Wednesday, January 07, 2009

If you dont know what you want, you can't have it. Sonic Unleashed Review

The title for this post is quite true.
And it seems like a whole ton of "professional" game reviewers have no idea what they want out of a Sonic game. So therefor, EVERY Sonic game will suck to them because they don't know what WOULD please them.

Yes, this is a midweek post that doesn't really have anything to do with SonicGear. But, I am so riled up that I must post something somewhere!

The latest object of ire is of course, Sonic Unleashed.
I got the Wii version, which is signifigantly (apparently) different from uh...the other versions of it. It's got less levels, I know that, and less...I guess 'stuff' in the levels. Like less rings, less breakable random junks etc. It also lacks the "town" parts of the game.

Well everyone knows I already don't like the werehog...because the concept is lame. I've said before that they handled that aspect as well as possible (personality/use/etc wise) and it should be OK if the werehog simply GOES AWAY FOREVER after this one game. It's clearly a gimmick, let's keep it that way. But putting that aside...

Ever since they decided to add in non-Sonic levels, like 'emerald piece hunting' and 'big the cat fishing' and all sorts of zany distractions, the reviewers have been clamoring for Sonic to 'go fast again'. Like he did in Sonic 1 and 2. Well here on unleashed, he does. Then they whine that he's on rails. Well, sorry, Sonic 1 had about...2 tops basic paths for you to go on. SO DOES UNLEASHED. I would say it even has more paths than the exalted Sonic & Knuckles locked onto Sonic 3. (The supposed pinnacle of Sonic) Will you find all these paths and achieve some kind of euphoria the first time thru? HELLZ NO. Should you? No. Are there clues for you to see and then try to explore? YES. "Why does this robot appear there?" or "Why is this trail of rings in a seemingly un-gettable place?" All that type of thing indicates more paths AKA NOT RAILS.

Maybe Xbockszes are full of rails. I wouldn't know. (someone! send me an xbox!) But the Wii version is very rarely shoe-horned along a path. Is the reviewer's problem that they are just too lazy to play the stage more than once? Too dense to look for things off the beaten path? This isn't running in the raingutter people.

Ok the town.
Now the town I don't understand. NO ONE has liked the town since it appeared in SA1. Running thru the useless city to get to more fun was no one's idea of fun. The wii actually handles it BETTER than the other more high end systems because it's reduced the town to a single screen with clickable boxes that cause a picture and words to appear and quickly be dismissed. So why the hellz the town keep coming back?
I can understand why reviewers want to dump on the town in Xbox ps3 because even after all this time like a bad apple or perhaps big the cat, it keeps coming back no matter how much people complain. So that's valid. It's slow, and if you don't care about trivial townspeople, then no you won't like it.

Were hog.
Yes, they wanted to throw in fighting, so they made him up. Why not put Knuckles instead? Who knows. Maybe they spent too long playing with their stretch armstrong dolls. (look him up) Anyway, the were-hog levels are different...but they're again not entirely un-fun. Yes the camera can be a serious booger, and some levels (aquaduct, anyone??) seem like they're set up to be a PURPOSEFUL MENACE to the camera. That the control changes with how the camera goes also will annoy. (Suddenly up is not up! it's left! whoops did you die?)
Also, his 'run hella fast gorilla' cue is too obtuse on the GC controller (no, flailing the wiimote is not how this should be done) sometimes try as he might, he won't run, but then others he'll do it at a pin-drop...and drop right off the edge.

But still. It's not unplayable!
With how soooo many reviewers review it, you'd think that the werehog was ET for NES! And he's just not. Yes the werehog is the weakest link besides the town in the game, but it's not a game killer by any means like they'd like you to think. You can keep control of him, and there's some clever puzzle areas to go through, and some somewhat-challenging monsters to fight. Apparently he's a tad less dynamic on the wii too...but.

Day Stages.
How how how can anyone utterly fail to be impressed by these? There are some parts where you can just sit there and go THAT LOOKS SO COOL. (yes in all caps like that too out loud) There are parts of those that are just sweet to look at. Also if you practice them (ie run it more than twice huuurrr) and you've got a sweet run going there's a real sense of "I'm rockin' out!" which supposedly you get out of god of war when you are murdering people in clever ways, which reviewers seem to love. If you're crappy and bad at pressing buttons so that Sonic screws up every 2 seconds then you'll whine like a baby and put a bad review because you can't have any fun (when you're bungling)

The first one (opener) looks cool. Yes it does. Surprisingly some people dump on it. It's weakest link is the eng voices. Put some subs and be done with it. You have to admit it's a cool run of them CG'ing up the edge of space. (everything so crisp and sharp, there's hardly any atmosphere to look through....) I don't see what the malfunction is unless they hate the whole thing because it shows the werehog. This guy here says that the opener is somehow 30 minutes long? WTHHH? On the wii I was in a game within like 10 minutes.
Chip dialogue
Small bit of town

Yeah I think I'd be miffed if I got a game that like somehow wouldn't let me play it for 45 minutes. That'd just be wierd...or metal gear (whoooo) so IDK what bizzarro world copies of U. these reviewers got hold of.

But if you read the above review (besides dumping on girls, and putting a space in Dr Eggman name) you'll notice that this guy, Russ Pitts doesn't KNOW what he wants out of a Sonic game, like all other reviewrs. Their formula for a winning Sonic game is:

1. Go to the moon
2. ????
3. Profit.

"Haw haw oldskool magic"
Yeah...oldschool magic was ON RAILS with 2 paths. They do that? You'll hate it.
Oldschool was SHORT
They love to whine if the game is too short. They'll call it a rip off.
Change the gameplay?
They hated that too. Sonic chronicals was 'w/e'. because 'he doesn't fit in an rpg'
Put platforming with the werehog?
They really couldn't stand that, after everyone did nothing but whine there was too much running and not enough platforming. Wait, what?
Oldschool was plotless (about)
Sonic fights robotnick. If they pulled that out today, I seriously do not know what would happen. But I don't think some sort of gaming nivana would result if all plot elements were removed and your goal was changed to "Go to the right quickly for no reason".
Though funny...everyone seems to think that "Going to the right for no reason" is the absolute peak of entertainment. (so long as nothing ever actually makes that your objective! If a game is released with that as the obective everyone will HATE IT) Look at super mario! He rescues Peach/Toadstool! Again and again! And magically everyone is FINE WITH THAT. Get coins. Get stars. That's nice. But sonic fights eggman? OOOOH NO THATS SO DULL.

It's an endless cycle of reviewers saying they want something, getting it out of Sonic and then hating what they got.

Unleashed isn't perfect but I'm diggin' it more than Secret Rings. (better control) What I don't get is why the reviewers of the interweb and elsewhere are treating it like it's the apocalypse. It isnt!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

2009 starts with mail

Well, got the mail down some, so 2009 is starting off right for Sonic Gear!
It went from 80 to 65 this time, so that's better than normal. I may do some mid week meddling to get more of it out of there and on to the site. A rash of dumb bootlegs is clogging up the works. It's depressing to post phony nasty stuff all the time, and there's a hoard of it. I may have to shift a 'bootleg showing policy' into position to keep some of the things out of the mail to begin with.

Target: custom-embroidery. Now with those new expensive fancy sewing machines, more people are semi-mass producing bogus embroidered Sonic stuff. Traditional embroidery takes too long...but when it's a button push and a thread-spool away, they quickly begin to clog the works. Since so many keep getting shoveled onto Ebay, I need a way to warn people, but then stop it from overwhealming everything else with photos. Oh well, next week.

The highlight (or low light?) of the week was the Impact Innovations slot car set.
Plenty of photos by The GagaMan, however the set itself is no good. It barely works, breaks a lot and was hella expensive. NOT a good first showing by II. (see their stuff on the prototypes page) Hopefully if they do something else, it'll be more plentiful, and better made. Though, I understand they just did a mess of outdated tech with a thin Sonic veneer for this...

The mystery this time is an old Mega Bot Toy Island line card with Amy's pic missing off the back. Why'd they do this? I don't think it's all that likely to contribute to her rarity (so no need to go scrambling to buy up Amys now) because plenty were done before this set came out without her.

If the mail continues to progess so well, the video and comics section overhaul & additions won't be too far away in this new year.

Random tidbit:
Playing Sonic Unleahsed around here. I have decided that the werehog is at least tolerable. BUT under the condition that it GOES AWAY after this one game and never comes back. The plot handles it ok, especially personality-wise and reaction-wise is the best one could hope for. The gameplay on it is decent enough as well, though he's a tad uncontrollable at times (runs at random off the edge etc etc)
Some of the regular day-stages are AMAZING. Sitting there playing it and going "That is SO COOL" to look many points in the stages. Is he "on rails" ? No. Sonic 1 had less choice than this game, by FAR. But you actually have to put in an effort to look for alternate paths.

I have decided that critics/magazines/reviewers DO NOT KNOW what they want WRT any Sonic game. If they re-published Sonic 2 today, everyone would scream it sucked because it was too short and there wasn't enough 3D parts to the stages and the bonus stage was just a palette swap. Same with Sonic 1. Knuckles Emerald hunt levels making you mad? Demand more speed less hunts. Get speed in unleashed? Demand platforming. Get platforming on werehog? Demand better fighting. Get better fighting in the future? Demand more speed. It's an endless cycle of produce n' hate because no one knows what they want out of Sonic, thus nothing will ever please them.

Bottom line: rent it. play it. judge it for yourself and then buy it if you like it!