Comments of the week: December, 10 2006 edition

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Sonic has its fanbase, but the recent wave of Sonic games are anything but impressive. Maybe the problem is that Sonic is in 3D, maybe not.

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Robert Ferguson suggests, “I whole heartedly agree on the fact that Sega is botching up their attempts at a GOOD 3D sonic game. I also have a good solution to offer:


I think Sega should go the way of the 3D Klonoa titles and make a 3-dimensional environment that Sonic can travel left, right, up and down in. BUT they should mix it up a little, and instead of having the camera display Sonic(or whoever’s stage it is) from the side all the time, they should set up some interesting camera angles for when Sonic is speeding along, being unstoppable and completely out of player control. If they do this, and keep the camera to Sonic’s side during real gameplay of course, then Sega could end up with a truly great sonic game.


Also, don’t forget the crazy-awesome powerups that are housed inside of TV sets. For example, the magnet shield that draws in all the rings near the player. In addition to bringing back the TV sets, they should add an additional powerup that allows Sonic to become Super Sonic, allowing him to fly around the stage.”


Then again maybe the 3D Sonic games aren’t so bad. Dranore defends the Sonic Adventure series,


“I have to disagree on principal. I believe ‘Sonic Adventure’ for Dreamcast and for the most part, Sonic Adventure 2, were excellent 3D sonic games. They’re the equivalent of Mario 64 for Sonic. The argument you’re making is that 2D games don’t work as 3D games, when the reality is that they’re just different games when you add new control complexity. They don’t play the same way. Perhaps you’d disagree but…


Mario Brothers : Mario 64::Sonic The Hedgehog : Sonic Adventure


The first level of Sonic Adventure is practically the Green Hill Zone. Obviously some people don’t care for free roam 3D – but as time goes on the number of people who don’t care for that will diminish as people begin to grow up with these now common control systems. Also there are other elements added to Sonic Adventure that perhaps some might not like, but be that as it may they are certainly done well. Sonic Team did a great job on SA and did some great things with SA2 as well, but I can’t say I understand the direction the franchise has been going in since then… Also, Mario 64 was pretty revolutionary in general, so it’s hard to compare the two games – but I do feel it’s a pretty good comparison both on gameplay and semantic grounds.”


What else have some our other readers said this week?

On the single man developed UK launch title, Super Fruitfall RyanPT wasn’t impressed, “Honestly, I think it’s great that this guy has made a game for the Wii without any outside funding or a dev team of any real description, but how many copies does he really expect to sell?


The game does not seem very entertaining (or original) in the slightest, and to be frank, I’m not quite sure whom his target audience actually includes.


It’s all well and good that indie developers get some attention, but shouldn’t they be producing ever-so-slightly more than a Tetris edit?”


Stonerocker reminds of how Mario was upset about pirated games, “And I remember when I used to have Nintendo Power back when Super Nintendo was new, there was this thing on the back cover about how “Mario was stomping mad” about pirated games, and he wanted YOU to report it to Nintendo. I thought that wasn’t much of a problem anymore but I guess I was wrong. That’s too funny. I wish I had a Super Game Advance =(. Lol” Did anyone report pirated titles to Nintendo?


Can the Playstation 3 survive even if it loses the ten and under demographic? Eric Fox say, “If my experience has been at all representative, this generation of consoles may see gamers gravitate toward the system that provides the most fun gameplay irrespective of mature themes and gritty visuals. These are the guys who are forsaking the PSP in favor of the DS.


I think as long as Sony and Microsoft maintain their appeal to their target demographics, they’ll be fine. Those gamers in their 20s and 30s have a lot of disposable income, allowing Sony/Microsoft to effectively yield the younger territory to Nintendo. I think the real question of this round of consoles is whether Nintendo can make inroads among the “hardcore” demographic and others who don’t traditionally play games. The anecdotal evidence from my experience suggests they can.”


On Izuna: The Unemployed Ninja the_importer thinks that the dungeon RPG formula works,”These day, I’ll take a “dungeon RPG” over a “Walk in the in the field until you reach the town and stop every 4.7 seconds to fight a random battle” RPG. As much as I use to love Random battle and turn base RPGs, I no longer seem to have the patience for them. I just can’t figure out how I use to be able to handle the fact that when I wanted to reach point A to point B, I had to be interrupted by 10 battles, which turned a simple walk of 1 minute into a holdup of 20 minutes.”


K_G mentions other benefits for publishers who distribute games online instead of selling them in stores, “Don’t forget along with media cost savings (and zero inventory costs and risks), they likely don’t have to share as much with Sony as they would have to with retailers. While I’m sure Sony will take their cut, no need for retailers slotting fees or co-op spending by going electronic. Nor will this feed the pesky (from a publishers standpoint) used game market.”


Earlier this week we showed two old videos of Okami. One of the videos had a realistic looking wolf instead of the final artistic version of Okami.


BETA likes the artistic version more, “I’m definitely glad they didn’t stick with the first method of presentation. The realistic approach looked bland, the foliage and trees a bit too fake to the eye, which resulted in a cheap look. Then again, I think this looks more like a demo reel or something as even the backgrounds seem very unfinished.


Because they used the cel-shaded, Sumi-e look, the game became vibrant and unique in comparison to every other title on the shelf. It saved itself from becoming a lackluster action game by incorporating the ink technique as part of the gameplay. It’s wonderful what some creative flukes can come up with.”


And Symphony mourns Okami’s lack of reception, “To be honest, I feel that the version released was magnificent. It’s simply a pity that idiots would rather buy some EA sports titles to update their rosters year after year than to take a chance on something special like Okami or any number of other games that are resigned to a similar fate. As long as people keep spending their money on rehashed games companies will continue to churn out the same tripe while neglecting innovation. Oh well, I’m happy that I was able to enjoy a game like Okami.”


Is Final Fantasy XII a gateway to programming? Rickdun says, ”for once i would like to see more evolution than branching. The Final Fantasy XII direction is a great base to develop from. Advance the Gambit system into a simple friendly and graphical Programming interface. You teach ppl how to program AND play Final fantasy at the same time.” The Gambit system is pretty much a bunch of if / then / else statements. Kids use this line to convince your parents Final Fantasy XII is educational.


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