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Old 08-30-2015   #78
Ice
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Just bought and played the game. Good to see you guys have been as positive about it as I am! Honestly, throwing the nostalgia goggles aside, I think this is a better game than any of the Sonics, and here's why:

All the classic sonic games (I haven't and don't wanna play the modern sonics) had a bunch of flaws that I could never quite put my finger on until I played this game. And I think it's mostly a contradiction between a bunch of its mechanics. See, I think the old sonics had kind of an identity crisis between being a game about speed, and a game about platforming and exploration.

I recently replayed sonic3&k after playing this and I realized that 90 percent of the time the gameplay isn't even that fast. And that's okay, slow gameplay is fine, but the reason it DOESN'T feel fine in sonic is because the game wants to be fast, and those few moments where you can actually speed by without interruption feel really good. And those moments are sparse unless you have ESP, or have played through enough times to know where everything is. Then yeah, I bet the game is a blast. Even after playing sonic 2 my entire childhood I never got that good, though, and sonic 2 is sometimes considered the "flowiest" of the bunch. There are a bunch of elements (springs, loops, slopes, rolling into a ball, spindashing, etc) that encourage speed, but also a ton of elements that slow you down, and not in an interesting way either (slow moving platforms, sliding block puzzles, painful underwater sections, and nearly-unavoidable hazards if you're going at high speeds.) This is especially big in the later levels where hazards and enemies and pits are ever-more prevalent. You find yourself slowing down out of fear of death and doing that awkward speed-up slow-down thing to progress because there's no other way to walk in the game without gaining deadly momentum.

You know what games do flow well? Classic mario games. That's because you would only run when you wanted to, your top speed wasn't downright deadly, and most importantly: the field of view large enough for you to anticipate obstacles. This by itself was perhaps the biggest sonic problem - the screen is too damn zoomed in! Seriously, go play the games again! Maybe all my points would be moot if you could see in front of you significantly more!

But let's say that you DO have ESP and can blast through these levels on the first few tries like the hyperactive hedgehog the developers were selling, then what happens? You miss out on what is probably the best part of classic sonic games - the exploration. I had this problem with SRB2 as well, when I used to design and play levels all day. No matter how beautiful and well-crafted an area was - the design of the game encouraged me to zoom past it. Playing through earlier today I found that I could speed through most of Angel Island Zone comfortably enough, but I was missing tons of stuff. So I'd break my flow ON PURPOSE just to go see what I was missing. So it felt like a weird compromise, where I was happy to explore complex levels but I was constantly breaking my flow. And there's just something about those games that really really make you wanna flow. "GOTTA GO FAST!"

That's where this game comes in. You accelerate, stop, and switch directions a lot faster than the fat blue hog, and your top speed is not comparable to sonic's unless you've sped up intentionally by your ability or a large slope - which the level design rarely punishes you for. Additionally, the screen shifts slightly to the right as you accelerate to the right so you can get a better idea of what's ahead. Awesome! The screen is still a bit too zoomed in, which bugs me, but the game somehow doesn't manage to suffer that much for it. Exploration feels like it's part of the core gameplay and not just slowing you down.

And that's not all, since you don't just jump into enemies to kill them, and enemies have to attack you to hurt you, combat is a lot funner. You have multiple attacks to do the job so interacting with the enemies feels a lot more meaningful than simply jumping or rolling into a robocrab. Combat encounters in general are a lot more satisfying because of this - it just feels good to kick flying enemies in midair or uppercut the weakspot of that boss and watch it explode. This game knew exactly what was wrong with sonic's gameplay, and in my opinion, fixed it. I felt like a small child playing the ol' genesis once more when I played this.

Although the core gameplay is stronger in Freedom Planet, there ARE things that the classic sonics do better. The story, for example, is WAY better done s3&k style by silent in-game scenes rather than those cringy cutscenes. Part of my soul finds those cutscenes really endearing, however, as much as it pains me to admit. Additionally, art in the sonic games is a lot more consistent and less cluttered-feeling than Freedom Planet's. FP has some really good art direction for sure, but nothing compares to those sonic skyboxes (yes I know they're not really "skyboxes", whatever). Go replay Marble Garden 1 & 2 again, just ignore the level and watch the skybox scroll by. Those things captivated my dreams as a child and even now make me wanna go abandon my life and set off on a quest for somewhere like those beautiful forests and mountains. Anyway....
Sonic also has more interesting level shapes. I know they're all technically oblong rectangles with paths carved through them, but in Sonic you wouldn't just progress through them left-to-right. The main path would sometimes snake up then left then right then down and around town. Despite the sometimes-sprawling levels of Freedom Planet, the progression has exclusively felt left-to-right, which is a shame considering that they're working with such good assets and hardware. Whatevs.

So I wrote a lot more than I thought I would.... I really like this game if you haven't noticed. Go buy it! This is my first visit to the forums in a long time lol. Hope you enjoyed reading this!
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Last edited by Ice; 08-30-2015 at 12:53 AM.
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