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Do you care about the storyline?


ilcane87
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I've recently played Sonic Chronicles again, as well as re-watched the second series (third season) of Sonic X, and enjoyed both quite a lot.

But they made me wonder how many Sonic fans actually care about what happens to the characters, whether they get into fights with one-another, question their lives, fall in love, or display any other kind of emotion.

A few examples of what I have in mind are Gamma's story in Sonic Adventure, the ending of Sonic Battle, Shadow's overall story and death in Sonic Adventure 2, Tails's emotional breakdown at the end of Sonic X, Knuckles's inner troubles in Sonic Chronicles, and so on... (I know Sonic X isn't a videogame, but I'm asking about the possibility of having such strong emotional moments in the games).

For reference, since not many people watched the last (and immensely better) season of Sonic X, here's a clip from the ending (HUGE SPOILER):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdgSWmuHzi8

(ignore what comes after 3:30, since it's the lame english version by 4Kids, deprived of every feeling)

Personally, I've become very fond of the characters themselves, and I noticed that I tend to be more interested in Sonic games where side characters play larger roles in the storyline. Obviously this is a franchise oriented to kids/teens, but older people like me can still like fairy tales, if they are well told.

So, what kind of a Sonic fan are you?

The kind that just wants to blast through levels like in a Super Mario Bros. game, or the one that loves character development as well?

Mind that this is not a "gameplay vs. storyline" thread, I'm just asking if you care about characters displaying strong emotions, beyond dropping a few cheesy lines here and there.

Edited by ilcane87
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I certainly do. After seeing such masterful characterisation of Sonic in recent games sans Chronicles, I wanna see more. It's a delight for so many reasons, like being able to connect to your character and such. After years of hearing overly cheesy lines (I bolded 'overly' because whilst Sonic is naturally always going to be cheesy due to his character, there's no reason to take it to such epically narmy proportions), I want to hear his unique character without having to really facepalm every few minutes.

As for storyline, I wish that they made them make more sense. SatBK's story was vague and left a few 'Huh?'s and the less said about '06's the better. I thought Unleashed's storyline was a belter but I still wait for the time when Eggman will be reinstated as an extremely formidable big bad. Yeah yeah, you could say that the Rush series' extra bosses did it nicely but I want to see a big console game with Eggman as the ultimate big bad.

I think i'm not the only one when it comes to being curious about what characters do before games or wanting to know about the minutae of their every day lives :]. SatSR and SatBK went some way of giving us some clues but i'd like to see more detail.

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I actually think that sonic having a deeper story is what makes him unique next to games like Mario. I always loved the small cutscenes in classic days.

I also liked the adventure games storywise but it has never been executed well though. If they could make a good story line for once, of course with excellent gameplay. That would be fantastic

Edit: I didnt like sonic chronicles story. It didnt have that sonic feel to it.

Edited by Jaouad
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Hmm. I wouldn't say most Sonic stories are deep, as in exceptionally written, but the narratives are presented and permeate the Sonic gameplay experience in a way that makes the series unique, and I think that's the major element that I like about them. They're cheesy and preachy but purposefully so, and when set against serious and apocalyptic backdrops, you get something of a neutralized, yet grandiose silliness that follows in the realm of Western popcorn movies. To simplify that, they're like Saturday morning cartoons directed by Roland Emmerich--They're done well enough for what they are and ultimately harmless fun, yet severely underrated by that portion of people who come across as if watching them actually resulted in physical castration or something.

Edited by Nepenthe
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Hm, when it comes to most of the games story isn't my first concern. But I've enjoyed the stories in other media, like the shows or comics, and games like Chronicles where I put story first. I do care about the storyline, and I'm a bit of a continuity freak when it comes to any series, so I wish they'd pay more attention in those areas. I think I'm like a lot of people when I say I wish sometimes there wasn't a story in a particular game, because this series has been subject to a lot of bad storytelling. I enjoy more involved plots, but if they're gonna be so messy as to not make sense, I'd rather they keep it simple. A good story makes a game better and a bad one brings it down a bit. I think examples of good Sonic stories are SA1, Unleashed, Rush, Chronicles, Secret Rings - I like it when we see the characters in new situations. That always goes a long way towards development. Basic stories are good also, since they let the game speak for itself, like S3&K.

Edited by Cupcake Hedgehog
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Hmm. I wouldn't say most Sonic stories are deep, as in exceptionally written, but the narratives are presented and permeate the Sonic gameplay experience in a way that makes the series unique, and I think that's the major element that I like about them. They're cheesy and preachy but purposefully so, and when set against serious and apocalyptic backdrops, you get something of a neutralized, yet grandiose silliness that follows in the realm of Western popcorn movies. To simplify that, they're like Saturday morning cartoons directed by Roland Emmerich--They're done well enough for what they are and ultimately harmless fun, yet severely underrated by that portion of people who come across as if watching them actually resulted in physical castration or something.

I think the whole cheesy, preachy is what has been so bad about them. It is exactly what has been wrong from the first sonic game with VA. It has never been done right.

I would love to see some more profesional scriptwriting in the story. I mean it always felt so cheap and not funny when they tried to be.

If they want they can bring it to a much higher level. In the same level as anime cartoons. That would be nice

Edited by Jaouad
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I don't think storyline is anywhere near the most important part of a Sonic game, but it is nice sometimes. I'd rather them keep the story sort of simple, and not diverging too much from the focus of Sonic and Eggman, and that especially means to not have any characters that take major amounts of screentime away from those two. Also, I liked how Sonic CD, S3K, and Night of the Werehog did it; where the characters' actions "spoke" out their expressions and what happened.

In my importance scale though, storyline is on the bottom of the four essentials: Gameplay, Graphics, Music, Storyline. Of course, this means that storyline is least important of the four (although still nice I suppose), and gameplay is on top (since that's what games are all about, right? ;D), and graphics and music (aka the presentation) fit smack dab in the middle.

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@ Jaouad: The cheese and morals aren't a problem, especially since it's been downplayed in recent narratives. There's more narmy moments in Sonic Adventure than probably any other sucessor, including Sonic 06, mostly because the acting and translation were just god awful back then.

The biggest problem to me is when the writers more or less drop the plot altogether. Unleashed and the Black Knight are especially guilty of this, where the narrative starts and ends solidly, but the middle doesn't develop the cast and plot towards the climax and conclusion well; The story just meanders a little bit, and it's disappointing. I'll always take scenes like this before coming to terms with the tons of filler in the middle where little to nothing happens.

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I do care about the storyline, as I feel they're very important to the series and a great reason why I favor the Modern era over the Classics. Since Sonic Adventure, Sonic Team has made it very clear that the story and characterization were going to be just as important as the gameplay, if not more. The story and characterizations are tied to the gameplay very closely intentionally, because they all relate to one another. If at least one part of the three feels stilted, then the whole game experience can feel jarring.

Whereas the Mario series's characters have been abstract and conservative in story for the most part, the Sonic series has deep, three-dimensional characters. This creates a realistic, whole-rounded experience. Without the characters and universe, there would be no Sonic series. It'd be a generic game. The stories, universe, three-dimensional characters, and how the games are closely tied to them help set this series apart from the others and make it to what it is today, and I love it that way.

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@ Jaouad: The cheese and morals aren't a problem, especially since it's been downplayed in recent narratives. There's more narmy moments in Sonic Adventure than probably any other sucessor, including Sonic 06, mostly because the acting and translation were just god awful back then.

The biggest problem to me is when the writers more or less drop the plot altogether. Unleashed and the Black Knight are especially guilty of this, where the narrative starts and ends solidly, but the middle doesn't develop the cast and plot towards the climax and conclusion well; The story just meanders a little bit, and it's disappointing. I'll always take scenes like this before coming to terms with the tons of filler in the middle where little to nothing happens.

Yea i agree, the in between cutscenes feel like fillers. While the beginning and the end always seem to be the most interesting. But its actually stupid. The middle should be the part where it has to be interesting, making the player wanting to continue. I mean i love a good story. I love games like shenmue and yakuza where i finish a part just to see the next cutscene. Its like a reward and keeps things interesting

Allthough i do agree with azukara that its not the most important thing in a sonic game. That doesnt mean it has to be treated bad.

edit: Its either a good story or no story. If they cant do it, I say let them keep it simple like mario:)

Edited by Jaouad
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I like it when Sonic keeps it simple like Mario, a whole bunch. At most times actually I'd rather have that over a good story if you ask me. Sonic just doesn't seem to be a series that would go under that much character development, deep storylines and whatnot. Although it's certainly capable of doing it, the series could keep it's very versatile style if it was to have just simple things that pushed the game forward. Call me jaded all you want; but that's just what I think about it.

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Yea i understand and I can also enjoy a sonic game without a story. Id rather have that than the storylines of 06, black knight and unleashed.

But since i watched sonic ova I always found sonic and everyone else's character to be interesting. It was one of the first official Japanese animated sonic cartoon out there. And it was done pretty well too.

It has it's charm.

I also found sonic 3 nd knuckles (especially from mushroom hill) to have some kind of deeper touch to it. It didnt have real cutscenes but you did see where it was going to. Sonic chasing after eggman while eggman was using better tricks every next time you met him. Knuckles being tricked to think your the bad guy. Eggman stealing the master emerald for the 1st time, angel island falling apart without it. Mecha sonic being a sick version of any metal sonic ever.

It was different from what mario does. And for me that is precisely what was so unique about sonic.

But the transition to 3d with VA never really worked so well. Don't really understand why. I think there should be more action and less talking in the cutscenes.

Needlemouse is coming out now, It would be nice to see well animated cutscenes every stage. Like in sonic cd or the ova.

Edited by Jaouad
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I'm not saying I want no cutscenes at all, I'm just saying we should have a storyline without so much explanation, so much deep character development and relations, and without the spotlight shining on everybody but Sonic and Eggman.

Really I want a game that has no-words whatsoever and where the actions show off what occurs. If done in 2D graphics, it should be done in vein to Sonic CD, while for a 3D game it should be done like Night of the Werehog. But then again I would like it more where the cutscenes didn't slow down your pacing through the game, and just lasted as a quick breather and a small explanation of what things are happening and why, yet with only gestures and no voice acting. I like how S3K did that, and I would prefer if they stuck with that method over level-cutscene-level.

If Sonic is to go with voice acting though, it should be pretty minimal, and probably have writing much like the OVA, since the OVA was pretty well done in the script.

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I don't mind storylines, sometimes I even like them a lot, like Adventures or Unleashed. When they try to strike up drama and fail miserably at it though (Shadow, Sonic 06) then forget it. It's not really a problem with the franchise per se, bad storytelling happens everywhere.

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I didn't know until recently that you couldn't skip the cut scenes in Sonic Adventure, so I must have cared about it in that game. That, or the facial animations were too hilarious to skip. Maybe a bit of both.

In Sonic Adventure 2, I just didn't care, It's almost like an entire game of that pea commercial.

I think the trouble is that they come up with a story that exists only to set up certain situations, BUT spend as much time on it as someone might spend on a story that could exist for it's own sake.

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I know Sonic games are not made to have intense, deep, and intricate plots and normally I don't care. "Defeat Eggman and squeeze the Chaos Emeralds in there too!", yup. Got it. I just have one problem, I'm sick of this "Eggman needs a giant, epic power to help him conquer" plot. It's been used and reused to death since the first Adventure game. After Sonic Adventure, Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic 06, and Sonic Unleashed (which I sometimes see as Sonic's story in Adventure, but not as well done and has werehog) you think they'd stop. I don't really enjoy Heroes, but I liked the plot. I enjoyed Metal Sonic's revenge. It was different! Now I only say this for the major games. Rush, Rush Adventure, Chronicles, and the Riders games don't really matter to me. I don't perceive them as cannon.

Also, I love, LOVE, characterization in Sonic games. From deep ones (such as the depressing "This is who I am" story ending in Shadow), to the in between (Tails discovering his independence in Adventure and saving Station Square), to the fluffy (Sonic eating chilli dogs! What's not to love!!). I even enjoy the characters "idle" poses (you know when they do something after you don't move them for a while), but I think most people do! ^.^

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I think the stories up to Sonic Adventure 2 were fantastic. They were all connected very well and the characters stayed who they were. The same can be said for Sonic Heroes and Shadow the Hedgehog, but those stories were a bit less interesting.

Sonic '06 and and Sonic Unleashed had ok stories, but they didn't have the connection to the others.

This may sound weird but to me, it seems like up till Shadow the story was canon and after that they decided to just write stories like that. Besides the characters, they don't connect with eachother or the older characters. Well, there are some "references", like Amy mistaking Silver for Sonic being like her mistaking Shadow for Sonic, but still.

I don't know, its almost as if the games before were in Universe A and after that in Universe B. :-/ I know they aren't, but it feels that way...

Am I making any sense? :unsure:

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I find things to be more three-dimensional storylines that draw you in rather than simpler ones that you're not likely to care about over other features, which end up being two-dimensional (or less) and basic. And while gameplay is more important that storylines when it comes to games, I'm one who likes it when both the game AND the story draw you in equally.

I mean admit it, even those of you who hated games like Sonic 06 and Shadow were more interested in the story than the gameplay, since the latter was done worse than the former. Otherwise we wouldn't so much more critical of things than those outside the fandom. ;)

I really care about the storylines because to me it's what makes a game more interesting than a movie. You take control of the character when it comes to the actual field work, but you let the character do his own thing when it comes to interacting with other characters in the cutscenes. It's also what I think makes video games the most versatile art form ever created, as it has everything: Design, Style, Flavor, Action, Imagery, Emotion, Acting, Themes, Forsight, History. All this is actually what made me do so well in school (who said you can never learn anything from video games?) as what happens in video games made me want to learn of similar ideas and phenomenoms in the real world.

When it comes to Sonic, I feel he should have a well done storyline that serves as an extra enjoyment alongside actually playing the game. He's more three-dimensional when he talks to other characters and interacts with the world around him, showing his strengths and weaknesses and limitations, as opposed to Mario who doesn't do much interacting or story outside the RPGs. In Mario Sunshine, switch Sonic in place of Mario when he was on trial in the court. Would he really just stand there and let the jury find him guilty for crimes he didn't commit? I think Sonic would make quite a scene in the court room if the way he acted towards the military in SA2 were to say anything.

Another thing which I tend to be a critic on Mario is that you can pretty much throw anything on him and he's a master at it. Makes me see more of a gary stu in him than I do in Sonic. :lol: Though it's not hurting him, I just find him less three-dimensional than Sonic. I mean the guy can lift a evil turtle many times his size by the tail and throw him 50 feet across a field, and doesn't so very many (if any) weaknesses. Sonic can run hella fast jump hella high, rip through steel with the momentum of his body, and run smack into a wall at top speed and shrug the pain off without a problem, but he can't swim, he's not super strong in the upper body, and is vulnerable to things that we can relate to. But hey, that's just how I see it.

I have a large passion especially when it comes to a talking character and their voices, and I've become quite a critic on it in my liking of those two traits. I feel that Jet the Hawk's voice does not suit his design as it makes him sound ridiculous when he looks like someone who would sound really cool and confident. He's confident, but the voice is rather cheesy instead cool, and that's not what I expected him to sound like when looking at his design. When you look at a character, it seems that you can tell somewhat how the character would sound like with a voice, but the surprises can work for better or worse.

In lieu of this, I also feel that those who would rather do without it are really throwing away something that can actually do some major benefits with the right touch. No words (and thus no voice) could take away the sense of actually knowing what's going on, as I felt with a number of scenes from Brawl's Subspace Emissary feature (that I feel was poorly done on the story overall), and all words and little-to-no voice can drastically reduce the tone that the scene wants you to feel. A character can say something pretty funny as intended as it may be, but without a voice to give the words a tone to emphasize the character's emotion I feel it reduces the effect it was suppose to have. If his words are sarcastic and his voice is meant to make those words humorous, you increase the effect of the words. You can watch your favorite comedy show on mute with captions/subtitles and still laugh at the words and scenes, but you would likely laugh even more if you heard the way the character said those words in the scene.

Now yes, this stuff can work both ways, but I for one tend to look more at the plus side than the negatives. I feel there is so much more that can be done with the stories and material present in the Sonic games.

That's my input on the storylines. And I care quite a lot about it. B)

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I think the stories up to Sonic Adventure 2 were fantastic. They were all connected very well and the characters stayed who they were. The same can be said for Sonic Heroes and Shadow the Hedgehog, but those stories were a bit less interesting.

Sonic '06 and and Sonic Unleashed had ok stories, but they didn't have the connection to the others.

This may sound weird but to me, it seems like up till Shadow the story was canon and after that they decided to just write stories like that. Besides the characters, they don't connect with eachother or the older characters. Well, there are some "references", like Amy mistaking Silver for Sonic being like her mistaking Shadow for Sonic, but still.

I don't know, its almost as if the games before were in Universe A and after that in Universe B. :-/ I know they aren't, but it feels that way...

Am I making any sense? :unsure:

You know, that's exactly what i was thinking when I made this topic.

I noticed that Sega has been listening to all the complaints about focusing too much on plot and side characters, and simplified it all in the most recent platforms; it appears that's a part of their infamous "going back to the roots" plan.

That prompted me to ask the fans if this is really what they want, to simplify the plot and keep all the focus on the action, like in old-school 2D platforms (just like modern Super Mario games keep all these old-school traits).

In my opinion, it's a big shame that they chose this new (old) direction: not only they end up disappointing hardcore Sonic fans, used to a certain level of drama and storytelling, but also newcomers will hardly get attached to the series, beyond beating whichever game they bought.

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Good point, but Sonic Team don't have the best writers so even epic plots fall flat. I like my epic plots, but you have to admit in 06 Sonic had fuck all relevance, and considering he's the main character, it's sad. They spend too much time making other characters relevant that they leave Sonic just to do whatever really. 06 was a cool idea with Iblis and Mephiles but it wasn't well written and it was a confusing and plot hole filled time travel story.

SA1 had a good story imo, it intertwined for each character very well and everyone had at least some relevance.

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I tend to care more about the characters than the plot, if that makes sense. That's one of the main reasons I'm fond of the Advance Wars series: the plots tend not to be a great deal more than "oh noes Black Hole's invading!", but the interaction between the characters is so much fun that I barely notice. I think that should be the main goal of any new Sonic game's plot, really; let the characters do new things, let them interact in unusual ways, let them be entertaining. I love epic stories, but if they can't make proper use of their characters (hint hint, '06), they're soulless.

SA1 had a good story imo, it intertwined for each character very well and everyone had at least some relevance.

SA1 had a unique story, but its Rashomon-esque nature made it more satisfying in retrospect than it was as I played it. Not bad, really, but unusual. I'd like to see it happen again, though, but maybe with slightly less focus on tying everything together into a central plot at the end... just a game where a bunch of characters have separate, mostly-unrelated adventures and occasionally bump into one another. Maybe that'd be more suited to a spin-off; I dunno.

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Hideo Kojima should write a Sonic game. xD It would start as one game, then he'd say he wouldn't ever do one again, than he'd do 3 more, say he wouldn't do one again, then do another say he wouldn't do one again, then do another say he wouldn't do one again, then do 2 more :)

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I noticed that Sega has been listening to all the complaints about focusing too much on plot and side characters, and simplified it all in the most recent platforms; it appears that's a part of their infamous "going back to the roots" plan.

In my opinion, it's a big shame that they chose this new (old) direction: not only they end up disappointing hardcore Sonic fans, used to a certain level of drama and storytelling, but also newcomers will hardly get attached to the series, beyond beating whichever game they bought.

Well I dunno if by going back to roots we have to drop the story aspect. Even a pretty straightforward 2D game like the Rushes are enhanced by story. Do you mean they want to tell simple stories instead of arcs? I think the last arc they had with Shadow's past was a complete mess in the end. It seemed like they started to tell a story that was cool, but they couldn't figure out how it was gonna end when they added onto it. Reminds me of the Matrix trilogy. Even though I'm big on continuity, I don't think the games need "big" stories to have a good story. I just want the characters to remember their adventures like we do, because it makes them a little more alive. Unleashed's story (they sidelined a lot of characters, but even sidekicks like Tails got little screen time) was pretty solid, and it's nice to see they can tell a simple story like that and still have it be effective. I think people will remember Chip as much as Tikal or Gamma from the older games. Far from being unable to attract new fans, it's made me more excited for a new game. It's a large assumption to think that people couldn't get into the narrative without a mystery rival character or another gimmick. It's not really bad that it's a standalone story either, if they've made it a meaningful chapter in the Sonic timeline. One thing I liked about Unleashed was how it didn't get too silly like Heroes or serious like '06, it did everything at the right time. Sonic Team was trying to do everything at once for a while, and I think their work these past two years is more on par with Adventure-era storytelling, maybe better. I think line delivery in SA1 was very shaky business to be honest, and dialogue was still pretty cheesy back then as well. Anyways, most of the stories from past games are done. Shadow has no current arc, '06 bombed and canceled its events from time. Blaze is all messed up - but her story is mostly in the Rush series. It was a great time to tell a new kind of Sonic story, and leave those games behind. Also, speaking of stand-alones, am I the only one who wants to see the Storybook games have some kind of loose continuity, like referencing other games in the series? I like what they've done with Shahra/Merlina as the recurring Storybook girl, they need to keep that up.

Edited by Cupcake Hedgehog
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