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a sonic update at Sun 21-Jun-15 11:03:58
You may well have heard of this redesign of Sonic by an Aussie indie game developer. First, a few observations about the new moveset. What purpose does it serve to make Sonic not spin-jump by default? One assumes it's to further the whole "vulnerability" thing, but it makes little sense to have to press a button twice to make the most basic attack. Also, this inventory system - I appreciate the market for puzzle based platforming, but who plays Sonic to pause and look at an inventory screen? No. I'd be more on board with something like a cross between the shields in Sonic 3 and Sonic Generations, where you have to find the shields but you can keep one back and use it at any time with a different button. Now, on to the whole cosmetic redesign thing. I don't like it, and this is coming from the person who defended the Sonic Adventure redesign. As for the personality, I think he makes some valid points - Sonic fans are adults now and we don't need desperate attempts at GRR GUNS AND ANGST AND DARKNESS GRITTY REBOOT GRR, that was the wrong way to adapt the franchise to its continuing fanbase. But this redesign goes too far the other way, ditching the established personality radically in favour of this "cautious, vulnerable" reboot. The word "cautious" is a bad word to use about a Sonic game. Cautiously inching forward is what we don't like doing in a Sonic game, and it literally doesn't make any sense for Sonic to behave ever-so-cautiously in idle animation and then blaze forward at top speed. It's OK to look to indie platformers for ideas, I mean hell, SEGA have looked practically everywhere else at this point, but as much as I enjoyed the experiences of things like Limbo and Braid, this is not what I'm looking for in a Sonic title. So, where to? Lost World showed promise but had problems. In terms of design and personality, I'm going to make a bold call and say Lost World essentially got it right. Sonic was still cocky and impulsive, right up to the point where it appears to have cost him everything. Eggman brought some dramatic flair, and Sonic convincingly despaired at the result, without it becoming the angst-drenched misery session that SA2, Sonic '06 or Shadow might have made of it. In graphic design, Lost World was the closest we've come yet to the classic Sonic aesthetic in 3D. However Lost World of course did get a lot of things wrong, and chief among these was the combination of an instadeath twitch platforming style with limited lives. That's never a fun combination! The redesign video proposes ditching the lives system and tying the rings into an inventory system, but I've already addressed that. What I'd like to see is, well, basically, the Generations 3D level design on the Lost World graphic and sound design. Not another complete redesign
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a sonic update at Mon 9-Jun-14 13:59:56
So. Sonic Boom, then.

Never let it be said that I don't give a game a chance. I was one of the many successfully fooled by the launch trailer of Sonic '06, for pity's sake. And so we've seen gameplay footage of Sonic Boom now, but I will reserve judgement for a later product.

Because right now? I'm not overly impressed.

Sega, you had it. Colours and Generations were great. Even Lost World, for all the flaws it had and the myriad other imaginary flaws people liked to imagine it had, showed promise. So why now are we taking another stab at Sonic Heroes? (Yes, I know you're actually going for more of a Sonic 2/Sonic Advance 3 thing. We'll see, is all.)

I get that this is a cartoon tie in, it's by Big Red Button, and back in Japan they're still working on, if you'll excuse the medium reference, our regular scheduled programming. But it seems from the admittedly limited footage released that you're taking what you know worked in 3D and scrambling in the opposite direction. I'm not sure if it helps or not that this extensive use of the rope swing mechanic reminds me greatly of the Chain powerup from Rayman 3, also known as "one of the greatest platform games in the history of the everything". All I can say, BRB, is that you better be damn good at using this mechanic.
The instant I game over because I missed a microscopic window to attach to an Ener-Rail is the instant your review goes down by 2 or 3 out of 10. But do it right, and all is forgiven.

Now, let's discuss other things from the footage.

Music: Thumbs down. Sorry. It's generic cartoon music and after the insanely catchy music of Lost World it seems a step backwards.

Graphics: Thumbs kinda sideways. I know the WiiU can do better than this. But it fits the cartoon vibe I guess.

Voice talent: Thumbs up. Amy is outright better, Knux is good, and Eggman steals the show as normal. As for Sonic...? See...

Use of voice talent: Thumbs vacillating wildly. There were some genuinely funny lines of chatter (Knux: "Hey! There are things inside these things!") and there are some where all I could hear for the next second was the sound of a hundred thousand mute buttons, simultaneously, all over the world. It's going for that Kid Icarus: Uprising vibe and that game was genuinely funny. So we'll see. If some of these generic lines get repeated too much ("Hey!" "Nice one, Big Blue!" "It's like these courses were built for me!" et cetera ad nauseam), they're gonna get real old real quick.

But like I say. I want to play it. I want a demo. I want to give it a try. Sega I want to like this game, but it's difficult, especially when I know there could be a Lost World sequel that improves on the original like Colours did for Unleashed.

This game is an experiment, a side project, I know. But we thought that about Colours at first, too. Hell, "The Lion King" was made by Disney's B team while the real blockbuster was supposed to be "Pocahontas".

Sega, I'm unimpressed so far. Please prove me wrong. Please do this right.
Conversation wheel | Tags: sonic boom sonic rant

a gaming update at Mon 26-May-14 12:43:10
Apologies for the terrible pun, but I may be overexcited by the revelation that there may actually still be people reading this. At any rate.

We've now had two weeks to mull over why Kinect is so integral that it's optional, game shops across the world "dropping" the price by removing both Kinect and Titanfall. We're on to you, EB. We're on to you. Not that we really needed two weeks to mull over it. Fact is, it is a gimmick. It was, it is, and it shall be. Yes it allows people to live out their Tony Stark / Star Trek fantasies (no, not those kinds of fantasies, and not combined, although I can suggest with near certainty that fanfiction.net will have something along those lines among its yawning chasms), but really, you're a remote control with an on switch and inbuilt mic away from those anyway. Nobody knows what to do with the thing from a gaming perspective, and I mean this thing in particular; I've seen plenty of impassioned defences of the device on the net in the last two weeks where people imagine what might be possible, and in ninety percent of cases their imaginings are already possible with an inbuilt mic and/or Wiimote/PSMove. The sad part is, it's a device with plenty of potential for use, but that use has been found for practically everything but gaming. And don't give me the "but it's still new" excuse; a) it's not (see above) and b) Six months after the DS came out Japan had Kirby Canvas Curse, Meteos, WarioWare Touched and Another Code (aka Trace Memory) already out, and Ouendan coming.

All I'll say is this, Microsoft: it better be a pretty damn good E3 conference.
Conversation wheel(2 posts) | Tags: kinect rant gimmickry

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