I feel "qualified" to talk about. Although, it's an interesting thing to ask. Admitting that it was a "mistake" is putting a pretty huge denouncement on the critically more positively received games that came out in the past decade but I guess that doesn't exactly bother me anyway since I still am of the mindset that the Adventure-Heroes era was my personal favorite one. I still love Unleashed and Generations was certainly fun if nothing else but I did and still do land on the side that the more free moving style of gameplay that allowed for the levels to feel bigger and the characters to be more loose with what they could do to get from point A to B is what they should have stuck with.

It's why I don't exactly begrudge the idea of what was attempted with Lost World, execution aside. 

The reason I say I don't feel "qualified" to talk about it is because apparently there's inherent problems with the way the Adventure games handled Sonic's stages that, regardless of how often it gets explained, I either fail to see the issues or if I do see them, it's usually stuff that I liked. However, that's probably a by-product of me just not preferring the 2-D stuff that made the series so critically acclaimed in the first place. Everyone's got their own idea of what a Sonic is after all.

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I'm gonna say the Boost being a "mistake" or not really comes down to what you want out of a Sonic game. Specifically, do you want Sonic to be more of a platformer or more of a spectacle based reaction game. And I feel Sonic as a whole has been severely struggling to balance those two extremes since even the 2D games. 

Yes, the Classic games are still praised to high heaven, but there are still some people who kind of decry them for either being "too slow" or just hate how they can't react to any of the incoming obstacles. 

And watching some recent videos about Sonic as a whole, its very apparent to me these games have never had a very consistent focus because everyone keeps listing off different things about these games they liked or didn't like. Like, never before have I heard of someone who plays Sonic for a "time attack" mode or prefers being able to go fast and yet, I have watched two different people explain why that's their preference.  

 

People who like and prefer more linear gameplay ala SA2, Unleashed etc etc generally LIKE that Sonic is able to just blast through at high intense speeds and learning how to react to ongoing obstacles to maintain your high speed. While a slower-paced platfomrer just doesn't feel like a "true" Sonic game.

While people who hate Boost generally have more of a preference for slower, more methodical gameplay and think the Boost strips that away and removes all of the depth from Sonic games. 

 

I personally  think there's room for both, but it's no secret that Boost has kind of ran its course by now. Its been the main style of play since 2008, for almost half of the series' lifespan. People were gonna get burnt out from it eventually, it happens. Even Mario's best games had people get sick of them at some point no matter how good or bad of games they were (NSMB) so yea, a change was needed.

I'm gonna agree with @azooand say Boost was an experiment that simply ran its course and people want something different now. People were just as sick of Sonic Adventure gameplay by the time 06 came out, and when Unleashed debuted Boost, people were ALL over it, where you can easily see and understand why Sega decided to keep it the focus of the series afterwards. It wasn't until Forces where people started to grow tired of it and that's less on the Boost itself and more on Forces absolutely butchering the style in the same way Sonic 06 killed the Adventure style for a lot of people. 

Once Boost is gone and we move on to the next style of play, give it a few years and I guarantee you that people are gonna reflect and it will see a resurgence in popularity again. 

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I actually don't recall anyone being sick of the Adventure gameplay. I just remember people saying 06 was a shit game. 

I think afterward, when the boost became a thing, talk of justifying why it had to exist pointed to the Adventure formula being a thing that needed changing due to Sonic's critical standing being less than good.

I never really agreed with that. I just thought they needed to not make the game shit.

 

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20 minutes ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

I actually don't recall anyone being sick of the Adventure gameplay. I just remember people saying 06 was a shit game. 

I think afterward, when the boost became a thing, talk of justifying why it had to exist pointed to the Adventure formula being a thing that needed changing due to Sonic's critical standing being less than good.

I never really agreed with that. I just thought they needed to not make the game shit.

 

When Unleashed came out, and the Werehog was revealed, the immediate response was revulsion and rejecting it. It didn't matter how the Werehog played, or anything else Unleashed had done, the mere fact that Sega had decided to add another gimmick to the game was enough for people to react. 

And this was almost a universal opinion from both critics and fans at the time. Half of the reason Colors was stripped of so many things that were unique to Unleashed, was because of the overwhelming opinion that the Werehog did not need to be there. 

 

You don't have to agree with that, especially if you LIKED Adventure, but it doesn't change the fact that was the consensus opinion at the time. Sega could have stayed the course and just made another Adventure game that wasn't shit, but they had no goodwill and it would have probably gotten a similar reaction as to what the Werehog had gotten. Moving away from Adventure was the easiest solution to earn them some brownie points, and for better or worse, it worked as we saw with the small resurgence in popularity the series enjoyed when Colors and Generations came out. 

 

Sometimes I've kind of realized with gaming in general is that perception matters more than reality. It doesn't really matter if Adventure or Boost are good or not, people just need to THINK its good and that already goes along way. Of course actually being good games definitely helps too. Part of the reason Mania became so popular isn't just because the game was good, but because it's modelled after a period of time where the Sonic series was considered universally good across the board. Being a great game was just the icing on the cake. 

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The boost style was their way of trying to make it not shit. Iizuka said he believes them to be on the same line of design philosophy and I believe him.

The playable space has been shrunk down so that there's no way to get lost. Sonic doesn't careen off of ledges anymore because there are hardly any ledges to fall off of. The physics have been reigned in to the point of practically being scripted to prevent any happy little accidents. Those pesky camera controls aren't a problem anymore because the developer will just hold it for you and everything will be laid out in front of you so that there's no need to turn it anyway. Clunky 3D platformer combat has been filed down to a simple button press that'll do everything for you. Platforming is much easier for players to grasp in 2D so let's just include a bunch of 2D sections outright since we know it's hard to screw up. The spectacle has been cranked up as a reward for completing challenges and the sense of scope is wide even if the actual playable space is low.

It sounds short-sight on paper, but every single change I just described also applies to Mario Galaxy in comparison to the previous games in that series, and that's a critical darling. It's not like they were wrong either: Unleashed-Gens did do better than the previous games in most regards. The reason we're still pondering whether Frontiers will have a Boost in 2021 is because they met most of the goals they set out to meet with it.

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And had Unleashed not had a Werehog tacked onto it, you can be assured the reception would have probably been much better for it. 

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1 hour ago, Kuzu said:

When Unleashed came out, and the Werehog was revealed, the immediate response was revulsion and rejecting it. It didn't matter how the Werehog played, or anything else Unleashed had done, the mere fact that Sega had decided to add another gimmick to the game was enough for people to react. 

And this was almost a universal opinion from both critics and fans at the time. Half of the reason Colors was stripped of so many things that were unique to Unleashed, was because of the overwhelming opinion that the Werehog did not need to be there. 

You don't have to agree with that, especially if you LIKED Adventure, but it doesn't change the fact that was the consensus opinion at the time. Sega could have stayed the course and just made another Adventure game that wasn't shit, but they had no goodwill and it would have probably gotten a similar reaction as to what the Werehog had gotten. Moving away from Adventure was the easiest solution to earn them some brownie points, and for better or worse, it worked as we saw with the small resurgence in popularity the series enjoyed when Colors and Generations came out. 

I... don't exactly know what you're talking about here. 

Are you using Unleashed's werehog's gameplay as an equivalent to the Adventure formula with Sonic's gameplay and saying that the critical reception to 06 at the time was similar? Because, again, I don't think that's true. I think people at the time 06 came out really were just mad that the game was really bad. Talk of changing the way Sonic himself played wasn't really happening at the time as far as I recall. I only remember that being a conversation that people were having after the boost had been around for a while and people were hungering for the way Sonic played in the Adventure games to come back.

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So if you've all watched it... and I know every single one of you have... remember the other week when I uploaded that Sonic Adventure analysis vid. I sorta half answer this but... here's the 'basic' answer.

Gameplay, at least a massive part of it, includes decisions the player makes, even when you're not aware of it, you're making decisions. 

Major things like, which weapon I use... to subtle things like "I'm gradually applying pressure to the analogue stick to get where I want but I don't realise it".

Let's look at Sonic..  and this is an amazingly simplified explanation...

Boost gameplay: 

1: I'm holding boost:

2: At what point whilst doing 1... should I press jump.

And that's 90% of the boost gameplay experience...

Adventure gameplay: 

1: Literally everything the boost gameplay automates... but now YOU make those decisions.

The boost takes away so much from the player in terms of how much control and decision making that it provides a neutered super happy fun time.

There's so little in decisions because the boost gameplay provides most of the answers to what the player would normally have to do.

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34 minutes ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

I... don't exactly know what you're talking about here. 

Are you using Unleashed's werehog's gameplay as an equivalent to the Adventure formula with Sonic's gameplay and saying that the critical reception to 06 at the time was similar? Because, again, I don't think that's true. I think people at the time 06 came out really were just mad that the game was really bad. Talk of changing the way Sonic himself played wasn't really happening at the time as far as I recall. I only remember that being a conversation that people were having after the boost had been around for a while and people were hungering for the way Sonic played in the Adventure games to come back.

Yea, that's exactly what I'm saying. The conversation that Sonic should go back to Adventure didn't happen until much later in the Boost's lifespan. 

Like, I'm not saying everyone's experiences were the same as you might have been in a community that felt otherwise. I'm merely just going by mainstream consensus at the time. 

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1 hour ago, Kuzu said:

Yea, that's exactly what I'm saying. The conversation that Sonic should go back to Adventure didn't happen until much later in the Boost's lifespan. 

Like, I'm not saying everyone's experiences were the same as you might have been in a community that felt otherwise. I'm merely just going by mainstream consensus at the time. 

Oh.

Well, since that's also what I was saying I guess we agree.

Edit: Wait, no, I think I may still have misunderstood... ah whatever. It doesn't matter. 

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