It’s okay be wary of Sonic Boom.

As the guy who wrote “Sonic and the Worst Fandom Ever“, you would think I’d be angry at the fans that seem to hate the upcoming Sonic Boom game on the WiiU without having played it.

However, personally, I’m more annoyed at the people liking it just because they don’t want to sound like whiny Sonic fans.

I understand that you need to play a game first before you can tell if it’s crap. Afterall, I was very surprised by how solid Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures was. But sometimes you can see what’s wrong before putting your hands on the controller.

I feel the key is to figure out what it is you dislike and try your best to portray it in a non-whiny way. Same thing with if you like it. Opinions are going to vary.

As for me? Well my feelings are very mixed. On one hand I love Bob Rafei and his work on the Jak & Daxter series. I think he’s a genius designer. On the other hand, I played Big Red Button’s previous game: Daxter. It was…not good and honestly kind of an insult to the Jak & Daxter series. Sluggish unresponsive controls, annoying characters, and just plain annoying gameplay. I played it years ago so I barely remember it beyond dropping it quickly, grabbing a save file, and just watching all the cutscenes because I couldn’t stand it.

However, Sanzaru is another story. They recently put out the new Sly Cooper game which was darn good. I mean yeah it was basically just them recreating Sly 3, but being “about as good as the other games” is good enough for me considering it was from a completely different developer than the originals. It was a rock solid platformer that I did indeed have quite a bit of fun with.

This game though? It looks like the opposite of Sonic Color and Sonic Generations! While those two were “All Day Stage Sonic Unleashed”, this looks like “All Night Stage Sonic Unleashed”. All Werehog, all the time. Even the slow platforming bears such a striking resemblance to the night stages it’s surreal. Come to think of it, are the laser lassos basically just replacements for Sonic’s streachy arms?

You’ll have to excuse me while I laugh. The whole point of the Werehog was to freshen up Sonic’s gameplay and make it more varied and appealing. People didn’t like it. So Sonic Team gives the game to a Western developer and asks them to make the game more appealing to Western audiences and what do they do? Make the Werehog.

Of course, the night stages weren’t that bad so there’s a good chance this will be a thoroughly average platformer and that does raise the question: Would you rather have a solid but generic platformer, or a slightly wonky Sonic game? Speaking personally I’d pick Sonic Lost World over Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures in spite of it being a decent game.

So, to summarize, it looks slow and combat-centric.

Also, the fact that every boss is “throw enemies at it” does have me worried.

Other complaints I have is how Sonic doesn’t shut up, the overly dark nature of the stages which makes it hard to see (and really the visuals are pretty bad), but above all else: the music.

Can someone please explain to me why Western developers don’t get music? I don’t mean to bash them but I have played so many Western games where there is little to no music. I understand that a lack of music can have it’s place in setting tone and atmosphere. However, having a nearly silent environment in the middle of a fight is just weird. Especially in a Sonic game where even the worst game in the series has amazing music.

Then again, the Devil May Cry system of having one battle song that plays over and over again every time you get into a fight isn’t any better. Even when that song is freaking amazing, it will wear you down.

But, looking back on all my complaints, I realize I could still be pleasantly surprised. Crash: Mind Over Mutant was a seemingly darker combat-centric game yet it remains one of this generation’s highlights for it’s fun gameplay and great sense of humor. I still stand by my weird claim of it being a superior Golden Axe: Beast Rider because it really was.

The thing to keep in mind is that Sonic Boom is a separate thing from Sonic. It’s an alternate canon with no bearing on the main series (whose canon is already incredibly loose). Still, the concern that SEGA might want to continue in this direction is bothersome.

Really though, the reason I’m annoyed is because as bad as Sonic Fans can be, the inverse is no better. I’ve seen far too many reviewers give Sonic games a bad review just because they’re Sonic. Alternately though, I remember when IGN in their “How to Save Sonic” article claimed Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood was an example of a good Sonic game.

Yeah, no. The only person I have ever met who liked that game hates Sonic, hates Japanese developers, and has a massive affinity for Western developers and especially Bioware. I know folks who would rather play Sonic 06 than Sonic Chronicles. I understand it had a very troubled development history so I bear the dev team no ill will, but the final product was not good. A slow awkward mess of mismatched visual styles and sounds (enemies make a stock “boing” effect when they explode). It was trying to be 3 different games at once: A Bioware RPG, My First RPG, and a Sonic RPG. The three did not mix well.

In short, I feel IGN was giving that game a pass because it was made by Bioware instead of SEGA rather than anything having to do with the gameplay. This is what I worry about with Sonic Boom: How many reviewers will give it high scores for being Not SEGA rather than anything having to do with the gameplay?

This also brings up the other issue: No matter how good this game is, it’s “Not Sonic”. The lack of speed and focus on combat is so not Sonic it really is distracting. Even if this is the best platformer ever, the fact that it isn’t Sonic is going to forever be an issue.

Then again, maybe I’m still angry because of Castlevania: Lord of Shadows, a game which recieved a free pass for being “The best 3D Castlevania” by not being Castlevania at all.

 

Actually fuck. I don’t care if this destroys my credibility. I need to stop this article now. The seething hatred I have for what is otherwise a very well made and okay enough game is overwhelming me. I’m actually getting dizzy. The fact that people could consider that game “a good Castlevania game” bothers me on a cellular level.

Perhaps I’ll spend some time soul searching and thinking about why I hate when people like a game I loathe. There is a logic behind it, I just need to form it into words. I’m just gonna say that, Sonic Fans who hate Sonic Boom? I totally understand. Try not to be too childish about it and keep an open mind but…yeah there are good reasons to be wary. Also, don’t bash a person just because they are wary of the game.

 

…and wait a second, did this just break The Sonic Cycle? I mean Sonic Fans are supposed to drool over how amazing a game is from the first screens and videos and then be disappointed after it comes out, right? I don’t care how unprofessional it is, I have only one response: XD

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8 Comments on “It’s okay be wary of Sonic Boom.”

  1. heatseeker0 Says:

    Great article man, I fully agree with what you had to say about Boom, and no, liking the new Sonic games just to not sound whiny is no better then hating anything just because it’s not Sonic. I personally happen to be one of those guys who like many Sonic titles up until Sonic Colors came out, the content of that game was trying way to hard to be kiddy, and while everyone hangs on to the whole “Sonic is for kids argument”, the series itself wasn’t directly made for kids, but made to be cool for all ages. Aside from that, there’s nothing about Colors that made me want to pick it up, I actually liked the Warehog in Unleashed and the boost gameplay wasn’t as good as the average 3D gameplay Sonic had up till 06, and quite honestly, I would take 06 and Chronicles over these newer games, at least for all their faults, they tried to be more interesting and being closer to the potential of the franchise then these “playing it safe games”. As for Boom, I’m ok with the beat’em up gameplay and it’s cool to be able to play as more characters again(though not to varied), but it seems like it’s just a new skin over the “Soinic is for kids attitude”, and the content is actually what’s keeping me weary of this title. People don’t want to play games where the content is going to annoy them or aren’t interesting, isn’t that why you brought that kids wanted Sonic to be darker before?

    On that note, me and a few others think most of the hatred for Sonic games came from hardcore Nintendo fanboys. For one, you brought up that older Sonic fans were the ones that wanted Sonic to be more light hearted, but the fact is, as I’ve learned from dealing with a lot of Nintendo fans in the Sonic fanbase, what others have said and noticed, as well as watching many videos from this guy-

    Nintendo fanboys are the main group of gamers who like kiddy games(mainly Nintendo’s IP’s, I always see Mario and the like come up in Sonic topics, but not even Skylanders or Lego games), while most other groups of games, hardcore Sony, Xbox, and PC, mainly talk about hardware specs, and many of them dislike kiddy/light hearted games. It was also brought to my attention once that Ratchet and Clank fans actually spoke out against All 4 one and Full Frontal Assault(which were good in my opinion), and wanted a more serious Ratchet title, and the very last game last Gen was into the Nexus, which was short but half the price of most modern games, but it was exactly what people asked for, though I have no idea of it’s reception. Point is, many of us came to the realization that kids also would rather play more adult games, and that’s been evident since the 90’s with kids still playing Mortal Kombat and many kids still played Conker’s Bad Fur Day despite the warning label. Now, given the fact that kids still liked the warehog in Unleashed, and Shadow named best game of 06 by Jetix Magazine, for kids, it’s no wonder why they became the scapegoat of hatred from older fans. On top of that, these same Nintendo fanboys bash on mature games to, while claiming gameplay is more important, and yet they always talk about the mature content(Blood, realistic, etc), when it has nothing to do with gameplay. As a matter of fact, I barely ever hear people judging mature games by gameplay.

    Now, I know a lot of people don’t agree with this observation, but the evidence points towards then anyone else, and are the only people most likely to call out Sonic games for trying too hard to be cool, while the series was made to be cool in the first place, as well as many people who wanted Sonic to be like Mario, and Lost World delivered on that. I also heard many people on Deviantart bashing Sonic SATAM and the Archie/Fleetway comics for being too dark and serious, while praising AOSTH for being cartoony. The Archie comics also catch a lot of flak for romance despite it not playing a big role in most issues since Ian Flynn took over years ago, which is quite similar to how 06 catch so much flak for the kiss scene, meaning these people get pissed off at romance altogether, even if it’s Sally Acorn.

    Well I’ll stop here, but if you get the chance, this article is a good read – http://conflictingviews.wordpress.com/2013/06/06/sonics-great-light-and-dark-debate/

    • Shadow Says:

      Yeah… it also happens to me that people who love childish lighthearted Sonic games filled with stupid humor that ridicules the whole setting – are always Nintendo fans. I think I haven’t seen or debated any person who loved those Sonic games and didn’t love Nintendo games or at least didn’t play Nintendo games. They always do.
      Nintendo games were always just plain uninteresting and boring to me. And I felt like Sonic was becoming a pure Nintendo game much earlier then with Lost World. The reason I don’t like Nintendo games is not that I am carefully choosing my games so they will never be made by Nintendo. It’s only simply that they don’t appeal to me. And the moment Sonic stopped to be appealing to me, it was when I registered that it’s becoming a Nintendo game basically.
      Hopefully this trend is not gonna last forever. After all, it is not making Sonic any good.

  2. blixt Says:

    The only thing I really like the looks of in Boom is that it will have more to do in it tham just mindless running. But everything else looks unappealing. The visuals and music, hell, yes, but also the voices, the dialogue, and the sense of “humor”.

    That’s probably my biggest issue with it, actually. I’m more tired of the attempts to force “humor” into Sonic than I am just about anything else, these days. I’m not asking for Sonic to go M-rated, but it is HIGH time for this franchise to correct its story problems.

  3. Nafareas Says:

    I agree with all the other comments. The worst about current Sonic games is that damn kiddy/comedy direction. That’s the biggest turn off for me when I look at Sonic Boom. What’s the point creating a brand new canon if it offers the same kind of direction I don’t get it.

  4. Ophelia Says:

    I collect video game music, and one thing I’ve noticed is that on the American side of things, unless it’s a project with strong Japanese influences like Shantae or Skullgirls, they treat game music much like they treat movie music: It’s there for emotional impact, and if it’s not needed, it won’t be there. Thus, you usually have a few string-heavy pieces for ambience or suspense, a strings-and-brass piece and maybe a techno number here and there for fights, and maybe some slow piano songs for emotional cutscenes. Well, not counting the main theme and the credits theme (if there is music during the credits). In other words, it’s designed such that you don’t even notice the music is there unless you’re thinking about it.

    Japanese video games, and to a lesser extent European video games (though the European scene is a mixture), often treat video game music as something to listen to on its own. It proudly proclaims it’s there, and it’s almost always playing during gameplay. It is still there to provide an emotional feeling, but it doesn’t try to hide itself.

    I have a strong feeling Big Red Button’s approach to the music is of the traditional American side: They don’t want you to notice it. If you’re paying attention to it, then the composer has failed.

  5. Ketchup. Says:

    A Sonic fan whining about a new Sonic game not being just like the good old Sonic games.

    The hypocrisy here is truly astounding and smacks of elitist fanboy attitude to be honest. Especially when one comes here straight from your rant over the Sonic fandom the double standard becomes glaringly obvious.

    whatever good points you might have had sadly never reached me as all I could see was yet another old and tired Sonic fan blaming SEGA for making a Sonic game for kids who would rather play a platform game with a story over another mindless go from A to B as fast as possible and see how many points you can score type game.

    in honesty I doubt you had any valid points at all, your entire rant reads just like every other complaint blog out there. All complaints and little to no facts to back them up.

    • Blue Sun Says:

      I still think that they had made valid points back in the other article and I’ll keep those in mind, I’ll just not take them seriously anymore after seeing this. If anything, the He Who Fights Monsters trope got to them and gave rise to this. I still see the other article as insight of a sort, but


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