Monday, February 28, 2011

Sonic Colors (Wii)

Gameplay time: ~40min

History with the Franchise:
I loved this franchise when I was a kid!!! I played Sonic 1 & 2 with my brother a ton (I was always Tails), I loved the cartoons, I had a Tails stuffed animal which I took everywhere (he now sits on my desk at work), we played pretend games set in the Sonic universe, and Tails was one of the first characters that I drew ALL THE TIME when I was in elementary school (the other being Yoshi). Like most people my age, I have a lot of nostalgic love for this franchise. Also, like most people my age, I haven't followed Sonic at all since 1 & 2. I picked up Sonic Colors because there seemed to be some gaming press excitement about it, and I wanted to check it out.

What Happened:
I played for about 20min, and then got really motion sick. Then the next day I played for about 20min and got really motion sick. I haven't picked it up at all in the 2 weeks since.

What I Liked:

Graphics/art style. This is a BEAUTIFUL game. Everything about it is totally stunning.

Cutscenes. Likewise, all of the cutscenes are totally stunning. Here's the intro video:

What I Didn't Like:

What's happening? So really, I'm not sure what my issue was since this game follows the exact same format as the original Sonic games: you progress through a level, collecting everything that's good and killing everything that's bad.. but for some reason, as I played this game I was plagued by an overall sense of uncertainty. I think some of this uncertainty is legacy - and it's funny to say but, I had questions like: if I miss a guy do I go back and kill him? What about all of those rings I just dropped? Do I need to go back and get them all? The levels were also all presented with score and speed record slots - so am I supposed to get the best score or the best speed? Does it actually matter? These things were never an issue when I played Sonic when I was 7, but for some reason I felt confused this time around (which, thinking about it, a lot of those Sonic 2 levels were super confusing - like the ones that filled up with water...). I think the other big factor in my uncertainty was simply the speed of gameplay. Am I old?? I felt like because things were so fast, I having to make split second decisions.. and since I felt fuzzy on my goals, it made me confused.

What is that? There were a couple of cases where I thought something was good, so I'd go touch it, and then I'd lose rings. That's annoying... Another confusing 'item' was the question mark box which actually triggered tutorial sections. I think I missed the first couple since they're super easy to miss when you're just getting used to running as full speed Sonic in the 1st level. At some point I went "oh, I should go back and touch that thing I just ran past, maybe it's important" - and then it turned out to be my tutorial text.

Maps. The map structure is fine (although I don't really get the how the 'virtual world' area of levels ties into the rest of the game), but the presentation was super confusing. After I played a couple of levels without seeing any map, I got a cutscene, and then ended up on a map screen. Basically, it's a world selection map, which then leads to individual level selection maps - but the first time I saw it I got really confused. Particularly since I had a hard time understanding what was selectable on the world map, and ended up in the virtual levels, which had nothing to do with the cutscene I'd just seen, or the levels I'd just played. It was confusing!

Motion sickness. :( I know, I know, I feel super lame -- but this game, with all of it's fast-paced camera angle switching makes me completely sick to my stomach after about 15min. I personally think that the changes in camera angle are pretty cool - they show off the environment well, and they seem to be in fitting with the general feel of my understanding of "Sonic" - a feeling of speed. I'm really pretty disappointed that it turns out to be too much for my sense of equilibrium (note, the hand full of FPSs I've played also make me motion sick... even though in real life (cars, etc) I don't generally have this issue. Bummer.)

How Do I Feel About Continuing:
Despite my issues with the game, I'm intrigued enough to want to play it more to understand it better. Unfortunately, it definitely makes me motion sick to play.. so I'm probably going to end up staying away from it.

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